TGT is a fail and here's why

gaasc

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I believe it is just too similar to disconnect. Most of their segments (all?) seem just to be the old CHM segments but cut down juuuust enough to pass legal.

This is a bad way to go about things. As it makes the comparisons inevitable (as you have mentioned) and TGT comes out losing. CHM also sold it as being very different from their TG thanks for the freedom of being able to scrap the old tired format...only to end with a lesser version of that tired old format.

With a name such as "The Grand Tour" you also get some expectations. Personally, I wanted to see something similar to another old Clarkson show, Motorworld. All three of them driving around countries and soaking up their motor industry and car culture. Clarkson could show the superlatives on a roadtest, Hammond could do all the motorsport risky stuff and I can't think of many people better than James May to make boring automotive technology interesting (as evidenced by Cars of the People) The only thing they have done that is remotely similar to that is those fifteen seconds or so in the intro where they drive cars relevant to the country of the week.

No tent, no studio audience, no track, no American (which, like Celebrity Brain Crash, I am sure will not be making a return for next series. The Eboladome is also very likely to be quietly dropped instead of just getting a new driver). It would keep banter on the actual roadtrip bits, car guys would see some nice car porn and they could frame it all on a rough script on where to go and why.

tl;dr: The new show underdelivers to fans when faced against the hype or the possibilities when starting a show from scratch.
 

TC

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Yeah, that is the mental mistake I was referring to ;) You have to disconnect yourself from it and trying seeing it with new eyes.
That's like watching a movie you've seen a dozen times and telling yourself to not remember how it ends.
 

Dino

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Very much what gassc said.

While it's admirable wanting to give the show the best chance, mental gymnastics seems a bit over the top. TGT was not born in an environment without references and precedence, and there are just too many similarities with CHM's previous show (which shall not be named :D) to ignore:

CHM - Less beard and hair / More beard and hair - Check
Location - Hangar / Tent - Check
Studio audience - Check
Testtrack - Dunsfold / someone's backyard - Check
Driver - The Stig / The American - Check
Leaderboard - Analog / Digital - Check
Celebrities - Alive / Dead - Check
Talking portion - The News / Conversation Street - Check
Reviews or films punctuated by studio bits - Check
The list goes on...

As others noted, the dance of legal loopholes is there for everyone to see.

I'm not telling anyone not to enjoy themselves, but please don't tell me to pretend like this show is something it is not. It's the showthatmustnotbenamed's team trying to do what they know, but slightly different. Nothing more, nothing less. And that's ok.
 
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Mr. Nice

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This kind of show is what I used to feel would be something to fill the gaps between Top Gear. It should be said that this show improved when Carlos Lago left (nevermind that he has now returned and once again has his own show, he still sucks as a presenter, no matter what his fanboys say).


I was hoping that The Grand Tour would have the kind of imagery that is in Cammisa's review, along with a less "reality TV" (i.e. heavily scripted entertainment which does a poor job of looking like off the cuff interactions) feel than Top Gear had grown to embody near the end, and that TGT seems to have wholeheartedly adopted. It's almost as if the script writing over the years has gone from trying to mimic the actual type of conversations CHM may have, to ballooned, cartoonish representations of male interactions. This, accompanied by weak and overimagined premise, is what turned me away from further watching.
 
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Dino

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Having watched the special, why isn't the whole show like that? Is it really impossible to take $50mil. and make 6 of those every year? I just don't understand.

Not even gonna metion that it's another similarity to TG...
 

Mitchi

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I believe it is just too similar to disconnect. Most of their segments (all?) seem just to be the old CHM segments but cut down juuuust enough to pass legal.

This is a bad way to go about things. As it makes the comparisons inevitable (as you have mentioned) and TGT comes out losing. CHM also sold it as being very different from their TG thanks for the freedom of being able to scrap the old tired format...only to end with a lesser version of that tired old format.

With a name such as "The Grand Tour" you also get some expectations. Personally, I wanted to see something similar to another old Clarkson show, Motorworld. All three of them driving around countries and soaking up their motor industry and car culture. Clarkson could show the superlatives on a roadtest, Hammond could do all the motorsport risky stuff and I can't think of many people better than James May to make boring automotive technology interesting (as evidenced by Cars of the People) The only thing they have done that is remotely similar to that is those fifteen seconds or so in the intro where they drive cars relevant to the country of the week.

