Much like everyone on the planet, the SiPP team has had more time on our hands than usual. Unsurprisingly, that has meant indulging in books, movies and now TV shows that remind us of the thrill of travel in some way.
Below we rounded-up the TV shows that have inspired past trips (Stephanie), future travels (Katie) and backyard exploration (Jacqui).
Stephanies TV Picks
Game of Thrones (HBO)
After seeing Seville featured as the location of the Dornish palace in Game of Thrones, I made a point of carving out an afternoon in the city to visit the famed Alcazar during a personal trip to Spain.
As I wandered the twisting garden paths on a misty afternoon, I gazed in awe at the spectacular Moorish architecture – its elaborate arches, exquisite tile work and geometric and floral designs – and couldn’t help but imagine the lives of the real young women, my age, who once called the palace home.
American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
If you are even slightly familiar with Ryan Murphy’s cultish FX anthology series you know that not all installments are equal. The third season, AHS: Coven, about a gaggle of witches and their teachers/den mothers at an elite New Orleans boarding school, may not have the franchise’s strongest storyline, but it was memorable for me in another way.
I first watched it just weeks before my own trip to NOLA and the reputed allure of the city, left me doubly intrigued. Not to sound cliché, but you better believe I spent part of my time in the Big Easy looking for “Miss Robicheaux’s Academy” building in the Garden District and ambling around the French Quarter in fashionable black.
Katie’s TV Pick
Dynasties (BBC America)
Maybe it was a reflective response to Tiger King, but over the last couple of weeks I have leaned hard into pretty much every David Attenborough-narrated documentary series. Of all the ones out there, Dynasties captured my imagination as the videographers follow one of five endangered animals as they grow and fight for the survival of the next generation.
As a viewer, we see how they navigate the changing climate, receding habitats and predators on the prowl. While I’ve had plenty of opportunities to see wildlife during trips to Quebec over the years, this series is temporarily filling my dream of that still-elusive African safari.
Call My Agent (Netflix)
Paris is always a good idea! The French series Call My Agent (or Dix Pour Cent en francais!) follows a Parisian talent agency as they navigate negotiating contracts, drama between stars and the power dynamics within the agency.
The show is comparable to American series like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm where famous actors make appearances in each episode playing themselves. Granted, we may not be as familiar with French actors, but it’s a great primer for aspiring Francophiles. I started watching as a way of practicing French, but after a few episodes I have found myself longing for another trip to Paris to linger over a long lunch.
Jacqui’s TV Picks
Pete Holmes (Pete Holmes), an aspiring comic and evangelist from a suburban town who just arrived in New York. He ventures out each night to the grimy late-night comedy cellars of Greenwich Village in search of his big break. Separating from his wife, he crashes with whoever he can – celebrities, his ex-wife’s new lover, brand new girlfriends – and alternates between wandering North Brooklyn (where I now call home), handing out fliers in the village and scooping ice cream, with the occasional moment on stage. While his version of the city isn’t sugar-coated, it does land him opportunities that can only be attributed to living the New York dream.
High Maintenance (HBO)
I love watching passers-by and speculating their life stories! If you’re like me, then check out High Maintenance. Each episode is like zooming into a New Yorker’s life – the can-collectors in Gowanus, the Brooklynites who have escaped upstate, the dog walkers, the community gardeners, the scrap yard dealers – and it covers the most accurate cross-section of people I have ever seen in a show. The protagonist, “The Guy” (Ben Sinclair), navigates the city on his trusty bike, taking us over the bridges between boroughs, weaving through city parks, rows of yellow cabs and into the apartments of the people who bring New York City to life.
While most shows about New York are set at street level, this addictive chronicle of the .01% takes place far above the Manhattan skyline. The Roy family and their executive hangers-on look down on the rest of us, literally and figuratively, from soulless boardrooms in Midtown skyscrapers and private choppers soaring over the Hudson River. Their pursuit of power and money is uncomfortable to watch, but it’s still a side of New York, and indeed based on real people. I love the insight into what goes on behind the city’s many glass facades.