Saturday, 25 February 2012

Verdict: Sherlock - The Hounds Of Baskerville

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock
This review contains spoilers

Building upon last week's excellent series opener, The Hounds Of Baskerville shows that Mark Gatiss' and Steven Moffat's take on the super sleuth is going from strength to strength. Whilst the first episode played with the idea of Sherlock falling for the seductive charm of femme fatale Irene Adler, this week we were introduced to something bigger; that Holmes could feel fear. 

Set, just as the original Conan Doyle novel was, on the spooky and desolate Dartmoor in Devon, the change in locale was a interesting new backdrop for the series. Usually confined to the bustling and noisy streets of London, the open plains, dark forests and misted hollows of the sparse moor all added to creating a genuinely frightening entry into the series and a more than worthy adaptation of the original novel (with the smallest of tweaks). Here, Baskerville is no longer a Gothic manor house but a shady animal experimentation lab. And the so called hound? Well, I wouldn't want to ruin to much now would I?

Like I mentioned earlier, there are some truly gripping and scary scenes in this episode, as the "hound" stalks and terrorises Holmes and Watson. In one instance, Gatiss and Moffat seemingly go all Paranormal Activity on us, trapping poor Watson in the dark and deserted lab with said demonic, snarling hound. Never allowed a proper glimpse at the possessed pooch, the audience is treated to an interesting Conan Doyle/Blair Witch mash-up. One chilling sequence where Watson is alone in the darkened wood with only a torch for company was a particularly spine-tingling, paranoia-laden moment. It's not all "things that go bump in the night" however. The dialogue crackles with sharp wit and one-liners that we've come to expect from the series.

Much like the first episode, The Hounds of Baskerville did much to play with the ideal of Sherlock being human. Benedict Cumberbatch was on brilliant form in this episode as a man torn between relying on fact and believing in myth and the occult. The supporting cast also were impressive, most notably Russell Tovey as tortured soul Henry Knight.

The overall 'mystery' was not as multi-layered and intricate as the preceding episode and for anyone paying close-attention such as myself, the resolution will come as little surprise. Not that this takes anything away from my overall enjoyment of the episode. In fact, that the plot was a lot more straight-forward, enabled me to take in and enjoy the story as a whole, instead of trying to keep track of the fast-paced twists and turns that usually are injected by Gatiss and Moffat.

One other downside I can think of is simply the fact that there is only the last episode next week to go before series 2 wraps up and the long wait for another series begins again. Despite this, better to have quality over quantity right? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The White Stripes - The Albums

Jack White's solo album 'Blunderbuss' is out April 23rd.

It hardly seems like a year since the White Stripes announced that they would part ways. On an unofficial hiatus after the cancelling of their Icky Thump tour in 2007, Jack White (the lead vocalist and guitarist in the Detroit based duo) has since occupied his time with numerous other side bands and projects such as the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. Now, in the past month (and at the time almost a year to the day since the Stripes split), Jack has announced that he will pursue a solo career and his first solo album, entitled Blunderbuss, is to be released on April 23rd. Two tracks (Love Interruption and Machine Gun Silhouette) have been released on-line in order to promote the album.

So, in order to mark the date, I'm taking a look back at the Jack's amazing career and White Stripes' ground-breaking and incredible six-album discography in an attempt to rank them in some kind of order. The White Stripes have always been one of my favourite bands and their influence on music as a whole in the past decade has been immense. So where to start? Best not to ignore to Elephant in the room...


1) Elephant (2003)


Bringing out the big guns for album No. 4, I rank Elephant as the White Stripes best album. Big rock anthems and wailing guitars (Black Math, Hypnotize) screeching choirs (There's No Home For You Here), foot-stomping and pounding drums (Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button to Button) and soft, melodic tunes (In The Cold Cold Night), Elephant showed the Stripes have scope, scale and ambition.
A lot darker and moodier than anything that Jack and Meg had done before, Elephant is the most complete record the Stripes wrote.


