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TV Review: US Top Gear

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To know me is to know my deep and unabashed love of Top Gear.  Since I first discovered it several years ago, I have watched every episode BBC America has made available, I have read up on it, and I have made sure the DVDs are in my collection.  I have also followed with great enthusiasm (and sometimes consternation) the progress of the American version, which finally premiered last night on the History Channel.

This new US Top Gear is hosted by Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood, and Adam Ferrara.  I think that those guys – and the producers of the series – have a tough job.  Top Gear, even if it isn’t huge in the States, is an incredibly popular show worldwide and has a devoted following here.  So, how close to the formula should the new show stick, and how much should they diverge from it?  Beyond that, the British series is blessed with great chemistry between the three hosts, how can any spinoff possibly hope to achieve that right out of the gate?

I did my best to watch the series premiere last night and to not compare it with its big brother, but found that task nearly impossible.  The US series sticks pretty closely by its British counterpart, but just isn’t as good… yet. 

Obviously the hosts simply don’t have the rapport with one another yet that Clarkson, Hammond, and May have, so let’s ignore that little bit.  It just wouldn’t be fair to expect it of the new show.

The series has opted to go with a very similar look and feel, and I think that’s a good call – one of the reasons British Top Gear is so great is because it looks incredible.  The cars are shot beautifully, the camera work is fantastic, and the editing is equally brilliant.  Whether or not you enjoy cars, you can enjoy watching the show because of how it looks and so it is a great idea for US Top Gear to mimic that.  On the other hand, much like the chemistry between the hosts, the look British Top Gear has takes an awfully long time to work out and perfect.  Consequently, while the new version tries to ape those aspects, it again comes up a little wanting.  The camera work isn’t a crisp and the filmed pieces feel as though they aren’t quite as polished as on the big brother version of the series.

Beyond that, every bit of stand-up dialogue in the studio and much of the voiceover simply didn’t work.  It is absolutely fine that the show renamed the “star in a reasonably priced car” segment “big star, little car,” but every single time Ferrara said that the segment was coming (or upon us), his copy had the exact same wording, “a segment we like to call…”  There are probably thousands of variations on that wording, but every time Ferrara had the exact same line of dialogue.  That’s troublesome.  Why would the producers not edit it just a little?  If they did and he repeatedly said it the same way, why would someone not talk to him about it?  It is that sort of thing that could have – and should have – been better for a series premiere. 

British Top Gear is also big on tape pieces, and last night the new show gave us two different ones.  The first was a car vs. helicopter thing, and was distinctly disappointing.  The basic concept was that a car had to make a loop in a town without the helicopter firing three virtual missiles at it.  The idea was perfect Top Gear, the execution wasn’t.  Frankly, by about  a third of the way through it, I was bored.  I didn’t see a world in which the car was ever going to win, even if Wood and Foust hadn’tCredit:  Jeremy Cowart been acting like a bunch of clowns.  So, if they were going to lose, they needed to lose big, and they didn’t, they just sort plodded along until it was finished.

Wood claimed that they shot the segment in his home town because it was the only place they found that would let them do it.  Well, that’s great, but then why did it look like you followed the rules of the road every single second?  If the town was letting you shoot the segment under the condition that you abided by the law, they weren’t really letting you do it and you needed to do it elsewhere (which, I think, is why when British Top Gear does such things they do it in the middle of nowhere).  And, not to harp too much on the voiceover again, the segment featured some of the worst puns I have ever heard on television.  There were definitely moments when I was thinking that the whole tape piece should have been buried in the graveyard they mistakenly drove through (seriously Rutledge Wood, you grew up there and couldn’t figure out how to take a loop that consisted of what, a dozen streets?).

The second taped piece focused on Lamborghinis, and comparing three different ones.  We actually got to hear the pros and cons of each different type and each host seemed to truly be rooting for his car and wanting to see the other two hosts lose.  It was far better than the car vs. helicopter segment.  There was a race, there were great shots of the cars, and it seemed as though the hosts had – or could definitely develop – a little bit of chemistry.  Honestly, that segment was enough to convince me that if these guys (both in front of and behind the camera) are given the opportunity to work out the kinks, they could make a great television show.

