television

Is The New Top Gear A Complete Mess?

Earlier today it was announced that ‘Friends’ star and petrolhead Matt LeBlanc will join Chris Evans on the Top Gear reboot. Huh?

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We’re all familiar with LeBlanc’s previous appearances as a guest on the BBC motoring show, but naming the actor as a host feels a bit left field. The announcement comes after recent rumors that Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz would join Evans as the show’s other new hosts. Neither have confirmed whether or not they’ll be taking part, but Schmitz did appear to be with Evans during a recent bout of car sickness on set. There have also been reports of unrest between show producers and Evans who wants the same creative control Jeremy Clarkson had at the helm. For obvious reasons, nervous BBC executives are keeping much tighter reigns on the reboot.

LeBlanc will join production immediately with the other hosts announced shortly. Clearly the BBC will be eager to get the show back on air before Clarkson, Hammond and May premier on Amazon Prime.

I’m not sure we needed another Top Gear reboot. Lets be honest, it was the chemistry between the three hosts that kept everyone coming back long after the show stopped being about cars. Even if the old show hadn’t come to the abrupt end that it did, it was already nearing the end of its run. With all the excellent automotive content online from /DRIVE, Harris himself, EVO and many others, this reboot feels a bit Top Gear Australia.

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What would the chemistry be like between LeBlanc, Harris, Schmitz and Evans? My first thoughts of Harris and Schmitz when thrown into the rumor mill were that they were too good for Evans who seems more content looking at cars than driving them. It’s the most coveted gig in the automotive world, however the BBC seems like they need this to be a hit a little too badly, they seem a bit desperate.

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Ultimately the fans will decide if the new Top Gear is worth watching. I joined Amazon Prime last month.

Photos courtesy of BBC & Amazon.

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The Wait Is Over (Almost)

For me there’s television and then there’s Top Gear, which occupies another space entirely. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen new episodes of the World’s most popular show and I’ve been having some serious withdrawals. Luckily normal service is resumed on Sunday January 27!

Based on some of the reports and spoilers going around, Series 19 is going to be a doozy. I can’t wait!

Video courtesy of BBC.

Will Buxton Joins NBC

NBC’s new pit lane reporter is indeed Will Buxton! Buxton announced the move earlier today on Twitter, thus completing the network’s Formula 1 broadcast team in 2013. With SPEED’s old crew at the helm, it should be an easy transition for American fans.

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Many have been skeptical of NBC’s commitment to Formula 1 and how the network would handle the sport. SPEED’s broadcast always left much to be desired. Budget constraints and a lack of interest from the network were to blame and a fresh start on a new network may be just what the sport needs in an emerging market. Since joining SPEED’s team, Buxton has been one of Formula 1’s greatest assets in the states and hopefully we can all expect big things to come in 2013!

Photo courtesy of Will Buxton.

NBC’s Mystery F1 Pit Lane Reporter

While most of us were excited to hear that Formula 1 would take its talents to NBC Sports, there was some concern about the broadcast team. NBC made the right decision in quickly hiring SPEED’s team of commentators including David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. Leigh Diffey will take over for Bob Varsha as the group’s ring leader, but there’s still been some speculation over the future of pit lane reporter Will Buxton.

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Last night Diffey posted this photo on Twitter, from an NBC production dinner in New York. You’ll notice one member of the team shielding his face with a menu. We can only presume that it’s Mr. Buxton, whose kept quiet about his next move, since it was announced on Twitter that he’d be fired from SPEED. Since then Buxton has gained lots of support from  fans here in the United States and it would be fantastic to see him join the rest of the team at NBC next season.

NBC has the opportunity to sell F1 to an American audience. Where SPEED’s broadcast was a bit of a joke and the antithesis of the slick productions from the BBC and Sky Sports, NBC can change all of that. The network has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Steve Matchett, who is arguably the most underrated broadcaster in the sport. With Will Buxton, they have the opportunity to appeal to a much younger audience than the sport has previously attracted. That’s something that needs to happen if F1 hopes to have a future in the United States. By taking itself more seriously and gearing the broadcast to existing fans, NBC has every chance of becoming a success. None of us need to hear what DRS stands for, 250 times throughout a race.

Photo courtesy of Leigh Diffey.

Top Gear Up For An NTA

The National Television Awards are Britain’s version of our People’s Choice Awards. That mean’s the fans have total control over voting for the winners. If you check out Andy Wilman’s Transmission blog, then you’ll know that Top Gear is one of the nominees for best factual program.

If you’re interested in voting, you can do so here. Interestingly, James May’s Toy Stories and Richard Hammond’s Invisible World’s are also nominated in the same category. Also, Ben Collins will supposedly be joining the cast of Fifth Gear for their upcoming series. I’m sure that’s not gone over well with the Top Gear camp.

My New Favorite Show

Ever since The Sopranos ended a few years ago, I’ve been waiting for something to fill the void. Well, HBO and Martin Scorsese have come through with Boardwalk Empire. This show positively cannot be missed. It’s already been getting rave reviews after just 2 episodes. I’ve only seen the pilot so far and I’m completely hooked. Set in the 1920’s, Boardwalk Empire follows Nucky Thompson (played by Steve Buscemi) and his rise to power as an alcohol smuggler, moonlighting as a politician. I think this will be the next big series for HBO and can’t wait to check out this week’s episode.

The Stig No More

If any of you are fans of Top Gear then you’re probably well aware of all the drama surrounding The Stig’s “coming out party”.  It’s been rumored for the longest time that Formula 3 veteran, Ben Collins was indeed the show’s tame racing driver. Well, long story short, Collins has admitted his identity in preparation of an upcoming autobiography (a breech of his confidentiality agreement with the BBC). It doesn’t seem like the Top Gear team is loosing sleep over it though. The Stig’s helmet has already been filled by another driver and he made an appearance at the Nürburgring over the weekend. If you’re interested in a bit of reading, Top Gear’s executive producer Andy Wilman, wrote  great post on his blog, discussing the circumstances. The Mirror also published an article earlier today.

I Need A Dollar

I can’t think of a better song to sum up 2010 (so far).

It’s been a rough year and everyone I know, myself included are having their struggles. The most important thing is to stay positive; what goes up, must come down and vice-versa. You also may recognize Aloe Blacc’s I Need A Dollar as the theme song for HBO’s How To Make It In America; one of my favorite songs and shows of the year, without a doubt.

Series 15

If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’ll know that Top Gear is currently in it’s 15th series on BBC Two. For those of you in the United States, like myself, head over to FinalGear for the latest episodes and series updates. I haven’t been blown away yet by the current series, but overall it’s still far beyond 99% of anything on American television. I also thought this picture of Clarkson and Hamster was pretty funny!