A new era of Top Gear started when the Jezza, Hamster, and Captain Slow departed BBC. New hosts, many of them, new producers, and new desperation to keep a dying show relevant. And it stunk. I couldn’t take after watching the first episode.
Then The Grand Tour came on Amazon and… and after much hype it was kind of disappointing. It was the same supposedly unprepared travels, same old ideas, same dick jokes now improved with random cussing. It did have some great parts, such as James’ Ford GT film, but it was overall underwhelming.
It was with great doubt I tuned into the new season of Top Gear, call it new-new, several weeks ago. Three hosts – Harris, LeBlanc, and Reid. New studio. Same track but a much better reasonably priced sports car. Less Stig because Harris can actually drive. Weird guests – I’ve never heard of most of them. Same ideas but somehow refreshed. New jokes, now with less dick.
I have to say, it all worked for me. I truly enjoyed the whole season, aside from guest interviews which given their different format weren’t as bad as they could have been. Perhaps it was because the focus was more on cars than the people around them? Perhaps because it was well produced? It was the rally simple things made a big difference in my opinion, such as when they built a boat out of an SUV that was actually pretty cool and did not fail.
I’m looking forward to the next series of Top Gear, sometime in the fall. I am also hoping that The Grand Tour people watched it and recognized its strengths and their shortcomings.