What has to happen for TG to improve?

Mauren

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Happy New Year! ... Came home from NY's and was watching some old old top gear. I'm a geek so I like seeing things like this + I like seeing the old reviews. doesn't matter what car.

I've read plenty of posts of how shitty it's become. So I'm wondering what has to happen for TG to be great again?

In 5 points or less. Not in any order

- atleast a proper review from Clarkson and a review from either James or Hammond every episode.

- More James May being informative and not being shut down by the other two. ... [Hard time seeing this happen since it's Clarksons show.] I wouldnt mind a history lesson or engineering facts every so often.

- The ridiculousness of the Green movement/auto laws

- less acting ... no acting.

- production issue I have ... Its nice camera work BUT I dont' always need to see the presenter speakng during a review... I'd like longer shots of the exterior. Seeing the body work etc. It's nice to see the beauty of a car in motion and not broken up by your ridiculous editing.

Also no music when there is engine noise.


I'm hammered. I had to type this or I'd forget :D

Have a great year and I'd like to see your suggestions

Cheers!
 

topgear1224

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-more episodes like 7X2?

-shake things up A LOT I am talking like a new presenter or 2 (young people would create the most unbalance)
--It would remove the guys comfort level that they have developed and test friendships. It would also create very good young vs old challenges.

-More tests like pendiane sands (aka 3 new cars none of them destroyed just tested)

And IF and ONLY IF it means the differance between TG and no TG bring in a whole new trio (Tiff, Jason and some one else)

I really don't like that last one but i never noticed how much I liked 5th gear untill it was gone. I don't want Motorweek to be the last car show on TV (in English).

I hope none of this has to be enacted and that Top Gear gets back to it's roots soon.

But i did like the Bolivia special (they didn't destroy each others cars), although I kinda wish the bit with the raft was exchanged for a Stig test.
 

Mauren

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I'd like more 3 car comparison/tests .. I can also see them getting bored with it. ... Definitely like to see more comparisons between them.

I don't like the young vs old. The three of them are fine as is. We need less acting.
 
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the Interceptor

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Let me just say that I'd love to see this thread getting as creative and mature as the "Season 14 slid off track" got after a couple of posts. We probably can make a difference here, and bitching about people who complain about Top Gear is not going to help in any way.

As for what I'd like to see differently on Top Gear:

more variation:
Tell us more about each car and its qualities = drop flashy camera angles and effects for every single car you review. Do not test every car solely on the track

less showing off:

You don't need to blow up half of Britain in every episode. Calm down. Focus on content rather than on trying to be impressive

more true chemistry:
It is obvious that the boys are really close friends that have gone though a lot. Let them express that in the show, rather than having them play their prefabricated roles (Andy already addressed this)

That's about it for the moment, will probably add more later...
 
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MWF

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Just to pick up on the scripting/chemistry side of things.....

Of course they need a shooting script to work from and some ideas of what they do next, but I'd like to see the results of what happens in due course rather than the obviously scripted jokes. The three guys aren't actors and when they "perform" jokes they really don't work.

If I can draw an analogy, I work in small regional office of a much larger company. Mostly there are only 3 or 4 of us in the office at any one time, we all get on really well and we enjoy some really good, no holds barred banter which often results in us being helpless with laughter. However if we were to write stuff down and try to perform it as comedy it wouldn't be funny.

The same goes for the TG guys. The best moments are when someone says something and one or both of the others collapse in fits eg after Clarkson arrives with the cow on the roof of his Camaro and Hammond tells him he has to "peel it". Jezza just falls about.

Other than that I'd agree with others:

More of James and him being allowed to show more of what he can do in terms of explaining things.

More road tests rather than track tests and more testing of real world cars. It's fine to thrash a Ferrari around a track as that is what it was designed for but since none of us are likely ever to get one short of a lottery win I'd actually like to see them talk about less expensive kit.

News: some news please, preferably car related. No script, just a few things to discuss for half an hour and let the humour come out then pick the best bits for the edit. I know they can do this as I saw it happen when I went to a recording. And take the piss out of the audience although the Jesus gag is wearing a bit thin.

And they seem to have stopped trying to kill Hammond. I haven't seen him in real peril for at least 3 seasons.
 
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^^ That ^^
 

suggsygirl

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I think the scripting/impromptu thing is the key, like Mineworksfine said there obviously needs to be some script so they don't just wander aimlessly about looking at cars and taking the piss out of Hammond - although to be fair I do enjoy them taking the piss out of Hammond - but you can't script jokes because they just don't work when you've told them ten times. Do it live, that's my solution, make 'em work!