I will leave it to others to discuss the pros and cons of the US Top Gear test track and to delve into the more technical aspects of the car discussion; I don’t yet know enough about the track and the cars to speak knowledgeably about either.  I will however say one last thing that troubled me greatly – the apparent redoing with the new hosts of segments that Clarkson, Hammond, and May have already done.  In the piece on what to expect this season we saw that there will be a segment where the cars get filled with water and the hosts have to drive them around until all the water leaks out.  We’ve seen the British guys do that already and it was great.  I think that redoing such pieces make it all too easy to compare this show with that one, and I just don’t know that at this point it’s a wise move to push that comparison.

We’ll see, it could be that Foust, Wood, and Ferrara do it better than Clarkson, Hammond, and May, and then it will be a great moment for the new series.  If they don’t do it as well, however, they’re really just asking for trouble.

In the final summation, there were definitely some good moments last night.  There were also some that were distinctly mediocre and others which were downright poor.  With time, with patience, and with an audience that doesn’t turn too quickly on them, the US Top Gear could prove itself to be a worthy addition to the franchise.  Who knows, maybe they’ll even invite me to drive around their track.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • ThatOneGuy

    This show was rubbish. The original Top Gear has a sort of magic about it. The hosts and their sense of humor seems to flow. The American guys are not like this. Wood can be a funny guy, I miss him on the NASCAR stuff. This show seemed like they were trying to force the humor instead of letting it flow like the British guys. I couldn’t even get through the whole episode because it was so terrible. I had high hopes but I don’t think I will be watching the American rip off version anymore.

  • Give it time

    The first season of Top Gear UK sucked also, and had some random guy that was only there for one season. It doesn’t happen overnight. Their rapport will get better I think. I also think they got the wrong Adam, Adam Corolla would have been better had they kept him.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    Honestly I agree with both of you – the UK version does have a sort of magic about it, the humor here did feel a little forced, and if we give it time the rapport may get better.

    I don’t think it’s worth writing it off after a single episode.

  • hg

    sucked,sorry but i won’t be watching

  • Jim

    What a piece of crap. It was as boring as watching milk curdle. Three completely boring guys, like college geeks with no sense of humor or wit between the three of them. Prediction: Dead show walking.

  • Jon

    I thought the show was incredibly insulting to me and the best show still on tv. I won’t be watching. Faust can drive but he’s a terrible tv host as proven by his other speed channel gigs. When you copy everything already being done by another show that’s still in production of course you’re going to be compared so if you can’t do it better, don’t!

  • Ben

    this Show sucked ass… Boring as Hell…No Sense of Humor at all

  • David

    The US show did not pass the wife test. My wife who couldn’t care less about cars loves the English version. She could not make it through the first five minutes of the US version because she found it too immature.

  • chris

    When I saw Tanner was on the American version of TG I was thrilled because this guy has the personality of a coke can and that means one thing “canceled after one season” It may have worked if the UK version didn’t have such a huge following in the US. Your target audience is already watching the UK version. We love the boys from the UK. Just leave it be. Tanner here’s a thought drink before the show maybe that will help that stick come loose from your A&$… Just race and give up the TV carrier, of wait maybe PBS motor trend you haven’t tried that show yet???

  • TK

    I agree with 2nd comment. Go back and watch the first season of BBC Top Gear and you will see many similarities. The editing was bad, everyone was nervous wrecks and some of the tape segments were horrible. I like what Lasser had to say. Give it time. It has potential.

  • Dave

    What a turd… Put three guys in a show and copy an extremely well put together show, Even copy the name = FAIL… The 3 Brits know about cars, Can explain what they’re feeling while driving and are passionate about cars….. History channel put 3 NON CAR GUYS in this show = FAIL….. From the looks of the first show (repeats of the Brit show) they should replace the # they’ve chosen with some sexy women!!!!!!!!!!! What A HUGH LET DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Geo

    I agree completely with the review. I too had high hopes and too was completely disappointed by the first segment. Faust was just a 15 year old kid doing doughnuts in daddys Viper. The Lambo segment gave me hope. It had its moments that I was surprised to chuckle at, and a little competitive rivalry did come out which worked well. Faust HATES to lose, and on other shows has been a crying little girl. I think they should play off that. The identical segments that are upcoming might not be a good idea, but let’s not forget, most of the audience has not seen the BBC version. I wasn’t completely in love with it, but I owe it a chance as a TG fan, give it a chance to develop into something better. Ill continue to watch.

