Season 3, much better than I ever expected

PeterT

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Full disclosure, when I first read that the History Channel was producing an American version of Top Gear UK--I show that I loved and watched religiously--I anticipated they'd do cheap rip off of an original idea, think "Life on Mars" UK and the American version. Frankly, season 1 validated those expectations. It was a watered down version of the same format, including the "Stig"--a high concept character who translates poorly to the less class conscience US and all on a smaller budget.

Then something unexpected and very interesting happened.

The producers of Top Gear USA re-engineered the show. They removed the bad ideas like the US Stig and "Big Star, Small Car"--the Brits were already doing that, why repeat?

They also allowed Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood to play themselves rater than American copies of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Left to their own, Ferrara, Foust and Wood seem like genuinely likeable guys who are developing a group dynamic very different from the competitive back stabbing satire act that Clarkson, May and Hammond have developed. I enjoy watching our guys playful buddy-buddy ribbing and dousing each other during the taxi spoof. I was also touched by Adam expressing what appeared to be genuine concern for Rutledge when the big guy rolled that racing truck. It also seems far more logical to employ Top Gear USA's genuine racing expert--Tanner Foust--to do the fast driving bits the UK's Top Gear needs their Stig for.

What is really surprising to me is that the more I come to enjoy the American show, the less I enjoy Top Gear UK. The British original seems to have become tired and repetitive this last season.
 

benzatron

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I think you make some good points.
Removing US Stig and "Big Star, Small Car" were both positive in my mind. The Big Star, Small Car segment was pretty half hearted on the US show, and the US stig videos were pretty flat with bland narration. They didn't even bother to introduce the test track at the beginning properly, so for me it felt as though they were just fanging around a car park somewhere.
I might go against the trend a little hear but I think Adam Ferrara is the weakest out of the three presenters. I don't see him as having chemistry with anyone and his demeanour is pretty contrived. I'm sure he's a good guy, but on the show his "role" in the trio is just irritating. The ironic thing is that he seems to have some of the most epic scenes out of the entire series, so with a little tweaking I think he could actually be the one that strengthens the show the most.

In regards to TGUK, I actually think they've had more mediocre seasons than good seasons now. It's just that their good seasons were absolutely brilliant!

Anyway, I hope TGUS continue to improve. I know others give criticism about how they always have challenges and not many car tests. Who cares? There's plenty of places you can view shallow car reviews online and in magazines. I'd rather a challenge over a review any day, even if it isn't completely original!
 

Four Five Eight

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Season 3 has been pretty good but I still think they can do better than this if they really put themselves up to the challenge, I guess Big start small car was never really that good but I think the Stig was under utilised and they should try and do a review now and then, there are a lot of cars on the american market which could do with a proper top gear review which likely won't happen on the original Top Gear because they only do 6 or 7 episodes a series and don't really have the time for them and should use that time on Ferraris and what not.
 

nameless1

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I never like TGUS from the start primary because of their nobby presenters, but this season's content is really awesome, the places they travel and the thing they do rocks, now it has become more than watchable for me, especially compared to current state of TGUK which isnt really good in my opinion, not even their specials arent what they used to be.
If only TGUS presenters were better, show would be great...
 

Four Five Eight

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I never like TGUS from the start primary because of their nobby presenters, but this season's content is really awesome, the places they travel and the thing they do rocks, now it has become more than watchable for me, especially compared to current state of TGUK which isnt really good in my opinion, not even their specials arent what they used to be.
If only TGUS presenters were better, show would be great...
What do you mean compared to the current state of Top Gear, compared to Top Gear Top Gear US is still just a reasonably good history channel program featuring motor vehicles.
 

Lynxfx

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What do you mean compared to the current state of Top Gear, compared to Top Gear Top Gear US is still just a reasonably good history channel program featuring motor vehicles.
Not really, the last couple series of TG:UK have sucked. Only a couple of the episodes were decent IMO. On the whole, I think I've enjoyed Season 3 of US more than I enjoyed Series 17 and 18 of UK. The only real negative I have of the US is that they are forced to include commercial breaks which then has History putting in a bunch of recaps and "coming up" bumpers. It would be so much better if they could just do a solid 45 minute show.
 

Red Falcon

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I think things are going pretty well.

There are some aspects that still bother me though: like the 40mph races behind the camera car, Rutledge giving up too easily on challenges and the "destruction for the sake of destruction", but apart from that, I am absolutely LOVING to see the chemistry between the guys. They're really managing to convey a feeling of friendship between them, and that is a great thing :)
 
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Sandy106

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I think things are going pretty well.

There are some aspects that still bother me though: like the 40mph races behind the camera car, Rutledge giving up too easily on challenges and the "destruction for the sake of destruction", but apart from that, I am absolutely LOVING to see the chemistry between the guys. They're really managing to convey a feeling of friendship between them, and that is a great thing :)
The only thing in that list that bothers me personally is the 40mph thing, but TGUK does that as well. There's really no way around it in filming. If they had a real race where one of them took off at 150mph it wouldn't be possible to show any footage of the car since it'd be miles ahead.
 

Booster

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I actually liked season 1 and 2 and am annoyed with season 3's format change, or rather, format delete.

The segments are too scripted and unbelievable. Some of the challenges have been OK, but I largely do not like the format change or the obvious scripting. The taxi challenge was just terrible, and having Adam "thrown out" so Tanner could conveniently win and drive the McLaren vs NASCAR duel was just unbelievable - Tanner was going to drive that duel the entire time and having him "fake" win the opportunity was lame. It was obviously scripted that way.

The characters (and they are characters now, not presenters, because of the heavy scripting) are not relatable to me. As a Yank, I relate more to the UK presenters because despite this big divide known as the Atlantic Ocean and the obvious cultural difference I share common experiences and likes/interests as those guys and can relate to them. That's their draw.

I'll stop ranting. I am looking forward to season 4 of TGUS.
 

billhood

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I'm sure he's a good guy, but on the show his "role" in the trio is just irritating. The ironic thing is that he seems to have some of the most epic scenes out of the entire series, so with a little tweaking I think he could actually be the one that strengthens the show the most.
 
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