Bold bold bold claim by Gizmodo, especially considering the sour taste left in everyone’s mouth after Series 23 of Top Gear. If you’re just joining us, Gizmodo UK put out a piece yesterday with big bold letter across the top: “Top Gear Is Better Than The Grand Tour.” The balls on Gizmodo, am I right?
In all seriousness though, the series premiere of Top Gear was incredible. Consolidating the presenting team down to Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid was absolutely the right move and it paid off handsomely. I loved watching the three of them together, and their chemistry was surprisingly on point, especially when you consider they have only been working together for two series’ (one if you count the three of them as a unit).
First some observations from Gizmodo:
“The first piece, in which Harris reviewed some Ferrari or other was competently produced, and even as a non-car person I understood why he liked the car. It felt like a statement of intent: That this is a show where personalities weren’t going to overwhelm everything else. The power-washer segment, in which LeBlanc destroyed a watermelon, a shed and a car was a nice visual spectacle too – even if it felt more like a YouTube video.
…it was a million miles away from the decidedly frostier atmosphere on The Grand Tour, in which boorish Clarkson ‘hilariously’ belittles his colleagues yet again.
Perhaps the best thing about the film though was that unlike The Grand Tour, it didn’t feel as though every moment was contrived or scripted.”
A few things; first off, the piece was written by a self professed “non car person,” so all we can really take away from this is that as a television show and nothing more, it’s entertaining, which is fine. How about those that are car people and have loyally watched all of Top Gear and The Grand Tour? Both are the type of show where having an interest in the material actually enhances and changes the experience.
Well, the enthusiasm of Harris and Reid is infectious, and it shows in the Ferrari FXX K segment. The chemistry between the three was refreshing after last season, and while they haven’t (or may never) approach the Jeremy, James, and Richard levels of chemistry, I felt that they worked very well together. The high mileage cheap car challenge was also fantastic to watch, and is something that I hope TGT does more in Season 2.
But “better than The Grand Tour” after one episode? That’s a bold claim. Yes, which show is “better” is subjective, but claiming the new series is better after one episode is slightly absurd. There are things that TG Series 24, Episode 1 does better (such as hiding the scripted a lot better and offering a bit of familiarity), but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “better.” Both shows are in essence in their first seasons, and hiccups came with that.
The Grand Tour needs to be less obvious about the scripted nature of the show and maybe should rely a bit less on the caricatures of Jeremy, James, and Richard, and Top Gear needs to do something about that weird celebrity segment they’re now doing, but overall, both shows are in a place where they are extremely enjoyable. If Top Gear can keep up the quality of the first episode for the remainder of the season, then fans are in for a treat.