  • Stig wannabe

    Rough start but then again so was TG Australia and for that matter TG UK. When it started, TG UK didn’t have a show to live up to unless you count Top gear in its originally format which was on the dry side except Clarkson’s segments.
    I was cringing during most of it, why didn’t they give a nod to our fiends across the pond. They acted like “here is this thing we aren’t sure what it is or where it came from or why its called what its called or why its even in the show except we we have to use it………(In a Deep Clarkson Voice) THE STIG!!” They should have given more background to why things are like they are. its like they stole the concept and they are trying not to get caught with it (IE: THE OFFICE).
    all that being said I think as a stand alone by it self, not affiliated with anything else, American car show its great and beats the crap out those drama filled shows that try to pass them selves off as car shows.

    I’m in for a season, but get it worked out by next season or I’m out.

  • Geo

    Well put Wannabe…. Does it measure up to TG uk? Hell no, but what other car shows are there in the US that are any better?? I think there is room for both in our car loving hearts. It doesn’t have to replace the UK version. Also, the UK version has become so good because it is so popular(if that makes any sense) they have an insane budget that just is unreasonable to expect the US version to compete with. I don’t think its fair to compare them, instead, compare it with all the nascar crap on speed or the horrible diy powerblock shows on spike. In that sense its much better.

  • Stig wannabe

    Ok just went back and watched the 60 minute segment I know what is missing from the new show for me, It didn’t make me smile for the entire hour.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    David, that’s funny, my wife had the same reaction as yours.

    Stig wannabe, did you not smile once during the show or did you not smile for the entire hour? I certainly didn’t smile as much as I do during the UK version, but I did smile a couple of times.

  • Dave S.

    Wow, what is the point of this show? To reproduce a “Terrific current” show. Not a chance.
    Kinda like the “Honeymooners” movie a few years back. Two of the guys on this mistake should have their own show. The third, maybe he could find a “Liza Minnelli” or “Cher” tribute group to hang with. Maybe they could keep him on and he could replace “The Stig”. They could call him “The Smooch”. At 6’3″ he may be a bit to large to fit in many of the cars.

    The “Snake Race” was a great idea but went on and on. I’m sure they could have covered it in half the time.

    The overlay used showing where the driver was currently on the track. Unnecessary! If for what ever reason they felt the need to keep it, at least move it out of the way and make it transparent. Watched many laps on “The Real Top Gear” and never found myself concerned about the drivers location on the track.

    “Big Star in a Small Car”.
    Buzz Aldrin, an American Icon. The stories I’m sure he could/can tell but on the first episode? They couldn’t get anyone else for the first episode. Maybe Chris Pine, Shia LaBeouf or Bradley Cooper… Come on! If they needed someone with a few miles how about George Clooney or Denzel Washington. I was waiting for the folks from the home to come and collect Buzz.

    Happily I had recorded it allowing me to fast forward. It was a bit Painful still . No need to do a American version of a successful (and still current) British show. What’s next? Maybe the “Syfy Channel” can come out with a Fresh New Show. They could call it “Being Human”. I bet the Brits don’t have anything like that…

  • Stig wannabe

    Josh
    No, I did smile a couple of times so I am going to give it some time to work itself out.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    I may be overly optimistic, but I honestly think it can.

  • mark

    you cant compare the new top gear (more like stuck in neutral) to the first one. the first one was *NEW*, never been done before. This one has the formula laid out already, after so many seasons of BBC doing it right, these guys didn’t pay attention to what actually works. And if you cant emulate the original in an acceptable fashion, do something unique.. of which i think these 3 lame ducks don’t have the capacity of cooking up. Am i the only one who felt bad for Buzz aldrin having been associated with this hunk of crap?
    Lame lame lame lame lame. Never again will i waste my time watching this.

  • lightbulb

    Grades:

    SNAKE V. SNAKE segment: F *shot and edited incorrectly, badly scripted, poorly directed.

    STUDIO Segments: C I went to a taping. Really disappointed in the director. The hosts should have shot several lines over and over. Audienc…e should have been encouraged to be louder during applause. The editor needs go back to school. SO MANY CUTS WERE TERRIBLE.

    Liked the animated intro of the test track.

    Are you saying Jeremy Clarkson has bad handwriting? The board labels are pre-printed. not a bad move, just different.

    Adam’s intro of the BSSC car was decent.

    Director of Photography: The camera was in the wrong place a few times, mainly right before Buzz Aldrin came out and the audience was too close to the round stage.

