Sunday, November 21, 2010

Top Gear America

John Marine | 11/21/2010 10:20:00 PM | | | | |
America's Top Gear debuted on The History Channel at 10:00 PM Eastern Time. This is America's version of the world-renowned Top Gear. Even the Top Gear theme (a song called "Jessica") played to open the show. Top Gear America features a unique three-man crew. The crew of Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood, and (one of my personal favorite driving personalities) Tanner Foust. Many purists of the Top Gear series think Top Gear America is going to be so not as spectacular as the world-renowned Top Gear of BBC and of the United Kingdom. Even Fast Lane Daily host, Derek DeAngelis, noted in a segment with news on the prospect of Top Gear America that Top Gear America is going to be nowhere near as incredible as the original Top Gear. Derek D himself even wouldn't mind being one of the three hosts. I mean, let's face it... the automobile was born in Europe (or at least the modern automobile), Europe boasts some of the best roads and tracks, and the distinct flavor of the world-famous Top Gear would be tough to replicate or better with this American version. Throughout this blog post, I will use "Top Gear America" to differentiate between Top Gear on the BBC in the United Kingdom.

I will not post any real spoilers or sensitive information in this initial post. I may update this in the future with a few different key figures.

I sometimes feel like our attempts to bring non-American material to American television usually lacks the character and personality of the concept it's based on. A world-class TV show like Top Gear has to be world-class for a non-British version. There is Top Gear Australia, for example. I think Top Gear Australia is done pretty well based on videos on YouTube that I have seen. So it was time for Top Gear America to get some face time. How did it do after tonight's big premiere?

The show does instill the elements that make the original Top Gear great- humor, interesting driving segments, the Stig, its own Top Gear test track, and of course... the cars. The Ferrara-Wood-Foust tandem is a nice combination. It may not be Clarkson-Hammond-May, but it's a good combination worthy for American television. I am a great fan of Tanner Foust. I knew if there was an American who could take a car to the limit and look cool doing it, it's Tanner Foust. Rutledge Wood did some pretty good comedy himself. I think the way Top Gear America describes everything is done so professionally and quite well. You can know nothing about the Top Gear series and already get a basic understanding of all the different concepts of Top Gear by watching the American Top Gear. It's that good.

The "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment of Top Gear on BBC is "Big Star, Little Car" for Top Gear America. The reasonably-priced car is the Suzuki SX4. I'm a little surprised they didn't use a car like the Chevrolet Cruze. Buzz Aldrin was the first star to take on the Top Gear America course.

The two segments involved a race between between two "snakes," and another was about three awesome Lamborghinis. Again- no sensitive information revealed here.

--- Overall Review ---
Top Gear America isn't the world-famous Top Gear on BBC, but it is a great program. The people behind Top Gear America really did their homework in figuring out how to make Top Gear America as great as the BBC's Top Gear. This is essentially a Top Gear us Americans can be proud of. If you're thinking that this Top Gear is going to surpass the Top Gear almost every car fan knows, think again. Then too, I don't think the Top Gear America crew cares if they are even trying to compare our TG against TG on BBC.

The best aspect of Top Gear (let alone T.G. America) is that you do not have to be a car fan to love the show and the series. I think Top Gear America has many elements that make for our own unique Top Gear as opposed to being some kind of little brother/sister to Top Gear BBC. The driving and the humor makes this show great for what it is. I think you should give this show a chance. As of this blog post, I hear there are nine more weeks of the first-ever Top Gear America season. This is the first of a ten-week season. Rather than think of Top Gear America as something to better or surpass the original Top Gear, think of Top Gear America as a show that is OUR Top Gear. Doesn't mean ours is better. It just means that we have a Top Gear to be proud of. I mean, Top Gear Australia is a good program for the Australian market. And when you're talking Top Gear, you'd BETTER be as good as the world-famous Top Gear program. You wouldn't want to disgrace what the original Top Gear brought to motoring television by coming up with a dissatisfying program. Homework was done and complete on making Top Gear America as good of a program as the Top Gear the rest of the world knows.

The moral of the story- this is a quality Top Gear American audienecs can be proud of. Give this show a chance, and you'll actually be rewarded (especially if you are a fan of the original Top Gear) with a quality Top Gear for the U.S. Top Gear America is more like an expansion team of Top Gear rather than some show trying to steal the original Top Gear's thunder. I actually thought this was a great show. I may not watch Top Gear America often, but I do appreciate the amount of work and the amount of effort to make this show as good as the world-famous Top Gear. My salute goes out to everyone who helped make this show happen.

To learn more about Top Gear America, I have included some links for you all. Have a look at the following...

* Top Gear America
* Top Gear America on Facebook

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