As a Top Gear UK enthusiast, I was pretty disappointed overall with the American adaption of the show. Yes, there is a chance that my expectations were high because of the great job the Brits had done, but the American version just felt forced and uncomfortable.
The show’s hosts consist of actor/comedian Adam Ferrara, Pro Drift car driver Tanner Foust and NASCAR analysis Rutledge Wood. These guys have got a job that they couldn’t possibly succeed at. They will always be compared to the UK hosts, and really, it’s no comparison at all.
The attempt at humour doesn’t flow and it feels like they are either reading jokes off the script, or setting each other up for funny one-liners. Theirs is not knowledgeable wit and the continuous banter of Hammond and May is gone.
The challenges featured in the first series seemed very similar to the UK show. Among these is a downhill ski race with Tanner in a Mitsubishi Evo versing two skiers, a Ford F150 Raptor verse a HALO jumper and a race that sees a car, a boat and a plane try to get from Miami to the southernmost point in the United States in Key West.
These are just some of the challenges recycled from the original Top Gear franchise. Although I’ll give credit where credit is due, the producers did appeal to their American audience by going back to NASCAR’s roots and including a moonshine competition, where each host had to buy a car for $1,000 and then drive it in rugged conditions in the North Carolina hills.
The ‘Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car’ segment has been brought over to the American series with a bit of a Yank twist. It has been renamed ‘Big Star, Small Car’ and apparently, a scant three-minute interview with each guest is more than enough to keep an American audience happy. I was incredibly disappointed with the way this segment was carried out. Stars like Tony Hawk, Tim Allen, Michelle Rodriguez and my favourite, Modern Family actor Ty Burrell, were limited to a maximum of four minutes before the host who was interviewing them, who also asked the same question almost every week ‘How did you find the car?’ (a Suzuki SX4 Sportback) and then continued on to show us their lap in the car.
Towards the end of the series I started to become accustomed to the American’s interpretation of Top Gear. I realised that there’s only so many challenges to attempt and cars to review that the show becomes watchable. I still enjoy watching car reviews and challenges, but I prefer the British Top Gear rather than its American counterpart.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Top Gear: US (Season 1)…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.
Top Gear: US (Season 1) is available for purchase at major stores. Our review copy was supplied to us by Roadshow Media.
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Today’s review was written by Melbourne-based reader Josh Kruse, who has joined the RichardsF1.com team as a guest product reviewer. If you would be interested in learning more about becoming a product reviewer, click here.