Monday, November 22, 2010

Top Gear USA (Television)

Top Gear UK is very successful and one of the most watched television programs in the world.  It would take a great deal to be able to use that name and live up to the hype.  That being said, no one could really blame Top Gear USA for performing the way it did last night on the History Channel.

This show is not this exciting.
As far as Top Gear episodes go, it was below average.  It was not very funny.  The writing was alright, typical of any UK episode, but the hosts (Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood, and Tanner Foust) were not good at their deliveries.  After they drove the Lamborghinis, they awkwardly teased the loser of the race (Tanner Foust).  The UK trio could have made it work but these three just do not seem to have the proper dialogue with each other to make it funny.  They managed to book Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut, as a guest, but the interview was uninteresting.  Finally, the car challenge segment (usually my favorite part of the show), which was a Dodge Viper SRT10 trying to out maneuver a Cobra Helicopter, seemed like it was really trying to force being funny.

Its alright for some episodes to not perform up to par, but this was supposed to be the first episode of the series trying to bring in the American market.  The whole point of Top Gear is be a fun show that does not take itself too seriously.  However, while tuning in last night, I had to endure awkward explanations of the different features.  The whole point of the Stig (the shows tame race car driver) is to be a mystery to the audience, he/she/it did not need an explanation, just an introduction...a funny introduction would be nice.

Clarkson, Hammond, and May just work too well together on an already established program to give Top Gear USA a chance to compete with it.  A better first episode would have included a better car challenge, perhaps something like turning a car into a boat.  We need to see more of the cast showing their personalities.  Either a more notable or entertaining guest (nothing against Aldrin, it was just a boring interview.  Part of this could be blamed on Adam Ferrara.) would make the "Big Star, Small Car" segment seem like a more memorable part of the show.

In the end, Rome was not built in a day.  Maybe Top Gear USA needs to build up in order to be compared to its English counterpart.  Fans of the Stig and motor mayhem will just have to wait and see if this new Top Gear trio could find enough chemistry to make some good footage to warrant a second season.