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No fans of Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy?

wco81

100+ Posts
First season was popular during the pandemic.

Second half of second season is airing now. He went to Sardinia.

He goes to some Michelin rated places but in this episode, he had a segment with sheep herders in the mountains who make cheese including the infamous worm cheese, which is officially no longer legally sanctioned.

Some cool footage of them harvesting blue-fin tuna as they pass by the island to the Eastern Mediterranean.
 

marshajc

10+ Posts
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Have enjoyed them all. The one before Sardinia where he goes back to his ancestral village with his parents was wonderful.
 

Allen

10+ Posts
I think his choices of where and with whom to explore more deeply are soo personal and epitomize an important aspect of slow travel even though his visits are brief and many. I think his shows are well crafted, and I mostly enjoy and always appreciate them, but the episodes require the viewer to accept his idiosyncratic and enlightening choices at least long enough to see what he gets out of them himself. So hardly a typical breezy beautiful entertaining highlight reel, of which many good ones already exist.
 

wco81

100+ Posts
Hmm, I think he probably relies on producers to do the legwork and find people who agree to appear on the show, then they arrange schedules, sign releases, etc.

He may have some ideas but many of the places he's going to are new to him as well or he isn't familiar with the restaurants in a given region.

Pretty sure Bourdain was like that too though he has a better chance of having connections with chefs than Tucci.

But the producers are looking for interesting segments and how they'd appear on TV. So on this season they feature drone shots of Stanley driving through the country side.

I look up some of these places. CNN updates a website listing the names of the places he visited in each episode. You could see them on Google Maps for instance and see that one of the restaurants in Calabria didn't really have outdoor tables overlooking the ocean. They probably set it up for filming.

Another place in that episode does have a little terrace overlooking the water but it's more like a lagoon and the water is shallow outside. But they shoot it from the shoulder up with the ocean in the distance.
 

Allen

10+ Posts
wco81
Well, it is entertainment that’s being produced, not a c-span documentary. On the other hand, after his own several decades long major achievements at directing, producing, and acting (see for example, The Big Night) it’s hard to imagine him mindlessly saluting someone calling all the shots from off stage. While I would agree he clearly lacks universal appeal and have no argument against the idea he can be a bit pedantic, I think he seems plenty curious and thoughtful and personally invested in the project - qualities which seem to shape the character of this series for better or worse. So for me what this series definitely lacks in pizazz, it makes up for in depicting a kind of thoughtful quest. But, different strokes …
 

Peabody

10+ Posts
hmm...for some reason I liked the first season better than the rest. I know shows have to go for things that are interesting but most shows of this nature show experiences a regular tourist will never be able to access...the chef taking you into the kitchen to prepare your special meal, the owner of the vineyard picking you up in his sports car, etc. Interesting to see but not a realistic for most. That said, I have watched and continue to watch every episode. and I am pretty sure Mr. T does not need my advice..lol
 

Allen

10+ Posts
So true. Maybe if we hired a film camera crew to accompany us everywhere we went, we too could get special access. Wouldn’t actually have to put film in the cameras either.
Looking forward to see what he does with the Puglia episode on Sunday.
 

wco81

100+ Posts
hmm...for some reason I liked the first season better than the rest. I know shows have to go for things that are interesting but most shows of this nature show experiences a regular tourist will never be able to access...the chef taking you into the kitchen to prepare your special meal, the owner of the vineyard picking you up in his sports car, etc. Interesting to see but not a realistic for most. That said, I have watched and continue to watch every episode. and I am pretty sure Mr. T does not need my advice..lol
Yeah the first season came when people were locked down so people were consuming any and all content. Streaming services really took off.

By the time they got to the second season, I think Tucci had other diversions. He did some movies, which probably bring him way more money than the CNN show.

So second season, they only had 4 episodes and one of them was based in London. There were still travel restrictions but they'd eased somewhat in 2021. But maybe his availability wasn't there.

Then they pushed out 4 more episodes months later.

I don't think he's mailing it in but maybe isn't approaching it with quite the same energy.
 

braindoc

10+ Posts
In late spring of ‘77 I was invited to Sardegna and spent a few days with a family in Nuoro. I was given a taste of their “worm” cheese - actually insect larvae or maggots though that doesn’t sound any better. For many years, no one believed me when I spoke about this. The rise of the internet finally helped my credibility.
 

braindoc

10+ Posts
Trust me, I wasn’t focusing on the taste. Also, my culinary senses were much less developed back then. It was a hard, sharp, pungent cheese - but I’ve eaten much more pungent cheeses since then.

I will say that it was not runny and there was not a mass of maggots in the cheese, not like some of the photos you can see online.
 

wco81

100+ Posts
Looks like the Liguria episode is the end of the series.

They had like a retrospective of the series at the end.

The opening talked about visiting all 24 provinces but in the end, they only did 16 episodes, each one roughly covering a province.
 

JMichael

100+ Posts
The head of CNN is trying to cut costs and announced that Tucci's series was very expensive, particularly since it was not produced in-house. He didn't come right out and say the series was canceled but that's the inference one can make. It's too bad because we have enjoyed many of the episodes.
 

wco81

100+ Posts
I think also Tucci would have big salary demands, because he could make more doing movies or even scripted TV shows.

Between season 1 and season 2, he had some movie projects.

I don't know how much Bourdain was making but he didn't have options for doing movies, even though he had done his TV show for a long time.

They also debuted a show called Nomad, which is a similar series about travel and food but the host is much younger.

Nomad hasn't been renewed for season 2 so either CNN and their new bosses at Discovery are bailing on all CNN original programming or maybe the Nomad host is wiling to take less money.

The show wasn't bad but since he's not well known, maybe the ratings aren't that great either.
 

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