|Index||8 reviews in total|
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Europe (and Brazil) are Palin's worst travel documentaries by far. There is really no rhyme or reason for his travels thru each European country and instead of focusing on politics, tourist attractions and the economy, Palin instead visits restaurants, massage parlors or local yokels making alcoholic drinks. The only highlight is that Palin keeps company with attractive young ladies posing as guides in each city. Palin explains almost nothing of interest in each country. I was really shocked and disappointed after seeing Pole to Pole, Around the World in 80 Days, etc. Poland is the only country which gets any coherent coverage of things that matter.
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!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An informative view on life in eastern Europe and the different
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.
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