Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman, and the Long Way Round team are finally back for their third epic adventure, and given how 2020 has turned out, they did it just in time. Right now it's the closest we can get to experiencing these far off places, making 'Long Way Up' a perfect piece of escapism.
Beginning their trip at the southern most tip of South America, in Ushuaia, they'll travel 13,000 miles through 13 countries. Their route will have them criss-cross between Argentina and Chile, before entering Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the US, crossing the finish line in Los Angeles.
This new adventure is quite different to their previous outings, and yet it all feels very familiar. Despite the gang being more than a decade older - not to mention some pretty life-changing motorcycle accidents for Charley along the way - the gang really haven't changed all that much. Not that that should come as much of a surprise, we men don't tend to grow up - not that much anyway. It's definitely good seeing all of the key players return, well almost all of them. The boys are no longer riding the beloved BMW GS Adventure motorcycles, and I get the feeling that at times they are sorely missed. Especially by Claudio, who's now riding a petrol Harley Davidson.
Instead of the BMW's, the boys made the rather bold choice to go electric, with Ewan and Charley riding Harley Davidson LiveWires, and Producer/Directors Russ and David driving Rivian pickup trucks. All of these vehicles are prototypes, and the trip is an interesting look at the capabilities/limitations of electric vehicles. On the one hand all of the vehicles are very impressive, I especially like the bikes - and I'm not really a fan of motorbikes. All of these vehicles handle the varying terrain very well, and in theory have a fairly good range. Sure there are times when the vehicles have some issues, but that goes hand-in-hand with a road trip like this, regardless of what fuel you use. However they do struggle significantly in cold temperatures, and charging can be problematic where the necessary infrastructure isn't in place. At times this does become the focus of the show - running out of charge, finding somewhere to charge, or getting the vehicles to charge - which can get a little tedious. However, it's the problems and the challenges that make these shows so interesting.
But as with all of the 'Long Way' adventures, what makes 'Long Way Up' so enjoyable is witnessing this awe-inspiring expedition through some of the most remote yet beautiful parts of our world - the show really does benefit from High Def (I replaced my old plasma TV with a QLED TV and rewatched episode 5 to gauge the higher picture quality, needless to say I was truly amazed) and the use of drones. All of the footage is spectacular, and there's so much to take in, we literally move from one beautiful view to another. Making a show like 'Long Way Up' very re-watchable. Then there's the delightful moments in which this gaggle of reprobates get to interact with the wonderful people they meet along the way, and generally get themselves into mischief. Who would have thought an abandoned bus in the middle of nowhere could prove so much fun? Or that border crossings could be so entertaining? These trips really are the stuff of dreams, and despite the current climate, watching any of the 'Long Way' shows (all of which are now available on Apple TV+) really does give you the itch to hit the road.
It really is great to see these guys back on TV, and with all that's going on 'Long Way Up' couldn't have come at a better time! This is definitely one of the the shows that make an Apple TV+ account worthwhile. At the time of posting this review, we are half-way through Long Way Up's run, and I am excited to see what adventures are to come.