Clarkson, May and Hammond's show wasn't perfect, but it could be.
After Chris Evans nearly killed Top Gear, the car world was excited to watch Amazon's The Grand Tour. Unfortunately, the show wasn't really all that we hoped for. Sure, there were some incredible moments in the show's first season, but there was also plenty of cringe-worthy dialogue and boring episodes that almost made us log off and stop watching. The Grand Tour season 2 is coming soon, and before it airs we wanted to discuss the five things that we hope get fixed. If these changes are made, The Grand Tour could be a true masterpiece.
Our first big suggestion for The Grand Tour season 2 is to pull back on the scripted stuff. Part of what made Top Gear so special was the unique chemistry between he three hosts. The apparent scripting of the show is also what made the new Top Gear and shows like the Top Gear America so tough to watch. The Grand Tour shouldn't need to be filled with tacky one-liners because Clarkson, May and Hammond already have years of familiarity with each other. Just let the three blokes be themselves and the entertainment factor will be there.
One of our favorite parts of Top Gear was seeing the Stig set a lap around the Dunsfold track. This lap time quickly became one of the most important benchmarks in the world for cars, because it was set by the same driver on the same track. Unfortunately, The Grand Tour couldn't take the Stig because he is a BBC property. Instead, we got Mike Skinner, The American. Instead of being silent like the Stig, The American talks about how bad each car is during the whole lap. This gimmick was a little funny at first, but got old after a while. We only want to see someone criticize a car that is truly bad, the rest is just in bad taste.
Perhaps our most important suggestion is to get back to cars. Top Gear did have episodes that didn't focus on cars, but the Grand Tour's non-car episodes seemed to lack focus. The episode where the three hosts pretend to play Call of Duty in real life and try to build their own coral reef are among the worst in the first season. Both of these episodes had almost nothing to do with cars, and were heavily scripted. In comparison, some of our favorite episodes were the opener with the hypercar holy trinity and the Ford-centric episode, which both went back to basics. We hope that The Grand Tour remembers that it is still a car show.
If The American was cringe-worthy, then Celebrity Brain Crash was absolutely vomit-inducing. For the first episode, it was kind of funny to joke about how the show wouldn't have a celebrity guests like Top Gear did. However, this gag got old in a hurry and quickly became the most skippable segment in the show. Each episode wasted a huge amount of time on this segment that could have been spent on more Conversation Street or other funny studio segments. Celebrity Brain Crash needs to go, so that it can open up more time for better segments.
Our final suggestion for The Grand Tour season 2 is to be a little more picky with the budget. Spectacle is all well and good, but we prefer it when the show actually has a purpose. Don't just blow up a car because it will look cool. Top Gear always had a knack from impressing us without needing to go over the top. We'd like to see more cheap car challenges that are filmed in Britain, with realistic challenges that answer a real-world question about cars. The Grand Tour season 1 was filled with road trips that seemed to lack a point as well as insane builds that just seemed silly. The show may have a huge budget, but it doesn't need to use all of it to be entertaining.