Season 14 slid off track

liftwaffe

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I will just add my 2 cents here for the hell of it.

This far I would say season 13 had and season 14 has a very heavy feeling that they are running out of ideas.
But there is always something in every episode that I really enjoy,so I keep looking forward to the next one.
And that my friends is what makes TG great,sure it has its faults but dammit if I am gonna miss the next episode because the last one was not as good as the one before.

Regards

waffe
 

pebblepixie

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Bit late but I thought I?d wade in anyway ? I?ve been writing essays all week so one more won?t hurt?and I don?t care if you don?t read it :p

I think a lot of how I feel has already been said. By BerserkerCatSplat (# 68) for one. But I can also see why other people feel the way they do. We all care about TG, we?re worried about it for all kinds of reasons.

It?s got me thinking about the whole creative process. Making a TV show is the same as painting pictures, writing novels, making music. It?s a creative thing and creativity is a total bastard to control. When someone produces a piece of work that lots of people love they are immediately always faced with a dilemma. Do they make more of the same for those people who want their art to stay exactly as it is and run the risk of it becoming stale? Do they try to second guess what they?re audience might want? Or do they follow their own desires and inspirations to make the art that THEY want, regardless of what their audience may be telling them. It?s an impossible problem to resolve. You absolutely cannot please everyone.

I?ve always struggled with this thing that happens once someone or something becomes a huge success - that the public somehow begin to feel that they own it; that they can start to dictate how it should be made. We bloody can?t. Of course creators will hope and want their fans to like what they do but it?s really fucking presumptuous of us to sit here and say things like there should be more of this, less of that, the show should end etc. IT?S NOT OUR CREATION, it?s theirs. It?s Andy and Jeremy?s, James? and Richard?s and they can do what the hell they want with it. If they want to do hearse racing dressed as Frankenfurter from the Rocky Horror then they can (actually I?d pay good money to see that ;) ), if they want to wear beige and review a dull hatchback in Basingstoke they can do that too. The point is, I?ve always found when I?m painting - and I know other artists and musicians who feel the same - the work you do when you?re doing what YOU want to do is nearly always the best. The enthusiasm?s there, the inspiration?s there and the freshness is there.

So I really, really hope that they?re not just trying to second guess their audience because quite honestly I don?t think it?s possible. We all watch the show for different reasons and the variation between ?loved it? and ?hated it? for EACH episode is vast.

There are so many different criticisms aimed at the show right now and if I gave my opinion on all of them I?d send myself to sleep not just you guys :zzz: So how about what I love about it.

See, I didn?t start watching till series 9. I?d never seen a single minute until then. ?Top Gear? That?s cars ? boring?. And then I watched the American Roadtrip. I fell in love with the show right there in those 60 minutes, and fell in love with the 3 guys just a little bit too I think. And I?ve come to realise that, for me, what makes me happiest when watching a show is when they?re enjoying whatever it is they?re doing. I don?t expect every episode to have to surpass the last, I don?t want to see this car or that car, I don?t care what Richard does with his hair ? I just want them to make the show they want to make so I can lose myself in it for that hour each week. I love seeing mad cars I?ll never get to even sit in myself; I love living the experience vicariously; I love Jeremy?s outrageous generalisations and bizarre metaphors, James? looks to camera, Richard squealing as he drowns (again), seeing a Marina and waiting for the piano to fall.

And I also know what spoils the show for me. I?m with Skylock and Wyvern on this one. We do. It?s us here on FG and even more so on the TG blog. I read the comments people make and it makes me sad. Sad that so many people seem to be wanting to force the show down one path or another, to suit their own individual wants. Sad that they think its okay in some cases to just be so damn rude and heartless. Sad that all this talk of scripting and fakery is starting to taint my own viewing. Sad that at times I?ve sat there watching and been worried that some segment or other is going to be pulled apart by someone else, in public, probably on TG?s own website. It makes me sad and it makes me worry that one day soon they?ll just say ?Well fuck off then, we won?t bother any more.? And that would make me saddest of all.

