This weekend I checked out the first 2 episodes of Top Gear USA. I have now seen all 3 of the current Top Gear offerings. Here are my thoughts:
The original. Featuring the 3 blokes we’ve all come to know, it presents cars in a whole different light. This is not motoring journalism though: It’s entertainment. I do miss the petrolhead aspect.
If you watch the first 3-4 seasons, the show is definately one for petrolheads with a sprinkling of entertainment thrown in. The first ever review – one for the Citroen Berlingo van, is still one of my favourites.
Top Gear Australia
The older of the 2 spin-offs. Possibly the worst show I’ve seen on BBC Entertainment for a while. I’m not saying this simply because it’s Australian – we all know Australia was created purely to make fun of, but because the presenters are static, the dialogue forced, the content very copy-cat and the cinematography very ametuerish.
The only presenter with any staying power seem(ed) to be Steve Pizatti, a racing driver turned motoring journalist. He’s like Sasha Martinengo but less of a tool.
The shows other presenters have lasted a maximum of 2 seasons, with Pizatti being the grounding host.
I do hope BBC pull the rights to this show in the near future.
Top Gear USA
The newest of the spinoffs, the American version has a distinctly different flavour to the other 2. The Australian one tries to be Top Gear UK with Aussie content, the American one tweaked everything for the American audience while adding their own angle to the show.
The basics are still there: Big Star – Cheap Car, Stig, supercars, challenges and 3 boys messing around, but it’s a show that could stand alone, without the Top Gear name.
BBC Entertainment has started flighting the show on Wednesday evenings at 8:00pm. Check it out!
Top Gear South Africa
I have heard through the grapevine that a South African edition of Top Gear is on the way. I’m terrified. Will we mess up another international hit (Think Masterchef, Weakest Link and Survivor) or will we craft a Top Gear USA, with our own flavour added to it.
My biggest worry is who might present it.
I’m fairly certain that Sasha Martinengo will be in it, even though he is now working for Ferrari. Then who else?
A black presenter surely? Gugu Zulu is a great driver, but not much of a presenter, so no ideas there.
This is a worry. We have the chance to show South Africa can make good television, but I bet you any money we’re going to mess it up!