    LAMBO Segment: B Adam does well. Tanner does well in spots. I think he would be a better host if he had better direction. Rutledge flatly delivers a line, “It’s scary just parked.” Hello! Director! Does Rutledge look scared, amused, or sarcastic when he delivers that line? NO. It was flat. RE-SHOOT!

    Camera in Tanner’s car, standing mile. We couldn’t fix that?

    Overall, a C. I’m sticking with them, but fix the errors.

  • Melody

    Watched whoever do the review on the car. HORRID…it is a cheap imitation of a wonder show that doesn’t need to be copied. Question is why do they feel the need to copy it. Just show the original here. It is pure gold.

  • Ben

    Too many people are judging a brand new show against a show that has been around for 15+ years. that’s not fair.

    I thought the show was a good first attempt, and I am looking forward to seeing it mature before stamping it as crap.

  • The dave

    The snake vs snake segment was a copy of the Apache vs Lotus Exige segment from TG UK’s 4th season. It seem like many of the segments they’re planning are copies from the UK show.

  • Raj

    The show definitely did suck.
    Didn’t pass my wife test either and she loves the UK top gear.

    I’ll give it some more time, but the hosts are boring and I dont think they did a good job of explaining the features of the cars.

    The snake vs snake portion was the worst, I think it’s way too obvious that they didn’t really race through the town, which is why the apache didn’t appear again till they made it to the warehouse area. They should have just cut the middle out.

  • Fan

    The show needs time to grow and maybe make some small changes to it, hopefully the network and the American audience give the show a chance.

    Obviously it will never be better then the U.K. version.
    But it’s still better then nothing!

    And allot better then 95% of what else is on tv.

  • Ferret

    I felt that the commentary during the Snake segment was too scripted as well. On top of feeling scripted, I felt that they weren’t honestly reviewing the Viper as they drove it or afterword, but instead it was more of an American-Car-Lovefest. Every car has good and bad points, and one of the issues with the Viper is that it doesn’t corner well. That is something that is evident in the next segment where the Viper did it’s timed lap… with a spoiler the size of a small state attached to it (which wasn’t on the car during the Snake segment)! It handles soo poorly that you need a spoiler the size of a 747’s wing just to give it enough downforce to not fish-tail off the track. Did the hosts mention anything about that? Nope! Just mentioned how great the car was and that it’s probably one of the best times they’ll have.

    Very dissapointed in that… Even the BBC TG folks give the good and bad points of cars they have a preference toward (ie the DB9). I want an honest review of all cars and not just an honest review of euro cars and a happy-smappy dogmaticly positive review of American cars for fear of being called un-patriotic

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    Ferret, I think you make a really good point – the love of the cars was evident, but not what their shortcomings are.

    I’m sticking with the idea though that with some time they’ll work it all out.

  • Dr O

    Thought the show was much worse than it should have been. Yes, it’s a new effort, an yes, it’s not going to have the team “gelled”, but I was expecting that. But it still underperformed. The Cobra segment sucked. Get lost on that small a loop? You gotta be kidding. Totally artificial and it was easy to tell. The Lambo piece was the best, and I’m sure going 170+ is a rush, but doing standing mile runs is far from the best way to differentiate the cars. BSSC sucked, no matter how important Buzz was to the space program.

    Really, then new that they’d have a high bar for the first show, and they delivered what? Mostly crap. We’ll see where it goes, but I fear that if this is the best they could launch with, it’s gonna be a very short season, then off to the drawing boards AGAIN!

    Why not just run the current BBC version here in the US? Surely it costs less to pay the fees to bring it here than to actually make a new show, and we all know that the original will be better for years to come.

    I just don’t get it.

  • Mike C.

    The show is crap and i hope if fails before it drags down the original show.
    They are going to hurt any chances of attracting new fans to the old show because the new one is giving the old one a bad name. This is probably the worst idea in marketing since coke tried to change their formula back in the 80s.

    I think that if you call a show the same name and the same music and do the same things as the original you should expect for people to compare it to the original.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    Dr. O – the original BBC version does run (on BBC America).

  • Hal

    Jay Leno was right .

  • spitfire

    British humor is smart, American humor; not so much. A sh*t filled porta potty ala Jackass might need to be in order.

  • spitfire

    Although the Dirty Sanchez boys might disagree.

  • Dave

    Watched the first show, and predictably, it was poor- and that his a complement.

    So many mistakes, so little room to write. Helicopter vs Viper? Stupid, fake, and really stupid. The hosts talk way too fast, and talk way too flat. Horrible choice for hosts. Maybe the fat guy is a keeper. Can the rest.

