Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Scenery Porn: Live-Action TV
  • Any science fiction show, when they leave their station/ship/plot device. And sometimes when they're still on it.
    • It wasn't always like that. Early SF shows often had too low a special effects budget to create any beautiful scenery.
  • Every establishing shot ever on The Amazing Race. Watch the Opening Credits from one of the later seasons, every scenery shot is a place they've visited over the course of the series.
  • Breaking Bad. The cameras take every opportunity to show off the deserts of New Mexico, and doesn't skimp on spending time developing scenes.
  • Boardwalk Empire; the jaw-dropping re-creation of Atlantic City's boardwalk is this all over, and more than a few establishing shots give a sweeping view of it.
  • Burn Notice is full of shots of Miami in every single episode, often accompanied by girls in bikinis, which makes it an odd combination of Scenery Porn and actual (softcore) Porn. So did CSI: Miami and (possibly) for the same reason. And, indeed, most shows set in Miami fall prey to Scenery Porn. It's almost like there's a reason. Some other show they're referencing... Some other show set in Miami. Some other show that looks like a 45-minute music video of cars and guns and bikinis and scenery porn.
  • Carnivāle has perfect cinematography. At least, the first season had it nailed down pretty fine.
  • Most episodes of Charmed open with some magnificent, view-from-the-sky establishing shots of San Francisco. The White Lighters have also been known to have meetings with the main characters on the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The Cosmos reboot showcases Italian wine country, the forests of the Triassic, and other impressive vistas from Earth's past and present... to say nothing of the cosmos itself, which is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
  • Doc Martin: From the opening titles, the DOP takes the opinion that any shot with less than three people in it can be improved with moorland or some good Cornish cliffs.
  • Doctor Who, for all of its Special Effects Failure, also employs sweeping vistas.
    • In the new series, we've had some really lovely alien planets, gorgeous shots of outer space, and some amazing location shooting in Utah. This especially applies whenever they get to show the Doctor's home planet of Gallifrey - so long BBC Quarry, hello CGI domed city.
    • The Classic series did not find this as easy due to having No Budget but managed it in a few cases - particularly "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", which benefited from heavy Prop Recycling of the Peter Cushing Dalek movie, meaning the Dalek ship interiors looked brilliant, and also delivered some gorgeous shots of an abandoned London.
    • "City of Death" has a lot of beautiful shots of Paris. "Shada" attempted to duplicate this success with Cambridge, but the episode got stuck in Development Hell. Some of the prettier surviving shots (the Doctor punting a blissed-out Romana up the Cam) were recycled to Fake Shemp the Fourth Doctor into "The Five Doctors".
    • "The Two Doctors" is set beautifully in Seville simply because the showrunner at the time fancied a holiday there. One of the common fan complaints about the serial is that, unlike the clever use of Paris in "City of Death", the setting adds nothing to the plot.
    • Oddly averted in "Planet of the Dead", where the location shooting in Dubai was heavily hyped, but apart from the area directly around the bus the vista is mostly CGI of an infinite desert (and not particularly good CGI either). Diamanda Hagan questioned in her review of the episode how a gay showrunner wanted to shoot in a country where gay people still have the death penalty, and how there still wasn't any point to it.
  • H2O: Just Add Water is sponsored by Australia's Gold Coast tourist board and Sea World. Many Americans hadn't really heard of the Gold Coast before this, but wow, is it pretty.
  • JAG: The 100th and 101st episodes "Boomerang", filmed on location in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia certainly took advantage of the setting. Also the parts of early season 5 episodes filmed aboard the nuclear air craft carrier USS John C. Stennis certainly did that as well.
  • Both Kingdom and Doc Martin have long shots of their (Norfolk and Cornwall respectively) scenery.
  • Supposedly the reason why Last of the Summer Wine was initially popular was that people would watch with the sound off, ignore the plot, and just gaze at the beautiful scenery. The people who watched the unfunny "comedy" A Year in Provence generally did the same thing.
  • Life had great cinematography, and also showed the LA area to good effect.
  • Life On Mars went out of its way to establish its version of the Seventies, down to copying lighting and cinematography techniques from Seventies films and television. A prime example of Real Is Brown.
  • LOST. The directors of the show not only used the gorgeous vistas of Hawaii (where they actually shot) really well, but they also created really meaningful establishing shots. No generic, CSI-style flyovers here, folks.
  • Mad Men has ridiculous amounts of detail in the backgrounds and props, things that add character but never, ever get used. One hotel room gets a suit valet (thing you hang a suit on), a bottle of liquor in the background, clothes and pocket-stuff, cuff links... and none of it is used or referred to, but captures the era.
  • The scenery in Australian drama McLeod's Daughters is lush and beautiful. The sweeping shots over the farms are stunning.
  • The Dutch version of The Mole seems to have taken a page from The Amazing Race (above), using gorgeous scenery for Establishing Shots.
  • Many of the sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus written by Terry Jones/Michael Palin were set on location in beautiful countryside locations. (It got to the point where as soon as they began reading a sketch, John Cleese would go 'here we go, pan over beautiful countryside'). Lampshaded in a sketch at the end of one episode which starts with an image of the ocean roaring onto a beach, at which point John Cleese comes on and apologises for the fact that there's no actual jokes at all, but at least the scenery is lovely.
  • The Ken Burns mini series The National Parks: America's Best Idea is essentially six episodes of old photos, talking heads, and lots and lots of this.
  • No Reservations is as much Scenery Porn as it is Food Porn.
  • NYPD Blue really liked its slice-of-life shots of the titular city. Law & Order and its offspring occasionally indulge too.
