Review: Top Gear USA – Big bang or dud?

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Top Gear America Team

This weekend sees the final show of the first 10 episode run of Top Gear USA. After forcing myself to sit through several episodes, I find myself using the mute button more and more. Admittedly, most of the episodes are getting better and better every week and the show’s hosts (Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood, and Adam Ferrara) are more relaxed on camera. But the USA hosts just do not have the on-screen personality of the UK team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

James May comments on the USA version from across the great pond, “‘We begin with professional racing driver Tanner Foust. Not only has he apparently emerged from the pages of Goethe, he actually sounds like he’s giving the car a thrashing.”

May comments onward about Rutledge: “Finally, we have Rutledge Wood, who is some sort of automotive analyst. He has a beard, he’s been seen in lumberjack shirts, he has nerdy specs, he’s from Alabama and he might even be a bit chubby. I’ve read him described as ‘bookish’.”

The key to watching (and enjoying) the show is to not constantly compare the hour-long extravaganza to the UK version. We know that’s tough, if only because the new show has been modeled so closely after the original. The fact is that every iteration of Top Gear will always pale compared to the original. It’s like watching a movie based on your favorite book; there’s almost no way the motion picture will be better than the paperback and your imagination. But in terms of a car show available to watch in the U.S., Top Gear USA definitely has the the goods to keep us watching… provided you can fast-forward and mute over the boring parts.

Top Gear USA wraps up this weekend at the usual time of 9/10c on Sunday on the History Channel. In the final show the guys look back at their highlights of the last nine weeks. Let us know your thoughts on the series as always below in the comments section.

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  • DUD says:

    I completely disagree with the author’s conclusion. There is not enough good about the show to overcome the glaring issues:

    The hosts have no chemistry, which is one problem; they have no stage presence, which is an even bigger problem; it’s a carbon copy of UK Top Gear (in a bad way), another problem. And finally, the biggest problem of all: on the Lamborghini Adam Ferrara drove, he remarks

    “That’s a polycarbonate window so you can see the engine!”

    Crash. And. Burn.

  • derek says:

    I totally agree: Ferrara isn’t that funny for someone who is supposed to be a comedian. Rutledge has a car background and his personality shines on the show even though he does some pretty dumb moves on camera. Flannel shirts aside, Rutledge is entertaining to watch on the show.

  • Hollis says:

    Meh…I like Rutledge, I almost like Tanner (still cant get over how bad he is in the Battle of the Supercars), Adam Ferrara…not so funny to be a professional comedian. The show STILL seems forced, the UK guys have a chemistry that seems utterly effortless.
    That being said, when the guys crash & do incredibly dumb things to cars…its very entertaining.

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