The latest great British TV export goes by the self-explanatory name, The Wine Show. The show was released on Hulu this past weekend in the United States and it has already garnered quite a bit of attention. With the kind of luxurious landscape shots and time-lapse sunsets normally reserved for travel spots and The Bachelorette B-roll, The Wine Show follows two British actors, Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans), as they traipse around Italy in pursuit of wine knowledge.
Guided by their "maestro" and "Obi Wine Kenobi," Joe Fattorini, and intercut with wine consultant Amelia Singer's interviews with winemakers around the world, Rhys-y and Goode-y, as they lovingly call each other, sit in the front row of Oenology 101 with the sort of earnest confidence that comes with being married to Keri Russell and, well, being Matthew Goode.
Originally intended to encourage British viewers — especially men — to indulge in more wine, The Wine Show has earned a dedicated fan base in the United States. This has less to do with wine, of course, and more to do with Goode-y — he's essentially that really handsome guy who was super nice to you in high school. Not remotely attracted to you, but took you to junior prom anyways. Anyone?
Okay. Yes, you will learn a bit about wine and history from this show, provided you manage to grin and bear it through the show's overplayed puns. Don't get me wrong — it's not a bad show. It's watchable, particularly in the background as you multitask, and you'll probably walk away learning a couple of new facts about grapes and European history without trying very hard. The two Matthews are charming as hell and seem like genuinely affable blokes.
But do I need to see a couple of white dudes travel while the locals indulge their cheesy banter? Isn't that just, like, life? I will say that this show does a good job of keeping it straightforward and respectful. This isn't a zany, offensive, fish-out-of-water reality show. On a scale of An Idiot Abroad to The Trip to Italy, The Wine Show is Steve Coogan all the way. But after a few episodes, I need to escape to something a little more stimulating and a little less idealized.
Watch this show if all you want to do is listen to dulcet British accents and watch cute dudes drink wine while wearing various hats. Like wine, there's a show for every mood, and this one suits only a certain type.