“Departures” Review

Travel shows have become the cliche. It could be Anthony Bourdain spilling inflated opinions on Latin cuisine, or a Morgan-Freeman-like narrator putting us to sleep with information about jellyfish mating. In most cases, viewers become quickly bored. That is not the case with “Departures,” a show new to Netflix, but airing on television since 2008.

The show stars close friends Justin Lukach and Scott Wilson alongside cameraman Andre Dupuis. Natives of Canada, but fairly unlearned about other countries, the three decided to pack up and hit the road on a whim. While they were at it, they made a great documentary series.

Traveling to places as exotic as Cambodia, Rwanda, and even Antarctica, the three amigos do not disappoint. Exploring roughly thirty countries in three seasons, the series is action-packed– teeming full of first hand travel insight.

Every moment, every angle, is captured artfully by Dupuis and his camera. Aside from the cinematography, it is inexpressibly refreshing to hear commentary which doesn’t come from a either a professional narrator or a native with an overpowering accent. Scott and Justin are just normal, adventurous guys.

After escapading through every recess of the far world, both Scott and Justin have plenty to say about each country they visit. Most of the commentary contains wise tidbits by Scott or foolhardy folly by Justin. For instance, when the two travel to Thailand, Justin decides to enter a kickboxing match simply on a whim. While Scott undertakes the task of trying to learn the language, Justin is drinking beer with the natives or making faces at the camera. Their divergent personalities compliment one another– often leading to either amusing banter or wacky situations.

The show has been both a nominee and victor for numerous awards, including “Best Documentary Series,” “Best Directing,” and “Best Photography in an Information Program or Series.” The neverending adventure thoroughly deserves every lick of praise it receives. Breathtaking cinematography, heartfelt narraration and swashbuckling, first hand adventure sculpt the show into a rip-roaring adventure.