Eugene Levy has become a kind of cultural treasure, bringing his unique comic persona to projects like "Schitt's Creek" and the American Pie movies. And now, he's on Apple TV with "The Reluctant Traveler," a series that is kind of the flip side of "Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy."
While Tucci wanders the various regions of Italy with an enormous appetite for food, wine and cultural discovery, Levy has an entirely different perspective - he likes to stay home, luxuriate in routine and comfort, and rarely go outside his comfort zone.
That's the premise of "The Reluctant Traveler," as Levy travels around the world - his destinations include Finland, Costa Rica, Venice, Utah, the Maldives, South Africa, Lisbon and Tokyo - encountering local people and exploring some remarkable locations. Levy goes through the series with a raised eyebrow and a finely turned sense of skepticism; he's not at ease with the idea of hiking through the rainforest at night to see snakes and spiders, or ice fishing, or taking a helicopter ride that drips into the Grand Canyon.
But he's a good sport and excellent company, willing to try things that he never has before. It helps that everyplace he goes, he's starting in fabulous hotels and eating wonderful food - there's a lot of wish fulfillment in "The Reluctant Traveler." And the biggest lesson seems to be in the spirit and centeredness of the wonderful and gracious people he meets, all of whom enlarge his world and spirit.
"The Reluctant Traveler" is terrific. I highly recommend it.
While "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" currently is without a TV home - CNN canceled the hit show after two seasons when cost-cutting was mandated by the network's new owners," CNN still has a commitment to air a spinoff, "Eva Longoria: Searching For Mexico." I, for one, can't wait until it premieres, on Sunday, March 26. The location and host may be different, but it looks like as much fun as the Tucci show:
Speaking of things I am looking forward to … the third season of "Ted Lasso" begins on March 15. Here's the trailer:
That's it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.