Series 24 of Top Gear just roared back into the television screens. This time around they’ve learned their lessons from last year’s rebooting attempts and are now hoping viewers will return. Gone is the highly annoying Chris Evans and questionable Eddie Jordan, while some less than tolerable elements remained like celebrity interviews. With a severely smaller budget compared to the Amazon behemoth, The Grand Tour, and a highly negative public opinion about the brand, can the folks at the BBC and the much younger Top Gear trio stay afloat? Here’s what the critics have to say about the first show:
Neil Briscoe from The Irish Times:
New, new Top Gear has another six weeks to convince us that there is a life beyond Clarkson, beyond Evans, and that enough people still care about watching fast cars on a Sunday evening that there’s mileage in the concept. On the basis of this first episode, and with the caveat that all such things need time to bed in and gel together, the smaller, lighter Top Gear may just have snuck ahead of the bloated Grand Tour.
Ian Morris, contributor at Forbes:
These are three very different people who bring their own style to the show and from what I saw they have a lot going for them. The show looks beautiful and has all of the style that made it famous in the first place. Give it a chance – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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Sam Wollaston from The Guardian:
I think they are feeling the pressure, knowing that Top Gear’s future existence rests on their shoulders. And knowing that people – including critics, sorry Matt – aren’t watching with an entirely open mind, but with half an eye on the past and another half an eye on Amazon Prime. Maybe some of these people watching are hoping for a crash – it’s demolition derby TV.
Yes, chemistry takes time, but there may not be much time, if ratings continue to go the way they did last series, into that massive hole in the Steppe. Chris and Rory need to relax, and maybe sit down with Matt and a bottle of Kazakhstan vodka, get drunk, figure out who they are, and develop some kind of relationship – bezzies, worsties, somethingzies. Otherwise they – the ratings, Matt, Chris, Rory, Top Gear – aren’t coming back out.
Ed Power from The Telegraph:
But if a few clunking elements still need tinkering with, the all new Top Gear nonetheless impressed as it left the starting grid. Whether it can keep up the momentum across the next two months is harder to predict. For now, this was a roaring return – and a vast improvement on last year’s car-crash attempt at reinventing the wheel.
Tom Eames from Digital Spy:
There are still a few quibbles that need to be ironed out in time. Mainly, the studio segments still feel a little forced. LeBlanc in particular still doesn’t look too comfortable and ironically he comes across like a bad actor compared to the other two. But by having all three ‘host’, it’s nowhere near as awkward as last year.
It’s safe to say the critics are cautiously optimistic for Top Gear’s re-reboot. The simpler formula and the more energetic trio (despite LeBlanc’s awkward delivery) offer a fresh alternative to the old Top Gear trio consisting of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. But there’s the elephant in the room that the BBC cannot avoid: Clarkson, Hammond, and May has a rabid fanbase. It’s almost a religion for a lot of them, and these are the very people the BBC must rely on for the new new Top Gear to survive. What do you think of the new new Top Gear?
(Photo Source: BBC Worldwide)