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Author Topic: Top Gear  (Read 11609 times)
Jeff Kelly
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Reply #70 on: August 03, 2010, 03:09:22 AM

I found the whole Season rather lackluster.

The budget cuts throughout the BBC really show, especially with the features. I'm sad that they didn't do a special as last episode and that they cut back to 6 (from the usual 7) clearly was a budget measure.

If driving the new Bugatti Veyron at the VW test track in Germany is the best the can muster going forward then I'm less than thrilled.

A german station recently picked up Top Gear and shows best ofs of previous seasons. Running the Nürburgring in a Ford Transit, The reviews of the Ford Fiesta, The polar special, the current season doesn't compare to that.

Sure the british sports car bit was funny but they have done many bits that were a lot better over the years.

I didn't like the Ayrton Senna piece either, the way they glossed over or really glorified his reckless behaviour on the track was appaling. If they'd interviewed Prost and asked him what he'd thought about the Suzuka incident for example they'd get a whole other story. It's especially silly considering that anybody else today who'd do only 10% of what Senna did during his heyday would get fined or punished and torn to shreds in the papers. Everybody who complains about Schumacher or Alonso today clearly hasn't been around when Senna, Mansell and Prost were driving.

Senna was an exceptional driver but he was absolutely ruthless on the track and got himself and his competitors into countless life threatening situations. He'd rather risk a crash than let himself get overtaken and (most often correctly) speculated that the other guy wouldn't want to risk his life getting ahead. If he got himself involved with somebody that had the same disregard for his opponent he had he could really lose it and on countless occasions has. There are famous incidents where he tried to punch other drivers that wouldn't let him pass on the track or during qualification.

Speak no ill of the dead, sure, but I wonder if they'd ever do a similar special about for example Schumacher who is still despised by many for behaviour they celebrate Senna for. Don't get me wrong I take no offence by Senna's behaviour on the contrary the F1 clearly lacks characters like that today but the Senna feature in Top Gear pretended that incidents like deliberately crashing into your opponent to win the championship were no big deal. (Maybe I remind them of it the next time they show the incident involving Schumacher and Hill).

I hope they pick up the slack next season.
K9
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Reply #71 on: August 03, 2010, 06:14:17 AM

I think the point was that, good or bad, Senna was always exciting. Modern Formula 1 is so incredibly sanitised, although this largely isn't the fault of the drivers. It does kill my enthusiasm to watch the sport though.

I'd agree that this wasn't their most memorable season though.

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Reply #72 on: August 03, 2010, 10:08:35 AM

Yeah, a short season sucks, but it was pretty good couple of episodes.  Having the payoff to two "we're broke so we couldn't book this guest" jokes had me laughing for entirely too long.  I thought both cheap car challenges (Track Day Cars and British Sports Cars) and the Senna piece were well done.

Most of all though, this season had the funniest and best shot films I think they've ever done with the Reliant Robin piece and the Touareg race.

On the budget thing, it all comes down to next season as they've done six episode runs before but followed them up with longer ones.

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K9
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Reply #73 on: August 03, 2010, 12:28:58 PM

Oh yes, the Reliant Robin bit was brilliant.

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Mattemeo
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Reply #74 on: August 04, 2010, 11:36:12 AM

F1 died the day Senna did. For me, at least. The sport changed so dramatically after that day and has become such a pale, sanitized, soulless shadow of itself I simply divorced myself of all interest within a year or so. It was devastating to me; my favourite driver had just joined my favourite team, only for tragedy to strike. I don't mind admitting I got misty eyed during the Top Gear memorial, but it was such a good reminder of everything that made F1 once thrilling, and how utterly uncompelling it is now. There's a reason Hamilton considered getting to drive Senna's McLaren one of the greatest days of his life, and I think a lot of it is to do with the need to change his trousers afterwards. The cars were insane back then, and you needed a degree of instability to even get in them.

As for Senna's behaviour on the track - on occassion it was pretty inexcusable and looking back on things, I know in my heart of hearts I was disappointed at times. But the difference between Senna and, say, Schumacher is that Senna was a bit of a bastard, but had a heart of gold and never forgot where he came from. Schumacher is just a bit of a bastard.

I just can't quite believe it's been half my lifetime since it happened.

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Reply #75 on: August 04, 2010, 12:03:44 PM

What draws any of you to watch racing, by the way?  I find F1 and all other car racing just as boring as NASCAR.  I can't watch any of it.  Just curious what aspects of the sport you have to get into in order to enjoy it.

I did enjoy going to destruction derbies at the fairground race track back where I grew up though.   awesome, for real

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Nebu
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Reply #76 on: August 04, 2010, 01:03:59 PM

What draws any of you to watch racing, by the way?  I find F1 and all other car racing just as boring as NASCAR.  I can't watch any of it.  Just curious what aspects of the sport you have to get into in order to enjoy it.

I enjoy rally racing.  Changes in road type, changes in terrain, and some very technical driving make for exciting races. 

NASCAR becomes interesting due to the pseudo-equivalence between cars.  If the cars are roughly equal, then what matters most is the driver.

Having said that, I still prefer playing racing sims to watching the sport on television. 

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NowhereMan
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Reply #77 on: August 05, 2010, 04:48:28 PM

Senna was an exceptional driver but he was absolutely ruthless on the track and got himself and his competitors into countless life threatening situations. He'd rather risk a crash than let himself get overtaken and (most often correctly) speculated that the other guy wouldn't want to risk his life getting ahead. If he got himself involved with somebody that had the same disregard for his opponent he had he could really lose it and on countless occasions has. There are famous incidents where he tried to punch other drivers that wouldn't let him pass on the track or during qualification.

