So I watched the first episode of New Top Gear - mostly as I had nothing else to do. Figured that we should probably share opinions, for those of us who have seen it. I did go in with an open mind, as I felt I should give it a chance.
Things what I liked
Cinematography still looks stunning in the Corvette / Viper review and race.
From what little of Sabine we saw, she looks like she'll settle in just fine.
I like Matt LeBlanc - he has a sense of humour and self-awareness. I could watch him quite happily.
Ariel Nomad review was great. Lovely scenery, Matt had some great lines. Daft car and I would like one in lime green please.
Things what I didn't like
Needless format tweaks - new studio looks too big and too professional, and has lost the shabby chic of the old one
Timewasting - Chris Evans spending too long on his one tonne of downforce / local Indian comparison
Star in a car - utter waste of time, far too drawn out - could have lasted 30 seconds and got the same details across
Speaking of star in a car, did it have to become a rallycross car? The fun of the reasonably-priced car was it was something we could all drive and putting an A-list Hollywood Sleb in a crapbucket was amusing. All the previous times are also no longer comparable.
Chris Evans - I still can't bring myself to like him at all. His voice grates, his bouncing around grates, he doesn't fit the show at all.
Six presenters - where are they all? No sign of Chris Harris, no sign of Rory Reid, no sign of Eddie Jordan, far too little Sabine. It's the Matt and Chris show - and all the previews have suggested this is going to be a recurring theme. If you're going to have six presenters, use them all! At least have them in the studio sections.
Stig intro - cringeworthy. I don't mind Matt doing it but the audience call-and-response?
On that note - bored with audience interaction. We don't need them to cheer for their favourite star. We don't need them to shout out questions. They can stay put and enjoy the show.
Repeated ideas from 'old' Top Gear - we've seen laser guns and car dogfights. We've seen many car-and-plane comparisons. We've seen baddies appearing and chasing a car, and motorbikes jump over cars. We've seen Reliant Robins. We've seen stars drive convertibles in the rain and get soaked. We've seen a 4x4 climb a hill. Does anyone behind New Top Gear have an original idea?
There's glimmers of hope here, and glimpses of a better Top Gear yet to come. Bearing in mind rapport hasn't built between the main presenters yet, I'm willing to give it a few weeks more.
Suggested names for New Top Gear
The Chris and Matt Show
Fifth Gear On Ice
A Ginger Person Crushes My Dreams
I really wanted to like it, but everything feels... pointless. They are trying so hard to emulate CHM, yet at the same time show that "they're different". I feel empty after watching it.
First of all, I had no idea who Chris Evans was, I wasn't exposed to him since I don't live in the UK. But thos one episode is enough to know that he is a guy with whom I don't want to have a beer because he would talk about himself all evening. Then there's Matt LeBlanc who in every line he says tries to insert how he's so American and how he doesn't know anything about GB. And what's the role of Sabine? Is she female Stig with a face? They already have the Stig.
In the studio parts Chris is too hype-y and tries to involve the audience too much. Why the fuck is Jessica playing when the SIARPC enter, with coloured lights at the background? The chemistry reminds me the first episode of Top Gear America. I don't know if it will improve and find their niche as the show goes on.
How can you make a SIARPC boring with Gordon Fucking Ramsey? I didn't know that was possible. Why are there two SIARPCs, why are there a cringey audience vote, why is the RPC a fake "rallycross" car?
The US vs UK segment was boring and pointless. I didn't remember any event happening, what were they trying to accomplish and what's the point. Looked like they were trying to emulate CHM's challenges, completely missing the point. The Top Gun film was pretty cool, as was LeBlanc's Nomad film, but apart from them, this episode and probably the show are nothing to miss.
I admit Evans is too loud, and in contrast Le Blanc is too quiet, but on balance I prefer his quiet approach. Power car segment was OK. Blackpool part 1 wasn't very good. Matt barely went anywhere on his own steam. The Ariel bit was very good. SIARPC is no better than when Clarkson was doing it (well maybe the actual laps are better because they shaken it up considerably for the first time in 14 years). Blackpool part 2 was enjoyable and it seemed like they were having fun towards the end.
Its clearly no different format but I'm hardly expecting much change in The Grand Tour except with a bigger budget, no Stig and no SIARPC
I like le blanc, he should be the main presenter instead of this Evans guy. Too hyper and he has an annoying voice, not even 10% as funny as clarkson. In general they miss his humor.