No tent, no studio audience, no track, no American (which, like Celebrity Brain Crash, I am sure will not be making a return for next series. The Eboladome is also very likely to be quietly dropped instead of just getting a new driver). It would keep banter on the actual roadtrip bits, car guys would see some nice car porn and they could frame it all on a rough script on where to go and why.

tl;dr: The new show underdelivers to fans when faced against the hype or the possibilities when starting a show from scratch.
This is a very, very, very good post. Thanks for writing that.
 

Cowboy

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Another one for gaasc's idea, while I would love to see the show 'come home' and become more British again, under the 'international' Amazon banner it's not gonna happen....this might be the best alternative yet.
 

mpicco

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I completely disagree... Britain is a small part of the world and That old CHM show has been all over it. I'm sure there are a couple of locations to show off, but it's been covered. The world on the other hand is big, huge, there's a lot to see and show.

Also, if there was more britishness, this thread would be named "TGT is the same old rubbish".
 

Hive

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I'm just glad the three are together and making shows again about cars (kinda sorta).
 

Cowboy

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I completely disagree... Britain is a small part of the world and That old CHM show has been all over it. I'm sure there are a couple of locations to show off, but it's been covered. The world on the other hand is big, huge, there's a lot to see and show.

Also, if there was more britishness, this thread would be named "TGT is the same old rubbish".
The problem with the whole huge world is that it does not have a consistent vibe, feel, a mood, sure there is alot to see and show, by all means show it, like they did with the old TG challenges, I mean who else would give us the image of a red Hi-lux in the artic?
But they need a home, something to fall back one where the feel and mood is consistent, where they can do the smaller stuff and studio bits, this is why I feel the travelling circus thing with the tent does not really work, it's something different every time and it's just weird, but 'Britain' did.

Sure there would be complaints about it beeing the same old thing again.....not from me though, besides, when TGT was announced they promised us it would still very much be a British based show, so so far 1 film, Whitby (a wasted opportunity) and the eboladrome bits ( a bargain basement option it seems considering Britain is littered with disused airfields, military bases and rarely used racetracks) are all what that was about then?
 
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jackbauer24

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I couldn't understand how they could forbid such a thing, but wasn't having a permanent studio setup one of the things that they're not legally allowed? Too much like the other show, per the BBC.
 

Four Five Eight

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I couldn't understand how they could forbid such a thing, but wasn't having a permanent studio setup one of the things that they're not legally allowed? Too much like the other show, per the BBC.
I doubt it, All that "legally allowed" stuff was just their sense of humour when promoting the show I think people take the guys too seriously sometimes. The tent I suspect was just the result of Clarkson having an idea to make things different to the old show. Mr Wilman as he's known now talked about it once how Jeremy came in one day saying, "We should have a tent!" and how when Amazon asked them what their ideas were for the show the first thing he said was "Let me tell you about my brilliant tent idea" despite Mr. Wilman thinking it would be too expensive.
 

skylock

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I think it comes down to, they created the best show "in the world" and now they are trying to create another one with one arm tired behind them. The first few shows came out with no real feed back from the fans. They were winging it.

I can't even imagine how hard what they are trying to do.

There are parts that don't grab me, including the, so he-she won't be coming on then. A throw back maybe to the v running gag of the dacia. But it is no big deal. I hate the American because he is so rude and crude. I am hoping that bit gets better.

I would say right now I am 50 50 on it. Still gonna watch though. It is hard to come back from what they had to do it all over again without running afoul of the bbc. I say they will hit their stride again.
 

Dr_Grip

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I don't know if anyone of you is into wrestling, but for me, the problem of TGT is blatantly obvious: What they are missing is the heel, the villain everyone loves to hate. A role played well (and with some pleasure) by the BBC and the left-leaning British media (The Guardian). The references to pressure groups, BBC meddling and so on, as well as the actual need to work around the boundaries set by the BBC and/or Ofcom provided a great backdrop to play against and also kept the too-schoolboyish tendencies of the guys in check.

Now, they are a face without a heel, a hero without a purpose, and even The Guardian is pitying them.
 

mpicco

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Didn't know that old show was about a challenge between heroes and villains... o_O
 

Dr_Grip

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Well, Clarkson and the guys clearly are lost without some boss-man they have to try to sneak stuff past.
 

Cowboy

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I don't know if anyone of you is into wrestling, but for me, the problem of TGT is blatantly obvious: What they are missing is the heel, the villain everyone loves to hate. A role played well (and with some pleasure) by the BBC and the left-leaning British media (The Guardian). The references to pressure groups, BBC meddling and so on, as well as the actual need to work around the boundaries set by the BBC and/or Ofcom provided a great backdrop to play against and also kept the too-schoolboyish tendencies of the guys in check.

