So in case you weren’t aware, the American version of Top Gear premiered Monday on The History Channel. This wasn’t the first attempt, but in fact the second at recreating the award winning British TV series for the American audience. This version has a lot of steam behind it to live up to the standards of the best automotive show …in the world.
Top Gear isn’t just a show about cars, although that is the general genre. The show combines stunts, reviews, celebrities, and of course downright bad ass cars into a hour of astounding visuals and witty narration.
The first episode included a mix of several segments meant to give the viewers a full view of what the show has to offer. We’re first introduced to the hosts (more on them later) and then we’re given a glimpse into what’s coming up for the rest of the season. We then move onto the first car segment which has Tanner Foust introducing us to the Dodge Viper. Not only does he explain why it’s an extremely raw super car but he demonstrates just how much rubber it can lay down when you’re having fun. Then we transition into the first competition, between the Dodge Viper and a Cobra Attach helicopter. This is a recreation in essence of an episode from the British series. I won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say that there’s some high speed adrenaline pumping action.
This episode also includes a top speed shootout with three different Lamborghini’s driven by the hosts. They are all also driven around the test track by Top Speed USA’s in house driver, The Stig. The Stig is used as a reference point for cars that are brought onto the show by having one driver attempt the best time on their test track. At the end of this episode he had recorded 4 times, one for each Lamborghini and one for a Viper ACR. I have to say I was very disappointed in the track when we were introduced to it. It seemed like it wasn’t in very good repair and I don’t think it’ll hold up very well after having super cars ripping down it week after week.
We are also introduced in the weekly segment called “Big Star, Small Car”. Also a ported segment from the counterpart, the weekly activity involves bringing a celebrity onto the show and driving a designated car around the test track. The American version uses a Suzuki SX4 with a manual transmission, and the times are recorded on a score board similar to The Stig’s times. I was extremely happy to see that they used a car with a manual transmission instead of a slushbox. This should make this segment even more interesting than the British counterpart due to the fact that few American’s even know how to drive a manual. I think in the upcoming weeks we will see a number of celebrities embarrassing themselves on the track. This week’s celebrity was Buzz Aldrin, which since he was the first celebrity driver is at the top of the leader board. He had a respectable time and I think other celebs will have a tough time beating him.
The show is hosted by three guys, Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood. As much as I’ve heard about Tanner’s discomfort, I’d say the stand out is really Rutledge Wood. The whole episode he just seemed like he was anticipating seeing his first set of boobs. His lines seemed very scripted and he was always anxious in front of the camera. Their interaction isn’t quite in sync yet, but by the end of the episode you can tell they’re starting to settle in together.
I’m not a die hard fan of Top Gear, but a fan none the less. I did find the visuals very appealing and I can’t wait to see some of the other places they visit. Unfortunately throughout the episode I just kept waiting for some of Jeremy’s clever use of adjectives and metaphors and found myself left unfulfilled.I hope as the season goes on the hosts set in to a rhythm which could turn this into a great show.
What did you think about the show? Let us know in the comments.
Overall Score: C+ (with room to grow)