Something new on the Boob Tube

For those who enjoy the BBC’s Top Gear TV program (and perhaps even for those who have never seen it), you should be aware that a US version of the program will be appearing soon on American TV.

The History Channel–which seems to be increasingly less history-oriented of late–is premiering Top Gear on Sunday, November 21, at 10PM (9 PM central time). The US version apparently features younger hosts than the UK version does, and if this incarnation of the program is as entertaining as the UK version is, it will be worth watching.

I assume that the program will follow a similar format, and will include spectacular car mishaps as well as test drives of new high performance models. If they include the “Putting a star in a low-priced car” segment, I wonder which cheap econo-box they will select. Perhaps a Chevy Aveo will provide the necessary thrills and chills as it struggles to stay on course in high-speed turns!

As a bit of trivia:

It is interesting to note that this is just the latest in a constant stream of TV concepts that originated in the UK, and are later transplanted to the US. Essentially all of the “reality” programs that are on US TV originally got their start in the UK.

The only program that ever went the other way across the pond is Law & Order. Law & Order UK, which is currently running on BBC, is a fairly good interpretation of the US original, albeit with no guns–as per tradtional UK police policy.

My opinion is that TV is garbage for the most part although I do enjoy Top Gear and think it’s the best show on television.

I’ve heard they were going to come up with a U.S. verion of TG but my gut feeling is that it will be butchered; either by going too Hollywood with it, becoming too commercialized, etc. Hopefully I’m wrong.

I agree that it’s going to be limited in its actual review of the vehicles, as the British show can and will tear a car to pieces, since their show doesn’t receive its funding from the car companies.

The US version will have sponsors, and if you upset the sponsors, then the amount of money your show receives will be in jeopardy.

Still, its rare for a copy of something to actually be as good or better than the original.
I doubt you will be able to beat the original show in this case.


Since we get to watch the British version on BBC America, I don’t see the point in an American version. I am not sure an Americanized version will stand the test of time like the British version has.

I tend to agree with you, but I will at least give the US version a try.
Although I do enjoy the UK version, not having to listen to Jeremy Clarkson’s obnoxious comments might actually be an improvement.

Yes, the Archie Bunker (All in te family)sitcom was a British comedy called “Till Death Do Us Part” starring Syney James of the Carry On series of movies, and Three’s Company with John Ritter, and Suzanne Sommers was a British transplant as well.

A Canadian program, " Little Mosque on the Prairie" has also been imported into the US, under and other name.

The original “Ugly Betty” program originated in Mexico, where it is called “La Feya Mas Bella”, and it’s actually funnier than the US version.

All this is very healthy culturally.

Those of us who are avid Top Gear fans know about the ongoing saga of the US version of the show. NBC was tossing the idea around for years. They even tapped Jay Leno, Adam Corolla and some other guy to host it, but nothing much ever came of it. Leno admitted that he didn’t think the show would work due to potential problems with advertisers, which isn’t a problem on BBC2. Leno turned down the offer, and a guy from HGTV named Eric Stromer took his place, they did one pilot episode for NBC, but that was it. Another problem is the production costs, Top Gear is not a cheap show to do, and the high production values are a hallmark of the series. Thirdly the hosts on the UK version make the show, it’s unlikely the cast of the U.S. version (Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood) will achieve the kind of chemistry that Clarkson, Hammond, and May have.

I’ll watch Top Gear USA out of curiosity, but my expectations aren’t going to be that high.
Also the Suzuki SX4 is the Reasonably Priced Car for Top Gear USA. Though in the NBC pilot it was a Kia Rio.

For one thing we will get to see US versions of cars and maybe those that aren’t sold at all in the UK.

I thought the Kia Cee’D was a Focus at first when they first revealed it for the new season. I wonder if there’s a counterpart here in the US, it looks halfway decent anyways.
As with others, I’m not holding out much hope for the US version, but if they start tinkering with vans, trying to make them into convertibles or a Miata limo, or a Toyboata, I might give it a go. I just can’t see them being able to get permission for some of the stuff that they do on the UK version.

