SBS in Australia is currently broadcasting its own version of Top Gear, called Top Gear Australia. As an enthusiast cyclist and being with no interests for cars, I have a special bond with the original program.
The original Top Gear is currently presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. A grumpy journalist, a ADHD suffering DJ and a piano-teacher. Before I saw my first episode of Top Gear, I had seen Jeremy Clarkson at Robot Wars, where he used the same presenting style I later saw him with on Top Gear.
What does make Top Gear so good? It's just two reasons:
Yes, I have left out the Stigs weekly run-around-the-track and the celebrity track. The Stig character is funny and great in his role in the challenges but the run-around-the-track is boring and the celebrity part is good for the interview but, as said earlier, the run-around-the-track is boring. And I didn't mention the Cool-Wall neither. You can see, I'm not interested in the cars themselves, only in the pictures made around them and in what these three people do with them.
So, how does Top Gear Australia run? First, if people think it will be the same the original Top Gear, then they must stop dreaming. Three different presenters, three different characters, three different ways of thinking and three different attitudes towards life. It will never be same as the original Top Gear.
So far only two episodes have aired, and since everybody and their dog has given their opinion, often negative because of the reason in the previous paragraph, about it I was going to give mine, hopefully positive, about it.
The presenters are Charlie Cox, Steve Pizzati and Warren Brown. Of the three of them, I only knew Warren Brown from the recreation of the 1907 Peking to Paris race in which they used the same cars or kind of cars as the original contestants and of the appearance of his cartoons now and then on the ABC or SBS.
Charlie Cox tries to be the main guy, but is missing the charisma Jeremy Clarkson has. Steve Pizzati has the hyperactive and please-approve-of-this,-Charlie approach and Warren Brown is the hacker of the three, so far he has come up (oh well, presented) with the car converted into a shark cage and the Smart Funeral car.
The style of the show is the same as the original Top Gear, with reviews plus the Stig, celebrities and challenges. Instead of the Cool-Wall there is the "What Were They Thinking?" section.
So what is the initial verdict? Quite some people I spoke were negative about it, but I blame that mostly on expectation: If they expected one-on-one copies of the characters of Clarkson, Hammond and May, they had woken up with a cold shower. The scenery in the shots so far are okay, hopefully they will show all parts of Australia (desert, rainforest, mountains, coastal roads, wetlands etc). The two car challenges (Sand and Snow in one day and Utes at the gold mining pits) and two hacking challenges (Shark Cage and Smart Funeral car) were surely with the same chaos and quality of the original Top Gear. The run-around-the-track is still boring and I haven't recognized any of the celebrities yet (but I blame that fully on myself and not on the show :-)
I will keep watching this show through the first season and hope that it will give me the same laughs and warm feelings of the original Top Gear!
ObReferences: A lot of the technical data from the Challenges paragraph was retrieved from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Gear_challenges)| Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter