What I'd like to see in Season 2...

jmb

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Overall, TGT has been "fine" - some good episodes, some not so good. A few haters kicking around here, but hey, it's the internet... But going forwards, what should they change?

For me:

- lose celebrity brain crash (I don't know if the *need* a celeb for any reason? If you do, find a way to use them "properly", or just don't bother)
- use the damn location. Why go to Lapland and *not* do an Ice-driving segment? Why go to Loch Ness but then review the luxury 4WD cars in southern Germany? Use those lovely Scottish roads you showed us! Why go to Nashville and say there's a great museum, but not show it to us? Same for the Porsche museum... I realise this makes filming harder but if you're going to pick the "grand tour" theme, at least do something with it!
- lose lap times. A bit more controversial, but I don't really care. The American got less annoying as time went on, but overall I'm massively indifferent to these
- stop the characterising - the "banter" works without turning all three of them into some cartoon version of themselves. Yes we know James is "slow", yes we know Jezza is an oaf, yes we know Hammond is a secret American... but if you have to do naff gags to explain those personalities, they stop being funny. If you're worried about new viewers not "understanding" who the three presenters are... well just be consistent and they'll work it out.

For the most part, that's all that bothered me to any great extent. Even some of the falling-over/on-fire segments were funny and entertaining; even though I prefer the "road trip" type stuff
 

Wing Nut

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Overall, TGT has been "fine" - some good episodes, some not so good....

.... If you're worried about new viewers not "understanding" who the three presenters are... well just be consistent and they'll work it out.
I agree on both those.

On the latter, however, it's a rare TV show nowadays that feels it can survive on bare-bones personalities alone. It's probably a 'reality TV' thing - find a trait in each participant and then exaggerate it so even the dumbest new viewer can get the joke. It's probably related to the urge to introduce a TV show with 2 - 3 minutes of out-takes of what to expect in the next hour (= 35 minutes). Today's viewers apparently won't stick around to find out unless they're first served up a condensed version, but this spoils it for fans of the show - a group many producers no longer fuss over <_<

At least TG and TGT's intros only show 3 short disconnected clips with a witty voice-over - not so much spoilers, but very handy when you're looking for a certain show with just episode numbers to go by.
 

Revelator

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lose celebrity brain crash (I don't know if the *need* a celeb for any reason? If you do, find a way to use them "properly", or just don't bother)
IIRC they're legally prohibited from "properly" using celebs (having them appear and do laps), so Brain Crash is a send-up of the celebrity-appearance concept. I don't mind it as much as most folks here do, but if they get rid of it they'll need to devise something new (which could be interesting), because the segment has been used to separate lengthy items and calibrate the show's pacing.

use the damn location. Why go to Lapland and *not* do an Ice-driving segment? Why go to Loch Ness but then review the luxury 4WD cars in southern Germany?
I think this is a good idea, but implementing it could be very complicated. From what I can tell, TGT goes out and films a large group of stories, takes them to Britain for editing, and then divides the items between different episodes. Doing location-themed material would mean selecting and confirming the tent locations far in advance and then planning items around each of them, which is logistically more difficult than it sounds. I'd like to see this happen, but I'd understand why Wilman and company might balk.

Lose lap times. A bit more controversial, but I don't really care. The American got less annoying as time went on, but overall I'm massively indifferent to these.
I think the more car-oriented part of the audience would miss the lap times rather badly. The American could be improved by giving him better lines, recording the studio audience's reaction to them, and having him interact more with CHM.

stop the characterising - the "banter" works without turning all three of them into some cartoon version of themselves
Speaking subjectively, I think TGT has been a little better about this than the later series of Top Gear. The one thing that does tend to be overdone is Hammond's supposed stupidity. They should let him be a bit more clever and devious.
 

TopGearNorthAmerica

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A few things to remember:

"Celebrity Brain Crash" serves a purpose in that it allows the producers to break up the main filmed segment, creating a reason for the viewer to stick around for the end. It also serves as a way to introduce an in-studio segment where the Trio fart around with the audience.

Certainly CBC can be phased out, but something has to replace it, to preserve the break in the main filmed segment. I think they've found it in the "traction control" film. Essentially a three minute video *not* featuring the trio focusing on some of the more obscure or ridiculous aspects of the petrolhead life.

The American / lap times: Those will have to be kept, you can't review a car without some universal standard of measurement and the lap time does just that. (And, with rumours about Dunsfold being rezoned, TGUK may not be doing them any longer.) As for the American, he doesn't have to be funny, but he *does* need to be "authentic" -- for example, if he senses a lap time will be slow due to weather, he ought to say so.
 