Less deliberately trying to be provocative/trying to offend people. All the best humour has come from things you don't expect to be offensive but somehow are. Plus guessing who's going to complain is always fun.

Less running gags, they work a couple of times at most and then not only are they not funny but they're actively boring. The Dacia Sandero thing was funny during the news the first couple of times and then they just went over the top with the whole real car getting destroyed during the Romania ep.

I reckon they'll be fine, they're just tweaking and playing with it and seeing what works and Top Gear is one of the only programmes I know that take any notice of the fans at all, let alone bow to their every demand.
 

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Honestly?

I think all they need to do is focus on the show rather than the industry that has sprung up around it, try not to do quite so many things at once and spend a little more time crafting the thing. Time to let things develop naturally and effort spent on something tends to show on screen, a rush job shows up in a very different way. I really think that if they stop stretching themselves in too many different directions, the improvement will show very quickly. I think the focus on Top Gear as a TV programme has been lost a bit in the development of Top Gear as a brand, almost as if someone somewhere forgot that the whole thing will collapse without the programme to support it.

I also think that we as fans need to remember that no matter what changes are made to the show, it won't necessarily result in something that makes all of us happy. Some of us might want more car reviews, some of us might want more big films, some of us might want to see the cocking about toned down... and some of us might say that there are already enough reviews, or that the big films need to be cut back to allow for more road tests or that the cocking about makes the show what it is. We may be slightly guilty of losing sight of the fact that a television programme is made for its whole audience, not just a part of it. Then again, we'd probably accept the things we as individuals don't like as much more easily if we could see a return to the care and quality of previous series.

Series 14 has had some good moments in amongst the less good parts. It hasn't been a complete disaster or anything, but it has been inconsistent and the proportion of stuff that worked well compared with stuff that fell flat hasn't been as high as in the past. The problem is they've set the bar so high, a slip that would be easier to accept in other shows is a bit of an unwelcome surprise here. As the ratings have been steady throughout the series, the audience hasn't been put off by what we're seeing as a substandard run, so I for one am quite prepared to look at series 14 as a glitch brought about by problems that have been acknowledged (schedules going to cock, knackered team, not enough time) provided those problems are addressed in future runs. Top Gear is clearly ready for a change of some kind and I get the impression from Andy's blog post that they would quite like to step back from the characterisations and extreme silliness. The thing is I don't know whether I'm going to like the changes or not, but that's not the important thing - what's important to me is that the show develops and moves on.
 

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One of the bext examples of Top Gear being good, James' Review of the Fiat 500. Well explained and well executed.

Less messing about between the presenters, less of them playing characachures (spelling?) of themselves and back to how they were maybe 3 series ago.

Make the news actual news rather than starting off there then going off on tangents to deliberately offend people or to be comical.

Anyone else seem to notice that Top Gear is one of two shows I've noticed which seem immune to any complaints that seems to come their way, i.e. people can complain but nothing really seems to happen (no apologies or anything coming from the BBC), the other is Mock the Week. Not that its a proper complaint from me, but its interesting nonetheless
 
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That American Girl

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Let me just say that I'd love to see this thread getting as creative and mature as the "Season 14 slid off track" got after a couple of posts. We probably can make a difference here, and bitching about people who complain about Top Gear is not going to help in any way.

As for what I'd like to see differently on Top Gear:

more variation:
Tell us more about each car and its qualities = drop flashy camera angles and effects for every single car you review. Do not test every car solely on the track

less showing off:

You don't need to blow up half of Britain in every episode. Calm down. Focus on content rather than on trying to be impressive

more true chemistry:
It is obvious that the boys are really close friends that have gone though a lot. Let them express that in the show, rather than having them play their prefabricated roles (Andy already addressed this)

That's about it for the moment, will probably add more later...

This. :)
 

Phila

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This is by far my new favorite thread. :nod:
 

halsteadk

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I think the nub is that the "cars/motoring : messing around" ratio has gone too far the wrong way and has become far too overt, eg far too much time in the Romania trip on silly stuff and barely a couple of minutes on the point of why they went there. But the Alps trip had the same problem - and I can't believe they went blind and didn't research the dozens of amazing roads in the Alps before they left - so it's not a new issue. But 5 minutes of faffing around is cheaper and quicker to film than 5 minutes of helicopter tracking shots...
 

