Finally, the Madagascar special episode from our boys at The Grand Tour has been released, and to our surprise, a day earlier than expected. But as I’m sure you know, a load of big sites have been sitting on reviews for weeks under embargo because they, including us, got the episode early. You can read our review here, by the way.
So now everyone’s got to their computers to press the publish button, let’s take a look at what the big dogs thing. We thought it was an admirable episode. Not perfect, but a brilliant hark back to the traditions of Top Gear, just with a bigger budget. Others didn’t have such positive remarks…
The Telegraph gave it an incredibly negative review, with the subtitle to their web page even asking the boys to make this their “final outing” after watching the “massive let down”. They described the treasure hunt story as being ridiculous, and described the “shtick” of the trio as being “clapped-out”. I’m not sure we can agree here.
While The Telegraph admitted there were humorous moments, they complained that it was too long and rounded the review with a simple closing statement:
“The Grand Tour has become over-reliant on the trio’s chemistry and little else. It’s no longer entertaining enough to conceal this fatigued format’s ever more apparent flaws.”
Five out of five stars, the Radio Times website shines. Now here’s a review with so much positivity you could make Kim Jong-Un smile. Here’s just one example of their glowing praise:
“Along the way, there’s the usual hijinks that turned the former Top Gear trio into beloved household names, and one of the reasons The Grand Tour is so successful. It doesn’t really matter that they’re technically doing a motoring show, the entertainment of the trio alone is enough to keep us gripped for an hour and a half.”
While the Radio Times admits there’s no real change to the format, they proclaim that The Grand Tour simply isn’t broken, so there’s no need to go changing things in search for a fix.
The guys and gals at Stuff ask a simple question: have they gone too far? I don’t really know where this question comes from because there’s no real danger behind this episode, they don’t annoy the locals, and none of them got hurt.
Overall it is a mixed review, and these couple of paragraphs reflect that:
“But while there’s no shortage of entertainment, A Massive Hunt does raise the question of whether the former Top Gear presenters’ antics have finally “jumped the shark” and the “chief orangutan” and his buddies have gone too far.
“As if blocking roads, potentially ruining weddings, destroying football fields and blowing-up beaches wasn’t enough, the scenario feels a little forced – and laboured.”
We loved it. Like I said at the beginning of this article, it wasn’t perfect. But it was a wonderful return to form after a pretty awful boating episode late last year. Here’s how we conclude ours:
“Now, this wasn’t a perfect episode. It felt like a rerun of previous episodes just with a slightly different outcome, and some of the humour was a bit infantile for my personal liking, but overall it is a return to the top for the trio, especially after the previous episode.
“My one worry, however, isn’t the episode itself, it’s the structure of the series. Specials can get repetitive, and without any standard episodes with an audience, car reviews, and general sodding about by the hosts, is this going to get very dull very quickly as the trio flexes their large budgets around the world.
“Maybe, but that’s a worry for another time. Right now, I’m very much enjoying this return to form, and will not-so-patiently wait for the next.”