After such a solid episode last week, Top Gear came crashing down to earth with an almighty thump with its latest episode instalment, which hit the airwaves last night in the UK. Sadly, last night’s episode was all a bit of a yawn…
There have been calls in the past few years – many of which we will staunchly disagree with – that Top Gear is nearing the end of its lifespan, and that its producers would be better advised to pull the pin and retire the show gracefully. And on the basis of this latest effort, the argument unfortunately has some merit.
It must be a huge challenge to come up with fresh ideas and new segments all the time, and to be fair, most are pretty good. What let the show down this week were some sagging performances from all three hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and (in particular) Richard Hammond, who is taking this inept buffoon role way too far.
When the show sticks to what it’s good at, it’s great. All three hosts are extremely knowledgeable and charismatic, and they all take great pride in their work. But it’s when it resorts to this horribly forced caricature acting and utterly predictable disasters in every stunt that the critics start baying.
Much of the episode was devoted to Clarkson and Hammond choreographing a car chase sequence for the upcoming remake of the film, The Sweeney. What should have been a fascinating insight into film-making and car chase scenes – and a premise that could have been an excellent addition to their newly-released At The Movies DVD – turned into a complete farce.
Instead we had painfully disjointed exchanges between the presenters, actors and an overly-angry director, woeful scripts and sequences that were more predictable than a five-year-old’s bedtime storybook.
The episode’s opener, a James May review of the Vauxhall Corsa Nurburgring Edition, starts off well but fades into a rather odd and unnecessary comparison with the FIAT Panda, and even the presence of Hollywood hunk/actor Ryan Reynolds in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment isn’t enough to save this absolute stinker of an episode.
Producers and episode writers take note: the show works when the presenters don’t dumb it down, don’t get all PC and instead just concentrate on the backbone of the series, the cars. The show doesn’t work when it falls on awfully written jokes and faux-disaster.
In the ‘news’ segment, Jeremy jokingly talked about wanting to shoot car accident victims who falsely claim for injuries in low-speed collisions.
He’d be better off starting with the writers of this awful episode.