By on December 14, 2016

The Grand Tour, Image: The Grand Tour/Amazon Prime

Top Gear had been the most popular car show in the world for a decade. It was one of my favorite things to watch — all the way back to the awkward first season where 15 people who liked the WRX showed up to a studio at a rural airport to watch three men discuss cars. (The show unceremoniously exchanged one of those three men in season two for James May).

Watching over the years proved very entertaining, even though toward the end of the run the script poked holes in the Joking Car Guys illusion we’d mostly been able to believe in seasons past. Still, I looked forward to the Cheap Car Challenges and the adventures of the three as they’d drive across foreign lands in whatever falling-apart heap they’d selected from the local Bolivian version of AutoTrader.

And then a one-two punch happened, and Amazon promised us more. More cars, more of the trio, more gags — all the things we wanted, things that made so many rage against the BBC when it fired the controversial Clarkson.

But more is the primary issue with The Grand Tour.

I won’t use my QOTD to go on a tangent with a review of each episode thus far (though I really, really could). I’ll just report that our trio has already been to exotic locations around the world, just as promised. There are lots of explosions, crashes, supercars, comments about immigrants, and a quest to “murder” all of Britain’s celebrities. The show has really got it all!

But that it has it all is not a compliment. Somewhere in the midst of their huge budget and Internet show freedom (insert reference to pleasuring horses here), the show’s forgot what it set out to be — a different sort of car show. Pay special attention to those last two words there. Aside from a few shining moments when the Top Gear of old shines through, the rest of The Grand Tour is a variety show — a nice, cinematic take on an idea that was worn out in 1978.

Pretending to murder celebrities with someone in a lion costume? Yeah, we’ve got that.

Ridiculously scripted studio banter between hosts, complete with pauses for canned laughs? Yep.

One character who must carry on a shtick being dumber than they are for the sake of the comedy? Hey, James May — you’re up!

Another character (NASCAR driver in this case), playing up to every stereotype of “Stupid Redneck American” ever known? Yee-haw!

We already know The Grand Tour will be with us for at least three years, as Amazon has contracted for thirty-six episodes with each lasting roughly an hour. The show carries a shocking 9.4 over at IMDB.

The show has apparently and immediately found a wide audience who’s up for an hour of entertainment filled with tortured sketches that go on too long and overworked characters who’ve been stretched beyond recognition by whichever geniuses are writing the script.

And they are geniuses. By turning The Grand Tour into an extreme sketch comedy show, Amazon is appealing to the widest audience possible and getting the most for its money. The show’s really lost it for me, and I can’t see myself carrying on watching after this first season. It’s only an option when I’ve reached the bottom of the Internet bucket and I’m not quite ready to turn off the TV. The earlier, fun show about car guys is as far in the distance as William Woollard with his foot on the bumper of a Jaguar XJS.

Tell me what you think. Maybe I’m just not viewing it through the right lens here. It’s got to deserve that 9.4 rating on IMDB, right?

I’ll be right back. Amazon Prime is at the door with my Soma.

[Image: The Grand Tour/Amazon Prime]

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155 Comments on “QOTD: Are You Watching ‘The Grand Tour’?...”


  • avatar

    So, I’m watching The Grand Tour, but begrudgingly.

    I really enjoyed Clarkson’s interviews with celebrities in the old format. He had a way of gleaning interesting tidbits from their lives and weaving those bits into our own infatuation with cars. Now The Grand Tour just “murders” celebrities. The schtick was hilarious during the first episode, kind of funny in the second, but had grown tired by the third.

    My other gripe: there’s not nearly enough car content, and the content that does exist is bad considering the budget. The last episode, where the trio tried to build “green” cars, was absolutely dreadful. Even the Porsche 911 GT3RS vs BMW M4 GTS comparo was filled with tired Top Gear tropes. I’d like that hour of my life back.

    I think it all comes down to how the BBC and Amazon “control” the talent — whether that be the stars or writing staff.

    With the new show, Amazon has basically let the inmates run the asylum. This makes for some outlandish comedy. But with the BBC, the talent was given very structured rules, and that talent would find ways to skirt around those rules, usually with a wink thrown in the direction of the audience. “See? We weren’t allowed to do this, but we slid it in anyway and nobody noticed.” It was all very sly and dry and smart, whereas the new show is way too overt.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      It occurred to me while watching the show that not even a cheap sitcom would attempt the same exact thing every week on a show – killing someone in a ridiculous pretend way. It’s just too immature to hold up.

      Agree with you on the lack of car content. The biggest offender so far in my mind was the military segment. Far too long. It came across as insulting to people who have even a base level of intelligence, and wasn’t funny. They threw in an S8 and pointed out how the segment had nothing to do with cars except for that part – like they don’t -want- to really do a car show.

      So why am I watching you then?

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “With the new show, Amazon has basically let the inmates run the asylum. This makes for some outlandish comedy. But with the BBC, the talent was given very structured rules, and that talent would find ways to skirt around those rules, usually with a wink thrown in the direction of the audience. “See? We weren’t allowed to do this, but we slid it in anyway and nobody noticed.” It was all very sly and dry and smart, whereas the new show is way too overt.”

      That pretty well sums it up. On the BBC they at least had the direction of being a car “magazine” type of show. There was some requirement towards journalism as well as entertainment. And yes, part of the fun was watching them trying to skirt the rules, or run right up to the line of what is permissible without going over. It was dry, witty, and clever. My greatest fear (especially after seeing footage of some of the “arena tour” that the trio did last year) was that it with no rules that it would lose a lot of it’s cleverness. And it seems to have done so.

    • 0 avatar

      The murdered celebrity bit landed with the thud of Jeremy Renner’s “body” when his parachute didn’t open.

      I like the bits, when they focus on the cars. But the comparos have been flat and annoying. It’s great fun for my 14 year old son, but that’s the reason I’m still watching it.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Both the killing off celebrities, and the American are because of BBC lawyers. The American is meant to be loud and obnoxious, and the exact opposite of the Stuff, since that’s BBC intellectual property. The celebrities being killed off is because BBC lawyers say that an interview segment would be to similar to Top Gear’s format.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It’s awful.

        I liked Top Gear UK (at least some episodes) from about Season 7 to Season 18, and then it wore tired, thin and cliche, with bad scripting and unrelatable Supercars Every Week!

        The Grand Tour is like the very bad Seasons 21 and 22 of Top Gear – only far worse, as it’s even more scripted, there’s no flow, it’s as if they need to burn a pile of Amazon money by the bucketload on stupid $hit every episode, and there’s nothing new there versus the old stuff.

        Bad writing, poor plots, very little true vehicle stuff, and a very tired-looking (yet massively well paid) Clarkson, Hammond and May.

        Stick a fork in it – it’s dead.

        Top Gear UK with these 3 was great because of The Bolivia Special, riffs on the Reliant Robin, old British Classics (were there was genuine interest and history), Jeremy driving the Aston Vantage V12 through the countryside with Brian Enos “An Ending” playing alongside the sounds of the V12 and exhaust, the Eagle Speedster E-Type one-off, the Vietnam Special (even though I’m not into bikes), the special on Alfas or Saabs or Lancias, etc.

        They’ve run out of ideas, are old and fat and happy, and will never re-create the chemistry they once had, which was part history, part automotive things, ripping on themselves and certain British things (and other nations’ things, as well), all in a Monte Python-esque way, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      Sadly, I have to agree with Mark. Too little cars, too much general comedy (and not very good at that).

  • avatar
    threeer

    Agree that the “killing the celebrity” slapstick grew old after the 1st episode. I fast-forwarded through the military training episode…it just became too unbearable to watch. I guess my hopes were very high for the return of these three, especially given the relative freedom that they would be able to operate under. But the Redneck is already old (and not funny) and while I love the idea that they are traveling around the world, the show feels too much the same and already out of date. And “Conversation Street?” Come on, guys…we KNOW you can do better.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    No.

    We (wife and I) regularly watched TG. After watching about 50% of the 1st “Tour” show we looked at each other in silence, the channel was changed and I’ve forgotten it. It is forgettable.

  • avatar

    They should have never came out with The Grand Tour. They should have moved on to other projects (glaringly obvious that they want to do that anyways), and BBC should have killed off Top Gear and funded Fifth Gear for a few more seasons.

    Disclaimer: I prefer Fifth Gear to Top Gear.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Beatles sucked after Revolver but they just kept selling records.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I might also add that due to my OCD memory, I noticed in the episode where they knocked down “Jeremy’s house,” they were using the same house they used in the Peugeot segment in the last season of Top Gear (where James and Jeremy drove around all day acting like Peugeot drivers).

  • avatar
    Rochester

    The entire family was psyched to watch The Grand Tour. We all wanted to love it because we loved Top Gear so much for so many years. Unfortunately, the scripted lameness is so much over the top than ever before, that after 3 episodes we’re all pretty much turned off. Now I’m the only one who’s interested, and even then all I do is fast-forward to the bits that are actually about cars.

