The Grand Tour's "A Scandi Flick" Crashes, Bangs, and Contrives to Fill Its Length

It’s been nearly three years since The Grand Tour switched its format away from the elaborate traveling tent and to its all-special format. On Friday, Amazon released the fifth such special, and the first “post pandemic” episode (their term, not mine). In “A Scandi Flick,” the familiar trio heads across Scandinavia in three rally-inspired all-wheel drive sedans. It’s certainly not the show’s worst work, but it’s far from the best. You’ll need to suspend disbelief and leave your thinking skills in another room.

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The Grand Tour's "Carnage a Trois" Episode Falls Largely Flat
The Grand Tour returned this past Friday with the fourth special of its fourth season, entitled “Carnage a Trois.” The French-themed episode follows “ Lochdown” of August 2021, “ A Massive Hunt” from December last year, and “Seamen” from December 2019. “Seamen” was the first installment of The Grand Tour’s new format where the tent, audience, track, and stupid time-wasting went by the wayside in favor of a specials-only format with grand adventures and less choppy segmented content. How does “Carnage a Trois” fare in that mold? Pas bon.

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The Grand Tour's "Lochdown" Episode Returns to the Familiar

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.

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The Grand Tour's "A Massive Hunt" Episode Sums Up a Show Well Past Its Prime

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.

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Cutting the Crap: The Grand Tour Loses Dead Weight Segments for Season Two

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.

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Richard Hammond Apparently Unable to Be Killed by Automobiles

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.”

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QOTD: Are You Watching 'The Grand Tour'?

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.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.