To be honest I did not like much the show, had it taped and 'fast forwarded' some plain boring parts. I had a lot of 'deja vu's' all throughout the show. Don't know if this is on purpose, but it was just a bit boring. Also don't like the new set and 'public involving' approach. It felt like a 'main stream' big budget show. That was the 'top gear' magic, you knew it was staged, you knew they made bucket loads of money, but you could feel the love of cars and somehow they didn't have the 'big star' ego of the current hosts. Though i do really like le blanc and I do believe they should sack Evans and build on Le Blanc.
I was also annoyed at copying the bad stuff from top gear. Really, bumping into the other guy...that joke was lame 5 years ago in the old top gear and is even lamer now. Old cars 'braking down' on the way to 'a challenge'. yawn, seen it 5 times in the old top gear, but at least it looked and felt funny in some way. Driving in open cars during the rain...something like driving a 'track car' in the rain? And driving with 4x4 in muddy conditions in a 'challenge'. Like in one of the last episodes where they drove old 4X4's to that castle somewhere? DEJA VU but worse.
It feels more like some separate parts glued together, but not 'one whole' like you had in the previous top gear, and actually also in the American top gear.
I hope it will get better but have my serious doubts. They should simply air the American version and spend the money elsewhere.
I want to end it on a positive note, the only good idea on the new top gear was the new lap in a cheap car, that was fun and 'scientific' as it involves more skills. Good that they came up with 1 good idea.
I guess in the next show they will shoot cars, blow stuff up, maybe race some super cars to an exotic location, have a 'challenge' involving trucks, ... and we should also see a jaguar, old or new, and a bentley. As these are 'uk cars'...
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Actually, the best comparison is Frankenstein.
You take some really nice dead parts recycled from the old top gear, you put some electricity in it, and you end up with a messed up freak. Then you give him some flashy clothes and you transplant the face of a real superstar, le blanc, to it.
But at least Frankenstein is entertaining and cool.
Well, that was like waking up in the same house to discover that my woman, cat and fish had been changed overnight. If there's one fundamental problem with the 'new' Top Gear, it's that it's actually too much like old Top Gear. As a show it was fine, almost business as usual, and Friends bloke was tolerable if dull-sounding. Couldn't stand Evans though, especially in the studio segments, and the similarities just make me miss the old team all the more. The bragging about 'custody' of The Stig was very insulting to old fans- the BBC may have bought the rights back, but, let's never forget that the Stig concept was totally the creation of Clarkson/Wilman; a bit of humility wouldn't have gone amiss there. Evans has GOT to tone it down.
i only caught the last 15-20 minutes because australia and sleep. ill have to watch it and the extra thing tonight on the foxtel, but what i did see felt a bit forced, also whats with the hand shaking?
Have to say Le Blancs Nomad feature just about stopped it from being a total car crash of an episode. At least it was reasonably entertaining and funny (although the ending was unnecessary). The rest of it however, was a complete let down. Evans is not funny, too loud and too over bearing, his studio segments were truly awful, as was the SIARPC segment. The whole thing just looked forced and felt far too rigidly scripted. Evans is going to push more viewers away than Le Blanc might entice in.
The only reason I'll watch again is because there's nothing else on at the same time.
One thing they can do to immediately improve the quality of the show is to tell Chris Evans to stop with his piss-poor Clarkson impersonation. I thought his voice in the intro was a parody at first.
The rest of the show was OK but it's too close to CHM's incarnation and that does it no favours. SIARPC still boring. Best bits were probably those involving LeBlanc, whom I've liked since seeing Episodes.
Sorry but I have to disagree. I bet CHM watched that and were respectfully impressed.
Haters gonna hate, and I'm not a fan of Evans by any stretch of the imagination but I like the subtle changes, the "you get ten seconds to plug your shit then we are talking about cars" with the guests, revamping the SIARPC feature...
And right at the end when Evans and the Brownlee Brothers all mucked in to help MLB and HeMan reach the finish? I get the feeling that just happened and wasn't scripted. Maybe CE isn't quite the total ego that the gutter press may have us to believe.
We we still have The Grand Tour to look forward to but as someone who has watched TG since it started in 1977 and seen it go through many changes and presenters and iterations I have to eat my previous cynical words and say I welcome our new Ginger-American overlords.
When the best thing in the episode is a cheap, bellow average "hammond - car vs something else" race, it's just not good YO. If they dont get things up and runing in the next two episodes, I am done.
Chris is annoying and a bad host, with forced interviews, Matt's OK, he can work with a well pre-written review of the car, but all of their impro skills are bellow average.
Really? To me, they applied far too few changes to the whole show in order to make it their own. To my (pessimistic) understanding, the only major change I could see is that they have completely binned the news.
If you're going to be following the act of the 3 giants, why not go big? Go big or go home. To me, this was still mostly following JC/AW's show concept.