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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Silliness Abounding

Author: soflwrs from Brighton, East Sussex, England, G.B.
4 February 2008

If you only wish to see more of Michael Palin, then do watch "New Europe" and you'll probably enjoy it greatly for the programmes all centre around him. As for any actual, lasting coverage of the broad sweep supposedly made by the series, I found the programmes a huge disappointment.

Thanks to "New Europe", the current affairs and history of these substantial and most relevant areas of the world remain relatively untapped subjects as far as mainstream British documentary is concerned. There was a wonderful opportunity (with great potential) pretty much wasted here. In my opinion, the B.B.C. certainly didn't live up to its reputation for quality and thought-provoking material. A few people and landscapes were pleasantly captured by the cameras, but Mr. Palin hadn't lived up even to his own reputation for rewarding travelogue. Maybe he was restricted by production pressures to "dumb-down" ? Who knows ?

Those are obviously my own views. What cannot be denied by anyone is how the countries "featured" were given decidedly unequal, highly unpredictable, unjust and relatively shallow coverage. I sincerely regret the simplified impressions portrayed of the countries and their cultures (if such a strong phrase as "impressions" can be used). I also regret any unfavourable ideas given to overseas audiences about English "mentality" or prejudice. I know Michael Palin wouldn't want to seem disrespectful, but to me he appeared to be heading that way at times.

I don't denounce humour - believe it or not - when it's appropriate and when some degree of substance is found within it, but none is to be expected here.

I look forward to a "New Europe" by Michael Wood.

S. O. F.

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

what will be next - both Americas in 4 days?

3/10
Author: adam-1009 from Poland
15 September 2008

So far I really enjoyed Michael Palin's travels, but since some point they begun to look rather like postcards from the world than real documentaries. "Around World in 80 days" was spectacular, "Pole to pole" was just amazing, but when I started to watch "Full Circle" and then "Sahara" one question kept popping into my mind - "what's the hurry???". I mean in "80 days" and "Pole to pole" it was obvious - travel arrangements were pressing on the hurry, but on Sahara?? Come on...

Later "Himalaya" was step in right direction - a lot of great views, a lot of people stories, different views on the world. Since I live in Poland I was exciting when I first heard that Palin is gonna make documentary about Poland, although it was rather strange when I heard he is gonna spend only 2 weeks in our country... Then I became more and more disappointed when I found out that first informations weren't exactly correct - he is gonna make trip through few other countries from Eastern Europe, f.e. Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria... Still this looked like a good idea, but when I found out that he is gonna spend 2-3 weeks in ALL THE COUNTRIES not in a single one strangely comedy title "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" popped into my mind...

Palin have done what many people failed to do - show the world of today not like travel brochure, but simply as it is - with common people, not so spectacular hotels, etc. But "New Europe" is I think just too much, I mean in Poland there are about 40 million people, Poland is larger than Great Britain (Romania is as large as UK) and you really want to tell me that you can show Poland in 2 days? And Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria have even more complicated cultures than we do...

Let's see - it was just like making documentary about UK and show that they eat haggis, breed sheep, wear vests and have queen. Perhaps they do something else or even have some history, but that's all we had time for...

"New Europe" was a big disappointment for me.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

It's just a start

9/10
Author: iulyanah from Romania
8 October 2007

I have seen yet the first three episodes...which included my country, Romania.First impression was not so good, Michael Palin presented too much the country side in Romania and very little of big cities.But, finally, it is OK.(still i have mixed felling about hiding our treasures or present them to the world) To present so many countries of east Europe, with all their long and complicated history and strong traditions...it is really very difficult. This is only a start..."a push up" for any other TV producers to try and discover any of these countries mentioned...in as many details possible. I hope this 7 episodes will start the curiosity and taste for these places, this series is just a glimpse...frustrating little. I thank Michael Palin and his BBC team for this series, because their work was very difficult.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

too fast and too superficial

5/10
Author: dromasca from Herzlya, Israel
8 December 2009

Seeing 'New Europe' now, 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain gives a 40000 feet image about what is happening on the other side of the continent for the British and Western viewers who are the principal target audiences if I am not mistaken. The series try to position themselves on the middle of the road between the TV travel series and the investigative documentary, but they just succeed to scratch the surface of the two genres. It is not that screen time is missing - seven series of one hour each could have been enough for saying many interesting and important things about the complex fate and the sinuous development of the countries that Palin visited. It is preparation time that seems to have been missing and what the authors have chosen to do was to pick a little bit of everything for each country some political comments, interviews with important figures in the life and history of the latest 20 years and with Brits traveling or settled in the visited areas, exotic landscapes, folklore, esoteric health treatments. The combination has an air of superficiality. It is not that the serious political comment is completely missing - actually many observations are quite sharp, but they lack deepness, and the trivia wrapping they are delivered in gives a sensation of entertainment show which may actually have been the principal intent, but which cannot win my enthusiasm.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

New Europe - New People

7/10
Author: nieltn from Portugal
20 December 2007

Michael Palin's New Europe gives the viewer a glimpse of the new European countries, focusing mainly people who live there and what has changed in their lives after gaining independence.

You get a slight overview of the main cities and also get to see some beautiful landscapes.

At times, the episodes turn a bit too much around Palin and his fantastic health treatments, but generally it is a very interesting and quite funny journey with a different kind of reporter.

Worth watching.

7/10.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I just loved it!

7/10
Author: petarmatic from Sarajevo B&H
7 January 2014

I just love Michael Palin travelogues! I choose this one to review since he is passing thru my homeland, former Yugoslavia.

I watched most of his trips and I have to say all of them are fantastic. From Pole to Pole, around the world, this way, that way. He has been fantastic! True gem of television. From the times Monty Pithon and film connected to it. Till today. I often watch interviews with him. He says that he is agnostic, but I would like to ask him in person about his religious believes after he spent so much time traveling. He traveled the whole globe. He saw probably every religion possible. I bet he is secretly atheist, but he can not say.

Michal, I wish you all the best in your life and future travels. You are one of the rare people who I would like to meet in person. All the best!!!

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2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

He's still got it

10/10
Author: mickybom from United Kingdom
12 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An informative view on life in eastern Europe and the different cultures.

I think that this series really shows the class and professionalism possessed by Palin.

Given that he is a bit older than when he started back in the eighties, Palin still has his trademark wit and comic timing that have made him familiar to millions with his writing and Monty Phython.

Although some communities he visits are perceived as 'a bit mad', this series does compare to 'Full Circle' although not as good, Palin is still brilliant and this shows why the BBC is held in such high regard across the globe when it comes to documentaries.

Pure Quality.

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