  • avatar
    jmo

    1. They don’t make fun of Amazon enough. Remember the episode where Clarkson was driving through BBC headquarters in a tiny car? They need more of that.

    2. Also, as someone mentioned above, the end of the celebrity interviews and Star in a Reasonably Priced Car has resulted in segments that are too long. The pacing is all off.

    3. The mobile studio is a terrible idea they need to be based in the UK. I remember when TG was new to the US they had these bubbles pop up on the screen converting pounds to dollars – like we’re all idiots. Producers were worried Americans wouldn’t get it. The reality is the Britishness made the show.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Am I the only car guy that never liked Top Gear? I found the “smarminess” instantly off-putting and decided I had better uses of my time.

  • avatar
    whynot

    Nope.

    In fact I think are still 3 or so episodes of the final TG season with those 3 that I haven’t watched yet.

    Their shtick got old and was starting to wear very thin.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    I guess I am in the minority here. My wife and I have been enjoying The Grand Tour and I watch it religiously each week. There are some flaws, but on the whole we have been entertained.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      I’m with you, DevilsRotary. The Grand Tour isn’t perfect but it is still a lot of fun. Perhaps some of the criticism is valid but the appeal of Top Gear for many was that it offered something beyond cars for general audiences. If The Grand Tour takes that a bit too far for some in its early episodes, fine. It’ll probably get better. But, in the meantime, I’ve been having a blast and so has my wife. People should lighten up a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        The renewable car bit had us almost rolling in laughter.

        • 0 avatar
          paxman356

          When Hammond started pointing out that his car blended in with the background, I swear to God I thought, “huh, some bush trimmer is going to come by and trim it, isn’t it?” Sure enough, it did.

          I still like it, but it’s predictable, and it doesn’t look like the fellas are having fun anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            It’s so scripted and painful, that I’d agree. The Challenger Hellcat bit was so forced on what would -normally- have been a very beautiful segment if they put Hammond in a comparable ride to the Aston or Rolls.

    • 0 avatar
      d4rksabre

      I’m with you here too. We’re watching it and it’s fine. Do I think it’s amazing? No, but it’s got enough entertainment value at the moment. My hope is that they’ll refine it and figure out what is and isn’t working and that next series will be better. I’ll give them a chance to get comfortable at Amazon.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I like it too and am waiting to see what it evolves into. It would have been stupid to expect a homerun right out of the gate and the guys have admitted they’re still trying new things.

      This is one of those times where I’m not pretending I’m cool for disliking something that others enjoy.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Mark, Is it even legally available in Canada? If so I have not been able to figure out how to watch it. Sometimes getting old stinks!

    Top Gear was pure genius. A show that the whole family would watch and enjoy. We still watch the travel ‘specials’ in re-runs on BBC Canada for the umpteenth time.

    It is only peripherally a car show, the vehicles were just props around which loosely tied together their projects, discussions, travel and jokes.

    And the Englishness (not so much Britishness) helped make it work. Clarkson’s xenophobia was a major part of his persona. As I have written many times, he is to England what Don Cherry is to Canada.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    I must be the only one who is enjoying it then.

    The 3 of them became as much about being a comedy act as it was hooning about in supercars.

    Yes I do miss the cheap car challenges, spend £1500 on a car to fulfill this criteria, perform these challenges, modify them in this way etc.

    Some of the elements were contractual.
    They couldn’t have a celebrity on (a segment which stemmed out of Clarkson’s old late 90s chatshow), so the celeb deaths are a way of famous fans showing themselves but not being able to appear.

    I’m glad they got rid of the celebrity section, when watching on-demand / sky plussed Top Gear it was the section I would fast forward. Occasionally it was interesting, when a petrolhead like Rowan Atkinson was on or an F1 star like Jenson Button. However too many times the guest had no real interest in cars and were just there to promote their new movie/TV show/book/album, occasionally they couldn’t even drive!
    This was the section that was usually moaned about on Top Gear forums.

    Conversation Street (a pun on Coronation Street – a UK soap) was because they either weren’t allowed a news segment, or they figured that an on-demand show wasn’t as time sensitive as a regular broadcast show, and therefore news would be out of date (this is often the segment cut out of Top Gear repeats).

    The American was because they couldn’t have a silent racing driver character – so they chose a talkative racing driver character, from the states to presumably give a nod to their new broadcaster.

    The second episode with the simulated warzone reminded me of some of the stunts they’ve performed in the past – taking an SLK and a Boxster to a military training village, chasing a Range Rover with a tank, that kind of thing. For comedy I found it very funny, while the cinematography wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Hollywood movie.

    Seems you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Too many cars, too little cars, not enough banter, banter too scripted, too much celebrity interview, not enough celebrity interview.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Correct. Remember that it never was a ‘car show’. The original Top Gear was a car show and got cancelled. Clarkson and Andy Wilman had a better idea. A talk/comedy/sketch/travelogue show that contained vehicles. If it was just a ‘car show’ it would have originally been restricted to some specialty channel with a small audience.

      Remember that the best selling cars are appliances (Corollas, etc) and that petrolheads represent a very small percentage of the population

      As a show that includes cars it was viewed by over 300 million around the world and is currently the most pirated show in history.

      So they must be doing something right.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I am willing to let it find its groove. The first seasons of TG weren’t all that great either, then it hit its stride and then ran a little long.

    There were some quips that may have been scripted but at least sounded like they were ad-libbed. “Do you want me to tickle you?”

    The “American” shtick grew old before the first joke was done, but maybe the BBC would file suit if they used a silent driver.

    Most of it I think comes from them trying too hard. They are really at their best when it is the three friends interacting with each other. Maybe they will slow down, take a deep breath and stop being so Eddie Haskell.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Top Gear itself was tired and no longer particularly interesting the last couple of years. Their schtick had gotten old and unfunny. Now they are totally lost.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    No. I can’t stand Jeremy Clarkson one bit.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Short version: people who write or read TTAC hate change.

    It’s not TG, it’s a new show with the same hosts. Don’t expect them to re-make something they’ve already done.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    It’s not perfect, but other than Wheeler Dealers (totally different type of show), what is a better car show?

    Car guys are funny, a lot of you cry babies act like you’d rather have no car shows than a less than perfect one. TGT has enough redeeming qualities (Holy Trinity, GT3 RS vs. M4 GTS) that I’ll overlook the parts where I roll my eyes (celebrity kill off, military thing).

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Jay Leno’s Garage has some pretty good stuff, I liked the recent episode “Water and Oil” where they had several vehicles they could tie to water, from a steam fire engine pulled by a Chrissie motor tractor to a wood boat carved in the shape of a Ferrari F-40 (down to the zipper for the top), to amphibious cars.

      There was another show, I think it was the auction one, where they tried to drive a 30 mile vintage run in England in a 1901 Ford Model A. Watching them struggle to try to complete (and fail) something we do with total ease now gave me an appreciation of how far we have come.

      We are still watching the last episodes of the last season of TG on Netflix before starting to watch TGT. Even the last episodes of TG feel a little strained and contrived compared to the previous episodes.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        You’re thinking of Chasing Classic Cars. That, and Wheeler Dealers, are my two main reasons for watching Velocity. Mainly because we’re talking antique cars, as opposed to yet another hot rod/muscle car/street rod/modified car show.

        Although this season of Wheeler Dealers is starting to bother me, because they’re slowly turning into another Fast ‘n Loud or Bitchin’ Rides – shows where cars are customized, not restored.

        The episode where they modified that clean, original ’73 Camaro Rallye Sport just about had me screaming.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          Yeah, I’ll bing-watch Wheeler Dealer. I love seeing some of the more “pedestrian” cars getting some love. Old Fiesta? Sure. Porsche 924? You bet. And I agree, I’m not a fan of moving out into “custom” redos. Return them to classic glory and let it be. I nearly shed tears of happiness when they did the 912. Even though it is nowhere near the performance equal to the 911, when they got done with the 912, I could see myself driving it with immense joy, despite the fact that just about every family hauler built in recent memory could walk away from it at a stoplight.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Bitchin rides is kind of my car show guilty pleasure. I am not generally a huge fan of over the top customs but that truck he’s building and that Cadillac they just did I like and on the whole his stuff seems to be drivable.

    • 0 avatar
      ImAbeFroman

      “Chris Harris on Cars” – he is the best part of car videos everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Chris Harris on Cars is now my favorite car show. He drives the cars both on road and on the track doing his initial impressions and quick comparisons. You really get the feeling he is giving you honest feedback of his reaction to the car as if it’s first time he has driven it.

        Grand Tour is OK – the kill a celebrity thing and the ‘Merican are getting old fast. While many people aren’t happy with the show we all knew it was never going to hold up to the original. However it is as advertised: 3 fools doing random car related stuff. They never claimed it was going to be a “factual” car review show like TG.

        Gas Monkey and Wheeler Dealers are also on my DVR. Bitchin’ Rides is good, but every time I put it on its a repeat. Jay Leno’s garage is really well done and is very over looked since its on MSNBC.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    The entire show is a bit. It’s all scripted shtick all the time. I’m watching for now but hoping I see them on an actual tour in non supercars soon. The old pick a vehicle for this much money and drive it to This place made for great TV. They’re doing a parody of their own show.
    Last years Top Gear episode where Matt Leblanc, Eddie Jordan, and the loud guy drove through South Africa was a better show than any Grand Tour episode thus far.

    (59 minutes and 47 seconds)
    Can I get un blacklisted at some point?

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    No, great Laurel and Hardy is available on YouTube and much better

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Maybe there’s something wrong with me but I look forward to learning how they’ll kill off their celebrity guest each week. With the inevitable punchline from Captain Slow: “Does this mean he/she isn’t coming on?” Yeah, it’s sophomoric but I still laugh. I’m sure The Grand Tour will evolve but there’s no reason to not have fun right now, either.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’m loving it. Yes, it does seem unoriginal at this point. Yes, it’s gotten a bit more clearly scripted, and yes some of the tropes don’t really work. I don’t ultimately care. It’s still stupid entertaining. It’s still everything I enjoyed about the old top gear plus the chemistry they lost when the trio was let go. I think they created a challenge for themselves because episode 1 was properly epic and set some perhaps unrealistic expectations that the deficiencies of episode 2 only exaggerated and amplified. I do agree that more cars and more challenges would be better. More laps and lap times. It would be nice if they could figure out how to bring back actual celebrity interviews but supposedly the BBC has been waving copywrite infringement threats at them over that.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Honestly, the show pretty much lost me when it started up with the “Poor Poor Jeremy Clarkson” bit at the beginning of the first episode. Nothing else after that really drew me back in (though the bit with the dying celebs was funny).

  • avatar
    maranello

    Something definitely got lost on translation. At its best the old top gear was irreverent without resorting to insolence. The presenters were funny and quirky without playing exaggerated caricatures of themes elves.The chemistry among the three seemed organic instead of forced. And although obviously scripted it didn’t make a mockery of the suspension of disbelief. Oh well, we’ll always have original to reminisce.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Not at all, having too much fun rediscovering Motown.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The absolute worst part of the show is the profoundly unfunny “Celebrity Brain Crash” stinger (with the exploding heads of celebrities), followed by a momentary ROAR of intense laughter. The laughter directed at the “Conversation Street” stinger is almost as bad.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I don’t have Amazon Prime, so, no.

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    I watch a number of car shows. Fantom Works, Car Fix, Garage Squad, Motohead Garage, etc. I like the Grand Tour because it features cars but I also enjoy British humor. The stunts/gags get old but overall its done well enough to keep my attention.

  • avatar

    I mainly watch it because my 14 year old son likes it, and we watched Top Gear together. But the shtick got old about five years ago.

    I’d rather see how Matt Leblanc, Rory Reid, and Chris Harris come together on the new version of Top Gear. I’d even be willing to see Chris Evans back-but only if Sabine Schmidt is driving him around until he gets car sick.

    But even shouty Chris Evans is better than watching Clarkson, Hammond, and May re-enact their greatest hits. The Grand Tour is like a tribute band.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    No

    I like car reviews, not Michael Bay productions. Plus JC is a total knob. Give me Alex On Autos or TST’s One Takes any day.

    TG/TGT are “car shows” for people who aren’t really into cars.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    I watched the first episode and enjoyed it, and even rewatched it right afterward to catch the various trivia bits… but it hasn’t been a priority for me to watch any others yet. Kinda like visiting with your extended family over the holidays; at first it’s great catching up on things, but the novelty factor wears off quickly.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    I watched the first two episodes, but it seems to be lacking a lot of the “fun” irreverance that was on TG.

    Now I’m just bing watching “The Wire” again…

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Kill the scripting, and it will be saved.

    All banter is awful on TGT. Kill scripting, and edit for the good bits. Make them improvise. They’re horrible when they don’t.

    The segments are scripted. Kill that. Throw them into real interactions, with real surprise, with real people. Edit out the parts that don’t work.

    The reviews are scripted. Kill that too. Put presenters into a car they haven’t chosen, and have never seen before. Get their genuine reactions.

    KILL THE SCRIPTING and you might have something worth watching. As-is, it’s worse than reading endless Road & Track “comparos”.

    (I’ll go even further and suggest it should just be a podcast anyway.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Does Clarkson still say “… in the world…” a lot?

  • avatar
    DJM

    Could never stand those 3 Sassenach’s…

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Yes but no longer. I used to watch it when it was a car show, now I’m just watching in the hopes that they’ll work the bugs out. Sadly, I think that will keep then from fixing it, so … I’ll stop watching it until/unless I hear they’ve improved. Otherwise, I’m just enabling the crap they’ve done so far.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Nope, not watching, because to do so would mean subscribing to Prime. And I’m already subscribing to enough other things.

    Besides, at the point that Top Gear went off the air, I was just starting to get bored and lose interest because the show had gotten too formulaic.

    I figure my days of watching a Top Gear like show are over.

    Now, I can certainly put up with more Wheeler Dealers, Chasing Classic Cars, Fantomworks, and Graveyard Cars (the latter stretches me a bit because of the limited types of cars he works one – but he does restore them to original).

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I loved Top Gear up until Season 13. I had BBC Canada on my channel package just for that. But somehow Season 13 just didn’t live up to the previous seasons. Nothing they did at that point came across as new or interesting, and I wasn’t buying their acting anymore.

    It’s been dead to me for years.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The 2001-2010 seasons of Top Gear with this trio were really good as far as they went and typically had a sense of honesty about them. But in the later years the show became too obviously scripted, over and above the kitsch of out-doing or bashing each other with stupid acts and gimmicks. Grand Tour has kept up the kitsch while losing almost all aspects of honesty. Yes, it’s still fun to watch but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand even the rest of THIS season of it, much less two- to four more years of it.

  • avatar
    Funky

    Now, after reading everybody’s impressions, I will make the time to watch it. I enjoyed watching the three of them on Top Gear. I plan to watch as much as I can this evening. Based on what I’ve read here today, I just can’t resist beginning as soon as possible. And, I’m already sure (again, based on what I’ve read here) my family and I will enjoy the show.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I think the cinematography and editing is good as always or even better. Some of the BBC guys must have defected too. My son and I enjoy it. I think the guys are having more fun because they have more freedom. The concept is not that much more different and actually the writing for the credits at the end is the same exact format. The military show was a bit lame. I look at this show more as a variety comedy show and not necessarily as a car show. Realistically I don’t care about the Lamborghini Hurracan, or Ferrari FF. I will never own either one.
    I think the show will get better as it goes. Also I think their chemistry is as good as always. They also seem more relaxed since BBC is not breathing down their necks with their PC. The segment with the human powered Google car ruffled some feathers…oh human slavery….oh nooo. People need to grow up.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Anyone critical of this show clearly lacks the intelligence to understand what is going on. You just can’t get it.

    Stick to Motorweek if you want generic car reviews. They should be simple enough for you to understand.

    • 0 avatar
      ImAbeFroman

      Do you realize these are long-term Top Gear fans who are disappointed in the massive slip in content, bucko?

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        No their not. If they were, they wouldn’t be complaining like children.

        They are only saying they were TG fans because they think that will make their asinine argument seem more believable.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I’m a long term fan.

          Top Gear was slipping in its final seasons and The Grand Tour is on the razor’s edge of sucking like a Dyson. The tribute band analogy someone made above was spot-on.

          Never have such old men worked so hard and so transparently to appeal to such a juvenile audience.

  • avatar
    ImAbeFroman

    I am watching it but more out of loyalty/commitment. Frankly, James May’s “Man Lab” is more entertaining than “The Grand Tour”.
    Frankly it’s disappointing. I remember when Clarkson got fired feeling relieved they were being put out to pasture. Unfortunately it’s just as bad as, if not worse than, season 22 of TG was. It lacks the familiar format of Top Gear while possessing an abundance of over-scripted skits.

    Sure I will keep watching but it’s sad to see them beyond their former glory.
    Perhaps it has to do with seeing other presenters such as Chris Harris and Matt Farah who provide a new take on the auto review.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I don’t hate it, but I’d just assume watch DeadWeight, BigTrucksReview, and BigAlFromOz do a car show.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      That would be less of a car show and more of a Murder Death Kill.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Well Mad Max was still a car movie so…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Be well, John Spartan.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Shall we dine at Taco Bell?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            If circa-1993 Sandra Bullock’s there, I’m in.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            My show would be titled ‘Petrol, P!ss & Vinegar’ or “Phuck You Up, Car Bros” or “An Hour of Rage” or “The Killing Field,” and would be the rawest, most brutal, no holds barred automotive show ever aired.

            I’d heap copious praise on the bell curve end (10% at most, though) of automakers, tuners, advertisers, particular vehicles, auto executives, engineers, designers, et al., who do things great, big and small, and relentessly hammer and berate and degrade the 90% that half-a$$ it or make a bloody mess out of everything they touch.

            I’d fire AR-10s and Barrett .50CAL and Claymores at exploding targets representing incompetent auto execs, stylists, engineers and advertising/marketing imbeciles, I’d invite competent ones onto the show and heap praise upon them, I would tear apart, piece-by-piece, component-by’component, brand new vehicles and barely used vehicles that are pieces of overpriced $hit on air, in real time, exposing why this is the case, like an autopsy, exposing their hidden warts & cheapening, and I’d feature 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 year old vehicles that are superior to brand new vehicles having a similar mission statement and purported reason to exist (many of these would be different MY vehicles from the same manufacturer).

            I’d have rental car reviews for manufacturers who succeeded in blacklisting me (they earn deductions out of the gate, with particular, OCD-driven attention paid to the guts and subsystems of these vehicles by my crew of auto geniuses, to expose shortcuts, sharpening, and outright hatchet work by the manufacturer).

            And I’d (legally) engage in ambush journalism with a crew of seasoned pros, confronting auto industry insiders/execs/ad-marketing peeps, especially those who’d refuse to voluntarily come onto my show and defend their acts of incompetence, buffoonery & malfeasance (I’d circle the Ren Center with 20 to 40 others in a motorcade, with bullhorns, with a couple RVs with banners and aircraft with a banner streamer, calling out GM execs by name & their total incompetence (particularly Johan & Dan Ammann, AnsoN’d, unlike others, ridicule Mary Barra’s “no more crappy cars” comment; I’ve rented two such new GM POSs just in the last 7 weeks).

            I’d also give a much bigger spot & voice to line workers, factory managers and foremen/women, and the actual people who assemble, design and quality check vehicles in real life, on the front lines, pixelating faces and disguising voices, if need be, if their comments & shared experience/knowledge highlighted manufacturer-specific or industry-wide problems,with an ironclad guarantee of anonymity (and a flock of phyoer-competent legal counsel made available to them for any acts of potential retribution as a result of spilling dirty secrets that harm the public safety or prove to massively, unfairly injure their economic interests – fraud-level actions.)

            Everyone with a pulse, passion & brains & soul would love it.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I’m glad you two got it.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      My show would be titled ‘Petrol, Piss & Vinegar’ or “Phuck You Up, Car Bros” or “The Killing Field” or “An Hour of Rage” or “The Killing Field,” and would be the rawest, most brutal, no holds barred automotive show ever aired.

      I’d heap copious praise on the bell curve end (10% at most, though) of automakers, tuners, advertisers, particular vehicles, auto executives, engineers, designers, et al., who do things great, big and small, and relentessly hammer and berate and degrade the 90% that half-a$$ it or make a bloody mess out of everything they touch.

      I’d fire AR-10s and Barrett .50CAL and Claymores at exploding targets representing incompetent auto execs, stylists, engineers and advertising/marketing imbeciles, I’d invite competent ones onto the show and heap praise Nino them, I would tear apart, piece-by-piece, component-by’component, brand new vehicles that are pieces of overpriced $hit on air, in real time, exposing why this is the case, like an autopsy, and I d feature 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 year old vehicles that are superior to brand new vehicles having a similar mission statement and purported reason to exist (many of these would be different MY vehicles from the same manufacturer).

      I’d have rental car reviews for manufacturers who succeeded in blacklisting me (they earn deductions out of the gate, with particular, OCD-driven attention paid to the guts and subsystems of these vehicles by my crew of auto geniuses, to expose shortcuts, sharpening, and outright hatchet work by the manufacturer).

      And I’d (legally) engage in ambush journalism with a crew of seasoned pros, confronting auto industry insiders/execs/ad-marketing peeps, especially those who’d refuse to voluntarily come onto my show and defend their acts of incompetence, buffoonery & malfeasance.

      I’d also give a much bigger spot & voice to line workers, factory managers and foremen/women, and the actual people who assemble, design and quality check vehicles in real life, on the front lines, pixelating faces and disguising voices, if need be, if their comments & shared experience/knowledge highlighted manufacturer-specific or industry-wide problems,with an ironclad guarantee of anonymity (and a flock of phyoer-competent legal counsel made available to them for any acts of potential retribution as a result of spilling dirty secrets that harm the public safety or prove to massively, unfairly injure their economic interests – fraud-level actions.)

      Everyone with a pulse, passion & brains & soul would love it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        If you came across as confrontational, I would probably hate it.