Also, it’s kinda weird how a lot of the programming I watch on TV anymore is on BBC America. I can’t wait for the new season of Primeval to come on BBC America. I heard that Alexander Siddig will be playing someone on that show, and I enjoyed him when he was on Star Trek Deep Space 9

The version they show on BBC America is cut down and edited. The real show is an hour long with no commercials, and has much better music than the version they show on BBC America. If you look around you can usually find torrents of the proper BBC2 version within an hour or two of it being broadcast in England. Incidently, the new season of Top Gear has been pushed back until early next year. Apparently they (Clarkson, Hammond, and May) were over in the states a month or two ago driving supercars down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Some of the new episodes have been 80 minutes long, probably because they’re allowing 20 minutes or so for commercials. If you look, you can see an episode 80 minutes and a normal 60 minutes long at various times during the week.

I’d really like to be able to buy the DVD box sets of the show, hopefully uncut episodes with original broadcast stuffs. I can only find season 10 onward, no others on their website is the source for uncut BBC2 Top Gear episodes. They also have Fifth Gear if your into that.

I love that show. It’s probably the only show where they actually push the limits (and beyond) and give honest, forthright, knowledgable opinions. I only hope the U.S. version is as irreverant.

Who but Top Gear would have tested a Veyron to see if it actually would hit the claimed 268 mph (it did).

And it’s interesting to note that the only fault they could find with the Cadillac CTS-V was that it didn’t come with RHD. Captain Slow came back from a long absence when he drove a CTS-V. Impressive.

Finally got around to watching it today. With all the reviews about it being a horrid knockoff, I wasn’t expecting much, I wasn’t too disappointed either.
There were times where I coulda sworn they used CGI instead of actual film footage for some of their stuff.
I know they say to not compare it to the UK version, but just about everything they’ve done has been a direct copy of it, so it’s hard not to. I almost expected them to call the last corner Gambon, the “teardrop” the “Hammerhead” when they done the track bits. Hell, I half expected to hear them say Car X cost 200,000 pounds and weighs less than 1500 kilograms with X amount of brake horse power

Since the entire first season has already been taped, I guess that we will get to see a whole bunch of shows–at least for this year. However, unless there is considerable improvement, I doubt that there will be a second season of the US version.

My criticism with the US version isn’t so much that it is a virtual copy of the UK version, but rather disappointment with the personalities (or lack of same) of the guys who they picked for the show. They have so little substance that I am not sure if any of them casts a shadow.

I only caught the last 20 minutes of the new U.S TG and was extremely unimpressed. Before writing it off I waited until they reran the episode and watched it from the beginning.
The analogy that comes to mind is that it was like getting a root canal without the use of Novocaine. It was absolutely grating to watch.

However, I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and see what the next episode brings but I’m not optimistic about it.

The real key is going to be the TV ratings. The first episode drew about 2 million viewers so it will be interesting to see how many the second one draws.
It could be like the Jeff Dunham show; 5 million viewers the first week and half that the next, followed by cancellation.
I do wonder why the Speed Channel, Spike TV, etc. did not pick this show up and it was relegated to the History Channel. Maybe those particular channels saw a looming problem.

“It could be like the Jeff Dunham show; 5 million viewers the first week and half that the next”

Already in a similar category is Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
Although it opened to good ratings, by the second episode the ratings had declined by 40%.

Even more troubling to the folks at The Learning Channel is that the median age of Ms. Plain’s audience is now 57. Since older folks (like me) are not the type of avid consumers that those in their 20s & 30s are, this type of viewship will likely cause sponsors to run for the hills.

I don’t predict great things for the US version of Top Gear, and perhaps the same is true of Ms. Palin’s venture. It kind of makes you wonder about the people at the cable networks who decide to pick up these shows for broadcast. Stuff like this may give new meaning to the term “Boob Tube”.

If you want to read a brief article on her rapidly declining ratings, go to:

[b][i]What’s Top Gear ? Oh, Never Mind. I Only Get Six Channels And That’s 5 Or 6 Too Many. Since I Don’t Receive This Show, I’ll Look For It At The Next Motel Stay Where They Have 120 Channels, Which Are 119 Or 120 Too Many.



I know it sounded like they were too deadpan while reading their script, and the Aldrin interview seemed rather rushed. Hell, EVERYTHING about the show seemed rather rushed.