James May wore questionable shirts and ‘looked like a Spaniel‘ in the V8 Ariel Atom, Clarkson touted a Volkswagen built in the Czech Republic, and which has Sienna Miller in the glovebox, while Hammond lost a race to a flying beetle. Top Gear season 16 kicked off last night, and all is right in the world.
For whatever reason, helicopters featured prominently in the first of the season’s episodes, using Skodas for landing pads, and attempting to smush Richard by dropping a car upon him. Despite that, it remained a show about cars, and there was a lot of excitement around the lap boards, and the fact that the Stig is now all growed up. As usual, the star that was wedged behind the wheel of the reasonably priced car was someone nobody on this side of the pond had ever heard of, and Hammond drove a 911 while wearing a puffy jacket and cap.
While the Ariel Atom V8 proved to be the most exciting film, demolishing a Toyota LFA and Lamborghini Gallardo in a 0-100-0 race (stupid extraneous windshields, doors, safety equipment and boot space), the final film in which Hammond travels to Africa to attempt a bit of Mythbuster’s schtick was also fun.
One of the pleasures of Top Gear is the fact that the producers usually cull the audience for good looking folks – many of whom are women – to populate the most visible background. Countering that last night was what appeared to be Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, kibitzing in the frame for the final segment. Sure, that could have been any bearded Brit in a knit cap, but it doesn’t look like he was performing anywhere last night so…
It’s good to have Captain Slow, Jezza and the Hamster back for another go, especially as Top Gear USA is coming to an end for its inaugural season (more about that later), and here’s to hoping for a whole season full of the usual shenanigans, and that nobody gets killed.