    Buzz. Ok, you’ve got the 2nd man on the moon, and you read your questions off a piece of paper? Are you serious? Horrible.

    Lambo competition, or whatever. Lame. The moron producers don’t realize you introduce each car first in their own segment, and then put them together for a feature later in the season after the audience knows and loves them. Was ameature at best.

    There are two basic problems with Top Gear US: The producers are retarded, and the hosts really, really suck. I wish I could somehow go to Discovery, swing the unemployment axe a little, and redo the show, because these people don’t have a clue. TGUS will be dead in 6 months. What a shame.

  • http://www.carolinastudes.net Jeff DeWitt

    It wasn’t great but I’ll give it some time, new shows always take a while to settle in.

    However compared to the real Top Gear these guys have a funny accent and most of their cars have the steering wheel on the wrong side :)

  • ken

    take this off the air , a lot of us could have done better , this is the US, people cant afford 120000 dollar super cars keep it with this market , US cars, hot rods ,garage builds , and throw in the stupid challenges

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    Really? I’d say that the best shot the show has if it keeps the scope large, doesn’t choose to ignore the entirety of the car-building world outside the U.S.

  • josh

    Why three young college guys? Part of the magic of the English is that there are two mature middle aged guys who’ve ‘been around’ the track, literally and figuratively if you know what I mean. The children without experience or memory of another age of motoring could never afford supercars or look reasonable in them, but 40-50yr olds can. Part of Top Gear is about checking out regular cars as well, so these guys might be good on some compacts, but giving them a Cadillac or Lexus? Another advantage of this is extending the market reach of the show.

    I hope that the producers have more tolerance than some of the whiners here. For sure this type of show is long overdue in the States.

  • NoNoNo!

    Terrible, just terrible! I agree with every negative comment I’ve read here.
    What’s with with all the made up cheap shots at anything not american. Like the incredibly boring Rutledge saying that the Brits are liars because the Aston’s speedometer showed a higher speed than the car can actually get to. Show me an american car that doesn’t! Is Rutledge offended by Clarkson’s references to americans with his portly physique? Cheap shot? Maybe, but it’s true!

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com Josh Lasser

    NoNoNo, yore absolutely right, the instant complaining about non-American cars is a serious problem.

  • blackadder

    people seem to compare the US version with the ‘first’ Top Gear, the first episodes were in 1977 in the UK and the approach and humor hasn’t changed.
    The US guys seem to lack the personal interactions that the Brits have developed through years of messing with each other together with the freedom from ‘political correctness’ the US programming suffers from. the crowd scene interaction is totally canned in the studio segments…..

  • dixielandcarguy

    The American version of Top Gear is undoubtedly one of the 10 worst programs ever put on video, film or digital media, and one of the 3 worst POS broadcasts of any media ever anywhere in the world, at since since Mr.Marconi’s wireless system was first demo’ed.
    I would rather watch “Howard the Duck” 3000 times back to back, in Farsi, Urdu, or Korean, in a tub full of tepid salt water, while having a blackboard scratched, with only mashed turnips to eat, than watch even 1 more minute of even 1 more episode of BBC-A’ American Top Gear…..
    It should be canceled immediately and a personal letter of apology from QE2 sent to every resident of every country in North American born before and alive since the first episodes release……

  • nizmo

    Please make it stop…..please???

  • 22Tango in Texas

    I saw Top Gear in the UK years ago and LOVED the show. (I can’t stand Clarkson personally though, he hates America) but that being said the British version has better chemistry than the US version. I was disappointed in the first shows. The production values are top-notch for both the UK and the USA shows. I think the producers failed in hiring the talent because for me, they fizzled.

    I would like to see Top Gear America go to England and lampoon the hell out of cockney folks, as did Clarkson when his show came here to the USA and presented everyone as a Southern uneducated and overweight bunch of red necks (they did shoot their show in the south though…)

    I hope the chemistry will improve with the US cast, but at this point, I’m not very impressed.

  • The guy

    I’m deeply offended about this show the Uk top gear makes me appreciate cars and the beauty of them this if a fucking crash and burn shit fest where they destroy classics some people would give their left nut to restore. Fucking assholes I hope they turn over on the interstate

  • Choupes

    Since when did top gear become about destruction?

  • HoHOHolyshit

    Fuck this stupid show I almost wish these guys die of aids for ruining a 300zx like they did. Death of a z31. Pointless.