Anyone still reading? Is that snoring I can hear? Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest because it?s been keeping me awake at nights
 

shesquint

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It occurs to me that we're lucky TG is a BBC production. However big their UK audience is, however big their worldwide syndication audience is, they never, ever have to worry about appeasing advertisers. They don't have to pander to the lowest common denominator or dumb things down in an effort todeliver the maximum number of eyeballs to the advertisers purchasing air time during their episodes. If declining ratings cause carriers in the U.S. or mainland Europe or Asia or what have you to drop it, it can still continue as a brilliant little UK show.

Some say that dumbing down is precisely what TG is doing, and that they need to stop worrying about their international audiences and go back to making their poky British motoring show. All I know is, it probably wouldn't hurt them to do so.

Anyway.

Have we considered the possibility that Jezza & Co. still pour their hearts into the show, but are simply tired of business as usual and looking for ways to change things up a bit for their own sake? (After all, we only see the end result of the enormous amount of work that goes into each episode; we aren't part of the exhausting grind of ideating and pre-production planning and scriptwriting and shooting and post-production.) Or that they're simply raring to take advantage of the bigger, brasher opportunities available to them now? Or that they're struggling with budget issues and the reticence of some manufacturers to let them drive and review their cars?
 
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Kiskaloo

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It occurs to me that we're lucky TG is a BBC production. However big their UK audience is, however big their worldwide syndication audience is, they never, ever have to worry about appeasing advertisers.
I would expect they have to appeal to license payers, however. After all, if a show is not generating any interest, the BBC likely cannot justify spending money producing it.

That being said, I do agree with you that a show like Top Gear would be allowed to "live" far longer - probably far longer - than it would on a commercial broadcast network like here in the US.
 

pink piranhas

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Wow Pebblepixie, you have read my mind. I've been struggling all week about how to express some of the very same things and you've done it far more eleoquently than I could have. Thank you and major rep. I hope it gets read by the right people.
I haven't read all of the postings on this subject here or over at Transmission (boy, that's like the wild west over there, Wyvern's brave for posting) because I do have other things that have to be done, but one of the things that really makes me mad is the expectation by some people that each episode be as good as or better than the best one ever. Yes, it's hard to accept the episode that doesn't work because of some of the amazing ones that have gone before, but I don't think it's because the boys want to make a clinker. I haven't seen many episodes from the early days but I'll bet there's eps (and parts thereof) that were great and ones that weren't. It's just what happens when people are involved and they're trying new things.
TG is at it's best when the boys are loving what they're doing, cars or whatever. If they're doing that, it'll be worth watching.
 

Wyvern

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I haven't read all of the postings on this subject here or over at Transmission (boy, that's like the wild west over there, Wyvern's brave for posting) because I do have other things that have to be done, but one of the things that really makes me mad is the expectation by some people that each episode be as good as or better than the best one ever.
I'm not brave really, just a bit wound up by the negativity. People are entitled to their opinions, but I don't see the need for harshness or rude language. I backed off when it started to descend into personal insults, though - that was completely unnecessary.

However - it does show how much people care about the show that an episode that has not been universally well received can arouse that much passion and debate even now, a week after it aired. While the criticisms from some quarters have been quite harsh, the Top Gear team can be heartened, in a way, that people care so much.

TG is at it's best when the boys are loving what they're doing, cars or whatever. If they're doing that, it'll be worth watching.
Couldn't agree more :)
 

GraemeH

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at the cost of many wrecked perfectly usable cars, especially the Renault Sport..
lrn2carreview

The car was a press demonstrator, once they've done their rounds through the hands of journalists they are crushed by the manufacturers. Top Gear didn't own the car, nor would they have been allowed to give it away. Either they destroy it for fun or they turn it back over to Renault's press department who crush it.
 

the Interceptor

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However - it does show how much people care about the show that an episode that has not been universally well received can arouse that much passion and debate even now, a week after it aired. While the criticisms from some quarters have been quite harsh, the Top Gear team can be heartened, in a way, that people care so much.
I think that this is a point so important that it needs to be emphasized: the main reason people (like us, not the treehuggers) criticise Top Gear is not because they hate it, but because they like it. If people would hate it, they wouldn't bother to speak up. But because we love it and some of us feel like it is taking a "questionable" direction, we discuss it. Of course there is a lot of passion involved, since Top Gear is the reason we're all here in the first place. But I think that everyone should concentrate on the matter, and if we probably even can make Top Gear a better show by voicing constructive criticism as well as accolade, we'll all have what we want.
 
