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Review: Top Gear USA - the first episode [w/poll]


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Filed under: Etc., Videos, Celebrities

Not The Original, But Not Bad, Either

Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood

The logo. The exotic car-filled studio. The engine block coffee table. The Stig. The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. It all seemed so familiar. The inaugural episode of Top Gear USA aired Sunday night at 10pm EST/9C on the History Channel with a lot of what made the original British show an international hit, but without those three dynamic blokes that have made the UK version so great. Or the amazing producers who put that show together each week. Instead, we get new producers, a new set, and new promise in hosts Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara and Rutledge Wood.

The first episode of Top Gear USA started off with a bang by transitioning from an original Shelby Cobra to the best modern interpretation of the big engine on wheels: the Dodge Viper. The American-made missile was driven by Tanner Foust who was charged with outrunning a Cobra attack helicopter. The Viper was fitted with a missile detection simulator that showed when the supercar was being missile-locked and "hit" by the chopper. To win this competition, Foust and his navigator/co-host Rutledge Wood needed to blast across town and back before being hit by the chopper three times. We won't tell you how it ends, but we will say this first stunt showed that while the camera work and editing isn't yet up to Top Gear UK levels of excellence, the content is still engaging and fun to watch.

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Review: Top Gear USA - the first episode [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I can honestly give it a solid 8/10. If this exact same thing had been TG UK I'd probably give it 5 or 6, but as series premiers go it was very respectable, much better than TG UK's premier.

The hosts seem to be off to a solid start, sure its not the same chemistry that the UK hosts have yet, but I see potential for it to really grow. There were some genuinely funny parts too, like when Adam was going over the SV's cupholder price, and when he and Rutledge gloated about beating Tanner

The Lambo segment was by far the best, as it had far better camera work than the Viper segment, nicer filters and effects, and felt closer to the standard we've come to expect from TG.

Also we got a nice earful of the Murcielago SV's glorious engine, which is my favorite engine note of all time.

Prior to the Lambo segment I felt that the camera work and effects were lacking, but at the end of the show I felt better.

I am so happy they lapped the Viper ACR. It's always bugged me that TG UK hasn't tested that car, especially given Jeremy's like for the Viper and the whole testing fast cars thing.

The musical scores really need to be ramped up though, they were the biggest letdown.

The in-car cameras shake too much. They should use whatever TG UK uses.

Also, I hope that the "recap" between commercial breaks is only for the first few episodes. I'm intelligent enough to remember what happened between the 3 minutes of commercials.

I enjoyed it though, and while of course it's no substitute for the original, I think it has its place in the TG family. Overall though I think the show is of to a very solid start, looking forward to more.

The "Big Star, Small Car" segment felt short and kinda half-assed, but I normally skip SIARPC anyway so whatever.

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Ehhh, I think there's a reason it ended up on a pretty obscure cable channel. The hosts don't have good TV voices like Clarkson does and the whole show felt drawn out, like they didn't make very good use of their 42 minutes or whatever it is. The "challenge" at the end was pretty lame. Maybe they'll pick it up, but I'm not holding my breath. Nice camera work, though.

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tiVoed it last night..will watch tonight.

Edit: Watched. Not bad. Will watch again. Tanner Foust is good, the other hosts are just 'meh'..not much chemistry between the 3 so far...their attempts at humor fell flat. But it has potential.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Yeah they need to get some better drivers.. tanner is by far the best driver in the TG series except for the stig's. how did the Lambo SV lose a straight line race? I wish they went around a curve at least...

Meh. so far hopefully it gets better. the fat guy has to go.. he doesn't seem genuinely into cars in that episode. and is worse at driving than james may. I look forward to seeing tanner drive more cars properly.

Also, that jumping caddy made me tear up.. as well as that fiero seemed mint.

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