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Top Gear US: Here They Come!

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On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Top Gear US: Here They Come!

I have been a fan of Top Gear for some time now; as a matter of fact, it is one of my favorite shows. Beside the upscale production values, probably the best part of the show is the “challenges” and the interaction between the hosts while trying to accomplish them. Since the announcement “Top Gear is coming to the U.S. with its very own American cast” I have been doing a lot of reading through the related blogs. While I enjoy the light-hearted ribbing that the hosts poke at America, I was really surprised at the reactions on the blogs from the users.

Typical user comments like: “American roads are straight”—“American cars are rubbish”—“Reviewing American Cars would be dull”—“What happens when we have to make a right turn”—“who wants to see big, fat, ugly, gas-guzzling, sloppy fit, American cars & trucks”. These comments litter the forums and blogs that talk about their beloved show jumping the pond. What cracks me up is that the people posting these comments act as if they drive the cars featured on the Top Gear, when in reality; they are most likely driving a FORD. Think about it, Ford has been a top seller in Europe for many years, so it is likely that they are not driving to work in a Ferrari, Lambo or Lotus—more like a Fiesta or Focus. OK, maybe you’re driving a Jaguar…get under the car or hood and look around, you will see FoMoCo emblazoned everywhere.

Come on, Europe, can’t you share a good TV show with us Americans without the bashing? After all, we gave you guys Night Rider and David Hasselhoff! How soon you forget that we also gave you Baywatch; which may or may not be responsible for an increase in fornication in Europe. By the way, you can keep DR. WHO!

The American viewers chimed in on the blogs as well; one user had an interesting idea for a Top Gear US challenge: “I want to see the new F-150 and the new Ram climbing up mountains and running over a Prius while carrying a Smart Car in the bed.”

Another user: “I watch Speedvision (when they don’t have the almost endless NASCAR crap on). “Powerblock TV”, Extreme 4X4, all those American shows are nothing but parts commercials.”

Another user: “Please, please, please don’t let the Stig be from Na$car.”

And my favorite comment: “Barack Obama should be the Stig”

The first series of ten episodes will air on The History Channel this fall and feature hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood.

Adam Ferrara is an American actor and comedian who is currently playing the role of Chief "Needles" Nelson on the critically-acclaimed FX series Rescue Me (one of my favorites). He also played Detective Tommy Manetti on the television series The Job.

Rutledge Wood is a roving racing analyst employed by The Speed Channel

Tanner Foust is a professional racing driver, stunt driver, and television host. Tanner has been a stunt driver for films such as The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, and The Dukes of Hazzard. He is a prominent competitor in Formula D, being the 2007 and 2008 Formula D champion, and is an accomplished rally racer. Foust is the first driver in Formula D history to win back-to-back series championships.

I think the show has every chance in succeeding if they follow the same formula as the UK version. Can we follow the UK versions exceptional production standards?—we can do that! Can we swing a big budget?—despite our economy, we can do that too. Get knowledgeable and witty hosts?—I think we got that covered as well. Can we be brutally honest while reviewing cars?—Screeching Halt! Since a great portion of TV advertising is from the auto industry, the suits could get gun-shy on bashing the cars. The saving grace is that Top Gear will be on cable, not network television, and hopefully they stick to their guns. Being publicly funded television, the BBC does not have that problem.

Overall I love the idea; I think there are plenty of crooked roads for test drives, lots of interesting places to launch challenges, and plenty of European cars to poke fun at. I look forward to the first episode in the fall and hope that the Top Gear UK lovers here in the U.S. will rally behind the show with open minds.

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