Yeah! Top Gear is back!!! …63 minutes later… Awww, Top Gear is dead!
After a long delay and a very public break up with the old crew, Top Gear has made its (triumphant?) way back with an all-new cast. In tonight’s highly anticipated return of the BBC’s Top Gear we saw cool cars, neat places, great guest stars, but not a single person speaking intelligently about a car. Forget even talking about a car, they barely knew how to stand around one.
Let me start by saying tonight just felt weird. It was the same logo, the same opening theme music, a similar studio (that obviously had some money and expansion put into it) and a whole lot that made me feel at home in the place I loved. But, as soon as you see Chris Evans, your heart sinks as you remember that the girl (or old British men in this case) you really wanted, dumped you and this is all the sloppy seconds you could find last minute before the dance. And then things go downhill.
Chris starts by trying too hard. Way too hard. He is loud, and he is way too exaggerated in his interaction with the audience. It just came across disingenuous. He mocks the original with comments like “we got custody” in reference to the Stig. It was also blatantly obvious he is not a car guy, which was painfully obvious with how he talked about the vehicles. And finally, you never put your hands all over the shiny car! What was he thinking with the awkward hug/rub of the Viper ACR. Why would he go and do that?!
There was a bright spot though, as things got better with Matt LeBlanc. He is not trying as hard and that helps him. He is definitely the “cool guy” on the show, which we didn’t mind at all, but the enjoyment he showed while driving around the Arial Nomad was quite endearing. But he is, at least in this episode, casted as a type, the American. Sure Jeremy was the speed guy and May was captain slow, but when LeBlanc is already just referencing engine size and then backing himself with the power lifter, it makes him become one dimensional. If this course is pursued be prepared for simpler entertainment for the dumb masses as opposed a car show for actual automotive enthusiasts.
On another positive note, despite the new shows obvious flaws, making the "star in a reasonable priced car" a rally race is a pretty cool idea.
I had high hopes for the BBC. They are a powerhouse with the money and credit to get most anyone they want to run this show, but now, after seeing the first episode, I really can’t wait for Amazon’s The Grand Tour. Bring back my Clarkson, Hammond, and May.
As with our first thoughts: lose Chris Evans.
Of course, after hearing he cussed out the audience for not laughing at his jokes, maybe he will do something really outrageous with all the negative feedback that episode 1 is bound to get.