Inspired by the offbeat and entertaining travel documentaries featuring Michael Palin and Louis Theroux, A&E’s new six-part series Strange Days with Bob Saget sends the actor/comedian on a cross-country search for interesting subcultures. But it took a little bit of convincing to get Saget to pack his suitcase for the trip.
Searer says that after sending over the Bonaduce and Sizemore series to Saget, the comedian ‘thought we were the devil.’
‘He just thought that we were going to turn him into a train wreck,’ says Searer. After three extensive meetings, Tijuana fully assured Saget that this series would be lighter and funny.
The half-hour series has Saget infiltrating interesting subcultures and groups across America, including biker gangs, Bigfoot hunters and Lucha Libre wrestlers. ‘We felt like Bob would be an interesting oddball ambassador looking at subcultures and alternative lifestyles,’ says Searer. ‘We’d also give Bob the opportunity to show a different side.’ Referring to Saget’s somewhat raunchy performance in the comedy doc The Aristocrats, in which numerous comedians take a stab at an infamous dirty joke, Searer says, ‘This is not Full House Bob but it’s definitely also not The Aristocrats Bob.’
The Tijuana EP also credits Saget’s unique personality for making him ideal host material for the series. ‘He’s very perceptive and has a biting, sardonic wit and at the same time he’s also the kindest, sweetest guy,’ he says. ‘We knew he could roll with the punches enough to spend a week at summer camp with a group of 12-year old kids and also completely endear himself to a group of renegade bikers.’
The main story that Strange Days is aiming to tell is ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ says Searer. The series tries to peel away surface level opinions about assorted groups to reveal more about them. Searer says that while many non-scripted, half-hour shows shoot for three to four days per episode, Tijuana would spend a week shooting each group.
The series premiered on November 30 and although Searer says the numbers haven’t been as good as he’d like [according to tvbythenumbers.com, the premiere drew 1.049 million viewers], he has hope that Strange Days is just finding its voice. If the series is renewed, Searer is looking forward to continuing the trip. ‘I look forward to being out on the road and doing some more of this craziness with Bob,’ he says. ‘The network’s been supportive, Bob certainly wants to do more and I’m dying to get out there and do some more as well.’