Does Sky1's final season of the comedy-documentary still reign as a hit?
Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant started one heck of a journey back in 2010 when they launched the comedy-documentary TV programme An Idiot Abroad. Two years on, we're into the show's third and final season, and Karl has a little mate on board. Literally. Warwick Davis adds a welcome tinge of innovation and humour to the three hour-long specials that form the new series, taking Karl's perception of the world to new heights and indeed widening our own view on how we see the world and its inhabitants.
Throughout their exploits in Italy, China and beyond, as they mimic the journeys of Marco Polo, Karl and Warwick engage in a host of hilarious banter and form something of a 'bromance' that remains likeable consistently in Season Three. Indeed, that relationship is undoubtedly the saving grace this time around, fuelling the escapades of the comedic pair in a real-world scenario further than the prolonged episode runs of the original two seasons ever managed. It's not all smooth sailing, however: once again, things begin to often wane when the first two episodes reach their 1/2-3/4 points of their running time, with the sights lacking the direction somewhat that the Seven Wonders Of The World and Bucket List approach of before at least provided.
What's the verdict, then? As a finale to the show as a whole, An Idiot Abroad 3 manages to keep the laughs regular and remains a compelling watch. Ricky Gervais' on-screen and vocal cameos occasionally provide the direction these episodes (rarely) need, but you do get the sense here that while it's all a lot of fun, this is a fitting place for the programme to reach its crescendo. Mischief managed.