Like a large number of fans and critics, I was pretty disappointed in how Series 23 of Top Gear turned out, but I didn’t outright hate it. At the very least it was a still a motoring related show with a somewhat familiar format, so I took what I could get and still found certain aspects of the show to enjoy. One of those aspects was anytime Chris Harris and Rory Reid were onscreen, whether it was the main episode or the post-episode Extra Gear (which I often enjoyed more than the main episode).
While reading an article by BBC America the other day, I came to the realization that Harris and Reid will be the two to save Top Gear, not Matt LeBlanc. LeBlanc has his own charm and love of cars, but it will take two extremely knowledgeable yet charming hosts to bring the show back to its previous heights. We all loved Jeremy, James, and Richard for their humor, but it was their incredible knowledge of cars that made them whole. With Harris and Reid, while they are somewhat unknown at the moment, they have the ability to become the next Jeremy, James, or Richard more likely as individuals than as a whole.
I’ve been watching Chris Harris’ YouTube Channel Chris Harris on Cars for a number of years now, and I was thrilled when he was announced to be a part of new Top Gear. I have mentioned time and again that Harris’ review of the 2015 Mustang was that final push I needed to finally pull the trigger on buying one for myself.
Harris has this ability to be completely serious about the subject matter, yet he comes across as less a stiff professor and more of your mate chit chatting with you at a bar. He bursts with enthusiasm whenever he talks about cars, and it is clear to the viewer that he loves what he’s doing:
(Disclaimer: I was going to include the Mustang video that I mentioned above, but it appears that the BBC has removed Chris’ original channel due to copyright issues.)
I was less familiar with Rory Reid, but was curious when I saw how happy people seemed to be that he was added to Top Gear. I came upon the YouTube channel Fast, Furious, & Funny where Reid was a presenter, and it was clear to see why fans were thrilled with his addition to the show. Reid, like Harris, comes off as a genuinely enthusiastic everyman, someone we can all relate to. He’s extremely likeable and is a wealth of automotive knowledge. One needs to look no further than any old video with Reid to see why he’s a perfect fit for TG:
Both hosts make the topic of reviewing cars entertaining, even for those who aren’t gear/petrol heads. They unleash a barrage of brilliant anecdotes that paints a picture for anyone of any knowledge level to understand, all while sporting a huge grin. Both can drive as well…I mean really drive. One of the things I liked best about watching Jeremy, James, and Richard was the fact that they could make a spin around the track look extremely exciting (even though Richard’s was mostly trickery). Harris and Reid are the same behind the wheel.
In hindsight, what the BBC did with Series 23 was actually pretty smart; they threw seven presenters at the wall and waited to see what stuck. Not counting Joey, they came away with Chris Harris and Rory Reid, perhaps the two best candidates who could take over Jeremy, James, and Richard’s mantle. (Let’s face the facts that, Chris and Rory were put in an impossible spot to replace the boys under the circumstances, but what is done is done and let’s all hope they can do their best to make their own mark.)
It’s too early to tell, especially considering we have not yet seen one episode of Series 24, but if ever there were two people to save the show, it would be Harris and Reid.