WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
In this season, Michelin-star chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen travels to France and Monaco and also spends some time in Nice.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The second season of the intimate and incomparable food exploration and travelogue show JAN on VIA (DStv 147) is by far the most singularly beautiful, perfectly-produced television that 2020 will possibly plate.
Like the first season that followed South Africa's Michelin-star chef, Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, and his restaurant in Nice, France, the Afrikaans 12-episode second season with English subtitles pushes the cinematography, music and exploration of scenic European places and fascinating profiles even further.
The first season of JAN won the Golden Horn trophy as Best Variety Show at the National Film and Video Foundation's 13th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).
The second season, also produced by Carien Loubser of Brainwave Productions, is utterly astounding television in every audio-visual sense of the word - video-perfection from the carefully-crafted, filmed and edited first frame to the very last.
Watching the second season of JAN, you literally can't believe your eyes.
In this TV love letter to life and what makes life beautiful, Jan ventures to different places in France and across Europe with a pastoral, yet majestic cinematography style that takes your breath away.
The camera often lingers on Jan – etched inside portrait-like moving frames – as he explains more about the places he's visited, sharing personal anecdotes and then meeting up with creative foodies from chocolatiers to an Italian pasta mamma in original profiles with stories you've never heard.
While Jan reflects on personal experiences and how it binds into memories, his past and people he loves, and while he reveals little-known stories behind the creation of things from champagne to croissants, the show's overwhelming pinnacle of beauty comes in the latter part of episodes when Jan shows off his personal "twist" of a traditional recipe.
In a visual art reveal Jan's incredible food creations come to life as moving art on television. You have never seen anything like this on TV.
A combination of beautifully filmed shots, with a slow-motion edit and with an overlay of sensory perfection in the form of music, will leave you with one question: How does he/they do it?
Moving out of the restaurant this season and into his kitchen, and seeing Jan roaming across the European countryside and through inner-city cobblestone alleys, makes the second season even more personal and revealing.
This is your funny, world-travelled friend, sharing richly colourful, finely detailed, hilarious and emotional stories - whispered to you over a glass of wine during a long summer lunch or an evening dinner.
Within the context of Covid-19, the second season of JAN gets an unintended, additional layer: The entire season is TV tranquillity at it's very best - a superb, hourly escape into an onion-layered friendship reveal, combined with a travel and food creativity flight-of-fantasy unlike anything else on television.
Without being self-referential, the second season of JAN clearly knows what it is and is offering deluxe premium television.
In a medium where every second counts and is filled to maximum capacity with clutter, JAN is quite overtly not concerned with the ticking of time. The pacing of every single episode reveals that the producers are bringing to television the one thing most shows simply cannot afford: the luxury of time.
Episodes of JAN breathe like very few shows are able to - like a fine wine opened and poured with the first sip only enjoyed after a proper airing and a swivel. Seconds often go by just showing the viewer beautiful scenes and music. No speaking, no explanation, no fake filler required.
JAN's second season is insanely beautiful. In the very best TV way possible.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
The box set of JAN season 2 is available on DStv Catch Up on DStv Now until 18 May 2020.
Box sets of season 1 and season 2 are available on Showmax.