Weekend Edition: A Top Gear Epilogue

After years of entertainment, one must consider a future without BBC Top Gear. It will hardly be the same without Clarkson, and the BBC will hopefully not attempt to plaster on new faces and attempt to carry on as if nothing had happened. The name will live on in some form, and I believe there will be a reboot, but at the moment it’s all too vague to tell.
But as Top Gear had become a caricature of itself in recent years, I felt like I had already started living out a better, more satisfying version of the show. We’ve bought cheap cars with friends, we’ve completed epic roadtrips, we’ve sampled excellent new or nearly-new cars, almost as if we would fill out the void already before the show imploded. There have been absolutely ridiculous real-life moments that would have seemed completely scripted on TG UK. And when it comes to shows, I think Regular Car Reviews is Top Gear for me these days. Drive is Top Gear, The Smoking Tire is Top Gear. Harry’s Garage is Top Gear. You get the picture; it’s obvious Chris Harris does.
If there isn’t a satisfying reborn show in the cards, I think car enthusiasts will be just fine. The way Clarkson’s years ended was far from ideal – in fact, pretty much the exact opposite – but in the end, it had to end. We’ll just have to watch the classic clips over again, cherishing how good they were when they were really damned good.

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  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    It’s easier to imagine a future without Top gear if, like me, you haven’t watched it for two or three seasons.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Yeah- the last several seasons seemed forced. Still, it was the better than 99% of the crap on TV.

    2. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      That’s true, especially down here where we have only had re-runs for the last few years. Thanks Rupert! If you would like to watch motorsport, it is even worse, yesterday there was MotoGP, F1 and V8 Supercars, and none were shown on terrestrial TV, and thus denied to ~70% of the Australian population.
      /rant over

  2. Manic_King Avatar

    There’s no good substitute to TG’s epic road trips AFAIK, though. That’s what JC & team should do if they go indy. Just specials. Well, many other parts of now ex- TG are BBC’s intell. property anyways.

    1. Jeep Jeff Avatar
      Jeep Jeff

      Roadkill does some great road trips.

      1. Manic_King Avatar

        Yes, but scale and budget is something different. Those go-big-or-go-home trips TG had e.g. that search of where the Nile starts……

        1. OWD Avatar

          I’d say the low budget makes Roadkill’s trips more fun. Especially since the cars they tend to take are more likely to fall apart on the way.

  3. SoloCup Avatar

    The Clarkson “fracas” forced everyone to look at the fact that the show’s best years were behind it, and the format was getting tired. It happens to ALL shows. TG accomplished a LOT. They brought the car world to the masses, and did things I thought only crazed car freaks like me would do. I thought May was cool owning a Corniche Coupe, because I always wanted one. I thought their tests of clapped out BMW 3s and Porsche 924s were something I would do with a car show but never expect anyone else to be interested in. And they successfully exploited the brand they created worldwide. Road & Track had the best eulogy. TG had to go for the same reason the Beatles did: you put it out there, and when there’s nothing left to say, fold it up.

    1. Manic_King Avatar

      They probably could have done 3 more “seasons” and still would have stopped near the top in majority of viewer’s mind. But yeah, it were a bit tired and forced.

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I think you also need to add Roadkill to your list.

  5. MerhB Avatar

    Agreed. Top Gear’s heart has been missing for some time, replaced with predictable, phoned in contrived bits. The SIARPC interviews had become the most spontaneous bit of the show save for two bits this season. Read on, its not all bad…
    The first segment was Hammond in the Rover winched up the dam. It was a great premise and man, was it genuine. The fear was real. There were no explosions or set fires or rigged gags. And to top it off, they ended the segment while leaving him -and us – hanging …leaving a little on the plate so to speak.
    The second was my last straw. James was sent to do RallyCross and was having a blast. And the surprise kicker was Tanner Foust who was super professional and not in any way ruinous of the experience. Just the opposite, the two seemed to work very well together. As Tanner is explaining this and that to James, an odd look comes over James face and he tells Tanner something along the lines, “Ya know, this is the first time I’ve worked with a ‘Top Gear presenter’ without childish insults, gags and humiliation.” And the look on his face (and recent noticable lack of enthusiasm on his part recently) indicated sincerity.
    I was looking forward to his day of racing the beast-cars so even I was pissed and upset when the two poop-fart-gay-penis-bellend brothers showed up with major, predictable attitudes. James was pretty miffed and disappointed, though I imagine he’d have had the plan all along. They immediately start in on him, screwing with the radio, doing a shit job, cracking tired insults …stuff that was funny 10 years ago. But now, here – it was just tired and desperate. They eventually had some insight on RallyCross, but was overshadowed by the overwhelming immature chaff.
    I realize it isn’t easy to maintain the level of over-the-top excitement and humor we’re accustomed too. If it were easy, we’d all be doing it. But I agree it was time for an end rather than beating it out by rote season after season. And of course I like Jeremy. I’ve never laughed as hard as I’ve laughed “at and with” Jeremy Clarkson. Hearing Jessica begin at the start of the show was like slipping an comfy, old pair of slippers on. I’ve been a huge fan and the show maintained its excellent production and look to the end. A proud legacy. A trio-shootout with the LaFerrari, the 918 and the MacLaren would make a great feature special though!
    An aside, I had trouble digging into the US Top Gear here, but they’ve much improved. I adore Rut and Tanner is a bona fide bad-ass behind the wheel. And that last segment of UK Top Gear, he made me proud too.

  6. Matt Carhart Avatar
    Matt Carhart

    The Southern States episode is the one who made my wife (who appreciates cars but definitely not a gearhead) stop what she was doing and watched the episode. To me, that is the pure beauty of TGUK, to make non car people enjoy a show about cars. I hate to see the show end this way, but I have faith that Clarkson, May, Hammond will pop up somewhere soon. (Hello……Netflix)

  7. nanoop Avatar

    TG always was fringe entertainment to me, but I am watching every single RCR, and listen to several car-centric podcasts (I’m surprised myself that this works so well for me. – probably because I am not very interested in modern cars but like people’s stories.)
    And whoever is worried about the three guys: don’t be, they are overwhelmed the hump, career and finance wise.