2) Icky Thump (2007)


The sixth and final album from the Stripes was a return to the garage rock and blues music that was so familiar on their earlier releases. Now firmly established amongst music royalty, Jack and Meg's final record may not be as jittery as White Blood Cells or as experimental as Get Behind Me Satan, but what it does do, is effectively combine sounds and ideas from their earlier to make an album that is a ideal bookend to their careers, albeit not intentionally; the duo unexpectedly cancelled midway their Icky Thump tour and would never record together again.
3) White Blood Cells (2001) 


The record that really saw Jack and Meg take off, White Blood Cells is an energetic and red-blooded (pardon the pun) record. Thanks to the electrically charged single 'Fell In Love With A Girl" and the sing-a-long "Hotel Yorba", White Blood Cells is the Stripes answer to the increasingly bright media spotlight that had begun to hover over them.

My stand-out track is rosey-eyed and childlike love song 'We're Gonna Be Friends'.
4) Get Behind Me Satan (2005)


The Stripes fifth album is remembered as the most progressive and experimental the duo ever strayed. A departure from their usual blues roots, Get Behind Me Satan saw Jack and Meg introducing more melodic style, one not so guitar driven. Instruments such as the mandolin, piano and the marimba were all used by the duo.
Whilst this record doesn't have the big-hit rate like it's predecessors' did, I am very fond of the change in style. Tracks like Blue Orchid and The Denial Twist are both highlights for me.
5) The White Stripes (1999)


The White Stripes self-titled début best showcases their simplistic and do-it-yourself approach to writing and recording. Still starting out, the sound on this record is as raw and bluesy as Jack and Meg ever sounded.
Also, the tracks here are short and sweet, most around the two and a half minute mark, Stop Breaking Down, Sugar Never Tasted So Good and Astro most notably standing out for me.


6) De Stijl (2000)


Much like it's predecessor, De Stijl was still all about refining and finding a sound for Jack and Meg. It  follows in the same vein as their self-titled début by being hugely simplistic in it's production.
Not having the same hit-rate as Elephant or Icky Thump, it's established itself as something as a cult favourite as more and more fans, like myself, delve into and discover the Stripes earlier releases since their split this time last year.



Sunday, 19 February 2012

Film Review: Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D

Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson in Phantom Menace
(Image from imdb.com)
Star Wars is back on the big-screen in three-dimensions, with George Lucas taking us back to where it all began (chronologically) with 1999's Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Set 32 years before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars, Phantom Menace charts the discovery of a young slave boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) by two Jedi Knights Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) on a remote desert planet.

Widely accepted as the least popular Star Wars film since it's release 13 years ago, how does it stack up today? Whilst the films downfalls and hiccups are still present and are possibly more prevalent today than they were initially (Lucas can't exactly take the digital eraser to Jar Jar now can he?), there is still much to enjoy about the Phantom Menace. 

Whilst the addition of 3D visuals seemed fairly trivial before walking into the movie, I can gladly say that they worked very well, immersing the viewer in the Star Wars universe better than ever before. Benefiting most from the added dimension are of course the action set-pieces. Impressive enough by themselves, the addition of the 3D visuals allows them to really leap out of the screen and get the audiences heart racing. It seems if there was ever a film series made for showcasing the benefits of adding 3D visuals, it's Star Wars. 

The high-speed pod-race around which the fate of Anakin, the Jedi and Queen Amidala's fate revolves is edge-of-your-seat stuff. The same can be said for the finale which sees star-fighter dogfights above the planet of Naboo. The icing on the cake however, is the epic duel between the Sith Lord of Darth Maul and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan at the film's climax. Arguably the best light-sabre sequence of the entire saga, the 3D visuals makes it simply spellbinding. 

The rapid shot changes aren't marred by 3D blur to such a degree that it makes them feel wasted, unlike other poor 3D cinema experiences I've had in the past (for example, see my recent review of Underworld: Awakening here) Whilst not perfect, the 3D visuals in Phantom Menace are an impressive addition to the film. It makes for a enjoyable and entertaining experience that will please audiences of all ages. 

As I mentioned before however, the film itself suffers from the same hitches that plagued it back in 1999. Time has not been kind to annoyingly kid-friendly and cartoonish frog/alien hybrid Jar Jar, who still fails to raise a smile and grates throughout. Young tyke Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker also sets about delivering dialogue akin to being a school nativity play, hardly a Dark Lord in the making. Lastly, the overly wordy and "diplomatic" scenes set within the Galactic Senate are hardly enthralling stuff for anyone unfamiliar with the series and may not win over new fans. Phantom Menace simply doesn't reach the admittedly atmospheric heights of those in the original trilogy (where's Han when you need him, eh?)

