The first season of Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new show, The Grand Tour, has come to an end after 13 short weeks and let’s be honest, some things about the show worked and others didn’t. In my opinion, it was quite obvious that the trio was trying so hard, in some cases maybe even too hard, to make sure the show was as good or better than Top Gear.
I genuinely feel as if the chemistry and synergy between Clarkson, Hammond, and May (the trio) is so strong that once they’re able to convey that on camera like they used to, the show will reach another level of badassness. This first season felt as if they might’ve been affected by the immense pressure set upon them when starting a new show that cost such a ridiculous amount of money to produce. When they were at Top Gear they pretty much just had to show up and go to work. Now of course, they’re heavily involved in every aspect of creating The Grand Tour and some could argue that is why this first season struggled just a bit. But interestingly, I also feel as if that’s what is going to make the show so appealing once the trio gets into the groove of things and really starts pumping out some killer content.
When speaking of things that absolutely didn’t work on The Grand Tour, most people will immediately say the “Celebrity Brain Crash” segment. I understand that it was an underlying “F@#! You” to the BBC who put ridiculous restrictions on what could and could not be done on the new show. But did they have to beat a dead horse all season long? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to do that for maybe the first few episodes, then switch it up to something more appealing to the viewers? Like for example use that time to do another short car review or lap around the “Eboladrome.”
Speaking of the Eboladrome, another aspect of the show that never really worked for me was the team’s test racing driver, The American. Again, I know the BBC was quite strict on anything to do with the Stig, so the trio had to get creative. But now I know why they made it so the Stig didn’t say a word, ever. It’s possible that the American could grow on me, but that remains yet to be seen.
Now that I’ve gotten all the negative things out of the way, let’s talk about the positive. Without question, the best part of any episode would be the films where the trio each pick a car and go for some sort of adventure. This is where it seems as if they were in their comfort zones. The witty banter back and forth as they constantly ridicule each other and the cars they chose for each given task is what makes these guys so appealing in the first place. This is when that chemistry I spoke of earlier comes into play.
My final verdict is this; overall I would definitely say that The Grand Tour was a great show. But if I had to break it down, I would say it was better than the revamped Top Gear with Chris Evans at the helm, but not as good as Top Gear when the trio was still there, nor was it as good as I personally expected. With that being said, I have the utmost confidence that the Grand Tour will eventually surpass all expectations and will replace Top Gear as the best car program ever made.