Monday, August 22, 2016

‘Better Late Than Never’ is Laugh Out Loud Funny

Review of "Better Late Than Never"
Terry Bradshaw, William Shatner, Jeff Dye, Henry Winkler and George Foreman go on trip of a lifetime. (NBC)
TV SHOW REVIEW
Like many of you, when I first heard of the Better Late Than Never, the new reality TV about four old men on vacation together, I was skeptical. The fact that the old men are Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman, didn’t really help sell the show to me. Would NBC try to make them out to be four dirty old men out on an adventure or would it be full of tired old jokes and silly scripted shenanigans? Turns out, neither. Well, not really. There is a reason why this show airs at 10:00 p.m. as it isn’t family-friendly, but addresses much that adults can relate to without being crass. Is it scripted? Partially. The trick is figuring out which parts. The reactions of these four friends are real and it appears that throughout, some are let in on some of the jokes ahead of time while others are left in the dark. Like when the group visits a live Japanese game show, but group tells Shatner that the show is Japan’s version of The Today Show. It’s not. He’s gracious, but he hates it.
 

Better Late Than Never is a six-week limited series. These four celebrities have done many things, but as it turns out, none of them have ever visited Asia, or at least Japan (the first stop in the journey) so everything is new to them. The group is led by the much younger comedian Jeff Dye who describes traveling with Bradshaw is like being with that grandpa that you love but says and does things that are embarrassing, but you love them anyway because they’re your grandpa. I think the same can be said about the other three as well. They each have their own quirks but they all seem like really likeable guys. Winkler is apparently the hardest to get to move as he is constantly signing autographs to people who recognize him and those that don’t. Bradshaw makes comments that Shatner, unlike himself, enjoys fame and got upset when people recognized Foreman more than they did himself. Shatner and Winkler shoot back with their own accusations about Bradshaw’s own love for fame. Bradshaw hates heights, while Shatner loves them but all four them hate stairs.

Now that the Olympics are over with, NBC can take some notes on how to keep a show’s pace moving. Better Late Than Never keeps things moving quickly without making the scenes feel rush. Interesting facts about the country are splashed on the screen throughout that only adds to the fun. The show even has some surprising moments like when 84-year-old Shatner admits that he has a fear of dying and as he gets older how much more the reality of death becomes.
 

What surprised me the most about this show was how much it made me laugh out loud. Better Late Than Never really gives the viewer an up close and personal look at both these celebrities and their surroundings. Their reactions are our reactions when they find out what food items they have just been eating. Their annoyances with each other are our annoyances and when they discover something that makes them take a step back in awe, so do we.
 

Kudos to NBC (and Winkler, for that matter, who is an executive producer) for keeping the show realistic without crossing too many lines. Bradshaw, who is usually pretty squeaky clean, gets caught up in the moment a few times. The series aims to present many aspects of each country for those of us back home which includes various hotels, restaurants, night life and attractions. Just because these guys could afford to stay in top hotels and eat at the finest restaurants, they don’t. At least, not all the time. In short, I found myself relating to the stars much more than I thought I would and I think the show will appeal to adults of all ages.





Better Late Than Never premieres Tuesday, August 23 at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.

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