Despite not being the fan-boy favourite or the promised timeless classic, Phantom Menace should still do well enough at the box-office for George Lucas to continue with his planned 3D re-releases of the rest of the saga over the course of the next 5 years. With 2002's Attack of the Clones up for the 3D treatment next year, that's where the fun really begins. Huge fans of the films like myself will regard seeing Phantom Menace back on the big screen and in 3D as a must and will undoubtedly be the ones to get the most out of the experience. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Verdict: Sherlock - A Scandal In Belgravia

Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler
-  Courtesy of BBC
This review contains spoilers

Picking up directly where the first series had left off, the first 90-minute episode of series two of the BBC's Sherlock hit the ground running and didn't let up for the entire duration.

With Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) facing off against Moriarty (Andrew Scott) in a tense and gripping finale, the first series decided to end there and then, leaving viewers with over a year's wait to find out the resolution. It may not have ended as explosively as hinted at, instead ending somewhat anti-climatically. This however in no way means that it was a let-down in any sense of the word. The resolution of the cliffhanger, left by creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, instead has served a greater purpose in creating a wider story arc for the series and in introducing Lara Pulver as dominatrix Irene Adler.

Tasked with retrieving incriminating and scandalous photographs of the seductive Ms. Adler with a undisclosed member of the royal family by his brother Mycroft (also Mark Gatiss), Sherlock is in full belief that he will have succeeded by that night. Instead however, he is faced with the fact that Adler is every bit as clever and deceptive as he is. I won't give too much away here for those of you having not seen it because it's a cracker.

Whilst the plot demands the audiences full-attention with numerous interwoven and interlocking strands, at no point does it feel overly complicated or confusing. Like any well-written mystery, there are twists and turns aplenty and nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Also, any questions left unanswered are sure to be a part of a wider scheme that will play out throughout the series.

Much like the highly complex storytelling he has crafted on Doctor Who, there is a sense that Steven Moffat is in his element here as he weaves the multi-layered story together strand by strand throughout the episode and no doubt, the series. The ending may seem a little far-fetched for some, myself included, but I didn't let that affect my overall impression of the episode too much.

The electrically-charged interaction between the two characters of  Sherlock and Adler in the opening act of the episode sizzles is fast-pased with brilliant and burning one-liners. It's highly entertaining stuff as the two cross, double-cross and attempt to outwit the other. As the episode trots along, the story jumps several weeks and months, allowing for the relationship between Sherlock and Adler to develop.

This is done really well and it adds another layer to the Detective's character, something that we saw little of in season one, which understandably focused primarily on laying the framework of the show. Like any good sequel, the second series has dispensed with the introductory phase of the show and allows for characters to grow and expand more.

The writers have cleverly found that sweet-spot between the dark and twisting intrigue of murder mysteries and light-hearted and playful banter of the best sitcoms; there are plenty of giggles and chuckles to be found alongside the enthralling brainteasers.

In addition to this, it would seem the writers have also begun to really invest in the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. The two have really begun to understand each other more and this makes for interesting scenes where Watson struggles to hold down a girlfriend thanks to his loyalty to Sherlock. The two also are hugely funny, with one scene including bedsheets, near-nudity and Buckingham Palace springing to mind.

First impressions indicate that Moffat and Gatiss have taken everything that viewers and critics loved about the first series and improved on it two-fold. There's genuine mystery, deduction and intrigue, laugh-out-loud quips and the occasional dark and more sinister, dramatic moments. A Scandal in Belgravia is another top-notch episode of one the BBC's biggest shows. Fairly elementary really (sorry couldn't help myself)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

TV Preview: Sherlock Series 2

Cumberbatch and Freeman as Holmes and Watson in Sherlock

There was a time during my days in high school when just the thought of reading (and by extension, studying) one of the classic Sherlock Holmes novels would be enough cause for my eyes to bleed profusely in boredom. Ashamed to admit it now, at the age of 13 and 14, Conan Doyle's Victorian detective simply failed to spark my interest the in same way that iPods and Nickelodeon did. To the uninitiated like myself, Conan Doyle's genius creation was buried deep under a dull, grey exterior of 19th Century London and men traipsing around the deer-stalkers and tweed. "Hardly cool" I must have thought. Oh, 14 year-old me, how wrong you were.

