Saturday, 19 November 2016
I didn't like it
I watched the first episode of the new Gear Top/Grand Tour out of mild curiosity, to see how they were spending a reputed $4.5 million per episode.
Sure enough, the opening moments used some clever after effects, some flared 4k lens with graduated filters but there were other sections like the 'to camera' aerodrome chatter that looked like conventional outside broadcast standard. Filmic? Maybe I should have watched it on a big screen instead of a browser running with Silverlight. Ironically that's the way of things with T'internet.
The opening storyline about a self-appointed hard-done-by oaf meeting his other self-congratulatory overgrown dinosaur schoolboys with too much money quickly wore thin. They kept doing the same joke about being fired over and over and over again.
When they drove their three matching Ford Capris across the desert, the grins from the other two looked just a little too much like they were through gritted teeth. I guess they can keep taking the money and dial in their copycat performances. I'd judge that May might be the first to crumble of the triad - (I note the episode was called The Holy Trinity)
The main difference from Top Gear was the lack of self-deprecation. Were they showing arrogance or self-confidence? I know where I'll place my bet. The lawyers might take an interest in the format too. I'd go so far as to call it Top Gear lite. TGL. GTL. Top Gear without a base camp. Top Gear without a Stig, but with a replacement Belgian. Top Gear without any stars. Top Gear with a paid audience. Top Gear with too much budget. I expect Amazon have a plan and audit for the show, or maybe it's moving a few more dollars to safe havens?
The bits with the expensive cars were longer segments and the product shots of the vehicles showed that same crisp style as the old series. Weirdly some of that effect is probably caused by using bolt-on GoPros and similar small digital devices alongside the REDs. I suppose they use the same production company for the post-production of those segments.
Some might say that the car reviews were in more depth. I didn't think so. They went on longer but still really talked about things that were expensive, made of carbon fibre, had sparkly lights, flipped out or up and went round corners sideways at excessive speed. The central presenter of the show kept doing the same party trick of driving sideways with smoke. We saw it both clockwise and anti-clockwise.
The rest was trite, with hammy bad acting of the clunkily scripted repartee and an even greater deference to the one that stood in the middle.
Next time they are in South Africa. They'd better watch out for the great white sharks. They might already be jumping them.