Editor

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Scaling down the content of the films

I don't think the scripting as such is a problem, as said before every programme needs a framework. The problem I think lies in the huge amount of footage they've got for every film. For example the 'Geoff'-film in the last series. I genuinely liked the idea, but for me it was ruined because in 20+ minutes of film they jammed a huge amount of ideas. You could've made an hour special of that! For me, it meant there was no room left for the guys to do their thing.

On the contrary, the Bolivia special can basically be divided in three parts. The rainforest bit, the death road bit and the Andes-bit. It meant there was plenty of room in the edit for the chemistry of these three guys to shine. And it made for an back-to-form episode. The chemistry is what makes this programme work.
 

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What would make the show great would be for Top Gear to return to its roots. Top Gear was a show about 3 guys playing around with cars. Top Gear has turned into a studio production rather than a playground with the last season. The presenters need to ditch the script and stop acting and more of being them self's. Jeremy looked very try hard this season, this was obviously not his natural character.
 

pink piranhas

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oh for cryin' out loud, I go to preview and my post gets eaten! :mad:

Ok, MWF's analogy really explained why I like TG. It reminds me so much of going skiing with a bunch of my best ski buddies (mostly men, I'm usually the only woman ). We're focusing on training but as the guys love to give each crap, the humor is spontanious and random and sometimes falling down hilarious. It can make something as miserable as skiing in the rain a treat.

However, the humor is not predictable, and if you have a program to fill, it's really tempting to try to plan it, which can go terribly wrong if not done perfectly.

My suggestion is that the presenters focus on making interesting tv and let the humor come from enjoying themselves while they do their work. If there's funny stuff that comes from their interactions, great, use it, if there isn't I'll still enjoy seeing a car/event through a presenters perspective and maybe even (horrors!) learn something.

I particularly enjoy them poking fun, at cars, the world, themselves. The world being what it is these days it's a target rich environment.

I wish James and Richard would stand up more to Jeremy. James did that in a few eps in S13 and it was really fun to watch, and he's got a lot to offer in intelligence and dry humor as is being demonstrated on other projects. I know some don't really care for Richard's work, but I really do enjoy his enthusiasm and he's a great counterpoint for James's seriousness and Jeremy's bombast. I just loved watching Richard wail on that Holden in S13, he was just having so much fun with it.

I think that having James and Richard be more assertive with Jeremy would actually make Jeremy more interesting (he can be, see Aston Martin in s13). Otherwise, he's just so rude most the time it's easy to get kind of fed up with him- I certainly did in Vietnam.

Wyvern's comments about editing are spot on. I know nothing about making tv, but it just looked like there was stuff in s14 that wouldn't been included in previous series, most likely due to distractions from all the other things going on keeping the guys from filming enough to have a good selection of material to choose from. I know they need to take advantage of the opportunities they're getting, but they do need to maintain the show that makes the rest possible, unless they're truly done with making TG and want to move on (really hope that's not true!)

It would probably do them good to take a break, and although I would be sad if they did, it would allow them to rest and recharge, and I would have the time to watch all the earlier eps I haven't seen and to rewatch the ones I have, there's always stuff I missed the first time and many eps seem better the second time around. I might even work up the courage to watch "geoff" again and become enlightened on why they liked it so much, miracles sometimes occur !:D
 
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shellygrrl

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1) Scrap the TG Live Tour

Yeah, I know, I can't believe I typed that, either. But the more I think about it, the more I'm becoming convinced that the tour is more of a detriment to the telly show (which should take precedent, along with the mag) than an asset. While I would love to see a TG Live show in person, I would much prefer they give it up if it means improving the TV show.

2) Get Away from the Track!

Some of the best reviews the trio have done, IMO, have been away from the confeins of the track. Also, there is really not much need to thrash a four-door saloon or a hot hatch there...or even every supercar, for that matter. (I would've much preferred to see the Jaguar XFR, reviewed in Series 13, on the roads, for example.) They have some fantastic locations at their disposal, within and outside the UK. Why is there a need to film every car review at Dunsfold?

3) More Presenter Balance

"Where's James?" seems to have been the question in regards to the show in 2009. I think I can count the number of solo pieces he's done this past year on one hand. Of course, the explanation is a simple one (side projects!); but still. It would've been very nice to see more solo contributions from him.

I also like what pink piranhas suggested:

pink piranhas said:
I wish James and Richard would stand up more to Jeremy. James did that in a few eps in S13 and it was really fun to watch, and he's got a lot to offer in intelligence and dry humor as is being demonstrated on other projects. I know some don't really care for Richard's work, but I really do enjoy his enthusiasm and he's a great counterpoint for James's seriousness and Jeremy's bombast. I just loved watching Richard wail on that Holden in S13, he was just having so much fun with it.

