Madventures is a Finnish television travel show, though not a typical one at that. Instead of a presenter having a camera crew follow and show the most usual tourist attractions of big European cities and up-scale skiing resorts, the Madventures crew dives headlong into the world of the traveller.
The show, production wise, is quite minimalistic. The field crew consists of Riku Rantala, a former freelance journalist for Finnish publications such as Image magazine, and Tuomas "Tunna" Milonoff, a television and film producer. Their mission: to go an a journey around the world to locations frequented mostly by intrepid backpackers. The material recorded on location is sent by DHL back to Finland, where Petri Mäkitalo labours over the tapes, producing a coherent result.
The philosophy of Madventures could be summed up in two words: "Get going!" The presenters' aim is to give the viewers a glimpse of a travelling reality removed from package holidays or even the boozing culture of fresh-out-of-school "backpackers". Through the spiritually loaded Nepal and India to truly mad places like Phnom Penh and history-laden South America, the show is a barrage of different cultures, enticing vistas and anecdotes.
Audiovisually the Madventures material is surprisingly good. Despite the limited equipment, the crew manage to really bring the locations to the viewer. A strange mixture of ethnic feels and electronica complement the visuals, and together they form a suprisingly coherent whole. Despite being an entirely Finnish production, the location information displayed on screen is in English only.
Each Madventures episode consists of travel experiences, short blurbs about history and culture from a traveller's viewpoint and varying, sometimes repeating segments. For example, the tropical bugs of India and Cambodia prompted the hosts to start the "Madventures: Fuck the Animals" project. In short, if a specific animal annoys the host(s), it is duly disposed of on camera, accompanied by slow-motion replay. Another segment is "Mad Cook", where the hosts play rock, paper, scissors and the loser gets to eat whatever questionable local delicacy there is available.
The show gained controversy and attention in Finland when a tabloid newspaper reported of cruelty towards animals on the show. In one episode, the butchering and subsequent dining on of a stray dog was shown. This prompted protest against both Milonoff and Rantala, as well as the channel the show was being shown on, SubTV. In addition, the animal rights group Animalia gave their Anti Animalia "prize" of 2002 to Milonoff and Rantala for their role in bringining "questionable and cruel content to television".