Not keen to accept defeat, the BBC are trying again with Top Gear America and their latest incarnation aired this weekend. They've gone away from the old US format and are trying the old UK format - studio audience and three blokes standing talking. The three blokes are Tom Ford (who's a lot smaller than he used to be), Michael Fichtner (a US actor who appears not to know much about cars), and Antron Brown (????). As Tom Ford put it himself, three people who've never met, who aren't friends but who have to manufacture chemistry because of program and budgetary requirements.
And sadly that sentence laid the groundwork for what was to come which largely involved Fichtner banging on and on and on about fuck-yeah-murica, Tom Ford going on about how this wasn't Top Gear UK and Antron Brown trying to explain to people who he is and what he does.
The Honda NSX segment could have been good, but was too short. The star in a reasonably priced car was as dull as dishwater to watch. The main event - a VW Buggy run across Baja should also have been exciting but somehow wasn't (but Brown did complain about how these old buggies couldn't do 300mph). Fichtner's piece on the US obsession with trucks started out wonderfully and was instantly ruined with fuck-yeah-murica-Ford-Raptor and five more minutes of screaming. There was no news.
I think this might be another trainwreck-in-making, not helped by the fact that their new home is the Speed Vegas track where a driver and instructor were killed earlier this year in a fiery crash. It would seem like a good place to film except the track is open during filming, meaning you get some awful edit cuts where one presenter is talking and you can hear and see cars on the track behind them, and when it cuts to one of the other presenters, the sound of the cars just cuts off and the track is suddenly empty.
It's not as bad a start as the original Top Gear America which just outright sucked from the opening 10 seconds, but it's pretty close. The difference here is that these three hosts aren't trying to be comedians like that idiot New Yorker and the fat guy in plaid. So there's a glimmer of hope.
We'll see what next week brings.