In the third season host, Zane Lamprey, and his companion the stuffed monkey Pleebus, travel to fourteen destinations on four continents sampling the local spirits and drinking customs. Not recommended for recovering alcoholics.
Each twenty three minute episode roughly follows a standard formula. The show will open with a brief historical and geographical introduction to the episode’s destination. Then we will meet up with Zane’s guide/companion/translator for the episode and have a few indigenous drinks. After warming up they usually sample some local cuisine before getting too blitzed. This is followed up with some more drinking in a local watering hole and demonstrations of any local drinking games. The following morning Zane is predictably a little hung-over so he usually hooks up with some of his new found friends to test the effectiveness of the local hangover cure. The second day is usually a little more laid back as Zane checks out any local distilleries, breweries, or vineyards sampling and learning about any distinctive beers, wines or spirits that are native to the area. Still within this framework there is a lot of room for variety. Some of the episodes are little more than pub crawls and some of them are practically twenty three minute primers on a particular alcoholic beverage.
Zane greatest strength as a host is his ability to be the perfect guest. He’s willing to try anything from grilled goat udders in Saigon to deep fried Mars bars in Scotland with equal gusto. And when it comes to the drinks, he loves them all. Well almost all, he didn’t seem that crazy about the snake wine, which is basically alcohol with a dead snake soaking in it. As you might imagine someone of Zane’s experience in and around bars he’s pretty good at the drinking games whether it’s a local variation of quarters or has something to do with a chicken’s head he’s game and competitive at them all.
While each episode stands on its own the series has a history. I’m still not sure exactly what pulling a Steve McKenna means, though I’m sure it has something to do with being embarrassingly drunk and may involve loss of bodily functions, just another reason for me to go back and check out the first two seasons. It is explained in one episode what you’ve done if you’ve Jim the Cop’d. We get to meet one Beer Hunter and one Ski Patrol in different episodes and we get to see he old adage “liquor before beer, never fear, beer before liquor never sicker” demonstrated.
To break the episodes up so that it’s not just twenty three minutes of Zane drinking and eating there are usually several little nuggets of wisdom from The Professor who will straighten things out when questions arise or Zane is presented with contradictory testimony. There will also be little visits to the Three Sheets Almanac, or the Three Sheets Guide to Religion, when clarifying facts are needed. These little animated snippets come in really handy when the show is trying to explain things like, the differences between bourbon and whisky or the rules of an obscure drinking game. For a show about drinking the producers do a great job of presenting sometimes confusing facts in a clear and straightforward manner.
The video is presented in full screen. The quality is generally very good; colors are vibrant and crisp with nice contract. For a show about drinking you would expect more scenes in dark bars and pubs and but most of the show is shot during the day and a lot of it is shot outside. The less light the grainier the picture gets and there are a handful of shots that are very grainy but it is a soft grain that is easily viewable. The only problem I noticed with the video was aliasing. There is a lot of aliasing noticeable, mostly on straight diagonal lines, which unfortunately you see quite a few of in urban settings.
The audio is presented in stereo in English only. There are no subtitles. The dialog is always clear if not the easiest to make out at times, actually when you consider that for a majority of the guests English is a second language and they are in various states of inebriation it’s a miracle that you can understand anyone other than Zane.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This two DVD set come in a standard size Amaray case with an extra slot for the second DVD. The artwork consists of Zane posing in front of a giant barrel of some liquor and examining a glass of wine. There is an extra episode on the DVD, but that’s pretty much it for the extras.
I really enjoyed this show, more that I thought I would. Although it’s light on the extras I still like it. Matter of fact I think I’m gong to try to scare up the fist couple of seasons.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Movie 9/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 4/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10