  • Guccimane

    The producer of this show should be mutilated in a wood chipper for bringing Yet another disgrace to American T.v. Sorry but I think i’ll stick to the internet for the REAL top gear.

  • sportdoc62

    The action potential in the first neuron that produced the thought that this show would be a good idea was the equivalent of Chernobyl. Please, please, make this show go away. I’d rather watch a 60s era slideshow version of the BBC show than this drivel.

    The whiny American deet deets who are sensitive about Mr. Clarkson’s pokes at junky American cars and pathetic American “culture,” and especially the American South and its overweight rednecks, whine not because Clarkson is wrong, but because he is spot on (see also the cage match scene in Bruno). The “Clarkson hates America” narratives issued by the simpletons here only prove the point. If our culture is so weak that it can’t stand a few jabs from a foreign TV show personality, then we have much bigger troubles than we can imagine. I hope and trust that Clarkson will not change a single thing.

  • Chris

    I love the BBC Top Gear and was disappointed by the knock-off. Agreed, no chemistry. Also, the BBC guys are just cool and irreverand. For instance, knocking Porsche all the time, my favorite car.

    I think the US Top Gear should be canned. It undermines the good name of the original.

  • Not This Top Gear

    Next time the 3 guys from BBC Top Gear visit USA let them do a few shows for us. Please remove these 3 clowns it is embarrasing. Start by changing the name of the show you are just misleading people. Call it something like the three stooges…..Ooooo sorry that is taken as welll and those guys were actually funny!!!

  • steve

    The US version is a complete disaster. It was like walking into a microsoft store. No creativity just a copy without understanding what makes the original so good.

  • Nervous

    Chemistry? Assume it will take at least a season or two. I’m okay with clunky chemistry for now so let’s put that aside.

    Delivery? The flat delivery of the scripted lines is terrible. Even Adam’s timing and tone is bad and he used to be a stand-up comic!? Too many pregnant pauses and other awkward interactions. There’s just no passion in their voices.

    Tanner? About as interesting as… nothing. Please swap him out or give him some cocaine immediately.

    Adam? Has potential. I like the idea of a yankee on the show. But get rid of Tanner before he pulls the whole show underwater.

    Rutledge? Needs to loosen up. Seems like he’s an ex-southerner who’s spent too much time in California and lost his identity. He might look and act like a southerner to someone from the west coast or New York, but he comes off as a total fake to someone from GA. I think he’s trying too hard. Just relax and be yourself Rut.

    Copying BBC version? Agree with earlier comments that TG:A segments are blatant rip-offs of TG:UK. Hey TV people! It’s not 1987 anymore! We actually have access to BBC America, Internets, and other fancy media distribution channels. It’s not like most of your audience hasn’t seen the brit version already.

    On the History Channel? Okay, WTF? Just another example of how Speed Channel continues to devolve into more of shit pile than it’s already become.

    Verdict after 6 episodes? There’s definitely room in this world for two (or more) Top Gear shows. BUT, there’s no room for a crappy TG spin-off so PLEASE keep trying to make this better! Fire Tanner. Rehearse better or just ditch the script. Come up with your own challenges. Adam: Remember comic timing! Rut: Be yourself!

    WARNING: Do not do anything that will in any way screw up the UK version. Leave it alone. Don’t stop showing on BBCA just because we now have a US version. Don’t try any cross-over events or other publicity stunts that could taint the UK version with the (currently) icky US version.

  • Max Roeder

    God save the Queen! When we start imitating the Britts with such rubbish they should come and take back what they originally had.

  • Yvonne

    The most balanced American review I have read so far.

  • Kevin

    The show sucks…period. I’ve watched – no wait, TRIED to watch at least 3 episodes and I can’t even make it through the eniter hour.

    What Tanner, Rutlidge and Adam are missing, is some good-old-fashioned-British-sarcasm…which is what makes the UK version sooooo funny!

    I really don’t think that the US version is going to go too far. They just aren’t funny like Jeremy, Hammond and Mr. May (a.k.a – Captain Slow.)

  • Raith

    I just watched the first 2 eps of TG-US and it is a lot better than I’d anticipated after reading the other comments here.

    I’d have hated to see 3 Americans doing impressions of the Brit presenters. Those guys had to be different. And I think there’s a good rivalry and some real character coming through. They don’t match the charm and grumpy old git credentials of Clarkson and co. but I feel that this show is going to develop nicely.

