Three English blokes faff about with cars once a week. Brilliant.
There are three things you must know about Top Gear. These are: it is (1) BBC TV (2) entertainment (3) about automobiles. If your only interest in cars is getting from Point A to Point B in a reasonable period of time ... well, you can try it, but bear in mind that it's not for you
. If you have a severe allergy to Britishness, you might want to apply an antihistamine. And if you want factual information ... well, some might happen to sneak in while the producers' backs were turned, but that's not really the point.
(And the producers aren't above leaving a ... misleading impression, you might say. Kayfabe
is, in fact, in effect.)
the point, you ask?
It's fun, that's what.
Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond crack jokes, fool around, take up ridiculous challenges (amphibious cars! ski-jumping rocket-powered Cooper Mini! extreme motorhome racing!), and if a car should need reviewing at some point, don't doubt that they'll try to do all three before they're through with it. Like every comedy show, you grow to love the personas the performers adopt: the Largeness of "Jezza" Clarkson's Ham
, Richard "Hamster"'s wild enthusiasm, and "Captain Slow" May naming his spanners
and getting continually lost
— and when they introduce their "tame racing driver", the Stig, to thrash a car around the track, it puts you on the edge of your seat as you await its time. And no less when they bring out a Star to put in a Reasonably Priced Car — whether you recognize the target or not, Clarkson's interviewing chops are first-rate, and the sheer variation in their performances out on the track is an education, not to mention fun. (Do watch Hugh Grant's interview
in particular — it's classic! ...although probably Not Safe For Work
To sum up: if automobile-themed entertainment from The Beeb
sounds like your cup of tea, do give it a look — and if it doesn't, give it a look anyway. It's one of the best TV series ... in the world.
10 Oct addendum to 30 Aug review:
I forgot to mention Top Gear's astonishing camera and special effects work. It goes overboard at times — by which I mean constantly — but technically, it is magnificent.