Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crazy Summer TV: Expedition Africa!

Flaming Nose fans are familiar with our ongoing Star Trek obsession. Here's a series focusing on the re-creation of a very low-tech trek. The History channel's "Expedition Africa" follows four modern day explorers who are attempting to retrace journalist Henry Stanley's (1871) eight month journey through Tanzania to find Dr. David Livingstone. New episodes air Sunday nights on History at 10pm eastern.

On any proper "survival" type reality show, the participants must have distinct and exasperating personalities. Expedition Africa includes the following "characters":
  • Navigator: Pasquale Scaturro (cranky, contentious and very bossy)
  • Wildlife Expert: Dr. Mireya Mayor (quiet, tiny and dour)
  • Survivalist: Benedict Allen (British, snooty, put upon and hates Pasquale)
  • Journalist: Kevin Sites (A bit "deer in the headlights" but the most accessible of all the players)
There are a number of factors in this premise that require viewers to massively suspend their disbelief. No matter how dire the hot, sweaty, muddy, snake bit and insect eating hike these folks are having in Africa, we can't help but be aware that their crew is standing by with GPS, helicopters and satellite mobile phones. Frankly, the three things that a modern day African walkabout might have that would be far more frightening than what Stanley and Livingstone experienced (AIDs, Ebola and teen aged terrorists toting automatic weapons) are not even remotely explored in this series. That's an unfortunate, albeit politically correct decision on the part of the producers.

Nevertheless, Expedition Africa is worth watching, if only to see the gorgeous Masai Warriors helping our modern explorers find their way. The Masai are master trackers and a hundred times more comfortable in the harsh African environment than the gang of four, even without Nylon tents and Nike hiking boots.


Lisa said...

The promos for the show looked good. Haven't checked it out except for a brief few minutes -- I really can't stand reality programs -- but this one looks a cut above. I will have to give it a go!

Jane said...

I won't hold it against you if you can't last more than 10 minutes. Who is that darling on your profile picture? Angel cat.