July 30th saw the streaming release of the third installment in The Grand Tour Presents series, Amazon’s installment rework of the formerly tent-based automotive series. Following up their “Seamen” premiere (which I liked) and “A Massive Hunt” ( which I didn’t), Clarkson, Hammond, and May get back to their basics of years ago with “Lochdown.” And there’s not a lot wrong with that.
After a COVID-induced delay of several months, Amazon finally released The Grand Tour’s new episode “A Massive Hunt” on December 17th. Its intended release date was the 18th, but someone at Amazon decided to foist the episode on an unsuspecting public a day early.
What a dumpster fire.
I’ve said before that automotive television is frequently terrible. Cars don’t have a lot of on-screen charisma without someone inside them, meaning most automotive presenters are forced into awkward acting attempts to “add drama,” despite not being actors.
The exception are shows that don’t rely on gimmicks and allow endearing hosts to be themselves. Top Gear has been a prime example of this since the mid-2000s, improved further by having presenters that act believably in unbelievable ways.
However, when the team that originally made it great left to create The Grand Tour, it wandered dangerously close to becoming an unintentional parody of the old show. Thankfully, most of the past month has been littered with news proving they’re shying away from hokey antics for more substantive programming.
The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond has survived God’s most-recent attempt to murder him with a motor vehicle. If you recall, the former Top Gear presenter suffered serious head injuries in 2006 when the jet-propelled dragster he was driving wrecked at 288mph. Earlier this year, Hammond also “fell off” a motorcycle in Mozambique traveling at high speeds, knocking himself unconscious.
In his latest accident, Hammond was piloting an electric supercar as it tumbled off the road — busting into flames seconds after he crawled from the wreckage. “It was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening ,” Jeremy Clarkson tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “But incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.”
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.
While “Top Gear” moves forward with new host Chris Evans at the helm, Clarkson, Hammond and May are closer to introducing a new show of their own.
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- Inside Looking Out Russian hackers have no mercy.
- Joh65690876 Screw electric motors….they’re boring
- UncleAL EZ solution....just buy a CHALLENGER w/the 485 HP option (SCAT PACK)....enjoy the hell out of it...it will be worth much more than any EV 8-10 years down the road 1
- Surakmn Wrong question, for a lot of people even a PHEV has enough range for commute or errands. The problem is lack of a cost effective, speedy and available charging infrastructure. With an ICE you're usually never more than a few miles away from a ten minute fill up. THAT is what makes me comfortable on a cross country trip. Electrics can manage more routes than many people realize but you have to plan it out and allow for charging times and pray charging stations are real and working shopping the way. It's a few years out yet.
- John I had an 87 escort GT that was silver, it was a fun little car and got 35+ mpg average, one time I got 42 average on a turnpike trip.