When it was announced that Walking Dead star Norman Reedus would be getting his own show on AMC, I can count on the number of wheels I have how surprised I was, since he's arguably the most fan-adored member of the zombie drama's cast. (My vote is still in for a Josh McDermitt hairstyle-focused show.) And I'm happy to say that Ride with Norman Reedus holds extremely true to its title as a fun, interesting and surprisingly approachable look at the world and culture of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Here are the reasons why your summer TV viewing will not be complete without a weekly dose of the engine-revving escapism that is Ride with Norman Reedus. I don't think this first reason is going to get rebutted by any readers.
It's Norman Reedus, Duh
While Reedus' Walking Dead character Daryl Dixon (and others in his career) can be a quiet and seemingly standoffish loner, the actor himself is jovial and is rarely seen without a smile on his face. His easygoing personality is at the center of _Rid_e, and viewers get to basically experience everything right along with him, since the show is largely a reason for Reedus to tear up the roads in a way that he'd never been able to earlier in life. And it's great to vicariously feel the awe and appreciation for this country's sights that he feels on the episodic journeys. While Reedus might not constantly make the most poignant turns of phrase, he's funny, charming and juvenile in all the right ways.
It Will Make You Appreciate Motorcycles
While I like certain aspects of biker culture and am often jealous of the brotherhood it provides, that world is not ready for my crash-worthy ass to enter it. But even without a highly vested interest in motorcycles, I was still a prime audience member for Ride with Norman Reedus because the inside baseball is kept to a relative minimum. Each episode features Reedus and at least one guest hitting up different spots relevant to the travel pastime, whether it's in the form of established routes like the Pacific Coast Highway or custom motorcycle shops and the geniuses within them. (There's a pro-female biker club in there as well.) And you're guaranteed to know exactly what Reedus is riding during each leg of the trip, as a handful of different bikes are showcased in each installment.
But It's Not Just About Motorcycles
Ride with Norman Reedus could have easily spent the entirety of each hour devoted solely to highways and hogs, but that would have meant leaving a lot of quality footage on the cutting room floor. Each episode is centered in a different location, and Reedus and the production crew don't hesitate in taking advantage of other entertainment and novelties in each area. Reedus rides a dune buggy in California, gambles in Las Vegas, takes a boat ride in Louisiana and much more. There are also several moments in each episode where it's just Reedus chatting with people and having a good time. So just in case you were hesitant to watch this series due to the biker-heavy approach, take comfort in knowing there's a lot more going on.
The Locations Are Gorgeous
Across its six episodes, Ride with Norman Reedus takes the host and his guests through California, Louisiana, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Florida. And you bet your comfortably padded ass that the series showcases some of the most gorgeous photography that you'll find on cable, and AMC especially. The coastal rides are full of fabulous horizons and full landscapes, and the inter-communication between Reedus and other riders on the road is nice and sedate and relatively unimportant as they pass some of the loveliest sites around. This show will make you want to get out of your house and travel immediately, guaranteed.
Everyone Other Than Norman Reedus
A host is only as good as the people he or she is hosting, right? Well, Ride with Norman Reedus is full of other intriguing people with captivating stories and interests, and his guest list includes longtime friend and actor Balthazar Getty, custom bike artiste Jason Paul Michaels, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, heavy metal vocalist Brent Hinds, actor Peter Fonda and more. Reedus' back-and-forth with each of these people is genuine and as far away from most "reality TV" conversations as you can get. And it's definitely not just the celebs that are worth your time here, as just about everyone who shows up on camera draws attention in some way.
While obviously not the greatest TV show of all time, Norman Reedus' new solo gig is a blissfully unpretentious and inviting travelogue that makes the hobby of one particular group universally compelling to anyone. So get your favorite motorcycle helmet that may or may not also have holsters on either side for beer bottles, as Ride with Norman Reedus will premiere on AMC on Sunday, June 12. And you can find everything else hitting the small screen this summer in our TV premiere schedule.