The BBC have a new motoring show, in case you hadn't heard. They keep calling it "Top Gear" but it's absolutely not Top Gear. Not even remotely. Remember when Top Gear was crap - the first few episodes of the Clarkson years? Before they found their stride? The new motoring show makes those early Clarkson shows look like finely polished TV. In fact - and this was something I just didn't think was possible - the new so-called "Top Gear" makes the U.S Top Gear look like a decent show by comparison.
The best analogy I can come up with is that it's akin to watching the Hindenburg crash into the Titanic. In slow motion.
So what's wrong with it? The most obvious problem is Chris Evans. He's a very unlikeable man WHO SHOUTS ALL HIS LINES FOR NO REASON, can't read off the autocue, can't time a joke, can't review cars, can't drive, isn't funny and has no chemistry with anyone he works with. I thought the BBC had learned this decades ago but apparently not. Apart from being awful on camera, he's also a wizard at getting the audience to hate him: Chris Evans 'swore at Top Gear audience' who didn't laugh at his jokes. I think once you see the episode you'll know why they didn't laugh.
Speaking of the audience - it's now way too big and so obviously clapping and laughing on cue that they might as well have just put a sitcom-style canned laughter track over the top.
There was no news segment - well - there was but it was in Extra Gear which is an aftershow that specializes in even more wooden presenters, reading autocues to tell you how CHRIS EVANS SHOUTED EVERYTHING FROM HIS AUTOCUE. It's partly saved by Chris Harris, who is a decent motoring presenter in his own right (but you wouldn't know it from watching Extra Gear). I suspect he's been told not to compete with Evans because compared to his standalone shows, it was like he was a shadow of his usual self. Why he's hitched his trailer to this dying horse is a mystery - maybe he doesn't like his career?
Apart from Chris Harris, I'm not sure anyone knows who any of the people were in Extra Gear - just a bunch of talking heads reading badly scripting "banter" whilst trying to look like it wasn't scripted.
The star in a reasonably priced car is now the star in a half-a-million pound race-prepped rally car, and the circuit now includes an off-road section meaning that the times mean nothing any more (because the off-road section is a huge variable) and that they're seemingly quite happy to ruin the road circuit by dragging rocks and mud on to it.
There's clearly going to be a running gag about people throwing up when driven by Sabine Schmitz- but they blew that joke in episode 1 with some terrible scripting.
Oddly, Matt LeBlanc is the only redeeming feature of the show. When he's reading off autocue and playing stooge TO THE SHOUTING GINGER ONE, he's as awful as Evans. But when he's allowed to do his own segments, he's quite watchable.
Sabine Schmitz - it goes without saying - is the best of the lot because she can both drive, and present at the same time. Evans can't really drive, and his idea of presenting an opinion consists entirely of reading the press release whilst demonstrating how much he can't drive.
Will so-called "Top Gear" improve with time? Probably, but for that to happen they need to get rid of Chris Evans quickly and replace him with Chris Harris. They also need to abandon "Extra Gear" which is a sad, desperate "please like us" show.
To put it in perspective, so-called "Top Gear" now has a record low viewing figure for the last 10 years, and the bookies are betting 4:1 that Evans won't make it past the end of this series, and 2:1 that this is the last series altogether. Yeah. It sucks that badly.
Now the bar has been set this low, Clarkson, Hammond and May's new show on Amazon could literally be an hour of them drinking tea and it would be funnier than what the BBC have produced.