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  The Chatter Box : The Series
Thoughts on Series by arentol on 14 October 2008 6:31am
Hi all, this is Aren. I am an American living here in the Philippines. I've always been a big Michael Palin fan, from the Monty Python days 'till now. I purchased The Michael Palin Collection DVD box set a few months ago and finally got around to watching all of the series.

Here are my thoughts:

Around the World in 80 Days
This one is really my favorite. I think it's because it was the first and I got the sense that Michael didn't know what he had gotten himself into, which made for enjoyable viewing; we went on the ride right along with him. Much has been said about the dhao scenes - I thought they were OK. I enjoyed the stark contrast between the oil-rich Middle East and the slums of India. All in all, I can watch this one again and again.

Full Circle
Fantastic series! Again, the contrasts were interesting: the amazing growth and vivacity of the Pacific Rim vs. the rural otherworldliness of South America. I felt badly for Michael about the tantalizing proximity of Diomede Island; so close yet so far.

Pole to Pole
I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would, to be honest. The scene of Michael kicking back vodkas in Russia was hilarious. Africa was equally fascinating.

Wow, another home-run here for Michael! Great series. It got slow at some points, but that's really nitpicking. Michael really conveyed the sense of forlorn sadness at leaving the sight of Himalayas near the end, which I appreciated.

Like Pole to Pole, I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. At first I thought, "This looks boring... one sand-filled country after another.". It was, in my opinion, better than that. Mali really stood out, and the performance of the young men from the nomad tribes to get the girls' attention was fascinating to watch.

Great Railway Journeys
Well, I must confess that I am not a railway buff, so this one did not hold as much appeal for me as it may have for others. "Confessions of a Train Spotter" was a bit beyond me - no reflection on Michael or the show, it was just a subject I have little interest in. I found that I could relate more to "From Derry to Kerry", since it took a step back from railways and discussed Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland's history (the fact that I am 75% Irish helped a bit too).

Hemingway Adventures
This one was OK. Like Railway Journeys, this DVD is probably appreciated more by its target audience; in this case, Hemingway buffs. Some parts were really just a bit silly and detracted from the adventure (being chased about by horns? and the whole masquerade thing in Italy?). Yet, at the end, I found myself wanting to read some Hemingway to learn more about the man.

All in all, these DVDs are a lot of fun and definitely worth the purchase. Michael's skill as an adventurer and presenter bring each DVD to life and more than fill-up any spots that are a bit slow.

He's real, honest, and down-to-earth; I think that's what makes these DVDs special.

Great work Michael!

Kind regards,
Aren -
Re: Thoughts on Series by spursrule on 15 October 2008 10:06am
I think 80 days and P2P along with FC are real standout achievements, the first two were the best with FC being a third epic journey. Hemmingway Adventure is okay, as is Sahara (too short though), but Himalaya and especially New Europe got boring at times.

The only reason why I critical of Himalaya and New Europe is probably because the first three were that good.
Re: Thoughts on Series by MONIKA on 15 October 2008 11:08am
Hi, I only recently discovered Michael's series and read Himalaya so far so can't copare it against his other works, but to me Himalaya was great. I especially appreciate that he does not try to depict the people and their countries in an overtly sentimental way and he does not try to fool both himself and his readers that nothing has changed there, no progress has been made. He talks openly about the commercialisation of some areas, the mix of the old and the new, of mobiles in monks' pockets..this - to me - makes him a trustworthy and reliable writer and witness of globalisation - whether we like the world to go global or not... rgds! Monika:)

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