With Clarkson, Hammond and May back on TV, all is well with the world again—almost. For longtime fans of Top Gear turning over a new leaf with The Grand Tour brought with it a few awkward moments.
I’m not suggesting TGT was all bad. In many ways it was the same comfortable, cheeky formula that made TG so good. Some people expected more than that, but why reinvent the wheel when you’re already the most popular show in your genre?
Yes, at times it got too preoccupied taking swipes at the old show, but it also delivered the highly polished content that this team has been putting out for more than a decade now, content few other operations even have the production budget to attempt.
Just like any first-year model, TGT has a few “bugs” that could easily be mitigated to the appreciation of all its faithful viewers. What are they? Here are my top 5.
Avoid Scripted Bullshit
Clarkson, Hammond and May have a loyal following, myself included, but episode two of TGT had even the faithful pinching our noses and hoping for a turnaround. This team is at their best when things are organic, it should go without say that that is the only way the program should be delivered.
Do Away with Celebrity Brain Crash
I think I’ve unpacked what’s going on here and why the hosts are committed to it. Yes, the star in a reasonably priced car/celebrity interviews might have added less value to old Top Gear than other segments, but to parody those with a tasteless and awkward segment where you faux-assassinate other celebrities is worse. Take your own medicine and get back to the cars.
Shut Mike Skinner Up
I read somewhere that drivers will be swapped out seasonally, which, while that would make comparison between car times less accurate from season to season, might be interesting, but Skinner is a skilled wheelman who’s appeal is diminished by dialog he’s not to blame for.
Just watching TGT is enough to remind me I don’t subscribe to ultra-conservatism, I can do without the jingoistic bullshit that seems strained even coming from the mouth of a rotund former NASCAR driver.
Drunk James May is the best James May. Dune buggy episode revealed this, the greatest TGT character, let’s hope they feature him more in season two.
Get DriveTribe Involved
The team has spun up a gearhead social network and recruited skilled journalists like Jethro Bovingdon to prepare great content for DriveTribe. Why not incorporate some of that in the show itself. Check it out if you haven’t already, there’s even a tribe for Guidos like me.