It's only been recently that I've converted to the exploits of the World's Greatest Detective (sorry Batman, I think Holmes just beats you to that title). In my mind, the image associated with Sherlock has undergone a remarkable rework in the last two to three years and has refashioned itself for a more youthful audience. Two largely successful and popular franchises have brought about this turnaround. Starting with the Guy Ritchie recent adaptation of Conan Doyle's detective for the cinema, I'm proud to say I'm something of a emerging Sherlockphile (patent pending).

Replacing my previous misconceptions of the super sleuth with one that is fast-pased, witty and most importantly, entertaining, the trio of Sherlock (played by Robert Downey Jr.), Watson (Jude Law) and director Ritchie, reinvented and reworked the Sherlock image for a younger generation. Working to a Hollywood budget, Ritchie packed the film full of the essential Sherlock character quirks and details that would please the fans of the Conan Doyle books, whilst adding a dash of fast-pased fun and adventure similar to that of the popular Indiana Jones or Bond films. It split purists down the middle but was successful enough to spawn a bigger and ballsier sequel that was released earlier this year, Ritchie's contemporary take on Victorian London did much to spark my own interest in Conan Doyle's original novels and make Sherlock, in my mind, "cool" again.

It is however not the only (or best) adaptation to have come about in recent years. The BBC's Sherlock, ingeniously planted the duo of Holmes and Watson into 21st Century London for three feature length mysteries in 2010. Adapting Sherlock for the modern day seems so obvious it's a wonder it hadn't been done before (although Hugh Laurie's take on the title character in House seems positively Holmes-like) and it has certainly seemed to win over audiences.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman worked brilliantly as the crime-solving duo whilst the modern backdrop offered a genuinely refreshing take on a concept familiar to so many. Sprouted from two of the minds behind Doctor Who (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss), the BBC's Sherlock is undeniably "cool"; Holmes and Watson solve crimes and catch out villains whilst fiddling about with their Blackberries and updating their blogs. But where it trumps the films, is that there more than enough to please the Conan Doyle fan here.

Basing episodes upon the original novels, Sherlock is more loyal to the character, despite it's contemporary setting. Cumberbatch is hilariously kooky and clever as Holmes whilst Freeman's depiction of Watson is not too far from his portrayal of Tim in The Office; the reliable and dependable "straight-guy" to Cumberbatch's bi-polar and quick-witted Sherlock. A modern Sherlock for a modern generation, the series has found a brilliant balance between incorporating those essential Conan Doyle elements (Baker Street, Le Strade, Moriarty) and giving the show a cool, modern feel that appeals to a broader audience.

With the second season of Sherlock set to air in Australia tomorrow night, my new-found love for all things Sherlock is bound to hit the stratosphere in the very near future. No longer the bored 14 year-old GCSE English student I feel the need to revisit and pick up my own copies of the original Conan Doyle books and banish any past misconceptions I had about men in deer-stalkers. Whether it's at the cinema, the television or in the pages of a book, Sherlock Holmes has been moulded and shaped into an undeniably cool character, winning over myself and many others in the process. Fingers crossed this isn't set to change.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Film Review: Underworld Awakening 3D

Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Awakening 3D
Movie sequels can be tricky. As can movie prequels. But movie threequels? They are trickiest of the lot. Take Sam Raimi's hugely popular Spiderman franchise for example. The first and second films were both massively successful and celebrated, the only stumbling block came with the overly jumbled third instalment. The same can be said for numerous film franchises such as X-Men, Shrek and The Matrix.

Which brings us to the latest instalment in the widely popular vampire/lycan/action/fantasy/catsuit orgy that is the Underworld series. Underworld: Awakening is the fourth entry into the series but is the third to be set in modern day with 2009's Rise of the Lycans being a prequel to the initial two films, Underworld and Underworld Evolution.

