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Travels With Palin

A few years ago, my wife and I were delighted to discover a series of travelogues by Monty Python's Michael Palin on PBS. Unlike your usual (dull) travel show, these series were equal parts funny and bizarre, as Palin attempted to circumnavigate the Earth using only surface travel in Around the World in 80 Days, and do likewise from north to south pole in Pole to Pole, and even go 'round the pacific rim in Full Circle.

Expertly shot by a BBC crew that keeps itself out of the way so well that it's hard to believe you aren't there alone with Palin, just the two of you, these shows make for high drama and higher adventure. Best are the parts in out-of-the-way parts of the world that aren't covered much in the media, such as central Africa, the Arabian peninsula, southeast Asia, and the Andes.

The good news is, Bravo TV has brought back all of Palin's old classics (as well as a new one, Sahara), in a new package called Michael Palin's Travels, airing on weekends beginning this month. These are remarkable non-fiction programs that play like a wild work of fiction, and I can't recommend them highly enough.


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