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Why We Hope Anthony Bourdain's Second Travel Channel Show Will Be Better Than No Reservations

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The guy who has the job every foodie wants, Anthony Bourdain, will get a second show called The Layover. The new 10-episode long series will premiere on the Travel Channel on November 21.

How's this hour of Bourdain going to be different from the hour of Bourdain we already see on No Reservations? It'll be the same quip-ready guy, except for one difference: the host will have only 24-48 hours to explore a destination.

The point is to show that "layovers are opportunities for travelers to mingle with locals, crash parties, dine on local cuisine, and explore cultures." The show will feature New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Rome, Montreal and Amsterdam.

"The Layover is a fast, busy and content-filled hour," Bourdain says. "We go to spots that I personally think are cool and fun for all budgets. In every case, these are places where I either did go, or would visit even when the cameras are off. The Layover is a reflection of what I've learned over time. It's about telling a story that viewers can recreate themselves."

Bourdain adds on his blog, "We are well aware that many of the meals and experiences on No Reservations are, frankly, impossible to duplicate. The upcoming last meal at El Bulli show being a particularly extreme example.  The crew and I got drunk one night and said, 'hey, let's make Samantha Brown's show! Only....different...and good!' unlike No Rez, you will actually be able to do the stuff covered on the show."

In this longtime fan's opinion, it couldn't have come sooner. Though there have been a few stellar No Reservations episodes this season, the formula is starting to show its age, and the camera crew and editors are beginning to get too fancy for their own good. The recent U.S. Desert episode, with its fast cutting, fish eye lenses, and use of different film stocks, felt more like an Oliver Stone head-trip than a travel show (which is fine if that's what you're looking for). But to this viewer, the whole thing ended up more self-indulgent than it needed to be.

And what the host said to conclude the Macau show seems to suggest that he's ready to try something new. Typically he would close with a thoughtful voiceover that summarizes what he learned or discovered at that particular location, but this time his last line was "in the end, it's all about me."

If The Layover will bring back the barebones and streamlined style of A Cook's Tour, I welcome it.

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Annachristie
Annachristie

Again with the snark against another host. Why can't he just describe something without insulting someone else? Some people like Samantha Brown's shows, others don't. Bourdain's constant ripping apart of everyone is a sad commentary about a man who is desperate to still appear relevant and can't quite accept that maybe he's not as interesting as he wants to be.

Phil Nigash
Phil Nigash

Chris Collins (director/producer of No Reservations and head of Zero Point Zero) has often said that with every episode of No Reservations they try to pay homage to a director, a particular motion picture, or an entire genre.  I've never seen this as a bad thing. What makes me tired about the show are some of the places he decides to visit. 

Sitting in an African village or downtrodden place like Haiti, surrounded by starving children staring at him while he stuffs his face with food?  Not interested in watching that. But touring the US, Europe, and Asian cities like Tokyo, Hanoi, and Hong Kong certainly appeals to me.  It's a travel show, after all.

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