It’s been no secret that Amazon has been banking on The Grand Tour to be a success, since the announcement that they managed to secure Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, fans have been foaming at the mouth to see what their next show could do to topple Top Gear. Former fans of Top Gear have seen the series decimated by Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc, a team that has tried to meld together a brothers style relationship that comes across as completely forced. With the budget of Amazon, it was hardly surprising that fans were expecting big things to come from The Grand Tour and they have certainly delivered.
Episode 1: The Holy Trinity
The season one opener starts appropriately referencing the politics that ended the host’s relationship with the BBC but doesn’t hang too long before completely moving forward with an expedition that didn’t just sell the rights holdings to other countries with taxpayer money (BBC), but instead, took the show to fans around the world. The show’s first episode starts in Los Angelas, California with an opening scene of a car convoy of some beautiful motors that drive across the flatland and meet up at the tent location. The whole thing has a Forza Horizon vibe about it with a band playing to adoring fans to begin the opener. It made an immediate impression that screamed we are back and we have a big budget!
The episode progressed with a test of three modern hybrid supercars from Ferrari, Porche, and McLaren. The News has been replaced by Conversation Street, the Top Gear test track has been replaced with The Ebola Drome, and the star in a reasonably priced car segment has been axed from this show completely, a shrewd move as it always felt like an awkward celebrity plugfest. In fact, there was a number of celebrities who were seen walking to the tent that meets their death which could have been a reference to their own omission that the star segment had its day. I’m loving the new test track and whether Mike Skinner is going to be the permanent driver to set lap times, I’m not too sure but he has personality, The Stig jokes were certainly getting tired, so it’s pleasing to see the face of the driver setting the laps. I’ve got a feeling the test track is going to throw a few surprises along the way, with potential crashes, whilst car manufacturers probably do not want to see their cars get trashed, don’t rule it out because there is some serious cash being thrown into this show.
If the first episode did have any weakness it was a prolonged gag between the Brits and Americans in the studio audience, where Clarkson, May, and Hammond wind up the audience about British dominance, only for them to be attacked by the audience in a cutaway set piece. It wasn’t the strongest written gag in the world. Either way, it was totally refreshing to see the trio back on the air, it felt all too long without them gone. Operation Desert Stumble is due to take place next with the location of Johannesburg, South Africa, just what do the boys have up their sleeves? I can’t wait!
Progressive Review Status: Episode 1: The Holy Trinity
- No Expenses Spared on Humour
- Better Locations
- Better Cinematography
- Forced Gags