Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days





Emily Tsiao

TV Series Review

“If a man was well-organized, and of a resilient and indefatigable nature, took advantage of recent technological advances…” Phileas Fogg tells us, then it could be possible to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.

“Absolute rot,” says his colleague.

But Phileas grows wearisome of the constant jokes at his expense. While it’s true he failed his first attempt to travel the world—he never made it out of England—he doesn’t feel he deserves such ridicule.

So, he puts 20,000 pounds (or the equivalent of nearly $5 million today) on the line. He’ll return to the swanky Reform Club by 1 o’clock p.m. on Christmas Eve after traversing the globe in 80 days or less.

80 Days …

Abigail Fortescue (a journalist going by the pen name Abigail Fix) accompanies Phileas on his journey. As the daughter of one of Fogg’s dearest friends, she knows he’ll protect her—not to mention give her the story of a lifetime.

Fogg’s valet, Passepartout, also joins Phileas for the trip. Of course, he’s not really a valet at all but rather a vagabond travelling from country to country in an attempt to escape (and forget) his past.

But these strange companions are the least of Fogg’s worries. In order to win the bet, not to mention protect his already shaky reputation, everything will have to go just right on his journey.

And considering the first leg of his trip is delayed by a French revolution, the odds are not in his favor.

… 80 Problems

Adapted from the 1872 novel of the same name by Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days is, at times, a light-hearted adventure. However, it’s quite different from the PG-rated 2004 film starring Jackie Chan (which was, itself, a remake of the Oscar-winning 1956 movie).

Passepartout isn’t a goofy sidekick. He’s a serious Frenchman whose father was murdered before his eyes. And unfortunately, he witnesses the murders of more loved ones (which we see on screen) before the series’ end.

Mild language also pops up every now and then. Many people drink and smoke. And there’s hints of sensuality (though nothing graphic or overtly sexual as of yet).

But on balance, you won’t find the same content concerns in this TV-14 PBS series as you might in some other British period pieces (such as Netflix’s TV-MA Bridgerton). Instead, Around the World in 80 Days will remind viewers of other PBS shows like Downton Abbey.

Episode Reviews

Jan. 2, 2022: “Episode 1”

Phileas Fogg bets a fortune he can traverse the globe in 80 days or less.

Several men attempt to assassinate the French president. They miss and hit Fogg instead. (He is OK since the bullet hits a flask hidden in his pocket.) During a shootout with police, the assassins are all killed. We hear that a French revolutionist was murdered in front of his two young sons. A man examines bullet holes in the wall where his father was executed.

Two men get into a fistfight, and one gets shoved into several dinner plates. (He faints after seeing a shard of glass has impaled his hand.) A woman is rudely knocked to the ground. Someone jokes that the French don’t behead rich people anymore.

A man vomits over the side of a boat. People smoke and drink. Passepartout lies about being a valet. Several people steal Fogg’s luggage. A nun extorts Fogg for a donation after she gets his luggage back. People mock Fogg for his cowardice. A French waiter purposely drops ice on a man after the man insults France. A newspaper editor changes a female writer’s name to be male so as not to upset readers. Fogg is often condescending.

We hear a use of “d–n.” God’s name is misused a few times as well. Someone refers to flying “like an angel.”

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Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.

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