The Grand Tour Begins

Top Gear is one of my favorite shows of all time. The brilliant blend of cars, adventure, and camaraderie, spoke to every part of my brain. In that, I am hardly alone. Sure some episodes, even some seasons, didn’t quite hit. But when they were on, they were on.

When Jeremy Clarkson was let go after being (apparently) every bit the dick he appears on the show, I was worried we’d never see Top Gear again.

Amazon, thankfully, wonderfully, threw a bunch of money at them.

The show started yesterday, and instead of the Netflix model where all the shows are available at once, Amazon is rolling them out each week for the next 11 weeks. How quaint.

The pilot episode is hardly a pilot episode. Had you no idea about the backstory, it’d be easy to convince someone it was Top Gear with a name change. This is, as you’d expect a good thing. High production values, lots of car porn, and regular jabs amongst the presenters are all Top Gear staples.

If anything, at an hour and eleven minutes the show feels a bit long. A few segments feel like they could be tightened up and not lose anything other than excessive and almost repetitive shots of the car. Look, I love cars, but even I don’t need to see the same one go around the same corner in slow motion 10 times. 9 times would do just fine.

What we didn’t get to see in this first episode is any of the legendary long-distance challenges. I’ll be honest, I was hoping this show would be one long challenge, across multiple countries and continents. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Oh well. I’ll take 3 seasons of Top Gear with Clarkson, Hammond, and May even if it is the same Top Gear as we’ve had for the last 10+ years. I only made it through 1.5 episodes of the “real” Top Gear presented by Joey and not-Captain America before shaking my head and never needing to see it again. And as bad as it was, it was still better than American Top Gear.

Given the first episode of The Grand Tour, and the clips they’ve shown so far, this seems like it will be a massive show. If you’ve got a new TV, even more so. Shot at Shot at 4K, 25fps, and HDR, it’s definitely the best you’ve seen “Top Gear.” Even on a lowly 1080p DLP projector at my house, it looks fantastic. it’s definitely the best you’ve seen “Top Gear.” Even on a lowly 1080p DLP projector at my house, it looks fantastic.

You need an Amazon Prime account to watch The Grand Tour but given all the rest you get for a Prime membership, this seems an easy sell.

Good fun so far. Can’t wait for more.

Decibel's picture

Too short. The show is too short. Top Ge.... eeehh The Grand Tour can never be too long. You must somehow be mistaken. Sorry.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
How about this, if there were more segments I'd love it if it was way longer. Each segment felt underedited, I guess that's a better way to describe it.
drny's picture

Amazon made a wise business decision in securing the Trio from Top Gear and Wyman the producer.
Though I've used Amazon for years to purchase products, I had no interest in Amazon prime or Amazon video for that matter (their content did not interest me to bite).
We who have religiously watched Top Gear since its 2004 reincarnation will be following with our money.
Look BBC America became viable mainly due to Top Gear, and so will Amazon Video.
Their marketing strategy to keep us tuning (downloading/streaming) for eleven weeks (and of course repeats) will expose the audience to Amazon and what they have to offer.

brenro's picture

Just read that during filming James May broke his arm while stumbling out of a bar.