This is still Top Gear, but it’s watered down.
Unlike the previous cast, this one is a bit more youthful and a little less buttoned down. It’s not as informative, deep or even as irreverent as it once was during the Clarkson run, but that’s no surprise.
Production is as good as it ever was, and the editing is still a benchmark for the rest of the industry. The writing is fine for the review section (Ferrari vs McLaren), but for the main event, a drive through Ethiopia – I was truly disappointed.
I learned nothing. Nothing. There was nothing significant about the cars, the country, the geography, the people (other than a five minute foosball match with locals), the roads or the hosts offered to the audience. Worse; there wasn’t anything clever or thought provoking about the whole Ethiopian adventure.
They said things like, it’s “beautiful,” “amazing” and “This is my best day in a Porsch Boxter ever.”
Ethiopia was just a backdrop for a few Top Gear challenges.
- Chris Harris. Look, he’s friggin’ Chris Harris and we all know his accolades. He’s a proper automotive journalist and racer. He could do it all and he could do it all on his own. He’s the right guy for this show.
- Patrick Joseph “Paddy” McGuinness. According to Wikipedia he’s an English comedian, comedy actor, television personality and presenter of Irish descent. He was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, to Irish parents from County Tipperary.
He’s hard for Americans like me, with limited cognitive skills, to understand. He cusses a lot. He yells about – stuff… something, maybe something car related. I don’t know. I think he’s a car guy.
- Andrew Flintoff MBE, also known as Freddie Flintoff. Once again, according to Wikipedia, he’s an English television presenter, former international cricketer and former professional boxer. He’s originally from Lancashire, England.
He’s a jock.
At the end of the show, I realized my issue was with the writing and the new guys. What made the Clarkson/May/Hammond series so watchable wasn’t just their chemistry, is was the fact they are journalists. They are (somewhat) eloquent and managed to be clever from time to time.
Each one of the original Top Gear guys could dictate the periodic table and, in their own way, be entertaining. Not these new guys. Not yet. Maybe, if they are given better material to work with, they will improve.
Here, judge it for yourself.