Now, they are a face without a heel, a hero without a purpose, and even The Guardian is pitying them.
That is a very good point, never looked at it that way, let's call it the 'naughtyness factor'.
 

Valgehiir

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Now, they are a face without a heel, a hero without a purpose, and even The Guardian is pitying them.
So true!

Clarkson's rebellion against political correctness of BBC and The Guardian was very much big part of TG's success and charm, looking back it is now clear that this was big part of made Clarkson and TG to try their hardest, and now that the 3 guys are set free they have lost their purpose, GT is aimless. Good writing and some fresh ideas would fill that void, but instead they are making a lazy parody of themselves.

Curiously it's The Guardian, who always hated them but for wrong reasons, now offers great constructive criticism, there is great article on Jan 6th, "Clarkson's bracelets to Hammond's ice-cream: The Grand Tour is too desperate to offend":

"... Only now is it becoming clear that Clarkson and the BBC belong together. They?re two sides of the same coin. The BBC needs Clarkson to provide a bite that?s absent elsewhere, and Clarkson needs the BBC to rebel against. Just look how weirdly they?re both doing on their own; the BBC?s new Top Gear was a flop, and Clarkson is twisting in the wind without a superior to needle. At the BBC, he gained cachet by being an irritant. But at Amazon, he?s just a tiny cog in a vast corporation that makes money by selling toilet roll to people. Amazon doesn?t care what Clarkson does. And if they don?t, why should we?

The outrage.
The saddest thing about Richard Hammond?s recent ?ice-cream is for gay people? rant isn?t that Hammond thinks ice-cream is effeminate. Nor is it that the segment made it to air. No, it?s that poor Hammond was trying so hard to cause offence. He was really straining to get there, the poor lamb. He was breaking his back to say something that warranted a thinkpiece, and the best he could come up with is ?ice-cream is gay?. The only thing sadder than all his effort was the fact that the episode had been online for five days before anyone even noticed he?d said it.

People watched Top Gear because they enjoyed seeing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May interact with the world. They liked watching what an ill fit these three unkempt berks were, and how badly they reacted to failure. Unfortunately, this prompted Top Gear to start manufacturing its own failure; baking cock-ups and explosions into the premise of each new film at the point of concept. And this has continued over into The Grand Tour. Unless they?re doing something as silly as episode two?s Edge of Tomorrow spoof, you can often see the hosts glumly going through the motions. The lack of spontaneity in the new show is deadening, and the reliance on premeditated catastrophe feels like a sign that Clarkson, Hammond and May have lost confidence in themselves.

Leaving aside his opinions on frozen desserts, Hammond is consistently the worst thing about The Grand Tour. He now exists purely as the show?s Mansplainer In Residence. Whenever Clarkson or May say something funny, as they sometimes will, you can bet your bottom dollar that Hammond will pipe up with a ?No, because?? or a ?Yes, but?? that will not only kill any humour, but loot its pockets and spend all its spare change on chips as well. The man must be stopped.

Jeremy Clarkson?s bracelets.
For the life of me, I don?t know when they started to appear. But now that I?ve noticed them clanging around his wrists, they?re all I can see. Clarkson wears loads of bracelets, all at once, like his arm is a great big gap year curtain rail. It?s a little thing, and it shouldn?t bother me, but after all the trumpeting about the endless global logistics that go into making The Grand Tour, all I can think of when I see Clarkson is him standing at airport security, mumbling apologetically to the people behind him as he tries to wiggle one bracelet after another over his hands. Please, someone buy him a wire-cutter."
 

Revelator

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Nothing I remember fondly about Top Gear had much to do with the restrictions by the BBC (which usually gave the team lots of freedom and money) or the Guardian. So far I've come across one piece of genuinely constructive criticism on this thread, which is that TGT could do more in the countries the tents are placed.
All in all, I'm amused that after half of decade of moaning about how shitty and awful Top Gear was, we're now condemning TGT for not reaching the heights of Top Gear. And yet I bet that in 2020 there will be a thread about how The Grand Tour has declined from the greatness of its first series.
 
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Wing Nut

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All in all, I'm amused that after half of decade of moaning about how shitty and awful Top Gear was, we're now condemning TGT for not reaching the heights of Top Gear. And yet I bet that in 2020 there will be a thread about how The Grand Tour has declined from the greatness of its first series.
Considering the title of this thread, I was wondering if TGT has to match relaunched TGUK's 14 year run before it's considered 'not-a-fail'? If TGT closes after the 3 year initial run, is that a fail or a success in the eyes of the OP? :think:
 
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