  • Literally the entire reason that Planet Earth and associated series exist.
  • Ever since Power Rangers moved to New Zealand, they've been taking advantage of the beautiful landscapes the country has. Mystic Force and Ninja Storm are especially good for it.
  • The Santa Barbara police station on Psych falls into the Architecture Porn category. Many of the exteriors, whether filmed in Vancouver or Southern California, are also very pretty.
  • Pushing Daisies not only has this (including a beautiful CGI-enhanced graveyard), it also has architecture Porn. Can't... stop... drooling! The episode "Window Dressed To Kill" has, towards the start, a shot of a massive prison in the middle of an icy area that qualifies as Scenery Porn among Scenery Porn. Seriously, it's gorgeous.
  • Rosemary And Thyme seems to be based on this.
  • The Granada TV Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett is pure Victorian Scenery Porn, down to every last detail. It was one of the last ITV series that got given a big enough budget to reproduce this kind of detail—when you look at their later dramas, there simply isn't as much stuff on tables, walls, on the streets because they can't afford it anymore. And considering how the Victorians loved their bric-a-brac, every elaborately decorated inkwell, every Orientalist screen, every Arts and Crafts wall-hanging, every lead ornament on a window, every mother*** ing Symbolist painting whose height of popularity matches the story year exactly is enough to make the history geek pass out in ecstasy. And that's before we see the ominous print of the frickin' Reichenbach Falls on Holmes's mantlepiece, and the way the directors framed numerous shots to match the original Sidney Paget illustrations... excuse me, I think I need a lie-down.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The city of Atlantis is beautiful in its own right, but several later-season nighttime establishing shots are breathtaking.
  • Star Trek: Voyager has a ridiculously gorgeous opening title sequence — so much so it broke physics
  • Discovery HD Theater gave the world a show that consisted entirely of distilled Scenery Porn, called Sunrise Earth.
  • On Top Gear during their overseas specials, at least a few minutes of reverent attention is paid to the surroundings. The Vietnam special was particularly devoted to this, at least in part because the presenters wanted to show the country as "more than just that place where a war happened".
    • Top Gear has a steamy love affair with this trope. The Aston Martin V12 Vantage is one of the most poignant pieces of film they have ever produced, inter-cut masterfully with the wilds of Scotland. There's also that time they reviewed the Jaguar XK in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • Top Of The Lake has lots of really gorgeous scenery from the New Zealand mountains.
  • Expect television coverage of the Tour de France to feature a lot of helicopter shots whenever the Tour passes through somewhere scenic.
  • Twin Peaks has some truly beautiful cinematography. The opening also gives you a good first look at some of the breathtaking nature scenery you're going to see in the show.
  • Torchwood is full of beautiful shots of Cardiff. And in "Countrycide", the countryside.
  • The Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Wallander, set in southern Sweden, is heavy on the Scenery Porn, with countless lingering shots of beautiful Swedish landscapes.
  • Wheel of Fortune can get very elaborate with its set designs, which change every week. They especially love Halloween week, where the set is replete with gag tombstones, an animatronic gargoyle, smoke and lights, etc.
  • The BBC documentary series Planet Earth has a ton of this. Aerial views of mountains, deserts, and forests, waterfalls and oceans, large migrating groups of animals, and more, all shot in HD, no less! Just let this video explain for itself.
  • The Straits revels in the contrast between its action-packed and violent crime premise, and the pristine natural beauty of northern Australia and the tropical coast of Papua New Guinea. The opener alone contains plenty of this.
  • This is one of the primary draws of HGTV and the Travel Channel. You could say the two are glorified screen savers in TV network form.
  • The reality TV Show Survivor likes to film in tropical locations, often using some beautiful aerial views during the torch walks (or in the case of "Palau", downright beautiful shots of the ocean). It was already darn beautiful, especially during some of the tribal council sets. (Especially "China", which had the most elaborate tribal council set as described by the show staff) However, it went Up to Eleven in "Gabon" when they made the jump to HD. While people have gotten bored of having four seasons filmed in Samoa (Within two years), they really do showcase that the world can be a very beautiful place.
  • Game of Thrones went for this in a "big" way in Season 2, with absolutely stunning visages and creative cinematography to show off the glories of the Icelandic landscape. Notable also in that the plot for those scenes was rather basic and setting up for the next season (mostly just walking from place to place) which really did not need to be so stunning, but, damn it was cool.
    • The series as a whole is known for its often breathtaking Scenery Porn. Even its Title Sequence fits under this.
  • Supernatural sometimes engages in this. Sam and Dean often stop to talk in ridiculously beautiful locations such as scenic overlooks or mist enshrouded train trestles. In addition, the Impala often motors by impressive back-roads scenery.
    • Their often quirky and sometimes themed hotel rooms could also be argued to be this with all of the attention to detail put into the rooms' decoration, but can also cross over into Scenery Gorn when the room details include stained wallpaper, rundown furniture, and worn carpeting and bedding, invoking a feeling of what else might not be the most cleanly about the room.
  • I Spy has a lot of this, including footage of Hong Kong, Mexico and San Francisco. This was unusual for the time, as most series were filmed on the backlot, with some added stock footage.
  • The opening episodes of the third season of It Takes a Thief (1968), filmed and set in Italy, featured a lot of this.
  • Young Indiana Jones had breathtaking scenes set in, among other important communes, Paris, London and Vienna, although they were primarily shot in Prague.
  • Both Hercules The Legendary Journeys & Xena: Warrior Princess, both filmed in New Zealand, had some of this.
  • The Pillars of the Earth has its churches. Its gorgeous gorgeous churches.

LiteratureScenery PornMusic

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy