Discovery's 'Car Saviors' Abandons Obnoxious Automotive Programing and Adopts Fun
Automotive television has developed some extremely bad habits, the worst of which is creating false reality show-style drama among characters with no appreciable personalities. Build shows are the absolute worst for this, yet the agreed-upon recipe seems to be to force one-dimensional characters to argue with one another, intercut with B-roll footage of people working on a car. Rinse and repeat.
While shows like Top Gear and The Grand Tour manage to avoid this problem — by providing entertaining short films, product reviews, and humorous banter — most programs where the host touches a wrench becomes painful to watch within the first few minutes. There are, of course, mainstream exceptions. Mighty Car Mods and RoadKill are both project-oriented shows that remain enjoyable due the presenters’ enthusiasm, authenticity, and willingness to fail. However, neither of those examples exist on a major television network and persist as online-only affairs. And there isn’t really a build show on cable that anyone should consider on par with either.
However, there could be a contender when the Discovery Channel airs its first episode of Car Saviors tonight.
Hosted by Hoonigan Industries chief brand officer Brian Scotto and stunt/race car driver Andrew Comrie-Picard, Car Saviors focuses on finding unloved vintage automobiles and resurrecting them to their former glory — or mutating them into something far more interesting. Whereas Scotto presses to make sure each project is as insane and hoon-friendly as possible, ACP attempts to ensure the end result doesn’t stray too far from the vehicle’s original spirit.
The show doesn’t do away with every automotive television trope; the opening sequence is straight out of every cable-based car show you’ve ever seen and the hosts are still placed at odds with one another due to their vastly different preferences. However, it doesn’t play as manufactured or overly intense. It’s two men who don’t entirely agree on how to handle the build enjoying themselves, not a pair of adult babies screaming at each other over some false premise or impossible deadline. They’ve managed to include the ticking clock element without making it seem like it’ll be the end of the world if they don’t deliver on time.
Having only previewed a single episode in which Scotto and ACP attempt to convert a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II into a Hemi-powered drifting machine, it’s too early to say if the show will progress further toward glory or dip into mediocrity. That might be down to the editors more than the hosts. Coming off as anything but loathsome and rigid on camera is already a feat in itself and both men should further ease into their roles in successive episodes. So far, they’ve done a fine job.
Another positive is that the show also attempts to briefly educate viewers on the background of the project car and explain why it’s so unloved by the community. However, it would be wonderful if they spent a few extra minutes on this in future installments. So many auto-focused shows don’t bother to teach the audience, well, anything. Based on the show’s social media, it would appear that an upcoming episode will involve the Chevrolet Corvair, and there are few automobiles better suited to be the subject of a brief history lesson. Placing that additional focus onto the vehicle would also serve to make it that much more meaningful when Scotto and ACP debate on how extensively they need to modify it.
Car Saviors is already vastly superior to the likes of Misfit Garage or Fast N’ Loud and, hopefully, Discovery will consider it as a replacement. It’s a cut above typical reality-show nonsense and, if it continues down its current path, should be well received by enthusiasts wanting more than just men in beards arguing when they should be having fun. The first episode airs tonight, April 17th, at 10 p.m. ET.
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