Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Open Letter to the Travel Channel

Dear Travel Channel,

I really want to like you. I really do. The only show that I can really stomach is Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, which I love, love, love. I'm not a travel snob (at least I don't think so), but I really don't feel like your channel broadcasts much of worth to people who travel or want to travel. I want to love Andrew Zimmern, but watching people eat bugs and bladders of strange animals is just not my thing (I suspect that I'm not alone). I will say though that Mr. Zimmern can truly drop some science on eating and life once in awhile.

When your shows include "Most Terrifying Places in America" or "Pretty Beaches", I figure that you must think that we, the viewing audience, just don't care WHAT content you air. I think the American public is much smarter than you think and would appreciate some travel content that provokes thought, teaches us about local cultures and makes us want to get out to see the world around us whether it's visiting Montana or Mississippi or Mozambique.

Anthony Bourdain shouldn't carry the load. Whatever happened to that "Dance the World" show? This was a new show with great potential. A fun, thoughtful host and a show that really explored its location through dance. Totally my thing. I could have sworn that someone at Travel Channel had swiped my big idea. :) Also with the exception of Dhani Jones and Samantha Brown (whatever happened to her?), and Jaycee Gossett from the one time only "Dance the World" mentioned above, it seems that only white men should be travel hosts. Errr?

I know that I might be one lonely voice crying out in the wilderness, but please, Travel Channel, we want more and know you can do more. If you need any help, I'd be happy to have my own show. :)


Am I off here? Do you have any favorite travel TV shows that aren't No Reservations or the Amazing Race? What kind of travel television shows would you like to see? Is the Travel Channel just showing what people truly respond to and want to watch?

By the way, a new great show is the Kimchi Chronicles on PBS. More on that soon.


lavenderpug said...

like you, the only thing i like watching on the travel channel is no reservations. i was liking andrew zimmern for a while, but i think at a certain point they really emphasized the "bizarre" part to differentiate it from anthony bourdain. alas.

Geek in Heels said...

I've been cable-less for a while now, but from what I do remember of the Travel Channel, I have to agree with you. But then again, this seems to be the case with most networks these days: going for the shock, intrigue, drama, etc over good, actual content.

P.S. — I've been reading so much about the Kimchi Chronicles but I haven't been able to watch it yet! I can't wait to read your thoughts on it!

Mandy said...

No Reservations & Dhani Tackles the Globe are my faves on the Travel Channel. I agree that a lot of the other shows just don't pique my interest as much. I'd love a show on amazing hiking trails or discovering national parks around the world...I love that stuff, not so much the world's hottest beaches.

Sugar said...

Totally agree. Love Tony and Samantha Brown is pretty great too.

Daphne said...

I hear you on The Travel Channel. Seems like there would be so much potential content to mine there, but I gave up on it a few years ago, when I used to watch it religiously (liked Samantha Brown a lot!).

Anyway, there was a show that aired this summer: Expedition Impossible. It's derivative of The Amazing Race (and slower paced), but instead of X amount of countries in X amount of days, it focused on just one country: Morocco.

And really? That show was a love letter to the country. I had no idea of the varying landscapes and the majestic beauty of Morocco. Watching that show compelled me to add it to my bucket list.

I don't think the ratings were that great, so we may never see it again. I hope so - a different country could be used each season. In any case, I'm glad I tuned in. If anyone is interested, I think all episodes are available on

Anonymous said...

A few years back they had a reality show called "5 Takes". It showed a group of strangers chosen to travel together and they had to take recommendations from viewers via their online message boards. This had them going off the beaten path. What I really loved is they were only allowed a certain amount of currency a day so they had to do things on the uber cheap. Each season featured a certain continent or county (Europe, South America, U.S.). With the weak dollar and such this would be a great series to bring back!

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Glad to see that I am not the only one that is a little annoyed at the Travel Channel!

@GeekinHeels - I agree that cable can get a little out of hand. Sometimes I want to get rid of it. :) I will definitely do a write up of Kimchi Chronicles.

@Daphne = I did watch Expedition: Impossible. I agree with you that the landscape was really beautiful. Morocco was a very cool country to visit. My issue with that show was that they didn't interact with local culture very much/if at all. It was just the contestants completing tasks. One of the challenges of Amazing Race is that they have to deal with people who live there to some degree.

@Anonymous - THAT sounds like a FABULOUS show. I would totally watch that. I hope they bring something like that back.

bwlivingwell said...

I absolutely LOVE Samantha Brown's show.

I know people complain about how it wouldn't be possible to travel like that on a strict budget, but I still enjoyed that type of "looser-budget" travel. Plus she eventually went to South America and many of the places she visited didn't seem to be too expensive.

That channel has so much potential but from the kind of programming they show, they don't really to care a great deal :/


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