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TV Review - "Ride with Norman Reedus" takes a look at biker culture

June 7, 2016 Updated: June 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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Norman Reedus, California, Ride with Norman Reedus _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Mark Schafer/AMC

“Ride with Norman Reedus”

Cast: Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead,” “The Boondocks Saints”), guests include Peter Fonda, Robert Rodriguez and Balthazar Getty

Airs: The series premieres Sunday on AMC

The premise: “The Walking Dead” fan favorite and motorcycle enthusiast hits the open road to explore biker culture and celebrate collectors, mechanics and craftsmen around the country. Each one-hour installment of “Ride with Norman Reedus” will feature Reedus with a riding companion as they journey to new destinations throughout the United States, including California, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana and Florida. Reedus and friends stop by various locales such as custom bike shops, tattoo parlors, collector’s warehouses, or a roadside smokehouse.

Highs and Lows: Chances are if you decide to check out this new series you’re a big fan of a certain crossbow toting zombie killer from “The Walking Dead.” Norman Reedus isn’t much like his online persona Daryl Dixon, which is evident right away. Norman is easy going, quick with a joke and terrified of heights. So evidently there are things that scare even Daryl Dixon. 

In the series Reedus rides motorcycles, checks out unique custom builders and goes for a road trip through interesting places. It’s clear through his conversations with other aficionados that Reedus knows his stuff. This isn’t a guy posing as a motorcycle enthusiast, Norman loves motorcycles and motorcycle culture. There’s also a lot of other fun to be had as well. Reedus and his weekly companion will check out local cuisine, maybe take in a show and even take pictures with fans. If you thought Daryl Dixon was a cool guy, wait until you see Norman. He seems like a dude you’d love to hang out and have a beer with.   

While the premise of the show clearly focuses on bike culture, nothing you’ll see onscreen gets too technical. This isn’t like “Top Gear” or  “American Chopper,” its much more lightweight than that. Although through voice overs Reedus does try to convey some of his life philosophies, which is surprisingly zen, “Ride” is mostly about getting a chance to see places in the U.S. from a different perspective. However, because it lacks depth, without Reedus leading the way, there wouldn’t be much to “Ride.” If you don’t know who the actor is, chances are you won’t get a lot out of this series.  

Grade: (C+): If you’ve been paying attention to the ads for this new program, “Ride with Norman Reedus” would appear to be all about motorcycle culture but that’s a bit misleading. To be sure, you’ll get a taste of that world but the way this show is shot, it would be equally at home on the Travel Channel. If you’re a fan of Norman Reedus and looking for an escape to some unique locales, this series isn’t a bad way to spend your time. 

Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.

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