Thursday , February 29 2024
It had all the supercar madness one could want, but it was kind of depressingly old.

Top Gear Season Seven Premieres

Kind of a big television weekend, wasn't it? I mean, what with the return of a much talked about and ballyhooed television program and all. Were you there watching it? No, not Mad Men… sure, that's a great show, but let's not be foolish about it, Top Gear people. Sure, maybe it was Monday and technically not a part of the weekend, but as it was Top Gear, I'm declaring – retroactively – Monday a holiday and therefore a part of the weekend. Are you listening to what I'm saying? Top Gear came back last night with a brand new episode! Sort of.

You see, there I was watching the episode, and I couldn't help but notice that the opening credits looked more like the old credits than the new ones. "Okay," I thought to myself, "perhaps they've gone retro this season." I can't say that I noted the same thing for Hammond, Clarkson, and May, and, because I'm not a gear head, I can't say that I noted that the cars they were discussing as new were several years old, but apparently they were too.

BBC America aired the season seven premiere episode last night, and last season here in the States was season 12. As the season seven hasn't yet aired in this country, it was, by some logic, a new episode, it just wasn't a fresh one. Or something like that.

Don't mistake what I'm saying. I'm in no way distressed that the episode wasn't quite as fresh, and certainly never-before-seen in the States Top Gear is better than no Top Gear or seen before Top Gear. I'm just hankering for well and truly new Top Gear. Of course, if we got that I could just rant about how my cable provider doesn't give me a BBC America HD feed, which I'm convinced would make Top Gear better even if Top Gear isn't filmed in HD.

Top Gear at Isle of ManBut, that last bit isn't the point. No, the point, if you were paying attention, is that Top Gear returned last night. As the empty spots in my Top Gear knowledge start to fill in, what I notice about the show is that outside of the credits, it seems to make very little difference to a non-gear head that the episodes aren't quite as fresh as they might be. Frankly, all the supercars they test are so far out of my price range that I'm not even legally allowed to dream about owning them. Consequently, I tune in not just to see the cars (which are awesome even if they're a few years old), but the antics as well. Prior to last night's episode, I didn't even know who Trevor Eve was, but I found myself laughing hysterically during his conversation with Clarkson.

I'm not going to go out and say that the humor in the show is timeless — only time can say that — but what I am going to say is that at this point watching an episode is like going home again… if my home were full of funny people, really expensive cars, beautifully shot, and really well produced.

One of the cars they tested last night was a Porsche 911, and as soon as I saw it I knew that Clarkson was going to hate it. The man hates Porsches, just despises them. I've heard his reasons for that, but at this point, the complaints sound more like his arguing for the sake of arguing than true complaints. But, it's those complaints that make the show wonderful. Clarkson doesn't come out and change his mind willy-nilly; he's formed opinions over his lifetime and no scriptwriter is going to change them from one episode to the next simply to serve a plot point. He's a real guy (as are Hammond and May), and it's their being real people that make the show so much fun.

So, while I'm looking forward to a truly new season of Top Gear, I'm perfectly happy to sit there and watch a season I haven't seen yet. If only it were in HD.

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.

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