The Watchman: Andrew Zimmern Gets Personal on Travel Channel, 'Spirit' Is Riding Free on Netflix

Deputy editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

The Zimmern list, with host Andrew Zimmern visiting various cities and trying out some unique victuals therein, starts on Travel Channel March 13. Zimmern, also host of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and other shows on Travel, calls the The Zimmern List the most personal series he’s made yet.

First off, it’s shot tighter than others in the genre. “It’s up close and in your face — we don’t do a lot of wide shots,” Zimmern added. “That ends up being much more personal.”

He also promised to share more about his experiences and his life, including restaurant recommendations that Zimmern had vowed to never reveal so he could continue to enjoy the places without us getting in the way.

Zimmern List’s first episode sees him in Los Angeles, visiting hot spots such as Night + Market Song, Kismet and Eggslut. He’s then on to Austin, Texas, where the bites include Mexican joint Fresa’s and taco haven Guero’s.

But it is Branson, Mo., that Zimmern said stands out among the locales he visited this season. “It’s a show I still can’t shake,” he said, “one I still think about every day.”

He expected “mediocre dinner-theater food,” and what he got may have been a wee bit better than that. But Branson isn’t just about the food. Zimmern also witnessed “a halo of white nostalgia penetrating every corner of that place,” which he found “very disturbing.”

“Culturally,” he added, “it’s so fascinating.”

And the fourth season of Dreamworks’ girls-and-horses series Spirit Riding Free starts on Netflix March 16. Main character Lucky Prescott turns 13, and family is the focus in the new season of the animated series, which is inspired by the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

“We get a glimpse of Lucky’s former life in the big city when her paternal grandfather comes to visit. And we learn more about her mom’s side of the family when the circus her mom performed with comes to town,” said executive producer Aury Wallington. “Lucky gets to follow in her mom’s footsteps — literally — when she is invited to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime performance with them.”

Season four also looks into how Lucky’s mother came to join the circus, and how she learned her horse-top stunts.

Wallington promises “nonstop adventure” in the new batch of episodes, which total six.

“There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy together,” she said, “as Lucky, Spirit and their friends tackle everything from quicksand to a raging fire to Lucky’s first job.”