30 August 2009

Wishing for Extended Episodes of Anthony Bourdain

The online marketing arm of the production team for the Travel Channel television show, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, has been actively reaching out to fans for feedback and questions. On August 27, I responded on Twitter:
@NoReservations How about selling longer, 2+ hr versions of previous destinations, on DVD, pay per view, or iTunes, for hardcore food fans?

No Reservations is my favorite TV show. Like a lot of fans, I am an admirer of Anthony Bourdain, and envious of his job. To eat and travel for a living is a dream job. So, when I really enjoy one of his hour long episodes, such as his Malaysia or Hong Kong episodes, I deeply yearn for more.

You don't have to see much of the show to quickly pick up the fact that each episode is shot during a 5 to 7 day visit. In addition to the two dedicated cameramen, the producers also carry video cameras and help shoot the show. They obviously take a lot of video footage, which is edited down to just 40-some-odd minutes, considering the heavy rounds of commercial breaks on the Travel Channel.

In addition to the footage focused on Tony, they visit restaurants and street vendors early to shoot closeups of the food preparation and cooking process, prior to Tony ordering and eating the food. They also shoot "B roll" footage, usually comprised of scenery or atmospheric footage, to be used as video snippets in between key shots.

All this existing footage could pretty easily be added to existing episodes to expand them to close to two hours. I suspect an intern with mad video editing skills could whip up such versions at little cost to the production company. Maybe Tony could even add some additional narration, off camera.

I really think the hardcore foodie fans of the show, such as myself, would salivate at extended food preparation footage.

My suggestion even pays for itself: make the hardcore fans pay a premium to see such expanded episode versions. DVD or Blueray, downloadable over iTunes, or digital cable pay per view / on demand. Hopefully a paid, premium version would offset any concern that the original episode version was not presented as complete or sufficient. This packaging could call it the "Camaerman's Cut" edition.

For now, I'll just have to make to do with watching the missing scene from each episode that is included in the international version of the show, but cut from the U.S. version, to make room for an additional commercial break.