It’s here, Top Gear has returned to our screens in a brand new.. Oh wait the exact same format but without the presenter camaraderie? Great… From the opening theme, to Chris Evan’s bizarre Clarkson impression it really just felt like they were trying to hard to copy what had been before them.
The dodgiest bits by far were the short challenge films. Previously these would have been the highlight of the show, with the former trio keeping you engrossed and laughing your ass off, not any more. Merely cutting between Matt Le Blanc and Chris Evans randomly asking “so hey how’s it going over there?” “Ah not too bad…” just doesn’t give you the same entertainment factor as three lads having ‘real banter’.
Bizarrely the best part of the show was Matt Le Blanc, that wasn’t because he fit in, because honestly he did feel out of place in the presenter seat. But he was incredibly likeable and genuinely seems to know his cars. The show also continued to dazzle with its incredible cinematography work. Top Gear has always been a show bred for the HD era, beautifully shot, colourful and perfectly edited.
Overall? It appears that the BBC has played it safe, and instead of trying to re-format Top Gear into something new has instead retained everything but the presenters. You really couldn’t help but feel they, Chris Evans in particular were trying far too hard to be likeable, or more specifically, like Jeremy Clarkson.
I’m sure overtime, Chris, Matt and the other 100 presenters they’ve brought on will loosen up and become more confident in the driving seat, but if the remainder of this season is anything like this episode, I really will not be tuning in. If anything it highlighted that Clarkson, Hammond and May were truly a perfect team.