BBC America isn’t in every home in this country, it’s not even in every home that has cable. Additionally, not everyone has the internet and therefore not everyone can download BBC America shows from iTunes. Those are, perhaps, the only possible satisfactory explanations for not having seen Top Gear at this point in time. Well, the excuses are quickly disappearing because Top Gear – Season 10 is available on DVD as of April 21st.
Okay, I will grant you that not everyone has a DVD player, but I have to imagine that between cable, iTunes, and now DVD the vast majority of the population has the ability to watch an episode of Top Gear. It’s not even that expensive, it lists for $39.99 and can easily be found for $10 less than that.
What do I think of Top Gear?
Well, season 10 of Top Gear was the first that I watched, and you’ll note that I truly enjoyed the first episode. A few episodes into the season I had declared it “quite possibly… the best show on television,” and at this point in time I’m pretty convinced that it is the best show on television.
Season 10 of the series features what might be the best episode the show I have watched (and it’s highly touted on the box art for the season ) – the Botswana special. That episode, like all the rest, are, I was very pleased to find out watching the season on DVD, very rewatchable. Even though Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May (the presenters) tell numerous jokes which don’t change when the show is watched again, they manage to impart tons of facts about the cars they’re reviewing (which is, ostensibly the purpose of the show). They give far more facts than one can possibly take in on a single viewing, so watching again there is more to learn, and even if the jokes are old they still work.
The other thing I noticed once more watching the show on DVD is that it’s terribly well executed. It’s shot and edited beautifully, a lot of time has to go into not only pre-producing and shooting pieces for the show, but editing them in post-production as well. Having an HD television and without BBC America having an HD feed (at least where I am), I’m constantly subjected to seeing a letterboxed show put into a 4:3 box inside my 16:9 television. I could zoom it, but then I’d lose some quality and some of the image as well. Watching the show on DVD, even though it’s not in high definition, it does at least take up the entirety of my screen, allowing me to see the show in a way I haven’t before.
Are there disappointments to the boxed set release of the 10th season? Yes, there certainly are, two of which are quite prominent. First, the are no extras included on the release, no “behind the scenes, how did they do that” bits and pieces or anything else, it’s the show and nothing but the show. Second, and I’m not quite sure what they could have done to fix this problem, the season ends. Yes, the entire season is included here, but sadly the entire season is only 10 episodes, and I promise you, 10 episodes of Top Gear simply isn’t enough. Ten episodes of Top Gear is simply an amuse bouche, a little something to whet your appetite.
It should also be noted that this seems to be the first complete season of the show made available on DVD. One can only hope that not only do future seasons of the show appear on DVD but past ones do as well. Those who are willing to give it a chance — even if they aren’t car fanatics — will find much to love in this intelligently produced, witty, fun, and funny series.