I was a bit skeptical about the BBC’s ability to reproduce the TopGear show phenomenon in other countries with other presenters. Well I was wrong, sort of. I watched the first episode of the Australian TopGear show on Friday and um, it’s exactly the same. Frighteningly the same. Like they lifted the set exactly as it is in the UK and rebuilt it in Australia. They didn’t even let them customize it to Aussie standards. The intro is also an exact copy of the intro for the TG UK show. Same music, same images just different outlines of different guys and a few new clips. Ok, that is just freaky. I expected the logo and theme music to go over but they treated this like a franchise of American Idol. Yuck.
I would have liked to see the mimicry end at the logo and theme music. After that why not give the show their own ability to create a cool guy set with some Australian flair? Is Britain just too into the monarchy system to let individual creativity happen?
And the guys are totally the same, it’s like they cloned them with better hair. The older guy is the main lead presenter and he is cocky and always making fun of the other guys and showing off like Jeremy. The second guy is shorter and way hyper and talks hella fast and is all emotional all the time like Richard. The third guy is a cartoonist, (I like this twist, he draws on sight and this could lead to some interestingness) and not a pro driver and most like James may with short hair. (Charlie Cox, Warren Brown, Steve Pizzati)
And OMG there is no intro that explains what the show is or where it came from. Hello, a segway was necessary there. Would it have killed them to say that they have launched their own creation under the TopGear family umbrella and introduce the guys in a little more detail. Maybe say why they wanted to do the show in the first place and why they went through an open audition process to get there? Was that funny at all behind the scenes?
They just try to jump into cockiness and double entendre with total awkwardness because no one knows who they are. They should say this is the biggest car show about absolutely nothing or this is the car show where we plan to break very expensive things. Anything would be better than odd pauses as the audience doesn’t know what to laugh at because no one knows who these guys are…. Or they haven’t yet gotten comedic timing from their cue cards…
I sincerely hope they allow these series a little more breathing room to not only re-create things with a regional flavor but to look for ways to improve on the show and innovate too. Things will never innovate if the guys are practicing talking like Jeremy Clarkson in their dressing rooms and they have to name turns on the track after the UK presenters.
Dude, and they never say anything about the Stig being the Australian cousin? Why just make up all this stuff about the Stig with such a weak intro. Yikes! The guest star in a reasonably priced car was weird too. Over enthusiastic in everything he said in a really creepy way. And he liked Saabs. Heh, I own one buddy they are not luxury and sport cars. They are an unreliable bowl of crap. This post has been brought to you by “don’t buy a Saab”.
I shouldn’t be so hard on the show but I am a fan, so I have to be this way. I plan on watching the second one tonight. The thing is they did have some snafus that were a surprise to the viewer even if they were scripted so it had it’s entertaining moments. But gee whiz, please let these smart people you have hired in Australia do what they do best, make a funny car show by mucking around.
I do have to mention though that the content of the show was around 55 minutes with the commercials cut out (that might be entertaining to watch commercials from another country actually, if they’re weird or funny) so at least they shoved the commercials on the end of the 60 minutes and added time rather than cut it back. Yay for that.
And…when this show and the US show have gotten their feet under them we need to have an inter TG competition of some kind between the 3 regions. But that is not for a couple of years yet…