HuTubeFlix: Top Gear
One of the best things about living in today’s world, where we stream whatever TV show we want (or can find, at least) at any time, and more importantly, from anywhere. Just a generation ago, the only chance of seeing British TV shows in America were as reruns on PBS, or on the off-chance that an American network had opted to adapt a British show, which would then be completely ruined in the process.
One perfect examble of this is the British car show Top Gear. Like many shows from across the pond, its already been adapted for American audiences, and, as you could guess, it’s pretty awful. The A.V. Club’s review of the American version stated that the show only retained the music and graphics of the original, while the rest felt as if it was “imported from a 1980s beer commercial.”
The British version, however, is one of the best shows on TV today, bar none. As far as non-fiction shows go, no singing or celebrity dance competition can match the fun that Top Gear provides.
Despite being a show about cars, it manages to maintain a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about it all, with hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May infusing a level of wit and snark into each segment that only middle-aged British men could be capable of.
In a way, the show feels more like Mythbusters than a “pokey motoring show,” as they tend to call themselves. Rather than simply review cars (which they still do), the hosts engage in a series of car-related challenges, such as making an amphibious car or the best mode of transport across a busy city.
Perhaps when Top Gear is at its best and most hillarious is when the three are pitted against each other in what they call “Epic Races,” which take place across entire countries and continents. Fan favorites include a race against a sled dog team and an SUV to the North Pole, a 1000 mile trek through the Amazon Rainforest in $5000 used cars, and a roadtrip through the American south.
While definitely still geared towards car-lovers, there is a definite sense that the people behind the show recognize that being really into cars is just a little bit silly, and rather than shy away from that fact, they instead amp up the silliness even more by having their bumbling hosts be as affable and ridiculous as possible, making it hard for anyone to not like.