The Grand Tour: Seamen – A review

The new season of The Grand Tour has begun on Amazon Prime Video. Season 4 looks to be a departure from the previous 3 seasons. During the last episode of the 3rd season, Jeremy Clarkson informed the audience that the trio would be ditching their movable studio tent.

It has taken the first three seasons of the new show for the former Top Gear UK presenters to find what this show on Amazon will be: an excuse for them to travel the world. They did travel in the first three seasons, but the trips were laden with over-the-top gags and just okay jokes. The show lacked the authenticity and chemistry that we all know Jeremy, Richard, and James have when together.

The Mongolia episode of season 3 was the first glimmer of hope for upcoming seasons. Even it had its rough spots in the continued lack of alcohol gag. The environment and what they were trying to accomplish was compelling and enjoyable enough. The team appears to have figured that out for season 4.

Seamen is the first episode of season 4. The hour and a half long episode follows the trio’s journey from northern Cambodia to Vũng Tàu, Vietnam on the coast of the South China Sea. The episode begins in an area of Cambodia where drought and the Chinese building a hydroelectric dam have all but stopped the flow of a river. It makes the trickle that is the southern portion of the Colorado River look ginormous. Eventually, the group makes their make to Tonlé Sap lake and launches their boats.

Their Rides

Richard has chosen the stereotypical Miami Vice Scarab. James is in a 1939 wooden craft from Sweden. Jeremy commissioned a Vietnam War-era PBR (Patrol Boat River) to use for the film. Apparently there are no remaining PBRs from the actual Vietnam War.

The Grand Tour Seamen - Boats

The rest of the episode they follow rivers through Cambodia. Then the team reaches the Mekong River and travels the rest of the way through Vietnam. There are antics and jokes. They continually bust their others’ balls. But the tone is right for this episode. The team appears in awe of their surroundings. If you told me that I could pick a couple of friends and three boats to transit Cambodia and Vietnam with the support of a production crew, I would jump at the chance just to go see those new places. It would be a terrible film to watch as I get motion sickness immediately on a boat.

I almost turned off the last part of their journey. It started to make me nauseous.

There is no release date for episode 2. It appears that the trio toured Madagascar for the next episode. We can hope it is as good as the first one.

7 Comments

  1. I didn’t hate it, but I also found it a little boring. There was no appreciable plot arc or sense of progress that is so necessary in a “mission” style episode. Unlike the Bolivia special, I never fully grasped the sense of “we have to go from here to there and there are this set of obstacles.” This episode simply felt like a series of footage of random boat scenes. The chemistry was good, but the progress of the episode was lacking.

    1. Agreed, entirely. Completely directionless. It is and always will be fun to watch the trio together on film but it just didn’t have any real purpose to it.

  2. The show was lavish, but missing some element.

    The adventure was great. The banter was as good as you’d expect.

    But, I felt it was clear that none of the three really gave a shit about their boats. On all of their other adventures they each defended and pimped their vehicles.
    They tried to emulate that here, but it didn’t work for me.

    And, having served in the US Navy from 1966 through 1970, I’m really not interested in watching PBR’s

      1. Didn’t serve on a PBR. That was really tough duty. I served on a Submarine tender that serviced nuclear subs with Polaris missiles on them.

  3. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best adventure they had ever gone on but it was a enjoyable one. I’m glad they stick to what works, are not trying to top the last thing they did and just go have a good time and entertain.

    I like the new direction with the show or now movies? Or adventures?

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