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Ambitious but rubbish
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About the Show
Spoiler Free
Character Please Note: Series 23 onwards still has the Top Gear name and is technically the same show. But because of the new presenters and change in format, this page therefore will focus on the original presenters run on the show.

One thing that has remained relatively unchanged throughout time is the male love for cars. So when someone asked a few years ago: “What about if we combine the love of cars, in an entertaining way that the whole family will enjoy?” So being in gear, and in top form – Top Gear was born. It’s now aired over 170 episodes over a span of 13 years, and has become the world’s most watched factual show. So why do people all over the world enjoy the show? All we know is, it’s called Top Gear...
Quote Let’s start with the presenters. On Top Gear, there were four of them: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig, each knowing a lot about cars and thinks they know the best. Jeremy Clarkson has a “says what he thinks” personality, which can be pretty funny a times. His obsession with power and cars is great when you need someone to give a car a real thorough test, and I mean really thorough. Right, your in a Ford Fiesta: What if you go to a shopping centre and get chased by a baddies in a Corvette? Exactly.

Next you have Richard Hammond, who has the unique ability to be incredibly talented and incredibly annoying all at the same time (according to Jeremy and James anyway!) Being a secret American, Hammond brings many things to the show, including his major love for muscle cars, all things Porsches, his maybe-but-maybe-not whitened teeth, his shortness, his love for bikes, cockiness, and er… his love for Porsches. Just don’t ask him to do a Scandinavian flick in a van...

James May’s real name is Captain Slow, or for those who are new to the show - he’s the one with Dog’s hair. He has all the brains and the smartest man on the planet (that’s how James explained it, with much longer words). He has a love of engineering, whether it will be planes, cars, Lego or technology in general. He knows almost everything about how cars work, future and upcoming power sources, different sciences and almost everything else. May has theories about that, but has a tendency to go on and on…

And finally you have The Stig. It's true that we don’t know much about the Stig. But we do know he can drive extremely well and extremely quick, so that’s why he’s the team’s top racing driver. Some say that he is confused by stairs, his heart ticks like a watch and that he never blinks. All we know, he's called Stig.

They are presenters, but they are so much more than that. They are a team, a bunch of “cartoon” characters who have jobs of a lifetime. The chemistry between them is unprecedented in most other real-life shows. The lads are the reason why the show just works. They give a funny and opinionated view of the world of cars and other aspects of motoring. They all bring something different to the show in their own ways.
[The Studio]Jeremy: "My Car is the best because I'm taller than you."
Richard: "How does that have anything to do with which car is the best?"
James: "Here we go again..."
Rather than every episode following the same pattern, Top Gear lots of different segments keeping the show from repeating itself, meaning no two episodes are the same. There are two recurring segments in every episode: the news, where they talk about recent automotive news, new cars that have been announced, among less “important” topics. The other is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, where a celebrity pops along to the studio for an interview with Jeremy, then sets a lap time around the Top Gear track, to see where they compare to other celebrities they may know.

The rest of the segments vary between episodes. On offer here are big and small races, (which they pit the car against other vehicles and/or human experts in sports), Cheap Car Challenges (which the presenters have to buy a car for a tight budget and see who got the best deal), The Cool Wall (Where Jeremy and Richard discuss... I mean argue over which cars are cool and uncool) and some traditional car reviews too thrown in their for good measure.

Although the show has turned more into an entertainment show over the years, they still can mange to stuff in a lot facts and figures about everything they show on Top Gear, which are always fun to watch, even on repeat viewings. With such a wide range of content, you will naturally like some better than others, but you will soon have your favourite films that Top Gear has done over the years.

I’m missing something about the show here aren’t I? Oh wait, I’ve got it! The Cars! It wouldn’t be a car show without the cars would it? Well they can certainly pick them that’s for sure. Over the course of 13 years, thousands of cars have appeared on the show. That kind of number comes with being the biggest car show in the world. With a great mix of supercars, sport cars, family cars, cheap cars and your supercars! (I said that twice? Well are supercars awesome)

What I find interesting is what one of the presenters said. He said that they do sometimes get criticized for having too many supercars. But people don't watch Top Gear for real-life stuff. (You have Youtube and Drivetribe for that). They watch Top Gear is to escape for an hour. That’s the reasoning behind the gradual step away from normal car tests.

Its also worth noting that it's amazing how the show covers the cars. With traditional track tests, road tests, shootouts between 2 or 3 cars of a similar type, sometimes you have silly reviews, or they sometimes complete extreme tests to push a car to it's limit.

Some of the challenges that the Top Gear team have done over the years is mind-blowing. They have travelled across Africa. They have climbed up a steep mountain in a Land Rover. They have seen how indestructible a Toyota Hulix really is. They have travelled over the English channel to France in Amphibious cars. And the list goes on. You will be constantly amazed on what the Top Gear team have accomplished.

Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
Top Gear is one of the world's must watched TV programs in the world and it's not hard to see why. A lot of people just sit back, relax, and let that 10-year boy (or girl!) that is within you loose and just have fun. Top Gear is unique, and interesting see what happens now that Chris Evans has left the new version of Top Gear. Check out The Grand Tour, Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new motoring show on Amazon, for more car show goodness!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman I could literally form a massive list of my favourite moments from the show. (Actually, that's a good idea, I might do that) But probably the grandest, most amphibious and hardest thing that the boys have ever done is travel to the North Pole. How on earth did three “idiots” get there is beyond me. But they did – and what a journey it was. If you only watch one episode of Top Gear, make it this one.
Elephant In the Room
elephantApart from a few, lets say, duff moments, (which is to be expected really, considering how much they have done over the years) the only real issue with the show is the start. We are know Top Gear to be much more than a normal car show, but for the first 5 seasons, gave or take a few segments, is a very “ordinary” car show. So just bare that in mind if you plan to watch the series from the beginning.
Good and Bad
Spoiler Free
The New TeamThat's... actually quite a cool poster.
When Clarkson, Hammond and May left Top Gear back in 2015, one thing was clear: the Top Gear we knew and loved was over. Like the 2002 reboot of the original original Top Gear, it had the same name but it turned into something different.

We knew whoever took over the show was going to make changes and have a revamp, or keep to the tried and tested formula with some tweaks. The changes that this new version of Top Gear have had isn't as radical as everyone was expecting. Yes, it has new presenters (which was given), tweaks to the format (which as also a given). Aha I hear you say, it has a new parent show, Extra Gear! True, but even that is just an extension of the main show.

Either way, the first series of this revamped show has now aired. So what worked and what needs improving? Let's find out. Before I start my list, I'd like to point out I wrote this list after Chris Evans called it a day and quit the show. That saves me from writing two massive paragraphs!
What did work
1) Great cinematography and editing -
It's clear that a lot of the original editors and camera men are still hard at work, as it still looks stunning with that trademark look and feel.

2) Great use of celebrities -
While the interviews are a little off (see below) the selection of celebrities on this series on the most part has been pretty decent. Hats off with Jensen Button, who made a great impression in just 5 minutes! I also liked Seasick Steve in South Africa.

3) The new rally cross track -
This change to the celebrity laps has had a mixed reception, but I like it. Having some rally style driving with the traditional circuit is a good mix and adds something we haven't really seen before. While I’m not a big fan of the new Mini in general, it’s a good fit for the segment.

4) Some great new films to add to the list -
While none of the films this season will make my top 50 films from the series list (that I’m currently compiling) some films like the trip to South Africa and the race to the Jaguar show were pretty good. Hats off to the Ken Block film - that is definitely my highlight of the series, and that in itself gives me hope for upcoming series with Matt, Rory and Chris.

5) A Couple of great presenters…
I quite like Matt LeBlanc, with his comedic timing and dry sense of humour. Chris Harris knows how to review cars but for me, it's Rory Reid that is the new highlight. He is great at the news segment, interviewing guests and the various car reviews he has completed for the main show and for Extra Gear. Matt is great at presenting and Chris for the track stuff. Sound familiar?
[Special Guest]The former test driver for Jaguar, Norman Dewis. What a great guest.
And here's what didn't work
1) … and a couple of ok presenters -
I won't mention Chris Evans again, since that problem has solved itself, but there is the problem with Eddie Jordan and Sabine Schmitz. Both of them lack chemistry and seem very out of place in the current format. I think Eddie Jordan will work better if they played a bit more on the “strange uncle” side of him.

2) Lack of banter between presenters -
This was always the best thing about Jeremy, Richard and James, they would pick on each other, take the mickey out of each other, make fun at each other's cars, but then they sit down for a pint after the show and have a laugh. You don't seem to get that with the new presenters... Yet. Obviously, it still early days but the original presenters didn’t take much time to gel, so let’s see how this pans out.

3) Lack of polish in films -
There has been some pretty good films this year, but there could have been a lot more... with more polish. The U.K. Vs USA challenge just felt a bit cold (and I'm not talking about the weather), and the cheap car challenge mixed with a race was as good as eating a crisp smoothie... it just didn’t work.

4) lack of building or modifying challenges -
In most group films, Clarkson and the gang would either build something or add modifications to their cars. Doing something that ordinary car shows don't do is always been one of Top Gear’s strengths, and is one of stronger parts. While the boys have continued that tradition on the Grand Tour, I still missed it.

5) Celebrity interviews are just boring, awkward and too long -
Now my least favourite aspect of new new Top Gear. Where do we begin? Getting rid of those interesting stories from the celebrities? The awkward intros of the celebrities reading off the autocue? Or the best car/first car segment? The whole segment needs changing back to the original format – actually talk with the guest, show practice laps (but this could be an online thing) and the lap.

Closing Thoughts
The Top Gear team need to decide on what direction they want to take the show. Do you want to do more of the same of the original trio’s show, which is an entertainment show about cars or a car show with some entertainment aspects?

At the moment they are trying both, and it's not quite working. To answer the original question, it isn't as doomed as everyone is saying, but it's not as good as it should of been either. Let's see if the new presenter line-up, coupled with any further tweaks in series 24 does the trick. Hopefully things improve, because we will have two good car shows to watch, and that can’t be a bad thing can it?