UNITED STATES—It finally aired…or streamed, I guess is the appropriate term. The highly anticipated car show designed to usher us into a new era of gratuitous four-wheeled debauchery revealed itself to the world on November 18th (or November 17th if you were in a time zone anywhere west of London’s) and the reigning king of car shows, Top Gear is officially on notice.
The Grand Tour, Amazon’s new car show, pulled out all the stops including a grand desert opening featuring a flyover by a squadron of air force fighter jets, a drone being shot out of the sky, and a mobile circus tent studio that will go up in a new city in a different country every episode. The new show also benefits from the 20 plus years worth of comradery, sibling-like-rivalry, and fame afforded by its three hosts: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. This all came at a time that could not have been worse for the BBC (home of the now struggling, Top Gear).
Absolutely nobody was under the illusion that the BBC would easily be able to replace its three beloved presenters (the same Clarkson, Hammond, and May mentioned above) with any sort of suitable facsimiles. It’s doubtful, however, that anybody thought the British network would struggle as mightily as it has. After all, it’s the cars that are the stars, right? Wrong!
Already, Chris Evans, the man meant to return normalcy to the chaos rendered by the BBC’s arguably knee-jerk reaction to a physical altercation between Clarkson and producer (name), has quit. This leaves Matt LeBlanc as the only known commodity. Yes, there are five other hosts (for now), but all of them could be easily replaced by any spec-memorizing journalism major from the local community college.
As for Amazon’s new show, things couldn’t have started on a higher note. First, it managed to turn seemingly insurmountable restrictions placed on it by copyright laws into comedy gold. Not only did they land jab after jab by wryly referencing segments featuring stars in cars and track tests performed by domesticated racing drivers as if they were new ideas, but they landed knock out blows when they employed misdirection to turn these BBC owned segments into unpredictable comedy bits that will surely keep viewers glued to their screens for the weeks to come.
Second, it has the three best things from the original Top Gear: Clarkson, Hammond, and May. That’s it. And really, that’s all it needs to dethrone the dying king. Will the king go down without a fight? Probably not. But what can possibly be done to save the king?
In my opinion, there is really only one thing that could possibly work: Schwimmer, Perry, and LeBlanc. That’s right. Reunite Matt LeBlanc with his cast mates from NBC’s classic sitcom Friends. If there are any three hosts that can muster the same rapport and chemistry as the Grand Tour’s trio, it would be Ross, Chandler, and Joey. Sure, they might not have the same credentials in the automotive world as others, but who cares? Because, when all’s said and done, it really isn’t about the cars. It’s about three friends and their many awesome adventures. The cars simply get them from A to B. As it is right now, Top Gear might as well feature nothing but self-driving cars. So, I really hope you are reading this right now BBC, because I hate the idea of a world in which autonomous vehicles rule the streets.