Your hunt is over for a great foodie Monday night. James Halcomb reviews the National Geographic Channel’s new shows.
Zane Lamprey and his multiple TV shows, most famously “Drinking Made Easy” on AXS TV, and podcasts through the past years, have been slightly transcendent to me. Not in some mystical sense, but in a way of looking at the world, usually through booze colored glasses. Zane has a “bro” mentality to his work, and always seems to be learning something new about culture and its relationship with libations, whether it is for good or ill. At the end of every project Zane and his crew have the ability to leave you feeling you’ve been somewhere, met some people, had a time, and “Chug” on the National Geographic Channel, is no exception.
The premise to “Chug” is fairly straightforward and similar to Lamprey’s previous endeavors: he travels the world, doing his best to experience, and literally drink up, local culture. Lamprey continues to be the king of the everyman, who has a conversational style when talking to people that is hard to touch, he exudes a genuine desire to glean something from everyone he meets and talks to. In the first episode he starts at one of the fanciest hotel bars in Kuala Lumpur, then “down” to two local bloggers, finally talking with some of the country’s version of bootleggers. He is at ease with everyone. I find the show to be a real treat and look forward to seeing where Zane and “Chug” leads us.
“Chug” is preceded by “Eric Greenspan Is Hungry,” featuring the Los Angeles chef. The show has Greenspan traveling into the heartland to see how wild animals become dinner and meet the folks who make it happen. Greenspan is not nearly as at ease as Lamprey and the show at times feels very stagey and scripted. He doesn’t seem to develop a rapport with the folks he meets and play off of them. However, the hunting/food combination is fairly unique and is a breezy build up to “Chug”.
I give “Chug” three stars and “Eric Greenspan Is Hungry” two stars. I am looking forward to spending my Monday nights on the National Geographic Channel and on the road with these guys.
Check out a snippet of “Chug” below: