Like mounting a favorite ride on a perfect fall morning, life is good for Norman Reedus even before switching on the motorcycle’s engine. A third season of the biker travelogue was renewed a few months ago, well before the upcoming premier of season 2.
Having followed the show through its first season and watching the season two premiere, it’s easy to see why. No matter where he goes actor Norman Reedus is mobbed by fans, dangerously so at times. But through it all, the actor remains gracious under pressure and shows his appreciation for fan’s enthusiasm exhibiting a brand of patient cooperation, posing for what seems and endless number of selfies with his avid followers.
For those who have been secluded from anything to do with reality for the last seven years, Norman Reedus portrays zombie-killer extraordinaire Daryl Dixon on the hugely successful “The Walking Dead’ affectionately referred to as TWD. Appearing in the cult classic ‘The Boondock Saints’ before taking on the crossbow-wielding role, Reedus has always enjoyed a solid base of fans. The generous amount of time and interactions with his fans have made him a favored character on TWD and one of the reasons for the show’s runaway success.
All of the above surely gave Norman Reedus, an avid biker, the leverage to mold ‘Ride with Norman Reedus’ into the motorcycle travelogue he wanted. The blend of road trips and stars certainly seemed to work in the first season, over six episodes season one of “Ride” averaged 800k total viewers per episode including 434k adults 25-54 in Nielsen live+7 ratings.
The second season kicks off with a two-night special with ‘Ride with Norman Reedus’ showing on Sunday November 5th and Monday November 6th, both at 9/8c on AMC. Every episode features the actor and a new companion as they embark on an adventure and explore everything from custom bike shops to tattoo parlors to a roadside diner.
Guests seen in the season trailer two include a bulked up Dave Chappelle, famous chef and restaurateur Mario Batali and Mr. Walking Dead himself, Greg Nicotero. Working as co-executive producer, special make-up effects supervisor, and occasional director on the AMC TV series The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, Nicotero has directed 17 episodes of The Walking Dead and is the creator of the webseries The Walking Dead: Webisodes.
Nicotero and Reedus also co-own Nic and Norman's restaurant located in Senoia, Georgia.
So what can we expect from season two of ‘Ride with Norman Reedus?’ The answer can be found by watching the shows season premiere. Here are our thoughts using a high-level of press access, better known as the AMC website which at the time of writing offers up free viewing of the first episode of the second series.
WARNING!!! Spoilers ahead! The following will feature stuff from the premiere. If you want to be totally surprised, leave the page now. You can check out all the other cool articles we have on Clutch on Chrome while the rest of us geek out on Norman Reedus, TWD, and motorcycles.
Season two’s debut is really meant to kick the show off with as much star power as it could muster. Riding along with Reedus for the entirety of the episode is actor Jeffery Dean Morgan who currently plays Neegan on TWD. As bad as the Neegan character is in TWD, the already popular actor enjoys new heights of fan-following by creating a complex character seemingly loved as much as he’s hated over the last few seasons.
To further ensure this season debuts with incredible numbers, it gives what many of the viewers want most, more Reedus. The episode takes Norman’s fans on a walk through the actors early years by not only having the show’s monologues cover his time in Europe and briefly how he found his way to Hollywood, but actually takes them through areas of Spain Reedus fondly remembers.
He even looks for his old apartment at one point.
“I lived in Spain when I was a teenager, so when we went back to Sitges where I used to live, it looked completely different,” the actor tells AMC Blog. “There were so many new buildings. I remember from my apartment there, I could see the church towers and where that big bell goes off in the middle of the day and I couldn’t see it any longer from that apartment.”
Fans of The Walking Dead are given their entertainment when the two actors discuss the new series for the show and just how long they’ve known each other. Spoiler alert, it was well before their time together on the blockbuster show.
Taking place in Spain, episode one of season two was filmed while Reedus and Morgan were in the country on a press tour for TWD. They ominously tell a story of just how popular the show is in that part of world noting that so many fans turned up for a panel discussion, 10,000 were left out on the street.
A fan of the Triumph Tiger, Norman rides an XL model through this episode, but we don’t think it was his. The blurred out license plates are clearly European, leading to the thought he borrowed it for the show.
