I’ve know how the reactions to new Top Gear would go as soon as they announced that they’d recast and keep going. They were going to be bad, because we as a fan base are incapable of separating the name from the hype we’ve built in our heads.
Quick reminder, Top Gear was never flawless. It had some really bad episodes. And Season 1 was a bit of a snore fest. Sure there were great cars, and segments that had potential. But it took a few seasons for the presenters to really click together and build the charisma that kept us coming back week after week like devout religious fanatics.
Now true, my initial reaction to this past Sunday’s episode was a bit of disappointment topped with a sprinkle of Evans hatred. Evans shouts too much and he hasn’t proven to us yet that he’s worthy of the Clarkson sized ego. LeBlanc looks like a frightened puppy in the studio, and there was zero point to the reliant roadtrip. But there was potential.
LeBlanc in the Ariel was entertaining. I found myself smiling and fully focused on the TV for most of it. And hell, he can drive. I don’t even care that they pointed out a thousand times that he’s American. It’s obvious that him and Evans don’t get along, which is what’s causing the awkward tension between them both in studio and in films.
The Viper vs Vette segment could have been great. They came so close to the old recipe of hiding an opinion based review inside something entertaining. We got just a taste when they let Sabine utter a crack at the Vette suspension. Now we just need Evans to get on board with speaking your mind.
The American vs Britan challenge was close to decent. It needed more chemistry between the presenters, but at least it had a purpose of pitting the two against each other. (We’re all just pretending the Reliant segment didn’t happen right?)
So here’s my message to fans that I’m sure will go unheard: Chill the hell out for Season 1 (23). It’s going to be rocky. Roll with it, and try to remember that this is a new show that needs to find it’s groove. We’re never going to have the old show again, even The Grand Tour will be something new. Try to give this new iteration a shot. Embrace the fact that we now have two car shows with huge budgets to fill more of the year.
And my message to Top Gear itself: Stop trying to be Top Gear of old. Evans isn’t Clarkson (even if their egos match). If Evans and LeBlanc don’t click then switch around presenters until you find ones that do. You weren’t afraid to give a presenter the boot for Season 2 when he was a bore. We don’t need the same old show. We need something that carries that same magic of hosts entertaining enough to make us look past the scripts, lame jokes, and questionable motivation for challenges. That’s what made the old show work.
Anyway, back to your incessant whining.