The plot: a trucker has to drive his truck from A to B to deliver some freight. Then something goes wrong.
It is really astonishing how the makers of this German pre-prime-time serial could, over 28 years (with some breaks) produce over 80 episodes as variations on this theme - and most of them, watched after 20..30 years, still manage to come across fresh, diverse, and often surprising in plot and style.
One easy variation (though costly in expenses, as very much was shot in real locations) is to have the action set in various far-away countries - Greece, Tunisia, South Africa, Finland, Thailand, Chile and so on. To more or lesser degree, locals speak the local language, so for a linguist there is quite some fun here too, although, not to alienate German viewers, far too often some local turns up who studied or worked in Germany, and so speaks German quite well.
But the variety also extends to style and genre - you get pure adventure in the vein of Salaires de la peur, mystery, comedy, spy thrills, some romance.. or the multitude of vehicles driven by Franz Meersdonk and his colleagues (mostly 18-wheelers, but also the Italian tricycle Piaggio Ape, native Thai trucks, up to a diesel locomotive, a DC3 or a steamboat). Big toys for big boys :^)
Never having seen this show when it was aired on TV, I bought the first three DVD box-sets and after having watched more than half, must say that I'm really addicted to Auf Achse, for the time being. Not every episode is as memorable as others (and the plot elements of "the truck being stolen", "the driver being thrown in jail", "the hitch-hiker they'd better not picked up" occur a little bit too often for my taste), but all in all I was thrilled and fascinated much more than I expected. 9/10.
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