    The production successfully copies the gorgeously shot original. The camera angles, editing, music, etc. all seem very authentic.

    Their track will be more interesting when more corners have names, to commemorate events and experiences. It’s currently too new to have any, so I forgive them the blandness of “he comes round the last corner…”. Invite Michael Gambon to drive it!

    Their specials are copies of the UK ones but, if the shoe was on the other foot and the US show came up with a fun original challenge, then I’d probably like to see it copied by our guys.

    Jezza, May and Hamster have all grown into the characters we love so much. In fact they are starting to become limited by those characters – as if TG wouldn’t be the same without them sticking to the pattern they’ve developed over the years. The thing to note here is that it is a PATTERN, rather than a FORMULA. We’re not talking here about a method of turning lead into gold. We simply found gold!! And any new TG franchise is going to have to mine for a bit until they too find gold. They can’t just clone our presenters.

    TG-UK is way better than the more staid alternative car programmes, especially Fifth Gear which is essentially Top Gear version 1 without the name. TG-US has borrowed the bits it can safely do so, and in my opinion it has leapt to #2 car programme. The format is fun and Tanner and co. haven’t lost that. When the guys loosen up a bit I reckon it’ll be forgiven for being such a direct remake. I’m sure the US trio will win your hearts eventually.

    I am a male UK fan. I’m not especially into cars but TG is such shit hot entertainment I can enjoy it fully. I’m probably a good candidiate for the “wife test” a few of you have mentioned! :(

    My top 3 highlights of the UK show are:
    1) Indestructible Hilux. That car truly earned respect.
    2) Polar special. Car vs. dogs. And a world first. Truly awesome.
    3) Series 12 episode 6, Ford Fiesta road test where Clarkson drove it round my local indoor shopping centre and a beach invasion exercise with the Royal Marines. Genius.

    If I can get hold of the US episodes then I’ll watch them, and I hope I’m right that it finds it feet. If not then never mind, the original and best will still be going strong, and you guys over the pond can continue to enjoy Clarkson. Even if he does think you’re all fat and lazy ;p

    Sorry for the loooooooooooooooong post.

  • austin

    this show is just terrible, however the first season of the brits topgear was too. The host are the main problem with this show, they are all acting too much, too uptight, too stiff, and attempting to be cool way too much. clarkson and may both thrive at being just car nerds not glamorous or dressed up (though both slightly pompous).

  • http://ravalonline.com Raval

    The American version is pure crap. I’m a car guy, I want to know about the car. Don’t introduce me to the new Honda CRZ then have a race with bikes. I want to know about the car. They also don’t have funny punchlines.

  • Mike

    This show sucks, at least the first season of the original top gear was original, Americas version is just re dos of the best skits the original had to offer. And everything looks set up, I feel like all of those guys go into a challenge knowing the outcomes, it may be funny if it happened naturally but it didn’t.

  • DR D

    I thought I’d give the US version a chance to develop some chemistry before I cast judgement and who knows how long that’d take – a month, 3 months, 6, a year. I don’t know. But I’m beginning to lose my patience. It’s not happening.

    The UK version set a bar so high and it’s easy for all to compare the US to the UK version but why the heck not? I’m not feeling the US version and have no desire to watch an episode. Will not miss the show if they choose to cancel it, which I don’t think is such a bad idea.

  • give it TIME!!!

    Would everyone please go back and watch the first season of UK topgear! It was terrible! The first episode of uk top gear there wasn’t even an audience in the building! Oh my gosh it was like a cute little web cast or something. Lets face it, if there was a top gear before UK everyone would have given up on it because it was really terrible in the begining. I mean people got to used to “the three Brits with all that chemistry that laugh and joke like old friends” well… because that’s what they are. 16th season coming up! Hello! They ARE old freinds! Ok, so maybe the first few episodes of USTG are slightly awkward but they still have that high budget, and that love of cars! I see REAL potential for this show! At least we can all agree that it is already 10x better than austrailian top gear, I’m not a hater but that show is almost worse than 5th gear… All I’m saying is please just give it a chance… It’s a new show in there first “cute web cast”…

  • steve

    I am so sick of the loser posts telling us to be patient and watch the first season of the UK version. Hey assholes, they were building something back then. These jerk offs are copying a winning formula and can’t make it work. ONE OF THE MANY REASONS THE UK VERSION WORKS IS THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT CLARKSON AND THE OTHERS COULD ACTUALLY BUY THESE CARS THEMSELVES AND THEY HAVE. YOU JUST KNOW THAT THE ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE RETARDED TONY DANZA DRIVES AN OLD ACCORD.