Stepping back into the corseted catsuit for the third time is Kate Beckinsale as vampiric Death Dealer and all-round badass Selene. Set 12 years after the events of Evolution, the warring vampire and lycan factions are now hunted by humanity, who have since learnt of the existence of their kind.

As a relative newcomer to the franchise (having only been introduced mere weeks ago), may I first start off with this; Underworld Awakening is unlikely to attract any of the uninitiated to the series. With an extensive, complex and fleshed-out back story, the Underworld series is best viewed and appreciated in it's entirety. The three films that have preceded Awakening obviously accounted for something, and so I would at first recommend a quick catch up on at least the first two films in order to familiarise yourself with the characters, ideas and plot-lines.

Underworld aficionados will be pleased be to hear however that Awakening is a worthy entry into the series. Whatever the film lacks from the absence of stars such as Bill Nighy and Martin Sheen, it makes up for in satisfyingly gore-drenched vampire versus lycan action.

The actions set-pieces are certainly impressive stuff, but I did feel that the films insistence on adding 3D visuals did detract from the enjoyment somewhat. Rapid shot changes and fast-pased fight sequences were well executed but often reduced to a mash of jarring blurriness and disorientating visuals. The films final third may have one of the most exciting and impressive set-pieces of the entire franchise; it's just a shame the murky and unimpressive addition of 3D lowers the entertainment factor. If you get the chance, see it in 2D instead.

That aside, Beckinsale does a fantastic job of steering a fairly average plot that sees her escape her human captors and uncover her vampire/lycan hybrid of a daughter, Eve (India Eisley). Suddenly faced with maternity, Beckinsale's usual cold-hearted killer shows more vulnerability here and this is the central device that drives the plot forward. Eisley is also satisfyingly creepy and frail as Eve. A notable absence from proceedings is that of Scott Speedman's love-interest Michael. Whilst referred to, his non-appearance was undoubtedly added in as a lead into the plot of Underworld 5. Instead, Theo James' character David, falls fairly flat and has little else to do other than add an fairly pointless injection of heroic testosterone.

The Verdict: 5/10


Overall, the latest Underworld film is a notable addition to the franchise, but ultimately falls short of expectation thanks to it's fairly hammy script and dull visuals. The action scenes are top-notch, but disappointing 3D ultimately means the audience misses out on the excitement. One to catch if your a fan of the series and vampires that don't sparkle.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Is Lana Del Rey worth the hype?




Firing out of (seemingly) absolutely nowhere late last year, American indie pop songstress Lana Del Rey has been one of the most talked about "up and coming things" of the last few months. Initially attracting a lot of attention with touching and stirring debut single 'Video Games', Del Rey has now released album 'Born to Die' and the record has shot straight to number one in the charts in both Britain and Ireland. Following in the footsteps of other internet sensations Bieber and Boyle, Del Rey has gone from near obscurity to selling-out gigs in mere months.

However, hype doesn't always necessarily translate directly into critical success.Whilst her rapid and newfound fame has been met with acclaim in some corners of the Internet (one reviewer from the Guardian calling 'Video Games' "magnificent and extraordinary") Del Rey hasn't received a clean rap sheet critically. Many reviews this blogger has read have bemoaned the repetitiveness of production and sound, as well as the record generally not fully living up to the ground-breaking nature it's lead single seemingly promised.

So is her debut album really worth all the hype? It seems evident to me that Del Rey spends much of her major label debut striving to capture a rosey-eyed nostalgic vibe (the third track "Blue Jeans" in which Lana croons over a James Dean-esque man can be used as an example.) This isn't entirely a bad thing as it's very much in keeping with her style of reflective and sombre music. It does seem however to be a fairly weighty restraint that holds the album back from realising it's full potential. As a whole, Del Rey's record doesn't leave much room for anything else other than melancholic ballads and as a whole, can feel dreary, dull and downright soporific.

Whilst the lead single "Video Games" and the title track are both stand-out songs that showcase Del Rey as an extremely promising talent and competent artist who could go far, it does seem like the rest of the album is just varying shades of grey. There's enough on show here to be promising; just not enough to really give validity to an entire album.

