Many of you will know I’m a fan of Top Gear, I’ve been a fan of Jeremy, Richard and James for around 7 years now. So when the whole thing with Jeremy happened I was disappointed and annoyed. Now I’m over the whole thing and am very much looking forward to The Grand Tour. However that’s not what this post is about.
The new “revamped” Top Gear came out last night on BBC2 and I thought I could give it a little review on here. If you don’t care about cars or Top Gear feel free to go and read another post of mine (or just close this I won’t be offended… much. No I’m kidding it’s all good in the hood.)
I was looking through the #TopGear online and it came down to three schools of thought:
“This is boring”
“Matt LeBlanc is saving the show”
“Better than the old one”
I’m assuming the first two were from proper hardcore Top Gear or Clarkson, Hammond and May fans, giving the show a watch to see how it would be without the “dream team.” Most of them seemed to find there was a lack of chemistry which was what I was expecting, that Chris Evans was irritating and trying too hard to be Jeremy by shouting and saying ridiculous metaphors, or that Matt was actually entertaining. The final one seemed to be from people who’d hated the old show, or more specifically hated Jeremy, so found this to be a tamer, nicer version. All in all, the show was viewed by 4.4 million, which although isn’t bad, certainly is not as good as the old one.
Many people though, were expexting a “revamp” and what they ended up with was a very similar version of the old show. Weird. Why would you say something would be different if it wasn’t? That’s like ordering a pizza and then folding it in half instead of ordering a calzone in a restaurant.
Anyway. My opinion. The first thing I did was laugh, at how cringely (is this a word?!) loud the audience was being, then I frowned when I heard Chris Evans do the “TONIGHT” in true Clarkson style. I thought “oh maybe he’ll do his normal voice after this.” HE DIDN’T. He carried on with his Clarkson impression. I hate impressions anyway, because they tend to exaggerate things, but this one was something else. Although in saying this, I did like the videos playing in the title sequence, as usual with Top Gear, everything looked beautifully shot. Another note on the audience. There appears to be new standing up area in the rafters of the building, which is kind of a good idea, yet kind of pointless.
My next thought was the shouting, Chris does like to shout doesn’t he?! I can’t decide if it’s nerves, a Clarkson impression (again) or because he thinks the audience can’t hear him, but it’s quite annoying. Chris we can all hear you, quieten down.
Then there was the “by the way, we don’t talk about catering anymore” line, well Chris, that was an unneeded joke wasn’t it. Why do I get the feeling that was planted in there?
There’s no denying however, that Chris does like his cars, and his out of studio Dodge test drive wasn’t that bad, he explained things well and drove well, and I found the test engaging. Sabine Schmitz then showed her face and I will admit that it was quite nice to see a woman on the screen. I’ve not seen Top Gun so I couldn’t comment on the references, but I liked the idea behind the challenge. As usual the cinematography was amazing, I love it when they cut to another shot just before Sabine swears, it’s an old trick, but because I’m immature I like it. Then it was back to the studio for more shouting and a “custody” joke about The Stig, which made no sense because obviously Top Gear would keep The Stig as it was an original part of the show and not connected to Clarkson, Hammond or May, but that’s by the by. Matt LeBlanc did his first proper piece to camera and did the “some say” lines. They weren’t too bad, but you can’t help but think of the old show when you hear them.
Then came the challenge between LeBlanc and Evans. When I saw the Reliants I was a little disappointed as the old boys did do a lot of gags/tests on the Robin, but I braced myself and carried on to see what might be different. Almost immediately after they set off LeBlanc did a Hammond thing of ramming the back of Evans/Mays car. Oh dear. I will say this however. Matt was quite entertaining, I did actually laugh when his car kept breaking down. Trust me I wasn’t expecting, or if I’m honest, wanting to laugh. But I did. And then annoying, Chris said the line about the seagull and I laughed again. DAMN IT. I was starting to almost enjoy it. Matt calling Chris “bro” seemed very unatural however.
Jesse and Gordon’s interviews were a bit weird if I’m honest. But I very much enjoyed watching Ramsey getting knocked over. The “best first car” and “best car ever” things were an interesting idea, a good shake up of the old interview style. The lap is different with a “dirt” section. I’m undecided about this. It’s kind of good, kind of weird.
Another roadtest came afterwards this time by Matt, and it was actually quite funny and informative, the challenge was good, I was pleasantly surprised.
They ended with a “bombshell” joke which was stupid but not as stupid as their actual ending. What the hell is the TV walk?!
And then there’s “Extra Gear” which when I first saw it I reacted with a “wtf is that.” Well it’s a half an hour BBC Three talk show type thing based on the show. Yeah I didn’t think it was needed either. While watching it I realised it was basically “The News” section from the old Top Gear, added with some extra pointless chat that could have been said in the original show but was given to some extra random presenters, added with another celebrity interview (although it was nice to see Chris Ramsey) and then added with some backstage “behind the scenes” footage (which I did enjoy because I’m a nerd who loves that sort of thing). All in all though, as interesting as the chat was, it was pretty pointless, most of it could have been put on the website as extra videos or just in the main show.
To conclude this long rambly post then. The in studio stuff was annoying and let’s be honest pretty rubbish, Chris was too loud, the chemistry wasn’t quite right and the crowd were too enthusiastic . Definitely not as good as the old show. However the challenges, especially Matt’s were actually not too bad, I quite enjoyed them. So. Top Gear. This has made me realise just how good Clarkson, Hammond and May were, although the show wasn’t as appalling as I imagined, it certainly wasn’t too bad. If Chris would just not talk as much it’d be better.
If you made it to the end, well done, I’m amazed, give yourself 10 points.