Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top Gear Season 13 - Meeeeeh

I'm a big Top Gear fan, it's probably one of the best car/variety shows on TV. I especially like it because my girlfriend willingly watches the show due to the entertainment factor provided by the "diverse" personalities of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Many times the personalities of the hosts actually outweigh the high performance and high price tags of the cars they show.

I just watched the most recent episode of Top Gear(Season 13, Episode 4) and it feels a little obvious that the budget cuts mandated by the BBC are in full effect of the Top Gear set. The three big pieces featured are Jezza in an Evolution VII versus the British Army, the Ford Focus RS versus the Renault R26.R, and a Porsche Panamera versus - wait for it - the British mail system. The first two aren't bad, I especially enjoyed the Evo versus Army portion as a Browning .50 cal bore down on the little Mitsu. I felt like the Focus RS spent most of it's time running around the track with the Renault which doesn't really show off the impressive figures of either car or the Focus' ability to be a borderline rally car you can drive every day. The Porsche Panamera - the world's ugliest car, is essentially driven across Britain by Hamster and Captain Slow in one of the more boring pieces they've done - no silly stunts, no photo finish. Just two British guys driving an ugly Porsche.

4 episodes in, Season 13 leaves me a little cold with it's special features. The Ken Block scaring May in a Subaru STi piece was cool, as was Michael Schumacher's interview and joking reveal as the Stig after a epic lap in the Ferrari FXX. But the train race, buying a car for a 17-year old and the very short Bugatti versus McLaren F1 pieces just don't seem to do the show as a whole justice, feeling somewhat flat and uninspired compared to, say, the Ford Fiesta in a mall chased by a Corvette or landing on a beachhead during a British assault practice from last season. Hopefully, the rest of the season will start to pick up as I'd hate to think my favorite show is starting to lose its touch. Check out part I of the Evo and Focus parts below and see what you think.

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