Like the rest of the Internet, I settled down to watch the new series of Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc at the helm. With half an eye on the social networks and the other on the TV, the reaction almost immediately was as if they were executing puppies and kittens for sport.
It was all a bit different, yet somehow with a sense of familiarity, Evans was his usual loud self, and Le Blanc was the strange caricature of himself and Joey Tribbiani. They came together, with fleeting appearances from Sabine Schmitz and The Stig and nervously took control of one of the biggest TV Shows in the world.
Did it work?
Nearly. They had obviously been tasked with keeping some of the elements within the show, the rules weren’t being rewritten here, just bent enough. Yet again, there were some hits, namely the second half of the UK vs. USA challenge, and Le Blanc’s piece about the Nomad, and misses – the bit with Gordon Ramsey and a baffled Jesse Eisenberg was AWFUL. Chris Evans piece with Sabine in Nevada wasn’t great either.
As Twitter and Facebook continued to moan, I found myself more drawn into Top Gear, finding Matt Le Blanc extremely likable, and the cinematography just as good as it ever was, if not better. There were flashes of excellence, the body may have been lifeless, but the pulse was thumping.
I would consider myself a big Top Gear fan, I’ve seen most of the episodes several times and Clarkson, May and Hammond WERE fantastic. Their beginnings in the ‘rebranded’ Top Gear were so horrifically flat, it was painful to watch – but as time progressed, the stars aligned, the production improved they grew into the behemoth we all know and (mostly) love.
The new Top Gear has had SO much against it, the press have been running stories on an almost daily basis about Chris Evans ego, his inability to drive, his past, his temper etc. It seems they wanted it to die on its arse before the first episode had even aired.
Who knows, public opinion and the press may kill this iteration of Top Gear off by the end of the series, but I ask, can we give it a try?
Let it evolve and mould itself to the new presenting team, just like we allowed the ‘original’ team to do? The format will need refining, stuff will change – It’s not going to be an immediate hit, it’s not going to be perfect from the get go.
Scores of people HATED Clarkson and the show was a smash, he’s gone though, so lets give another brash, egotistical nut, and his team of likable goons a try – it might just be okay..
Images courtesy of TopGear.com and BBC Worldwide