4) Don't Force the Humour To Happen

I've come to loathe the word "scripted". As has been mentioned several times, every episode needs an order of sequence (if you will). Every car review has to start with a basic idea of what the reviewer wants to say, not to mention it has to -- at some point -- include most of the basic facts about the car in question (engine size, bhp, 0-60 time, top speed, price). Every challenge has to have a premise. If none of this is in place, there is chaos.

That said, there've been times these past two series where things have become too contrived, too predictable. The boys are funny on their own; they don't need to make it happen.

5) Tweak the Editing

At Edinburgh last summer, Andy mentioned how he'd spend hours in the edit suite getting the films right, even long after everyone else had gone home. On the blog, he commented on how he was in the edit on Christmas Eve still working on the Bolivia special. It was (and is) that fastidiousness in there that has helped contribute to some of TG's finest moments (aside from the trio and other crew members, of course).

There've been a few films in S13 and 14 that have suffered from the edit. The Scirocco ad film, for one. Too long. If it were trimmed down by about five to ten minutes, it would've been fine; and they would've had either more time to give to Leno, or time to devote to reviewing/featuring another car.

6) "And Now, The News"...

I think the last news segment I enjoyed thoroughly was 13x03 -- the one featuring Car Sauna. Most of the news in that season and even this one has bored me to death. While I do enjoy seeing them talking about cars being released and other motoring stuff, I enjoy the natural banter, too. (My favourite news moment is still James's rant on Bill Bryson in 5x02.) This is one bit of the show they should not rehearse per se -- just get an idea of what everyone wants to talk about. That's it.

7) Bring Back the Balance between the Cars and the Cocking About

I'm a TG fan who likes both cars and seeing them mess about. However, I do think the ratio is more toward the messing about at the moment. There've been a slew of cars that have been released this past year; only a handful of them made it on to the telly (I can only hope the mag covered the rest).

A bit earlier, I read Richard's main column for the week on the Mirror site, where he was going over some of the cars to be released or reviewed in 2010. The automotive pornography on that page was just astonishing. (Even that new Citroen coupe had me excited! A fucking CITROEN, people!) If TG continues in this manner, sadly, they probably won't get to reviewing/featuring half the cars he talked about.

8) TAKE A BREAK!

The boys are knackered; they're being stretched too thin. It's been especially evident in 2009. Suggestion #1 will help. So will this, IMO. After this...

9) One Long Series a Year, Not Two Short Ones

I would rather see them do one series of ten brilliant episodes toward the end of the year than see them try to churn out two series of seven episodes each within a year, methinks. Doing this may even give them more staying power.
 
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tone76

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Cut down from 2 series per year to 1. 8 episodes would be perfect, absolutely no more than 10 episodes per series.

Be more discerning with SIARPC. Don't just get any old big name with something to pimp. Make it a condition that if you're trying to pimp something on SIARPC, you shouldn't be allowed on.

I concur with the opinions expressed about the scripts: each episode needs structure, but the dialogue doesn't need to be micro-managed and scripted to the point it is now. Some of the funniest moments came from stuff that was obviously ad-libbed. The Cadbury Creme Egg in the radiator of Jezza's 928, 'If I Were A Tall Man' from the first Cheap Car Challenge, James' classic pick-up line, or the combover bit from the Botswana special. That stuff is unintentionally hilarious.
 
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Wyvern

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1) Scrap the TG Live Tour

Yeah, I know, I can't believe I typed that, either. But the more I think about it, the more I'm becoming convinced that the tour is more of a detriment to the telly show (which should take precedent, along with the mag) than an asset. While I would love to see a TG Live show in person, I would much prefer they give it up if it means improving the TV show.

Evidently I've spread myself too thin lately or I'd have +repped you for that.

I don't think they even need to get rid of it completely, but they need to at least consider cutting back to where it was two years ago (the 'local' shows and SA, I believe). They've been doing arena shows at MPH for years without detriment, but much as I love the idea of them bringing the live show to as many fans as possible, there's no point if it starts to affect the TV show itself. In a way there was less pressure on the guys when the show was 'the MPH show' rather than being called 'Top Gear Live', even though it was to all intents and purposes the same thing, but 'Top Gear Live' is something that carries the reputation of the show in a way that it previously didn't. And the global touring show is not the same as the 'local' one, so that's two shows they have to work up during the winter series and the 'off season'. It's just too much to do, I'm sure.

I think you make many, many other very valid points too.
 
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