Time waits for no one on TV
Televiewers who get turned on by “wild and wacky” and “extreme” entertainment could find History Channel’s “Hidden Cities Extreme” travel and adventure show right up their viewing alley.
Its gregarious and peripatetic host, Simon Yin, scours Asian destinations off the beaten tourist track, with the view in mind of sampling their more exotic and unusual attractions and distractions.
There’s an obvious effort to look not just for “fun” but also funny experiences, with Yin acting as a ready and willing “guinea pig” for all sorts of physical, psychological and culinary “abuse.”
Among other unusual adventures, the show has regaled viewers with features requiring Yin to learn how to do a tightrope act, climb a coconut tree, ingest all sorts of wriggly and squiggly creatures and participate in unusual sports, like archery and horseback.
We appreciate the show’s focus on the unusual, because variety is the spice of life on TV. But we occasionally find its coverage too pushily “wild and wacky” for its own good, with Yin overreacting for maximum effect.
Yes, he’s a funny guy, but there’s a difference between “extreme” and excess.
A recent telecast of the show was set in the Philippines, and the program took up too much time detailing a “homemade” ride on train tracks when they aren’t being used by regularly scheduled commuter trains.
The small wagons placed on the train tracks are just plywood platforms that can be swiftly lifted off the tracks whenever a train approaches in the opposite direction.
The show made a big and long to-do about the dangers involved, as well as the riders’ fatalistic view of life. OK, point made, now can we go on to something else?
The telecast also predictably featured the host’s “encounter” with balut, and he again made too much of a big deal about having to eat the “yucky” stuff. Uh, next feature, please?
It turned out to be on the underwater sport of water rugby, with Yin joining a team of players who impressed viewers with their lung power and endurance.
Another overlong portion focused on gun enthusiasts who spent hours honing their sharpshooting skills.
They engaged in chases and challenges that had them rushing into a crime scene and shooting at the bad guys—while making sure that they avoided hitting the supposed victims.
The feature was exciting and unusual enough, but its length and detail were again problematic.
Which leads us to conclude that the show could click better with viewers if it were edited more crisply and “strictly.”
After a key point has been made, go on to the next unusual or extreme adventure, no dwelling or dilly-dallying.
Time flies faster and waits for no one these days—especially on TV!