Tag: tv

By on August 24, 2020

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Movies and television have delivered countless heroes and villains, more than a few femme fatales of dubious loyalty, and still more ethically challenged antiheroes. Quite often, they do not take public transportation.

What’s interesting to note is that, when you think back to all the famous TV and silver screen characters strongly associated with a specific car, the star vehicle, more likely than not, sports just two doors. The mind immediately flashes to the famed Bullitt chase between two well-matched ’68 coupes. Magnum’s Ferrari 308. Rockford’s unusually powerful Firebird Esprit. Anything Don Johnson drove. Even Jerry Seinfeld’s Saab 900 convertible.

Yes, you could even throw in Uncle Jesse’s Ford pickup or Daisy Duke’s Jeep. With this mind, what fourdoor vehicle with an acting credit deserved to be remembered? (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2018

We’re not capable of brilliance 24 hours a day. The mind demands rest, nourishment, stimulation. And old cars. Wonderful, alluring, Eisenhower-era cars.

As sleep doesn’t come easily for yours truly, you’ll often find a YouTube window open on my computer late at night. Sometimes its comedy, sometimes it’s tornado videos, and more often than not — lately, especially — it’s syndicated reruns of an old show some nice fellow uploaded to the net. It’s not a groundbreaking, award-winning show. It’s not high-minded. There’s no identity politics. Complex plotlines and witty dialogue? Get the hell outta here, pal.

No, the sole appeal of Highway Patrol (1955-1959) is the cars. (That, and identifying the scenes where: (a) actor Broderick Crawford is drunk, and (b) Crawford doesn’t have a driver’s license.)

Smog-blanketed southern California in the late Fifties. Could there be a more glamorous locale? (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2018

Top Gear presenters Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan narrowly evaded injury when a pre-production Alpine A110 caught fire while the duo participated in last week’s Monte Carlo Rally. Apparently the two had been blasting down stage SS17 when the engine warning light came on. Sometime later, flames were seen beneath the vehicle and the two were advised to pull over immediately.

Fire crews were unable to control the blaze and the car ended up completely obliterated. Alpine and Renault have said they are conducting a full investigation to see what went wrong but are currently attributing the mishap to a “technical incident.” They are also suspending all testing of pre-production models until they can determine the true cause of the fire.  (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2017

The Grand Tour
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.  (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2017

Top Gear America screengrab

Automotive television is, at best, a mixed bag. At worst, it’s a cultural wasteland of gimmicky programing that persists only because of our deep love for cars, bolstered by a handful of engaging personalities. Suggesting that I am generally dubious of any new car-related entry into the entertainment landscape would be a gross understatement. So, when the rebooted Top Gear America aired over the weekend, my expectations were already incredibly low.

I suppose the nicest way to phrase this is by saying it did not exceed those expectations.

While it attempts to capture the magic of vintage Top Gear in much the same way the current British version strives to, the first episode fell far short of the mark. Whether that’s down to the hosts not having adequate time to develop legitimate chemistry or a systematic flaw in the show’s design remains to be seen. But something is definitely wrong here.

Episode One felt extremely awkward, although not entirely hopeless. And I’ve reminded myself that I didn’t much care for Richard Hammond the first time I saw him on the screen, either. Fast forward 15 years and I enter into a panic every time he’s in a scrape, terrified that God might take that adorable little man away from me. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

[IMCDB.org]

One of the great things about childhood is the feeling that unlimited possibilities will arrive the moment you turn 18. Rich and famous? Adventurer? Carefree private eye who lives in a trailer by the beach? All of those future lifestyles exist in the realm of possibility when you’re a kid.

You’ll make it happen one day. First, you just need to grow up.

Adulthood, of course, has a way of stepping in and saying, “Whoa there…. whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy now. Have you thought about coding? Plastics? Think, son — what about your retirement?”

Adulthood is one giant buzzkill after another. (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2017

untitled

Onlookers outside Detroit’s Cobo Center took part in a great American pastime yesterday. That is, thrilling at the impending destruction of an airborne 1969 Dodge Charger.

You know the one. Orange, Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof, once the star of a popular TV show that was serviceable in its first season, but then got really stupid. There’s a pull, an irresistible force that compels us to find old B-body Chargers — ideally a ’69, sometimes a ’68 but never a ’70 — and launch those nose-heavy suckers to a frame-twisting death.

It’s the only classic, lusted-after muscle car that we associate with low-altitude flight and, for some reason, we continue to applaud the torture and destruction of the remaining examples. Why? (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2015

Impala vs Marquis

Smoke and mirrors – but sometimes also steel. In the odd world of movies and television, things are not always what they seem: the fake blower on the Mad Max Pursuit Special, the digital tire smoke from the Merc’ 6.9 in Ronin.

It’s always a bit disappointing when you meet a hero car to learn that, behind the polish, it’s all hat and no cattle. But not with these two beasts. These are the real deal: guts, dents, motor, and chrome. One’s a modern hearthrob, the other’s a lantern-jawed archetype that even today outshines its modern co-stars.

One Ford product, one vehicle cranked out by the General. Black paint, V8 rumble, and more character than the small screen can contain. Here are their stories.
(Read More…)

By on February 20, 2013

Daewoo never had much of a presence in the United States, though I do see the occasional Nubira in the junkyard. That’s too bad, because Korean-market Daewoo ads of the 1970s and 1980s have some of the manliest/cheeziest voiceovers in car-advertising history. Let’s take a look at some examples of the genre. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2013

As a child with a 1:24 scale model of the first generation Viper constantly adorning my bedroom amongst other automotive related furnishings, my eyes were glued to the Viper television series. It was full of horrible dialogue, campy acting, and a car that transformed (I wonder where they got that idea from?) into a V10 powered, crime fighting caricature of itself. I was 10 years old when it first appeared on TV, so I didn’t care about the obvious insert of a disabled African American male in a wheelchair to appease focus groups. Nor did I care about stupid weapons which were probably taken straight from the dusty script of a failed Star Trek pilots.

In my lifetime, I have yet to see a good, live action, car themed television show. Just look at the last Knight Rider reboot or The Transporter for proof. Even worse, the movie studios want you to spend big money to watch fantastic failures on the big screen which will make you shout at inaccuracies and pine for a movie exec to get it right for once.

Outside the non-fiction genre of Senna and Ron Howard’s upcoming dramatized Rush which peers into Niki Lauda’s near-fatal accident, why can’t someone make a decent fucking car movie or television show? (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2011

Chrysler is proud of the fact that they did NOT release their Super Bowl ad on YouTube like most of the others. “While many sponsors revealed their advertising plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Chrysler brand remained tight lipped to create a stronger impact for the reveal of their new marketing and advertising campaign featuring famous Detroiter, Eminem,” their press release says. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2009

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