The BBC’s Top Gear isn’t just one of the best sports entertainment shows on television, it’s one of the best shows period. You don’t need to like motor sports or cars to enjoy it, you’ll always be entertained. It’s so popular that no one should be surprised to see a US version appear, even if the current iteration is the third attempt to do an original version of American audiences. The problem is, they never should have attempted to bring it over here when the UK original cannot possibly be topped.
Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood aren’t and never will be Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. There’s really no comparison. There seems to be zero real chemistry between the hosts, which makes the show a really dry experience and a lot less fun to watch than the UK original.
Top Gear Isn’t Import Tuner
When the current US version was announced, they stated that since Americans like to modify their cars they will focus on that more in this version of Top Gear. But that’s not Top Gear! What’s the use in comparing a Aston Martin DBS to a Ferrari California if you’re just going to go and customize one of them to your liking? Top Gear celebrates the cars, not the skills of someone making a rice rocket. The show isn’t Pimp My Ride and it should never become that.
It’s a GM Commercial
One of the things that Jay Leno mentioned when he turned down the hosting job in the dead NBC version of the show was the fear that due to corporate sponsorship the show wouldn’t be as honest as the UK original. And that’s becoming very true so far in the US version. People are complaining that the show is just becoming a commercial each week for a specific automaker.
The Challenges Are Dumb
Parking your car on a slope and grabbing a bowling ball to put in it? C’mon. That’s just stupid. The UK show’s challenges actually make a bit of sense and fit whatever film they’re making at the time. In the USA version, the challenges seem like random cards someone is pulling out of some dumb board game and then applying to the show.
They Aren’t “Petrol Heads”
While Foust is a professional racer, and Wood is a racing analyst, you don’t get the feeling from the show that they are true “Petrol Heads”. Jay Leno, with his armada of classic cars, would’ve been the perfect host, but he rightfully turned it down as he is correct that the US can never reproduce the magic that Clarkson, May, and Hammond put together with every episode.
Top Gear is one of the best shows you can watch, as long as you do so on BBC America and avoid the History Channel abomination at all costs. We can only hope that the US version dies a quick and very quiet death.