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warren

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I've had a sudden brainwave. Top Gear is actually Iron Maiden!
No they're not, and here's why:

Iron Maiden's first seven albums were brilliant. The production on their first effort was thin and weedy, but it still had all-time classic tunes on it.
Except that that's /not/ how Iron Maiden started out. Ever hear of Tony Moore? Barry Purkis? Dennis Wilcock? No? How about Doug Sampson? Terry Wapram? Paul Day? Paul Cairns?

Not ringing any bells?

The band you came to know as Iron Maiden was a complete f'ing mess for the first four years. It took them (and by them, I really mean Steve Harris and whoever else he could nail down) nearly five years to produce their first album.

(Top Gear's equivalent of the weedy production was Jason Dawe).
Jason was fine; had he stuck around for a few seasons, he would've grown into a more natural TV personality... just like Richard and James did. Actually, had he stuck around and asserted his practical approach to cars, the show might not have careened off into the entertainment-first show it's become.

In the timeframe of the seventh album came the headline slot at Donington, where Iron Maiden played to 108,000 people (TG's highlight: the Bugatti Veyron versus James' washing machine race, in series 7). 1990s Maiden was of variable quality, but still with massive highlights such as the title track of Fear Of The Dark (their ninth album; TG's American road trip was in series 9)
That's really stretching it. By the time the Donnington shows happened, the band was falling apart and people were leaving due to a lack of interest in being with Iron Maiden. Their original artist stopped working with them in the early 2000s, too. This is not a problem Top Gear has shared -- the team has remained absolutely constant from 2003 onwards... there's high retention even among the crew and back office people.

Oh, and you can't really fit Blaze Bayley into your analogy, can you?

Twelfth album Brave New World saw the much-anticipated return of Bruce Dickinson, and a brief burst of "bloody hell, they're brilliant again!" before we all realised that the new line-up was still as hit-and-miss as it had been in the nineties.
That's your opinion, one which is not shared by the many Iron Maiden fans out there that aren't moping about how it isn't the 80s anymore.

And then Steve Harris was granted his wish to turn Iron Maiden into the seventies-style prog rock band he'd probably always wanted it to be (parallel the Clarksonisation[/i] of the most recent series, where there's been a bit too much cocking about and far too much of Jeremy being an exaggeration of what we know him for, possibly just to piss off the Daily Mail?)


The term you're looking for is Progressive Metal, which Maiden have correctly been identified as since the mid-1980s. In fact, Powerslave is widely credited as one of the first prog metal albums, and showed the way for basically everybody from Queensryche and Fates Warning to Dream Theater and King's X.***

Getting away from the Iron Maiden analogy now:

It's also an -extreme- stretch to suggest that the most recent series, and no others, reflects how Clarkson wants the show to be. It's been his and Andy's show all along, and the evolution of the show pretty much precisely reflects their evolving vision. For example -- by the time 2004 ended, they knew they wanted to do a show with a lot of 30-minute films with a lot of travel involved. There's been loads of those over the past six years. It's also pretty much always been a platform for Clarkson to air his views on the industry, and for him to make fun of its bad habits and sometimes inexplicable behaviour. Like that one episode with the chart depicting horse power on one axis, and double-decker buses on the other; and describing how much space horsepower would take if you were to spread it on the ground. It's completely pointless ("cocking about", if you will), and it's only funny if you understand that he's making fun of that particular form of analogy, like how large amounts of information might be measured in "libraries of congress".

There's a lot of that in Top Gear -- they're trying to make a point or communicate some feeling that isn't often made in the media these days, either because it's not politically correct, or because it's not the standard-issue "liberal" thing to think. They just happen to do it in outlandish and funny ways. I mean, for fuck's sakes, this is a show that dressed up someone as Osama bin Laden so as to demonstrate that speed cameras don't help catch real criminals!

If you don't understand this about Clarkson, then you're probably also the sort of person that thinks that George Carlin was a funny comedian because he could make funny faces and said "fuck" a lot on television.

I've been listening to Maiden since the 1980s, and I thought it was a horrid analogy. Sorry.