  • the love doctor

    dont listen to steve… he’s a southpole elf, this show is still better than everything else on tv so why cancel it, just keep whatching, it will get better

  • proff that americans suck

    Have these guys watched top gear on BBC, maybe they could get some tips, i WON’T be watching again, stop the madness and cancel the show!

  • haha

    “PROOF” British people can’t spell ^^^

  • you are dumb asses

    you are possible the dumbest people that i have ever seen. I will never watch your show again. I just saw a replay in which you towed a car at 25 mph at each other. you know the rest of your mistake I will not watch the show again. At least know the simple physics of your show. you are all idiots

  • TheBest

    Horrible show.. Their humor is for 5th graders. And the challenges are whack. Ill be watching Hammond.

  • TheBest

    Tanner Foust ruined his reputation.

  • Fred

    Felt embarrased for the guys on TG-US knowing that anyone who has seen TG-UK is going to slam them. Foy my TG fix I’ll watch the UK version. For US car reviews I’ll stick with Motorweek.

  • Gygax

    Trying to stomach American Top Gear. Why didn’t they use Adam Corolla? Or some other recognizable comedian.

    This show isn’t good enough to say it sucks.

  • Bob

    They should make it more original! Not try and copy everything that top gearUK does! That’s why it isn’t good. Call it something else and do American stuff! Americans trying to copy British humor makes it awful!
    Ruined by not being original!!

  • Scritley

    Horrible, just horrible. I’ve been a TGUK fan for 2 years now and have watched every episode that BBC America has aired. I caught the rest on YouTube. It’s pure gold. I cringed when I heard they were making TGUS as I felt it would be a total embarrassment and they completely delivered. I forced myself to watch the entire pilot and haven’t been able to watch more than a third of a couple more episodes. I want it to work, I honestly do, but it doesn’t work… on any level… period.

    The hosts are stoic, scripted, and flat. Not that it matters but my choice of cast that could even be considered in the same universe as the UKTG presenters (aka The Lads) would be as follows:

    1) Jay Leno (car nut, comedian)
    2) Tim Allen (car nut, comedian)
    3) Adam Carolla (the one we love from love line and the man show)

    Keep them relatively unscripted and allow for some un-PC sarcasm… it’s one of the main ingredients that makes the UK version so appealing!

    In addition, I would leave out the “America makes great cars and everyone else doesn’t” crap as it’s not true, extremely devisive, and completely unnecesary. Yes, Clarkson characterizes Americans as fat and lazy who can’t make a car that corners but it works when he does it… it just does. Not to mention TGUK had good things to say about the CTS-V and the ZR1.

    Finally and most importantly, I would NEVER consider copying a single one of the bits that they have already done in the UK. It’s insulting to the viewers, insulting to the UK show, and absolutely the biggest turn-off of the whole show for me.

    Just my 2 cents… Thanks for reading.

  • Rek

    Words cannot describe how much I HATE the American Top Gear. I am a huge fan of the original Top Gear and I can clearly see that the only reason you would watch the American one is because you don’t know about the real one. The format, the humor and even the nature of the challenges are just a copy.

  • gbear

    As a brit watching it for the first time here in Saudi Arabia, come on guys don’t copy it! Do it your own way and make it work! No one can be may, hamster or clarkson, so don’t be them! I love the cars and the humour, so another top gear that works would be great! Just a copy of the uk show!

  • uktopgearfan

    I don’t like it. my friend just discovered top gear for the first time and he’s only seen the US one so he thinks its the best thing since sliced bread. He was telling me about a few episodes the US one did like the semi truck one and I’m just thinking wait the UK top gear already did that! You can’t beat the original!

  • Jordan

    Everyone with a horrible review is obviously a huge fan of the english version. I had never seen a single episode of top gear before. I very much enjoyed the american season. This is probably because I never saw the english version. But I found there chemistry to be good. If you guys don’t enjoy it don’t watch it. I’m always amazed at people who waste time complaining about how bad something is. Stop watching then. Problem solved.

  • Matt

    I love American Top Gear. By far is better than the original Top Gear. The guys are funnier, and they don’t talk trash all the time like the original Top Gear does about any car that is not British.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Since there are very few cars manufactured any more that are British, that must leave them with an awful lot to say…