First Review: Things to Try Before You Die

If you’re into Getaway get ready for Getaway On Steroids.

Nine’s new Things to Try Before You Die is a rapidfire travelogue show, with a feast of adventure and travel ideas designed to give viewers an air-rush.

Presented by Jules Lund, Livinia Nixon and Gary Sweet, the three offer up 30 brief moments from different regions.

The opening episode is all set in the USA. On show are everything from the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, stripping with the Thunder From Down Under in Vegas, visiting Graceland and the view from the Rockefeller Center in NYC. Week 2 is New Zealand.

Unlike Getaway, this show doesn’t profess to smell the roses, moving swiftly through its clips, montages and destinations. In fact, borrowing an idea from another show, it chooses to count them down from 30 to 1 (maybe we should dub the show this?). I can only assume countdowns lure the viewer into staying the distance in storytelling terms.

When Nine first announced this show I found the title rather odd, particularly given the mood of terrorism we live in. In fact I only heard the full title mentioned once in the show, elsewhere abbreviated as simply “Things To Try”. It’s as if everyone has suggested “don’t mention the D word!”

If the show has any longevity I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes an adjusted title.

Lund, Nixon and Sweet are clearly all having fun as they criss cross the USA, and who can blame them? Aside from living out of a suitcase, it seems a dream gig. Their best moments are their candid monologues to camera in which they share their feelings about what they have experienced. The rest is all quite frenetic, but the three fit well.

Several of the places ‘visited’ seem to be stock footage with a voice-over, with a large proportion of the show shot in California, Vegas, Memphis and NYC. It’s an adept fit according to production budgets.

The opening titles by zspace are terrifically animated, as glorious diary doodles.

The show also borrows its premise from similar doco / travel programmes already screening on Foxtel with dangerously close titles.

One misgiving is the imbalance between what we as individuals should be really trying before we die. Sure it would be nice to see Mt Rushmore with all its American presidents, but when I am going to meet my maker, how will it rank up to say fathering a baby, listening to the life story of a hobo on the street, helping out at a soup kitchen, or sponsoring a child in a Third World country?

You see the point….

That said, the show is entirely aspirational and should connect with an audience. It’s slick, easily digestable and might prompt a few hot spots on your next world trip.

Things to Try before You Die premieres 7:30pm Tue on Nine.

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2 Comments:

  1. I bumped into Jules at Buckinham Palace and had a quick chat to him. I thought he was doing Getaway but aparently he was there for this show. The day before he had ‘attempted’ to swim the English chanel…seemed like he was having a great time. he is a really nice bloke – took the time to have a chat, have his photo taken etc

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