Jeffery Dean Morgan wasn’t so lucky with his choice of ride however, given a Brixton BX 125. This single cylinder, 125cc roadster-style Austrian motorcycle debuted in Europe earlier this year. Viewers are left wondering if producers were playing some elaborate joke on Morgan, giving him a 125cc motorcycle for an extensive multiday road trip.
Calling the motorcycle a ‘Booter’, a mix between a bike and scooter, Morgan is a good sport about riding the Brixton BX 125. In fact, a biker kudos should be given to the actor as he manages to get 133 kph out of the Brixton, albeit by drafting behind a truck and opening the throttle while going downhill. That would be just over 70 mph for the North American readers.
The pair start in Barcelona, ride down to Sitges, the former home of Reedus, and finish their road trip in Valencia. Just how popular the actors and TWD are is seen as they try to roam the streets of the different cities. Film crews, security and local police forces couldn’t prepare for the masses that swarm the pair. At one point, the usually gracious Reedus actually sounds a little worried when fans surround and grab at him while he’s slowly riding on his motorcycle.
He’s quick to express his gratitude and appreciation of the fans in the very next voice-over, but the image of crowds clawing at a moving Reedus trying to get a quick selfie is tough to forget.
The vision for this series has always been a motorcycle version of the type of travelogue perfected by Anthony Bourdain. In that vein, the first segment of the episode features a custom bike builder from Barcelona and friend, setting the tone for the show including enough motorcycle shots to tease avid bikers but never spending too long on them as to lose non-riding viewers. Aside from a glimpse of the custom bike the builder is riding, nothing else is shown of his work or any discussions around any designs or inspirations. It’s a subtle change from the first season which saw more focus on motorcycles but leans more towards the apparent vision of the show.
The two actors are left alone to their own mischievous devices in Sitges and eventually joined by Alicia Sornosa in Valencia. The first Spanish woman to ride around the world on a motorcycle, Sornosa teases Morgan about his ride and again, the motorcycle side of the show is limited without a word about her bike as she joins the pair cruising through the streets of Valencia. Producers seem to purposefully avoid any camera shots of her motorcycle, but it appears to be a Ducati Scrambler of sorts.
There's a reason we think Alicia Sornosa rode a Ducati in the episode...we just can't put our finger on why
While in Valencia, Reedus and Morgan watch the Las Fallas de Valencia, considered one of the most unique and crazy festivals in Spain. Las Fallas literally means "the fires" in Valencian. The focus of the fiesta is the creation and destruction of ninots (“puppets” or “dolls”), which are huge cardboard, wood, paper-machè and plaster statues.
According to popular tradition, the carpenters of Valencia would have initiated this custom when they burned the leftovers of their work and ateliers in big bonfires on the night before their patron saint, in order to clean up their workspaces before the coming of the spring.
Bringing it down to reality, Morgan describes it as a mix of ‘Burning Man meets the 4th of July’.
Understanding Clutch and Chrome was a huge fan of the first series, the second is more polished and very enjoyable. The premier was lighter on motorcycles and more about location, food and culture but frankly, this was most likely the intent all along with this series finding its stride in the second season.
That’s not to say riders won’t enjoy the show. The journey and its views are incredibly shot with the producers ensuring everyone featured truly loves to ride. This is seen during a stop at a biker bar along the way with the segment bringing out just how much Reedus and Jeffery Dean Morgan truly love motorcycles and its culture.
Bonus points to readers who spot the Boozefighter MC patch on one of the biker’s leathers during the piece.
The premiere episode serves up entertainment for all viewers; riders, fans of the actors and those of the show. Riders will take away dreams of a European motorcycle vacation cutting through the countryside of Spain.
Fans of the show may enjoy seeing just how much of TWD’s character Neegan is in fact Jeffery Dean Morgan. His swagger and movement as he takes in incredible views and even the inflection of his voice as he offers his honest thoughts and insights of the trip prove Morgan took the character from the page and brought it to life.
As for the fans of Norman Reedus, well, where exactly can he go wrong? He’s Norman.
As mentioned, ‘Ride with Norman Reedus’ appears on AMC Sunday November 5th and Monday November 6th, both at 9/8c on AMC.