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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Bourdain can cook and he can host a travel show. But what distinguishes him from others who do this (say, Andrew Zimmern), is that he can really WRITE.

If you appreciate travel, food, cultures in the hands of a wry essayist, you will enjoy "No Reservations". Bourdain is unique in bringing a level of honesty and appreciation to what he sees without being cliched or phony. He could give you a tour of your backyard and make it seem fresh and interesting and amusing, maybe even heart-warming. He mixes brutal honesty with kindness, and, from someone who initially seems like such a curmudgeon, a surprising enjoyment of people and appreciation for their lives and the foods they create. He also somehow incorporates all this with a droll sarcasm that is, perplexingly, not at others' expense.

He is the antithesis of the ugly American. (And could anyone not be grateful Bourdain was the one "representing" in the Namibia scene of eating roasted warthog anus--sand and hair and all--in the bush? And being appreciative and gracious through it all? In the words of Kipling, "You're a better man than I, Gunga Din.")

But, of course, this isn't the BOOK of No Reservations.It's the DVD. So this isn't just about all the good writing. Fortunately, we also have the fantastic film crew putting together what are, in my opinion, the best travel documentaries on television. The combination of exceptional camera work and editing, plus Bourdain as writer and host--well, there's a reason they've won Emmys. Plus, I really love this--they don't just "get the formula and follow it every week". Stylistically it always hangs together--but you never know exactly what to expect. The (small and close-knit) NoRes crew, including Bourdain, bases the style of the shooting and editing and commentary on the place they are going. This keeps it fresh and unexpected.

Tahiti? Somehow Gauguin becomes a central image. Romania (one of Bourdain's least favorite shows) still works for the viewer as a cheesy riff on Dracula against a background of ... of....well, see for yourself. Italy? The filming might evoke Fellini or capture something of the (excuse the expression) "soul" of the place they are seeing. (Of course, for me, the most Fellini-esque was the shoot in Harbin--still one of my favorites of all time--and the ending scene of those two people--neither one Bourdain--dancing on the ice. So brilliant. So fresh.) And before I die, I WILL eat in Singapore. Mmmm.

This is a fantastic collection. From Namibia to South Korea, Ireland to Argentina, Japan to Saudi Arabia, it's great to see the food (and the memorable people. We really are all different--and all alike). And, when political reality intrudes on entertainment, you even get a show like the one in Beirut, where they were trapped for a week during the war. You will have your own favorites, like I do, but there is no such thing as a bad episode and I can't think of anything else on television I'd say that about (well, maybe the "Colbert Report", but that's it).

Recommended? Definitely. Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
To quote U2, Hamptons NY doesn't seem to understand the magic that is watching Anthony Bourdain. Why one would buy a four DVD set without obviously watching the show first is beyond me. Anthony IS all those things, although a bit more mellow is recent years since the birth of his daughter and his second marriage. And that is what sets this show apart (and head and shoulders above) most other travel shows. Our family has been lucky enough in recent years to travel to several major US cities, as well as India, Singapore, and Ireland. What was one of the highlights of Singapore? The Tian Tian chicken stall, of course. I could bore you with an entire list of places we have visited and at which we have eaten after being exposed to them on "No Reservations". All I can say is, "Thanks, Anthony". And by the way, we loved you in Saint Louis! I have preordered 5, part 2, and waiting for the next one. My DVR is virtually full, thanks to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
Stop for a second... $80, that's a bit much. You can purchase a recently released 9 disc collection (by Travel Channel) elsewhere on Amazon for around $20-$25. It has EXACTLY the same episode content and some bonus stuff (behind the scenes, promotional trailers, and something called Tony and Friends, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and more... For 25% of the price listed here, in a single package. I guess there might be some more bonus on these "individual" collections, but are they worth the $60 price difference? I guess if you're a purist... Just thought youd like to know. Love these episodes, but times are tough all over.

Look around for the 9 disc set, save your cash to pay your cable bill... I'm holding my recently arrived copy in my hands as I post this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
Anthony Bourdain is an auther and a chef. So when he narrates his episodes, he does it as if he was writting a book. He goes to some amazing places that I would never imagine and eats the local food and drinks the local drink. No matter what.
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on January 6, 2012
My son loves this! Shipped fast arrived In plenty of time for Christmas. Great selection offered on Amazon. I will definanely order again
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
I like the sardinian documentary best ,with his first wife (she is sardinian too) the tuscany and vietnam are good , many other documentaries are just about gloryfing himself and I don't like that he humiliates everybody in those countries. his worse 2 documentaries absolutely are in Rome ,nobody made Rome look so bad like him .a 2.700 years old city with immense history he made it look like crap,shame on anthony bourdain ,the worse documentaries ever about the extremely beautiful and historical ROME.
I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HIM his extreme political views that shouldn't belong in travel and food shows, especially in the LONDON show where he say he would like to see the royals dragged on the street and thrown feces at them , well anthony bourdain deserves feces thrown at him.
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2 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2010
Not entertaining at all, is how I describe Anthony Bourdain's smart-ass attitude. His constant whining and complaining is a turn-off. "Find me a rusty butter knife so I can cut my throat" ; "I'm a very bitter unhappy man." ; "Nothing like taking advantage of old people." These jokes fall flat. When the voiceover during the Sicily intro to 'Cinema & Sweets' says, "Passion. Give me passion," I want to shout my agreement! Where is Anthony's passion? This show's host even makes touring Mt. Etna seem bleak. Watching him is painful. To put it in his own words, "It spells boredom and depression to me." This is pretty much his take on everything. This man's attitude is in direct contrast to the message of the video watched: "It's about pleasure... a Sicilian priority. It's in their spirit." Unfortunately the gloomy Anthony does little to show the true character of Sicily. I was not amused by his constant smoking, swearing, and drinking references. Luckily there are other travel guides to the charms & beauty of Taormina and the rest of Sicliy. I regret my decision to buy the set (it was a Gold Box special). Don't make the same mistake I did (I should've been warned by the introductory music which leads off with an ear shattering scream). Pass this one by.
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