I will give the producers points on this one: even though some of the challenges were reminiscent of the US road trip (the accelerate and stop, the cars for teens obstacle), this has done a better job at creating an air of danger and menace than TGUK ever did. Mainly because of the use of the cameras to emphasize the danger.
It was better then last week but I think it would have been better if they had just dropped the "challenge" angle for this one and just made it a challenging road trip... as it were. It seemed like they were trying to force tension at every turn rather then let it relax a little in places and the production music they chose wasn't great. Cinematography was a little boring as well.
TGUK lost its edge, and my interest, when the scripted bits became too obvious. The UK producers apparently couldn't be bothered fussing over the most obvious clues to how contrived an 'incident' was and, after a bit of clumsy editing, just let go to air anyway. Unfortunately this lack of attention to detail is creeping into TGUS - the cardboard box challenge being an example.
I'm sure the most inattentive US viewer would have wondered how two guys on a high-lift forklift managed to add an extra layer to the arrangement of boxes in the time suggested and without being seen. Surely it would have been more believable to have them just grab a pre-built column from behind a truck, scurry out and slot it in to narrow the gap while Tanner did a quick U-turn and pulled his mirrors in?
While I am happy to excuse a bit of scripting for the sake of a good gag, responsibility rests with the producers to make sure they do their bit reasonably well to keep the viewer under at least a partial 'reality spell'. It's not the viewer's job to stick with the pretence no matter how badly it's done. The 'detour through small-town suburbia' was a good idea, but again not that well orchestrated
I'm conflicted about this episode. I liked the idea of hauling wood in trucks, driving trucks is definitely interesting and I quite like some of the challenges, like accelerate and break test. But it was really irritating how much they were trying to create danger at every corner of the road trip. The oncoming car that Tanner "nearly crashed into" looked like the same Ford SUV that was stopped in the suburbs. And speaking of the suburb route, that was so contrived. Also when they arrived at the wooden bridge, they made a big deal about how it was unsafe. But all I was thinking the whole time how are you going to get back to the main road?
I really enjoyed this season of Top Gear US, but this episode didn't work for me.