While they could certainly have emphasised that aspect more, as someone who effectively knows nothing of F1 I got them impression that Senna was an absolutely ruthless, hell dangerous, man on the track who nonetheless managed to be a truly decent human being outside of that environment. Hell I ended up thinking of him as a Bill Gates type, in his chosen arena he was an amoral bastard who would cut your throat to win at all costs but removed from that arena he seemed like a genuinely admirable person, it's a picture that requires nuance and would be really hard to accurately convey in the short time they spent on it. I suppose the fact that it was generally positive is simply because we like to see people who are exceptionally talented, Senna seemed to be really good at generating entertainment, in no small part because he was willing to risk his own life and that of other drivers in order to win and huge risks produces incredible television.

The season itself has been entertaining, I wouldn't say it's been any more scripted than other seasons as they've all had their fair amount of scripted portions. Frankly I don't think of Top Gear as any kind of documentary, so long as they aren't claiming to be testing the capablilites of modern cars while faking stuff I'm happy. Throwing in a few actual opinions on cars in between entertaining me is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

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Jeff Kelly
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Reply #78 on: August 05, 2010, 06:16:51 PM

It's not the way they presented him that I didn't like about the Senna bit, on the contrary I really miss those days of F1. A single race in the late 80's early 90's was way more entertaining than a whole F1 season today.

It's just that Senna has always been a controversial driver and usually Top Gear doesn't have a problem with controversy.
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Reply #79 on: August 15, 2010, 01:34:59 AM

It's not the way they presented him that I didn't like about the Senna bit, on the contrary I really miss those days of F1. A single race in the late 80's early 90's was way more entertaining than a whole F1 season today.

It's just that Senna has always been a controversial driver and usually Top Gear doesn't have a problem with controversy.

I don't know, it seems like you've watched F1 that involved Senna. I haven't and I got the impression that Nowhereman did and then some, especially the controversy of how he acted on the race track. I really don't think they masked it as much as you're making it out to be.
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Reply #80 on: December 27, 2010, 12:27:21 PM

Well, new season of Top Gear started up.  The first episode with the three of them driving convertibles through Iraq was quite amusing. 

Not quite sure how they can top that without going to Afghanistan and driving tricycles flying British flags while wearing dresses.

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Reply #81 on: December 27, 2010, 02:27:51 PM

There was also a USA special the week before which had the boys driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and then ending up in New York; it was a lot more sympathetic than the first USA roadtrip which they did and generally I thought they struck a good balance with it.

The Middle East special was all right, but I felt it was a bit insubstantial compared to the previous specials. The first USA trip, Vietnam and Africa all felt a lot more novel and entertaining. This one just felt like a lot of recycled elements: the driving scared element from Alabama, the off-road element from Botswana, the foreign food segment from Vietnam. The episode itself added nothing new, no new gags or gimmicks or banter. It was still fun to watch, but it wasn't as memorable as I had hoped. I do suspect that a lot of this had to do with the region they were in which I am sure placed constraints on how wacky they could be.


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Reply #82 on: December 27, 2010, 03:10:58 PM


Palin 2012 : Let's go out with a bang!
K9
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Reply #83 on: December 27, 2010, 05:51:02 PM

Actually that had slipped my mind, whoops. That said, Hammond's crash was more of an accident despite the best of preparations, whereas James May getting concussed was more of a product of them dicking around carelessly. I guess the whole point of the show is to suggest that you can have this sort of fun, I was just surprised to actually see one of them come a cropper as a result. I think also the sudden inclusion of the support crews (which have always been there, just invisibly) shattered the illusion of them slogging through the desert somewhat.

As I say, I was entertained by the special, just less so than in other cases.

I love the smell of facepalm in the morning
Jeff Kelly
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I'm an apathetic, hedonistic, utilitarian, nihilistic existentialist.


Reply #84 on: March 10, 2014, 06:56:06 AM

A new series has started a few weeks ago (Series 21), maybe a few of you are interested to know (if you don't do already).

So far I like it very much. They've now dropped all pretense though that this is an unscripted show. As a result some segments have become even more cartoonish than in previous series. I like it but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Viin
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Reply #85 on: March 10, 2014, 05:15:09 PM

Yeah I can't watch these anymore. The US version is OK, but Fifth Gear is the show I look forward to now.

- Viin
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Reply #86 on: March 13, 2017, 03:59:48 AM

So season 23 was pretty bad in my mind. Having Chris Evans and Matt Leblanc along with random strangers every few episodes made for a totally disjointed experience. The best part was the after show with Rory Reid and Chris Harris.

Season 24 started in the UK last week and I watched the first episode in the US tonight. With Chris Evans gone, they moved Rory Reid and Chris Harris into the main show. First episode had a few laughs and I thought was fairly enjoyable.

My one complaint is whoever has been doing wardrobe for the past 2 years needs to find them a new set of clothes. They all seem to be wearing clothes that don't fit them. By fit them I mean physically and mentally.

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Reply #87 on: March 16, 2017, 09:13:53 AM

After watching the 1st 2 episodes I really feel that they need to be much less scripted. I have the same issue with the Grand tour now. They just need to let them be themselves. Also I think the new TG hosts will be fine once they have a season or 2 more under their belt and they develop a bit more chemistry/camaraderie.

I also think TG would be better served being a bit more car journal show rather than going for fake yucks. They should leave that to GT and distinguish themselves by being more car focused and less pure comedy show.

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