I have come to the conclusion that Top Gear is one of the best shows ever made, hell I’d go so far as to say the show is better than some of the more well known geek staples like Lost and Star Trek TNG, it’s that good. Now some of you (those that haven’t seen it) will think I’m mad but hear me out and I shall try and justify my claim as best I can.
Simply put Top Gear is the ultimate geek show, it’s three guys who are all nerdy (in one way or another) driving fast cars, taking part in epic challenges and making quite frankly insane inventions. Don’t believe me? Well here is some examples of the stuff they have pulled off.
- They once made a Reliant Robin into a reusable rocket
- They crossed the channel in a home made car that could drive on water (and broke the record for doing so at the same time).
- They DROVE to the magnetic North Pole
- One of them drove the same car up the side of an active Volcano
- They attempted to evade the army in a Drug Dealers car.
You also have to bear in mind most of these guys are now in their mid forties, not trained in any way and all very unfit, basically it’s nerds with a budget.
I used to think (before I started watching) that it was just about cars, and yes there is a fair bit of show devoted to that, but it’s fantasy cars we are talking about. You won’t find them reviewing the latest family hatchback* but you will find them taking the latest Porsche or Bugatti out for a spin. And quite often these reviews involve some kind of mad challenge as well, like setting the record for the fastest speed reached in a production car, or racing a fighter jet. The point is the show is less about reviewing the cars and more about loving them. Or to put it another way if Micheal Bay directed a TV show it would be Top Gear.
Of course I can’t talk about the show without giving a shout out to it’s stars. James May Richard Hammond and the legend that is Jeremy Clarkson. Each presenter brings something different to the table; May is the science/nerdy one, Hammond is the one everyone likes and Clarkson is the certifiable uncle that you have no idea what he will do next. They are the reason the show works so well and part of that is that you can tell they are genuine mates who would do this for free if they had to.
Then there is The Stig, an unknown racing driver who is probably an ex formula one driver. Somehow the man conveys more expression through a helmet than some actors can with their whole face. But the main thing he brings to the table is that he can drive an car like it belonged on a race track.
Lastly** there is one of the best segments in the show, Star in a Reasonably priced car. This is where they put a celebrity in a crappy Koren car and make them drive really fast round the track, for nothing more than bragging rights, and let me tell you every one that does it really wants to be at the top of that lap bord. Even Tom Cruise who was this weeks guest, and not only did the fastest lap but finished on two wheels, he later went on to say filming the show was like the best vacation he had ever had.
So if you haven’t watched this show yet then do so, cos you are in for a treat. If like me you are a long term fan then raise a glass with me in salute to the best show BBC2 has to offer.
And on that Bombshell,
*well very rarley but it pleases me to know they actually rate my car (2004 Ford Mondeo Ghia) very highly.
** in fairness there is a bunch of stuff I haven’t covered here but if unchecked this article could go on for days.