Review: The Reluctant Traveller - Season One
The Reluctant Traveller with Eugene Levy follows the acclaimed comedian as he visits some of the world's most beautiful and intriguing destinations in Costa Rica, Finland, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States, exploring unique hotels and different places.
Saying The Reluctant Traveller is anything short of a fun time would be a vast understatement that would do the show little justice for what it is. While it’s premise is admittedly simple and the episodes all find themselves being quite similar, there wasn’t a single one where I wasn’t enjoying myself.
Reminiscent of other shows in the same vein such as Jack Whitehall’s Travels with My Father and many more, this one man solo journey is an utter delight to experience, with it’s beautiful shot selection of an array of stunning locations and Levy’s fish out of water humour and charisma. The series’ title is about as accurate as one could possibly be—seeing someone so reluctant to explore all these locations without any experience in such a field is hilarious consistently. Some audience members may feel like they’re reliving the same joke each episode, but when it strikes such a comedic mixture of self depreciation and utter fear, I doubt many viewers will care. It’s a ridiculously funny joke—so there’s no issue with you hearing it for eight episodes in a row.
On top of that, the people who tune in to The Reluctant Traveller are the ones who are going to be expecting that humour, and therefore are going to adore it as much as I did. It’s the definition of genuinely great reality TV that you can just switch on and relax to, and arguably some of the best reality TV we’ve gotten in years.
Despite it being a similar situation in each episode, the variety and constant alternation of settings (whether it be the activities Levy forces himself to endure or the gorgeously picked hotels he stays in) ensures that each 30 minute experience remains fresh and entertaining regardless. Naturally though, the locations and the pretty cinematography that’s paired with them aren’t enough to keep you watching on their own; Eugene Levy is the man keeping the entire programme alive with his wit and loveable screen presence. Without him, the show would fail. His real-life comedic timing never stops being funny, especially when he’s partaking in events he’s never even considered doing before the show.
One of my favourite sequences in the entire show is still from the first episode, where Levy finds himself zooming down snowy landscapes on a sledge and screaming at the top of his lungs, but coming out of it fulfilled with it being a highlight of his life. It’s the selection of moments like these that really elevate the show above other series similar to it—there’s something so watchable about an aging man simply having fun with his life.
The Reluctant Traveller with Eugene Levy might not be the most unique series to hit Apple TV+ and it’s growing catalogue of originals, but it’s easily one of the best ones I’ve seen so far. It’s fast paced, witty, funny, and just downright the definition of entertainment value—it proves that reality TV still has its gems despite its many misfires, and it’s fun factor overshadows any issues a small portion of the audience could have with its by the books, and arguably repetitive, structure.