So, Top Gear America dropped last night on the History Channel. If you missed it, don’t worry; it’ll be on 7 more times this week. Here’s a taste I grabbed from my recording last night.
So, did it deliver? Well the answer varies from a resounding YES to NOT QUITE. We start off with a challenge to drive a Viper SRT10 through a town at top speed to avoid getting “killed” by an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. Next up was Buzz Aldrin in “Big Star, Small Car”. Finally we had three Lambos in a special . . . and that was about it. So, what did they do right, and what could have been better? Let’s break it down:
- Tanner Faust is an incredible driver and it was a joy to watch him tear it up with the Viper. However, every single line he said sounded like it was forced from some script by a guy who told him to pretend he was Jeremy Clarkson. Word to the wise, don’t do Clarkson-esque jokes without Clarkson. They only work because it’s HIM saying them! I hope he loosens up in episodes to come, cause he was REALLY stiff!
- Adam Ferrera was actually really good! Not all his jokes were funny, but the ones that were really delivered. He knew enough about cars to keep up with the other guys and seemed comfortable enough on camera to keep it going.
- Rutledge Wood was kind of the surprise hit as a host. He had the energy, the knowledge, and (most importantly) didn’t seem like he was trying to be a causal car guy. He actually felt like a casual car guy!
- Camera mounts need to be upgraded! Either that or the Lamborghini Balboni has the build quality of a Geo Metro. Seriously, when they passed 120MPH, you could no longer make out Faust’s details. He almost didn’t look human anymore!
- The test course is awesome. I actually like it more than the original!
- Perhaps it was just me, but I really didn’t like how it felt like they were explaining EVERYTHING to us. I understand why they felt they needed to; I know he’s the Stig, I know why he doesn’t talk, but maybe the rest of America doesn’t.
- Thank goodness they had Ferrera interview Aldrin. Aldrin can go on and on and on if not kept in check. An interview between him and Faust would have lasted forever. As it was, it was simply “Which cars do you like? Which have you owned? Want to see your lap?”
To all the nay-sayers out there (and trust me, there are a LOT), I say chill out. If you go back and watch the first two seasons (series) of Top Gear, they were horrible. There was no dynamic between the hosts, and many of the hosts aren’t even there anymore. People are so quick to forget that Top Gear has 15 seasons (in it’s current incarnation alone) to perfect what it has now. If we can give these guys a season to hone things, I’m expecting good things!
NOTE: Oh, and in reference to the title; in the final skit, they raced the Lambos against each other in a standing mile. Ferrera was in the Superleggera and made sure to point out he was turning on the launch control. Down went the pedal and out came the profanities. 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, man that thing can haul!