More than ever, travel shows are providing a window to the world, allowing audiences to vicariously and safely indulge their wanderlust. The best offerings in this genre, like the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, nourish viewer curiosity and cultivate greater understanding. Witty entries like Richard Ayoade’s BAFTA-winning Travel Man entertain and advise (and confirm that Paul Rudd is a great road buddy). Several recent additions are food-focused, including Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil and Ugly Delicious—though it’s Taste The Nation With Padma Lakshmi that truly captures the roaming spirit and empathy of Bourdain’s trailblazing show. Others, like Top Gear and Ride With Norman Reedus, focus on the relationship between man and machine, with a rotating lineup of hosts and guests.
But the latest forays into the travel show arena focus on the bond between two good friends, who manage to have a great time whether they’re camping out near a septic tank or swirling chiantis in a remote Italian villa. Though series like The Wine Show first premiered in 2016, it was 2020 that truly ushered in the era of TV mancations: travelogues centered on best buds who set out to drink, ride, and learn together. With its Valentine’s Day premiere, Starz’s Men In Kilts: A Road Trip With Sam And Graham is keeping the vacationing bromance alive. But who is actually enjoying the company of their fellow famous companion? Which duos are actually growing closer the farther out they venture? That’s what we set out to determine in The A.V. Club’s unofficial guide to bromances abroad.