(*** and I'm not just getting this off Wikipedia; I've seen all these bands in concert, most of them more than once)
 
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MWF

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Seems the TG lurkers have been hanging around this thread, judging by the comments in an article about the 14x07 on the TG website. I won't post a link as you can all find it for yourselves and it does contain a couple of minor spoilers so:

(There is) a common perception of Top Gear these days ? that it?s all rather silly and set-up, all the better to ensure that at least one of the presenters ends up poking the wrong way out of an old shopping trolley careering towards a big pile of horse manure or something. In other words, it?s a bit contrived.
Amen to that.
 

pink piranhas

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Originally posted by Warren- (I'm still crap at how this stuff works)
It's also an -extreme- stretch to suggest that the most recent series, and no others, reflects how Clarkson wants the show to be. It's been his and Andy's show all along, and the evolution of the show pretty much precisely reflects their evolving vision. For example -- by the time 2004 ended, they knew they wanted to do a show with a lot of 30-minute films with a lot of travel involved. There's been loads of those over the past six years. It's also pretty much always been a platform for Clarkson to air his views on the industry, and for him to make fun of its bad habits and sometimes inexplicable behaviour. Like that one episode with the chart depicting horse power on one axis, and double-decker buses on the other; and describing how much space horsepower would take if you were to spread it on the ground. It's completely pointless ("cocking about", if you will), and it's only funny if you understand that he's making fun of that particular form of analogy, like how large amounts of information might be measured in "libraries of congress".

There's a lot of that in Top Gear -- they're trying to make a point or communicate some feeling that isn't often made in the media these days, either because it's not politically correct, or because it's not the standard-issue "liberal" thing to think. They just happen to do it in outlandish and funny ways. I mean, for fuck's sakes, this is a show that dressed up someone as Osama bin Laden so as to demonstrate that speed cameras don't help catch real criminals!

If you don't understand this about Clarkson, then you're probably also the sort of person that thinks that George Carlin was a funny comedian because he could make funny faces and said "fuck" a lot on television.

I know nothing about Iron Maiden so I'll just skip that part, but this describes one of the best things about TG-and why a "serious" car review on TG is so much more interesting than a review on First Gear (yes, I tried to watch it and failed). Clarkson is to cars as Jon Stewart is to news in the US.
 

TechZ

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Originally posted by Warren- (I'm still crap at how this stuff works)
It's also an -extreme- stretch to suggest that the most recent series, and no others, reflects how Clarkson wants the show to be. It's been his and Andy's show all along, and the evolution of the show pretty much precisely reflects their evolving vision. For example -- by the time 2004 ended, they knew they wanted to do a show with a lot of 30-minute films with a lot of travel involved. There's been loads of those over the past six years. It's also pretty much always been a platform for Clarkson to air his views on the industry, and for him to make fun of its bad habits and sometimes inexplicable behaviour. Like that one episode with the chart depicting horse power on one axis, and double-decker buses on the other; and describing how much space horsepower would take if you were to spread it on the ground. It's completely pointless ("cocking about", if you will), and it's only funny if you understand that he's making fun of that particular form of analogy, like how large amounts of information might be measured in "libraries of congress".

There's a lot of that in Top Gear -- they're trying to make a point or communicate some feeling that isn't often made in the media these days, either because it's not politically correct, or because it's not the standard-issue "liberal" thing to think. They just happen to do it in outlandish and funny ways. I mean, for fuck's sakes, this is a show that dressed up someone as Osama bin Laden so as to demonstrate that speed cameras don't help catch real criminals!

If you don't understand this about Clarkson, then you're probably also the sort of person that thinks that George Carlin was a funny comedian because he could make funny faces and said "fuck" a lot on television.

I know nothing about Iron Maiden so I'll just skip that part, but this describes one of the best things about TG-and why a "serious" car review on TG is so much more interesting than a review on First Gear (yes, I tried to watch it and failed). Clarkson is to cars as Jon Stewart is to news in the US.
When you want to quote someone, just click that "QUOTE" button below their post...or click "QUICK" and in the message box tick the option "Quote message in reply?"
 

pink piranhas

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Seems the TG lurkers have been hanging around this thread, judging by the comments in an article about the 14x07 on the TG website. I won't post a link as you can all find it for yourselves and it does contain a couple of minor spoilers so:



Amen to that.
When I watch something like the auto auction before the rally on Majorca, I struggle with figuring out the proportion of what is actually planned/scripted and what is the unscripted reaction to what happens as a result of the scripted "set up". Some of what seems to be "asides" are often the funniest parts.
Dang it fouled up the quote thingy again. Must go read the instructions again, but I meant to include the quote MWF included from TG website. Sorry.
 