TheGreenBastard

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For me:

- lose celebrity brain crash
- lose lap times.
- stop the characterising -

I feel your pain. I think think the main problem is the same problem that most programs face when they continue in a different format... they're trying to continue with the same ingredients that made everyone fall in love with them the first time, but they have to consider all the newcomers who have never seen the show in the past... Personally, I think this degrades the viewer by assuming they would be lost and they can't so their own homework, which anyone who truly enjoys the show would have no trouble doing.
 

neutron

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My gripes with the show start with the title sequence. Top Gear intro was a very professional and well edited intro with Jessica theme. Jessica is a timeless Southern rock classic that invokes a certain nostalgic feeling.

Grand Tour, on the other hand, has a "goofy" custom made intro theme that sounds like one of those royalty free soundtracks that would be more at home in those awful "funniest videoclips" shows with celebrity reactions. That, coupled with the drone falling gag and misspelled names undeniably show that while Top Gear was a car show with entertainment elements, Grand Tour is most certainly an entertainment show with a vague relation to cars. The intro also sets up for disappointment since they are seen travelling in the country with three interesting cars related to that country, what we actually get is some boring and completely unrelated segment.

I think that what this show lacks the most, is purpose. Several segments have been done "just because they can", without a thesis, a task and a conclusion.

Several episodes have been panned both by the core Top Gear fans (usually found here), and the "entertainment show" fans, and one of the criticisms has been that it's scripted. Umm, hello?! Top Gear has been scripted since Season 1! What they actually mean is that the quality of scripting has gone down, and it is obvious that either the team has changed, or they just don't give a fuck about writing. I read that one of the new writers was hired from Sniff Petrol - that explains so much, since I dislike their brand of humour as well.

People often say that this show would be much better if they just were themselves. No, it wouldn't be better - it's very, very hard to make good and compelling television without a script and relying just on the off-the-cuff remarks being funny. However, the writing team needs an upgrade.

I yesterday watched one of my favourite episodes of all time - S18E01, where they take Aventador, MP4-12C and Noble M600 to Italy, visiting Nardo high speed ring, Rome, Luca and other interesting points of interest on their way to Imola. This episode showed what Grand Tour lacked:
1) Purpose
2) Genuinity
3) Excitement.
 

Revelator

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Grand Tour, on the other hand, has a "goofy" custom made intro theme that sounds like one of those royalty free soundtracks that would be more at home in those awful "funniest videoclips" shows with celebrity reactions.
It is pretty bland.

That, coupled with the drone falling gag and misspelled names undeniably show that while Top Gear was a car show with entertainment elements, Grand Tour is most certainly an entertainment show with a vague relation to cars.
Or a car show with a sense of humor. Remember the absurd "In this week's episode" descriptions in Top Gear?

I think that what this show lacks the most, is purpose. Several segments have been done "just because they can", without a thesis, a task and a conclusion.
And a lot of Top Gear has been repeatedly described by its makers and audience as "cocking about." Purpose is a very nebulous concept.

Several episodes have been panned both by the core Top Gear fans (usually found here), and the "entertainment show" fans, and one of the criticisms has been that it's scripted.
And before that Top Gear was regularly, almost monotonously panned for being scripted. Plus ?a change, plus c'est la m?me chose.

I read that one of the new writers was hired from Sniff Petrol - that explains so much, since I dislike their brand of humour as well.
Well, the "script editor" (i.e., head writer) for TGT is Richard Porter, who runs Sniff Petrol. But Porter was also the script editor for Top Gear, from 2002 onward. He's even written a book--And On That Bombshell: Inside the Madness and Genius of Top Gear--which should be on any TG fan's shelf. One of the chapters is devoted to the frequent complaint "it's scripted!"

I yesterday watched one of my favourite episodes of all time - S18E01, where they take Aventador, MP4-12C and Noble M600 to Italy, visiting Nardo high speed ring, Rome, Luca and other interesting points of interest on their way to Imola.
Great, but if you look at the talkback thread, you'll see how everyone was saying how nice it was compared to previous episodes of Top Gear!
I'm not trying to dismiss your criticisms--the scripting could be better (I'd like to sit Porter and Clarkson down in front of some Buster Keaton films)--but some of the demerits of the new show were demerits of the old show too. The Jordan episode was about as bad as the Sweeney one, and in the same way--excessively stupid behavior coupled with undercooked gags.
 

neutron

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Funnily enough, I rather enjoyed the Jordan episode for what it was. I'd say that the enviro-mental car and Barbados car reef films were the worst points of the season.

Sorry for disinformation, and thanks for fact correction regarding Richard Porter. And yes, I know that it was good compared to the usual, that's why I said it's one of my faves, and I hold it as a peak that TGT should hope of achieving. But remember that the previous one was India Special! :D

Yes, people (maybe myself included) will compare the highest points of Top Gear with the lowest points of Grand Tour, forgetting such gems as the ambulance movie or Sweeney segment, but the problem is that I see the potential in TGT, and for me, wasted potential is much worse than plain disappointment.

