Long Way Up

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Long Way Up TV Poster Image
Friends bond, recharge electric Harleys in slow travel show.

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Positive Messages

It sends the message that if you’re going to travel using electric vehicles, you want to make sure you have the available technology at your destinations to power up. Friendship is a theme, and it highlights how travel can be a bonding experience, as well as a way of learning about people and places around the world. The series also contains some strong pro-environmental messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are good friends. When things go wrong, McGregor is frustrated but tries to remain positive. Some of the people they meet around the Americas are from indigenous cultures. 

Violence

 There is a brief discussion about Charley Boorman’s accident, and some footage of his recovery featuring painful treatments is shown. Conversations about social problems and issues address drug-related violence and community displacement. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Corporate sponsors like Rivian and Harley Davidson are featured. Their logos, as well as logos for Touratech, Honda, and others companies, are visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug cartel activities in Mexico are discussed.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Long Way Up features actor Ewan McGregor and best friend Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trek spanning from the southern-most tip of Argentina to Los Angeles. While not violent, there’s some footage of serious injuries, and conversations about social issues and problems throughout the Americas, including drug violence. Companies like Harley-Davidson and electric car manufacturer Rivian are featured, and logos for a range of companies are also prominently visible. It also contains some strong pro-environmentalist messages. 

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What's the story?

LONG WAY UP is a reality series featuring Ewan McGregor and his best friend traveling across Central and South America on motorcycles. In 2004 and 2007 McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman completed two successful multi-country motorcycle treks. But after a major accident, during which Boorman sustained serious injuries, the duo decided to embark on another journey. Armed with special electric Harley Davidson motorcycles, helmets fitted with cameras and mics, and an electric-car driving production crew that will meet them them at check points, the two start from Tierra Del Fuego and attempt to travel 13,000 miles to Los Angeles in three months.  

Is it any good?

This slow-moving series features the duo, who have aged a bit since their last multi-country bike trip, attempting to ride up the Americas using enhanced electric vehicles. But the adventure is less about who they meet or what they see, and more about the challenge to charge their bikes and cars in remote areas with limited electrical capacity, and in cities and towns that lack appropriate charging stations. Meanwhile, some of the mistakes they make (like not bringing appropriate adapters for the countries they are passing through) make you wonder if they did their homework before starting the experience. 

Despite the bumps in the road, Long Way Up does offer some quick glimpses into life in Central and South America. There are also some interesting problem-solving moments. But the overall series is really focused on the trials of the two men and their crew as they try to find outlets to plug in their vehicles and attempt to hit their mileage goals so they'll arrive in Los Angeles on time. If you’re looking for an in-depth travel series, this one won’t deliver. But some folks may still find watching the experience entertaining. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the purpose behind Long Way Up. Is it to showcase different people, places, and cultures? Communicate environmental messages? Promote electric vehicle use? Or simply to document a travel experience? What can be learned from this series? 

  • What are some of the benefits of of multi-country travel? Are there any dangers? If you were to embark on a trip like the one featured here, how would you prepare for it? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love travel shows

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