"Next Stop Charlie"
review by Suzanne
Coming to SHOWTIME November 4th, 2010
I tried to watch this show, but it just isn't my thing. It's
kind of an improv show. The people play characters, but they make up the
dialogue and other things as they go along. What makes it interesting is that
they travel around the world as they do it. Since you don't see the cameras,
though, it makes me wonder how much of it is improv and how much of it is like a
contrived reality show. That bothers me, so it takes me out of the action and
keeps me from enjoying the show. Plus, honestly, I probably wouldn't like it
anyway because I prefer scripted shows.
I'm sure there are many people out there who would love this kind of show, and
it is done very well for what it is. The acting is very good, and the situations
It's just started, so you have plenty of time to check it out! The series is
based on an award-winning movie. Showtime does not show bad shows, so you will
probably enjoy it. Make your own judgement!
The independently produced television series is based on Neil and
Michael Mandt's award-winning film Last Stop for Paul, and has been
licensed by the acquisitions department at Showtime for ten episodes,
each of which will take place in a different country.
"Next Stop for Charlie" spotlights Charlie (Neil Mandt), a bathroom
supplies salesman who inadvertently embarks on a worldwide odyssey to
track down and bring home his party-animal cousin Eric (Erik
Adolpson), who has quit college to cavort around the globe with an
unlimited credit card.
The series features an incredible globe-hopping itinerary with
episodes shot on location in Colombia, Belgium, Thailand, Japan,
Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Morocco and Turkey. The
location of each episode is planned based on cultural festivals taking
place in the particular countries; otherwise, the plotline of each
episode is completely improvisational. As Neil Mandt describes it, "We
step off the plane with no dialogue, no scenes, and no idea what
locations we'll have access to in each country." Moreover, it's shot
on the fly, with only an evolving sense of how each scenario they find
themselves in will fit into the final episode.
The show truly highlights each country Charlie and Eric visit over the
course of their world tour from the perspective of 'a man on the
street' and delivers a healthy dose of humor as they explore the side
of each location that the average traveler may not get to see (or may
not want to see, for that matter!).
Despite the scope of this amazing world-wide adventure, "Next Stop for
Charlie" is produced on a shoe-string budget ranging from $7,000 -
$15,000 per episode. Nevertheless, it needed to live up to the same
standards of storytelling and production quality of Showtime's other
programming. Using only two mini-HD cameras and wireless microphones,
the entire production crew and main cast consist of solely Neil Mandt,
Erik Adolpson and one cameraman, with the occasional stranger off the
street who serves as an extra camera operator.
In the pilot, they commence their journey in Columbia. I encourage you
to join them on their adventure as Charlie gets in trouble with the
police, eats a local delicacy-cuy (guinea pig), winds up in bed with
two swinging young women, and gets his face painted and repeatedly
powdered during the annual Carnaval de Negros y Blancos.
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