Currently I've liked exactly 50% and disliked exactly 50% of episodes - I've counted. That's still worse than Top Gear even at its worst, in which the signal/noise ratio was better. Who knows, maybe a rewatch or two will change my mind.

Regarding the quote about scripting, I meant that garnered criticism not only from us, the die-hard fans on FinalGear who nit-pick every single detail, but also the audience which usually loves Top Gear Comedy? and think that Hammerhead iThrust segment was the funniest shit ever. I've seen similar universal reactions only to India Special, and that's saying something.
 

Chibouki

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"Celebrity Brain Crash" serves a purpose in that it allows the producers to break up the main filmed segment, creating a reason for the viewer to stick around for the end. It also serves as a way to introduce an in-studio segment where the Trio fart around with the audience.
Yep!

On Top Gear they were able to do the lap times with the Stig during the day and interview the celebrity for the studio recording. Whatever they do next they must deal with it since that they move... "Around the world" and it is even harder to record.

So keeping that in mind.



What I would like to see to replace that segment could be (If it is legally possible):

Let's say the tent is in UK. During the day a celebrity drive the car of their dream (Rowan Atkinson and a McLaren P1, Jay kay with a vintage F1 or Chris Evans and a G-Wiz or for example), they do some city, some track, try to park it, do a little shopping, off-roading, etc... (Whatever suits the celebrity, the journey and the location) while the crew is filming.

The celebrity shows up in the window with the car waving to the crowd than come inside the tent and has a car interview with segments of the journey.

I would like something like that to replace celebrity brain crash if possible.
 
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Elijah B.

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I think the part that bugs me the most and could be improved on is The American. I can see where in a meeting that a grumpy NASCAR driver might have seemed a good idea, but unless they give him some funny lines he just isn't funny, and he doesn't have the personality to come across as a 'crusty exterior but still entertaining' figure.

As for celebs, on TG I mostly fast forwarded because I didn't know who they were or they were boring. With celebrity brain crash they might as well get back into interviewing some [if they can find any who are actually interesting and not as thick as two planks]; it's not as if the BBC owns the intellectual property of interviewing celebs.
 

Mr. Nice

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Get rid of Celebrity Brain Crash. Stop trying to appeal to five year olds while, at the same time, including gags that no adult in their right mind would let a five year old watch. I know that the English love to drink, but it seems like some of the people who write for the show have pickled their brains. Enroll in AA or go to rehab, see an M.D. and get on some B vitamin supplements, and start doing the type of exercise that has been shown to improve brain health.

 
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Mental Gear

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I know that the English love to drink, but it seems like some of the people who write for the show have pickled their brains. Enroll in AA or go to rehab, see an M.D. and get on some B vitamin supplements, and start doing the type of exercise that has been shown to improve brain health.
Only judging from the face coloration of Clarkson and May they're full on alcoholics.

Apart from that what is a bit strange is my impression that the 'acting talents' of all three have deteriorated somehow. One would think they would get better because of practice or stay the same but if I watch the delivery of the three in Season 4 to 14 the scripted jokes more often than not appear more natural, almost non-scipted.
On TGT almost everything has this obvious, stilted feel to it. Clarkson falling over, May's 'he's not coming on then' or Hammonds supposed amusement are just the worst examples that come to my mind. It borders on disingenuous.

So I hope for season 2 they find a way to express more clearly what they really feel. Heart and soul like in May's GT40 film.
 

CrzRsn

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I'd want to see more of James May (or even the other two) narrating major events in automotive history while driving legendary cars. I've only seen the first 8 episodes, but so far the Ford/Ferrari film has been the best part of TGT and even some of the later TG seasons.
 

neutron

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I'd want to see more of James May.
FTFY. He was underrepresented compared to the other two and Flanderized into a complete idiot. I want to see more of his geniune excitement and intelligence.
Overall this show felt more like Jeremy & the band, rather than a trio.
 

Widewidget

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For me, the new "track" is an absolute disaster, with nothing to challenge the vitality and speed of a truly great car. No flow, no sense of "on the edge", no whoosh of air as you clip a tire barrier or exposure of an oversteering oxcart or pushing pig. The new timing board brings no sense of gravitas, and the times themselves aren't meaningful without better correlation to weather and track conditions.

I hate the track. Hate it, to infinity and beyond. Please find another venue, or just set up a nice driving loop in the countryside and tell us how the car feels when driven spiritedly (but always obeying all traffic laws, of course!).
 

figgis-diggis

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It'd be nice to see more pieces on car history like the recent GT40, Saab and Lancia ones. Maybe even something about local, especially derelict, manufacturers (like, you know, piece on Spyker in Holland, piece on... errr... Valmet? in Finland, something about pre-VW SEAT in Spain and so on), since they try to use more or less local cars in intros.
 
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