        If you came across as brutally honest (and NO apparent bias) then I might like it.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Not confrontational.

          Think me inviting Johan to the track to witness a $56,000 Cadillac CTS 2.0T vs $28,000 Honda Accord V6 showdown (and hiring a doppelganger Johan to show up) with a giant Cadillac banner with the slogan Dare Greatly in the background, and a Millennial 21 year old female reading The Arena speech on a bullhorn while the test is being conducted.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Can Sajeev get a “Vellum Venom” segment on it? I would love to see him do on video what he tries to do with still photographs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      I’ll call that a win

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I’d buy that for a dollar.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Just saw the new Jay Leon’s Garage had a segment on 24 hours of LeMons so that moves it up the ladder a bit.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Nope.

  • avatar
    robc123

    For me top gear was like smoking, at the beginning everyone was watching it, then it became only me.

    With this new show, I watched part of one episode and
    butted it out.
    I quit, its a silly little show-

    The level of the game is gotten so much better-
    youtube channels like:
    smoking tire
    everyday driver
    harry’s garage
    jay leno
    RCR
    and so on…

    is so much better, without the dumb scripted schick, those channels are so much more authentic.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Not watching. But they’re not the type of personalities to improvise and fly without a script. If they could they would. And it’s clear the writers of TGUK weren’t even car guys. Except the show was hardly aimed at car enthusiasts, so I’m not sure why we ever discuss it here.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Good QOTD, Corey. I am watching it but am close to not. The first episode was OK, showed some promise, and the first celebrity kill-off bit was enough for the primitive part of my brain to be amused.

    The second episode was terrible. F- material. The pacing, the jokes, the lack of anything automotive. God.

    The Italy motor tour gave me hope again.

    The next episode took most of it away. Boring, forced story and the celebrity kill-off was poorly done and is now an old joke.

    They’ve got until the end of this season to lock it down before I conclude that the decline present in Top Gear has accelerated and is terminal.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    No, and I actually stopped TG around Season 15 when JC tried to drive a new X-type in full SCUBA gear to make some sort of a point (in which he failed).

  • avatar
    ltcmgm78

    No show is perfect in its first season. My wife and I find it an enjoyable diversion. Let’s see if there’s another season that allows the producers to adjust the product a bit before burying it. I liked Hammond in that SRT Challenger with the accompanying pit crew to change out his worn out tires.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Most of what I read here sums up how I feel about the The Grand Flop.

    I tried out Amazon Prime for a free month with anticipation of staying on but sadly the show sucks so I see no need to sign up.

    I did find “parts” of the green car segment that was way too looong funny.

    I HATE the dying celeb thing, pretty LAME. Now if they brought on people like Kanye, Trump, Pence, the rest of the Donald’s cabinet, Mitch McConnell, any of the Kardashians, Rudy Giuliani I think that would be funny.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Honestly, I refused to buy Amazon Prime just to get access to Grand Tour–flat refused. However, my wife decided to make some other purchases from Amazon for the holidays and signed up for AP for the free two-day shipping (think about that) so we tried the show out as well as sampled some of their other exclusive programming.

      Yes, so far Grand Tour is pitiful. They seem to alternate some truly fun episodes (interspersed with silly sight gags and other Three-Stooges types of schtick) and episodes that make little sense and aren’t even funny. Their so-called Nascar racer got old on his very first drive. Still, they don’t necessarily have the budget they once had and even with Amazon helping them out, I wonder if they’re not footing some of the bill themselves. I also think many of those car brands are going out of their way to make sure the team don’t show their car in a bad light, what with that three-way ‘hybrid supercar’ race ended in an effective tie.

      Still, I’d like to see the team go back to their low-budget beginnings and talk cars more than making comedy.

  • avatar
    poggi

    Boring. Unfunny. Waster of my time.

    And about those million$ cars? Who cares? It’s not entertaining and it’s not educational; so, it’s like US network TV.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    In a word, this show which was a favorite, now ROTS! Oh the first show was pretty good, the photography top notch. But the schtik has grown stale. While the trio is ok, they don’t need to read from scripted takes. The show is supposed to be about cars, some that we own and drive and some that we’d like to own and drive, not weed wagons or vile, disgusting meat mobiles. The trio has distinct personalities and that’s enough to add spice, humor. Unless there are serious changes, I’ll be one less viewer.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    These guys have a real passion for cars (Clarkson still writes an interesting reviews in SundayTimes..) , .. but they’ve decided to make a “poor comedy show” ..

    Only funny thing is brand new (” R U faster than a redneck ” style ).. STIG ..>)


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