This Monday marks the 140th and final episode of No Reservations to air on Travel Channel. On the one hand, I’m sad to see what is easily one of my most favorite shows go off the air, but on the other I realize that after doing something for so long it is good to shake the bag.
Bourdain recently wrote about some of the worst and best shows. It is no suprise that the shows he chose as the best were also the shows I would have chosen. Although I think I’d add in the most-recent Emilia Romagna and Burgundy episodes into the mix as well.
As our final episode of NO RESERVATIONS approaches, I’ve been asked to write a top ten list of personal favorites. That’s hard to do. It’s been a mixed bag—and deliberately so. Travel and food shows necessarily tell more or less the same story: somebody goes someplace, eats and drinks a lot of stuff, comes to some kind of conclusion (rightly or wrongly) then goes home. My partners and I—a rotating band of cinematographers, producers, editors and post production people—have worked very hard over the years to mess with, expand, undermine and subvert that basic narrative and the conventions that go with it. Sometimes we succeeded.
Other travel shows set out to show you what is there. No Reservations set out to find out what was there. I think this was one of the reasons I most enjoyed the show.
Bourdain and his cohorts would usually base the way they’d shoot and edit the episodes based on their favorite movies that were shot in those regions of the world. This made each and every episode very different, though exactly the same, as the others. Otherwise it’d just be a guy eating in a new place each week.
I’m going to miss No Reservations but I think they are choosing to move on at exactly the right time. I look forward to the next rodeo.