Channel 9, Tuesday, 9pm
Genius can be used for good or evil. I remain uncertain as to which is in play for Travel Guides.
This Channel Nine seven-part opus is supposed to be classic fish out of water stuff – a sort of Barry McKenzie for the 21st century as our hapless Aussie heroes take on the world.
The brilliance of what Nine has done is to pick a range of travellers we can relate to – and here’s the genius part.
Because when you watch a traditional travel show, who cares what Catriona Rowntree or James Reyne thinks? Just because they like it, doesn’t mean you will.
But Travel Guides takes a range of people and puts them on the same holiday – you can match yourself up with the most likely guide, and see if it might appeal to you.
For example, there’s a hippy couple on there who, rest assured, if they’re in love with it, I know I’ll hate it.
Same-same with the snooty Sydney North Shore type couple.
(Witness last week’s New Zealand campervan holiday, where the couple tried to pick out some positives. “We’re close to the bins,” offered Mr Snooty).
The Lebanese Muslim family and the wacky overweight family don’t hold much faith for me either.
And the trio of stewardesses – fiercely over-represented in Nine’s promos – simply come from a different planet.
No, for mine it’s the down-to-earth country twin sisters – who were horrified by the concentrated weirdness of Japan – these country cowgirls are my kinda ladies.
I love their wide-eyed, innocent approach to the world, leavened with just a touch of country street-smarts. If these wise young things are on board, then so am I.
Will Travel Guides change your life? Not really, Will it make you think? Unlikely.
But for putting just a little reality back into reality TV, this light entertainment deserves a few eyeballs.
– Jason Beck