Saturday, 18 June 2016

16 things wrong with the new Top Gear

A few weeks ago Top Gear relaunched with a new studio, new(ish) track, and new presenters following Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘fracas’ with a producer in 2015. I started watching Evan’s Top Gear without any preconceptions. Although I really did like the old Top Gear, I believed the new Top Gear could survive – maybe even thrive - without Clarkson, Hammond, and May. Sadly, it hasn’t lived up to my expectations and I have been severely disappointed. Here is a list of some of the things wrong with it:

  • Matt LeBlanc is too dry and straight for Evans' loud, shouty, child-that’s-ate-too many-E-numbers personality. They don’t complement each other as co-presenters.
  • The celebrity interviews for ‘Star in a Rallycross Car’ are stale and repetitive. In the interviews, there is lots of emphasis on rating the guests’ first cars and their best cars but Jesse Eisenberg (episode 1) doesn’t drive! So it seemed like a waste of time talking to him that much about his car history. In episode 2, Damian Lewis was one of four guests. Shame it wasn’t just him; would have made a better interview.
  • Whilst we’re on interviews, the combinations of guests have been weird. Ramsey and Eisenberg didn't go well together and although the interview lasted 10 minutes, no much was said.
  • Evans shouted too much.
  • Evan and LeBlanc were both too happy to drive Reliant Robins (episode 1).
  • LeBlanc is too monotone.
  • Sabine Schmitz is funny and a car expect. She seems underused considering how much she could add to the show.
  • There is too much audience interaction and opportunities for clapping, oohing, and cheering. It's a TV show, not panto.
  • The Reliant Robin challenge had no point to it. I thought it was Britain Vs America at first however they were in identical Reliant Robin only painted with different flags.
  • Who are the presenters again? In the South African challenge during episode 2 it was hard to tell if the presenter was Eddie Jordan or his celebrity guest, Sharleen Spiteri.
  • This has been said before and it will be said again: there are too many presenters. One of the best thing about Clarkson’s Top Gear was the camaraderie between the hosts but there are that many hosts now - and that many guests always with them – it’s hard for the audience to form any sort of bond with them when they can’t forge a convincing and genuine friendship between each other.
  • There are too many other people in each episode. In episode 1 alone, guests included the Brownlee brothers, a heavyweight champion, two Top Gun guys, people from the restaurant, and the Blackpool mayor. It would have been nice to have a bit more focus on the new presenters – especially in episode one.
  • Humour-wise, it was not edgy at all (with the exception of one comment from LeBlanc about "your mom’s G-string". There were too many jokes where the punchline was 'better cut that bit out in the edit' in a very PG fashion.
  • Too many references to stuff that only diehard fans who have followed the Top Gear news closely over the past few months will get (e.g. Evans being sick). This would be a good thing if there was already a cult established around the new presenters but they needed to make a good first impression rather than make inside jokes.
  • For a car show, there has been surprisingly little said about cars. The two main presenters are car fanatics rather than car journalists or experts. Therefore, the shows have been lacking car reviews with substance. Evans and LeBlanc seem to simply recited the basic statistics and then yell 'wooohooo' a lot before giving a superficial amateur conclusion.
  • It is too repetitive. There were two similar races in the Reliant Robin challenge (episode 1). We knew which one was faster so the second race with all the obstacles wasn’t necessary. Likewise, in episode two there were too many timed races.

Most of these problems could be easily resolved by cutting down on the number of presenters and guests and ensuring that the presenters are car experts who have a bit of camaraderie between each other (probably easier said than done, I know). I’d like to see Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz in a superior role to what they are now. However, I can understand why the BBC put two TV heavyweights in the driver’s seat instead. It might have proved even more fatal giving a show of Top Gear’s size and popularity to a YouTuber and a German.

Finally, to be fair, the episodes have been improving as they go along as Evans is adapting and everyone is growing comfortably into their roles.