I think this is a case of hype outweighing deliverance and that's a shame. Whilst I don't side with critics who slammed that now infamous Saturday Night Live performance, I do feel that this record is something of a deflated balloon. Whilst it is a promising major label début, the record on the whole doesn't quite live up to the expectation and excitement that exploded around lead single 'Video Games'.

The music industry can be a harsh and intensely critical place and Lana has certainly copped a fair share of flak as well as praise. This blogger still believes that Lana Del Rey will most definitely be an artist we can expect more to see more of in the future. If she still has more to say through her music, it's fairly safe to assume we can expect to see her developing a broader and more extensive sound, as well as releasing another record that fully establishes her as a superstar. It's just a shame that it isn't this one.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

TV Preview: An Idiot Abroad Series 2

Stephen Merchant, Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais in An Idiot Abroad
Following on from the success of the first series, An Idiot Abroad returns to Australian screens this weekend with series two: The Bucket List.

Starring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant (stars of the Office and Extras) and round-headed buffon (Ricky's words, not mine) Karl Pilkington, this second series follows the same winning formula from season one with Ricky and Steve sending their dim-witted co-star Karl around the world in search of broadening the mind and enlightenment, this time to complete an extensive 'bucket-list'. From swimming with dolphins to travelling across Route 66, the second series of An Idiot Abroad promises to be as hilarious and entertaining as the first in which Karl went in search of the seven wonders of the world.

For me, Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington are all comic-geniuses and witnessing the hilarity on screen would also suggest a great rapport amongst the trio when the cameras stop rolling. Originally meeting by happenstance whilst Karl worked as a producer at radio station XFM, Gervais and Merchant have embraced the unusual persona of Pilkington. Initially just a behind-the-scenes personality, the bald-headed Manc twat (again, Gervais' words not mine) had quickly become an integral part of the radio show. His deadpan delivery and the ever present ribbing he received from Gervais and Merchant made Pilkington a big hit with the listeners.

Throughout the show's brief airtime, Karl became something of a cult comic icon. Pilkington charmed audiences with his hopeless, ridiculous and often terrible quizzes such as "Rockbusters" and "Songs of Phrase" as well as his unique and warped outlook on the world around him. When the radio show wrapped up in 2004, the three continued their success by adopting the emerging trend of podcasting. Throughout 2006, the Ricky Gervais show (as the podcast was called) was ranked the number-one podcast in the world, clearly demonstrating a demand amongst the public for the trio's hilarious antics.

Ricky Gervais has often joked that one of his sole objectives in life has been to make his long-time friend into something of a reluctant celebrity, and so when the oppurtunity arose for the three to produce a show for British satellite network Sky, An Idiot Abroad was born. Shipping their 'typical middle Englander' all over the globe to see the seven wonders of the world (from the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the ancient city of Petra) the resultant show was comedy gold.

Completely bamboozled and befuddled by other cultures Karl's odd sense of humour sprouted numerous one-liners that had audiences in stitches. For example this blogger's personal highlights include Karl comparing the Great Pyramids of Giza to "a game of Jenga that got out of hand" or stating that the Great Wall of China should actually be called the "alright Wall of China". The increasingly out-of-place Karl hated almost every minute of making the show much to the delight of both Gervais and audiences the world over.

Entirely deserving on the popularity and success that it has attained, An Idiot Abroad is a lot more accessible than some of Gervais and Merchant's other works. While the Office and Extras often make you want to crawl into a ball and cry with the awkwardness, witnessing Karl's attempts at running from a dangerous Mexican firework festival or 'relaxing' on a nudist beach in Rio de Janeiro is priceless. Also, the introductory segments back in London where Ricky and Steve try to convince Karl of his journeying's worth is completely bonkers and often strays off topic almost instantaneously (leading to hilarious results).

Hopefully this series will easily recapture the hilarity of it's predecessor as well as up the stakes. Saturday's season première will see Karl embark on a  trip to New Zealand to bungee jump and to the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Other highlights that the series will bring us vary from whale watching in Alaska and meeting a gorilla in Uganda. Bring on the laughs!

 If your not then it's never too late to get onboard thanks to Karl's almost universal likeability. If your already acquainted with Ricky, Steve and Karl then watching (and loving) the upcoming second series of An Idiot Abroad will be an absolute no-brainer.

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