Hooniverse Asks: Did You Watch The New BBC Top Gear Debut?

There was a changing of the guard Sunday night. It involved what is arguably the most infamous auto-oriented TV show on the planet. In place of a gruff old Brit, a small woodland creature, and a mop-topped wearer of questionably patterned shirts we now have an over compensating pair of glasses, Sabine Schmidt (yay!) and Joey from Friends. That’s right, Friends. No one told you it was gonna’ be this way.
For better or worse the new Top Gear hit the British airwaves on Sunday and on BBC America yesterday evening. It may very well be showing in other countries, but I don’t know exactly how to find that out. Sorry. The new host, Chris Evans is someone familiar to British radio listeners, but to very few Americans. That makes him very similar to the three previous hosts. Of course Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are today known globally, so if the new show is any good perhaps Evans won’t need Joey to help the show be relevant in the land of 36% commercials per TV hour.
No matter where you live, the new Top Gear is a reality. Have you experienced that reality yet? If so, did you enjoy it?
Image: BBC Top Gear

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  1. crank_case Avatar

    Already commented in “last call” – in summary, business as usual, it’s pretty much the same deal, Chris Evans just needs to find his own groove rather than try to be Clarkson, Matt Le Blanc is actually pretty decent, a lot more comfortable with himself, Sabine doesn’t get enough screen time. It was no worse than a middling episode of the “old show” (as opposed to the old old show, when it was all sensible shoes consumer advice, RAC rally reports and Quentin Wilson, the Roger Moore of car advice)
    The upside is that there’s now also a spin-off program on BBCs online only BBC3 (which effectively means iPlayer only) so we end up with three shows out of the one if we count the thing coming to Amazon. It will feature Chris Harris and Rory Reid (un)intentional racial segregation? – oh dear) and was apparently much better. Just found out that the national broadcaster here in Ireland is going to rebroadcast this too in additon to TG, so yay! Not much help to US folks, but look out for it, maybe it will be on Beeb ‘Murica.

  2. Alff Avatar

    “There was a changing of the guard Sunday night. It involved what is arguably the most infamous auto-oriented TV show on the planet.”
    In my head, I heard that sentence ending differently.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    No, but like with cars, it will eventually trickle down to a screen near me. I haven’t even catched up with the latest real TG, but from yesterday’s reviews I figure it is an awkward copy of a concept than ran its course a while ago.
    That marketing link though is gold. Who bothers watching TV with 36-50% advertisement? I haven’t had a TV for 10+ years, and we will probably quit Netflix for the summer, too.

  4. JayP Avatar

    It’ll be on BBC America the next day after the UK show.
    I enjoyed it – except for the Top Gun segment, it wasn’t any worse than the last 2-3 seasons of Clarkson.
    It will be awkward until it settles into a groove.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I haven’t watched it yet, but my expectation is aligned with your last sentence. Just like TG:USA, I expect it to be awkward and, potentially, horrible for a few episodes, slightly improving by the end of the season. Season 2 should be much better if it is to survive.
      I’m glad they stuck with TG:USA. It’s actually funny now that Rut, Adam, and Tanner have found their own chemistry and the show has found its own formula.

  5. Hatchtopia Avatar

    I watched both the Top Gear and Extra Gear and found the latter to be significantly better. But, I think as others have mentioned, even a mediocre car show is better than 90% of TV on right now.

    1. roguetoaster Avatar

      I would like to see the Extra Gear crew cover the interview segment and join the regular TG cast for a news like segment maybe every other episode. This way the Extra Gear content won’t have to be as rushed, and the awkwardness of the current TG interview can go away to some degree.
      Or, like a hockey team with too many skaters they can just rotate hosts between the big time and the affiliate.

    2. Dan Mosqueda Avatar
      Dan Mosqueda

      I want Reid and Harris doing Top Gear. Evans and LeBlanc need to go.

      1. Hatchtopia Avatar

        I thought LeBlanc was okay, not great, but okay. Evans was clearly trying too hard. Harris and Reid were actually pretty good and I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be before they are folded into the main program in some way.

  6. Dan Mosqueda Avatar
    Dan Mosqueda

    I had a pit in my stomach during the entire episode. It tried too hard. I couldn’t believe Chris Evans as used the phrase “…car in the world.” Seriously? The thing they did at Top Gun was contrived at best. And the UK-US “battle” was clearly laid out to show all of us that Evans is British and Matt is an American. Okay. They are. That’s no excuse for how poorly it was executed. The saving grace? Extra Gear with Rory Reid and Chris Harris. That was very well done.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Just watching extra gear now, even in terms of very basic presenting skills, Reid and Harris are clearly the professionals here, while the other two are just high profile “stars”. Simple things like speaking in a clear, easy to listen to manner, or being able talk and drive at the same time!

  7. HuntRhymesWith Avatar

    My preferred conspiracy theory:
    BBC knew that most fans would be predisposed to hate the new show, so they deliberately put in a sacrificial lamb (Chris Evans) to give the people something specific to hate. In time, he’ll be dropped for someone else who, in comparison to Evans, is more likable. To succeed, Evans would have to be better than Clarkson (an unlikely case), but Evans’ successor needs only to be a better host than Evans is now.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Ah – the “Get David Lee Roth to replace Howard Stern” move…

  8. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    Papa Van Twee

    It wasn’t bad. Was it better than the first episode of TG 2.0? Heck, yeah. Get Evans to stop yelling and settle down, and the show has a bunch of potential.

  9. Jason Newman Avatar
    Jason Newman

    Star in the Rallycross car. All I could see is how much dirt was going over the main track and how that will slow Stig laps.

  10. Jason Newman Avatar
    Jason Newman

    Star in the Rallycross car. All I could see is how much dirt was going over the main track and how that will slow Stig laps..

    1. stigshift Avatar

      They are filmed on different days. I’m sure they have the ability to clean the track.

      1. Jason Newman Avatar
        Jason Newman

        The lap for the Ariel Atom Nomad the track wasn’t clean (hopefully because of its off road ability)

  11. hike15 Avatar

    I haven’t watched it yet. Don’t get BBC America and don’t feel like finding a stream. I’m hoping they just put it on Netflix and I can watch on my own time.
    Hopefully they give the series time to mature and become it’s own. That’s what it took for the previous iteration of Top Gear (the first season was pretty rough) and what happened on Top Gear USA, which I really enjoy now that they’ve found their niche.

  12. mr smee Avatar
    mr smee

    Evans is truly an annoying little man. LeBlanc surprised and could become the breakout star. I missed Sabine, and BBC Canada didn’t show the Harris Reid segment grrrrrrrrrrrrr! Reduce Evans role to a genial host/minder role and let LeBlanc, Harris, Reid and Sabine grow. I do see potential in the US/UK rivalry thing if they let it become a mild running gag. Like the rally-cross track. Overall a bit too much like the old show in many respects. I hope they get time to find their feet.