2020, TV

Long Way Up (2020)

For the first 10 episodes, this is another excellent travel documentary in the Long Way series. Jenn and I wondered, after Long Way Down, how they would make this one challenging, as it seemed like it would be the easiest from a logistics standpoint. And they found a way: electric bikes and electric cars in South America.

So that’s a challenge as you might imagine and, logistically it is sometimes more of a challenge than their other trips. But mostly the physical challenge seems to be less, with the notable exception of Bolivia, where they encounter difficult terrain like they found in Asia and Africa (though I still can’t imagine anything was as hard as Siberia).

Again, it’s a great watch. And it might be the most scenically spectacular of the series, given the number of mountains and ocean views they have throughout the trip, in addition to the deserts. Our next trip is to Africa but watching this sure reminded me why I want to go to Patagonia.

But there is one really strange part of this show that weakened this one in comparison to the previous installments and that is Mexico: they keep saying they don’t want to promote the stereotype of Mexico as dangerous but they make all sorts of drastic changes to their plans. It feels like they don’t see a lot of Mexico in comparison, and instead there’s The Bus.

It seems at some point someone came up with the idea of converting a bus to use as an RV, where McGregor and Boorman and sleep in at night while it travels, and their bikes charge, and they can ride during the day. But they spend what feels like half an episode on just acquiring and outfitting the bus and very, very little time looking at what is the 13th largest country in the world. Watching them, it feels like they’ve all gone a little crazy, none more than Alexanian, usually the most level-headed of all of them. I am not Ewan McGregor, and so I am likely not the target he is, but it sure seems like excessive fear of kidnapping kind of derailed their trip through this country. Maybe that’s not fair, and I wasn’t there, but that’s how it presents itself on screen. Like, aside from that first village, it feels like they didn’t see much. And it feels that way because of the way they edited it.

It’s the one major flaw in the entire series, I’d say. It’s the only time we’ve been bored with it and we just binged the entire three series.

So a little lower rating for this one because of that stupid bus: 7/10

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