pink piranhas

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When you want to quote someone, just click that "QUOTE" button below their post...or click "QUICK" and in the message box tick the option "Quote message in reply?"
I was to just show the last graphs, and I think it would have worked better if I hadn't deleted the beginning quote and ending quote in the square boxes when I did it, is that the way it works? I seem to have done it somehow before, I certainly need more coffee for this advanced work :)
 

warren

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I know nothing about Iron Maiden so I'll just skip that part, but this describes one of the best things about TG-and why a "serious" car review on TG is so much more interesting than a review on First Gear (yes, I tried to watch it and failed). Clarkson is to cars as Jon Stewart is to news in the US.
That's actually a really great way of putting it!
 

GullWing

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I take more of a Zen approach to Top Gear. I love it for whatever it is. I love it just the way it comes.

Sure there are things that are less funny/interesting than other things, but I don't want to dwell on what they're not giving us or where they should go or how they should do things differently.

It's THEIR show, people. If YOU could do it better, then you'd have a damn show. But you don't.

I am grateful for Top Gear, and since I don't have the knowledge or talent to make my own Top Gear, I don't feel I'm qualified to criticize it and nitpick on it incessantly. It's just this sort of pissing and moaning that keeps me away from this board so much.

Also, I'm going to be the first one to blame you whiners and complainers if TG meets an early end. You say you bitch about it because you like it. Bullshit. You'd support it if you liked it.

Enjoy it or don't. But I'm in it for the long haul. Clear out if you're disappointed. I'm tired of hearing about it. :shakefist:
 
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the Interceptor

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Let me make a simple analogy. I am responsible for a special interest magazine in real life. I have an idea of what kind of content to put into said magazine, something which I fortunately am pretty free in. But in the end, I can not live without the readers telling me what they liked, and - maybe even more importantly - what they didn't. There are certain things I put into the magazine because I want them in there. But in the end, I don't make it for myself. I make it for my readers. Therefore, I am very dependent of their view on things.

So let's take the other approach. Let's imagine I wouldn't get any feedback whatsoever. How would I know whether I'm taking the right path with the content of my magazine? If the sales figures would plummet, what could I do? I would have no idea what to change, since I wouldn't be aware of the cause of the problem.

That said, I am thankful for the input I get. And I'm positive so is the Top Gear team. If they don't want to read criticism, they can still avoid this thread. But they are intelligent people, and I think they know very well how to interprete what has been posted here. I understand every person who refrains from criticism of something they like. But don't think you're making things better with that.
 
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GullWing

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Sure. I'm happy to tell them everything that I particularly thought was GREAT about the show. I'd do that all day long, and they can take that an build on it. I think they're also intelligent enough to know what might not be working for some viewers.
 

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This is hard.

I'm not LOVING this series so far, but I certainly don't want it to end any time soon. I feel like they can still get out of the rut they seem to be stuck in. It felt really strange when I was at work yesterday - I got all excited a few times, thinking that Top Gear would be on and then realizing it wasn't - it's usually what gets me through my Sundays at work.

I like the idea of them taking a break to do other projects, because those are always so great! I'm very excited for the last couple episodes of Toy Stories. Everyone's other shows have been so great, and their books. Maybe if they just didn't do a summer series next year? Sure, I'd be sad about not having it, but it'd be entirely worth it to get that freshness back that old Top Gear episodes had.

I feel like it's spread to other things as well. I just got the new Big Book of Top Gear in the mail the other day, and while some bits are really great and I certainly don't wish I hadn't gotten it, a large amount of it seemed like they were trying to hard. The last one was just fantastic and hilarious on every page, but this one I've skipped over some things that didn't seem as good. The thing about the book is that they've actually added to the sort of repetitive bits with new stuff that wasn't in the old one and makes it feel new. If they could do that with the show It'd be prefect.

I'm actually quite looking forward to the next couple of episodes. There are some things that I've heard about that could maybe turn the series around? I'll have to wait and see. But even if that doesn't happen, I'm not gonna NOT watch the show, because there's so little quality on TV right now that even less-than-prefect Top Gear is better than most of it.
 
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