The Grand Tour opens with a woeful scene as Jeremy Clarkson makes his way to a London Airport. News reports are conveniently edited together with the grey British weather in an attempt to create a sense of misery regarding the BBC’s decision to drop Clarkson and his band of merry men.
As Clarkson finds himself in LA, he switches from the modest black cab to an extravagant Mustang. Much of the episode is spent giving the middle finger to his former employer and this switch from gloom to sunshine, whilst being serenaded by the dulcet tones of Hothouse Flowers, serves as overkill.
This opening sequence alone is said to have cost over three million pounds to produce and while overly lavish, does set a tone for the new series.
A story of three middle class, white, British men freed from the shackles of the BBC and free to be as racist, sexist and politically incoherent as they like. The three men drive off into the sunset and are joined by armies of fans on a variety of vehicles in the open desert.
As they arrive at the stadium-like stage, which will no doubt host a variety of dad jokes, they are cheered by masses of loyal followers.
When looking out into the sea of mostly male, white faces who have come to watch the festivities unfold it is clear who this series is for. A show by middle class white men, for middle class white men.
As they preview the montage of extrusions to come, it’s glaring obvious that Amazon has spared no expense on their brand new stars. With reports estimating a £4.5 million budget, production value has taken an upgrade from it’s modest former self.
The beloved trio arrive in their new travelling set. The Top Gear format is once more restored, with a Loose Women like chat show style in their arsenal the men thrive in front of the hoards of adoring fans.
More time is spent producing actual car journalism; testing the ‘Holy Trinity’ of supercars, the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari, the hosts actually give in-depth analysis of the world’s most expensive cars available.
Segments have more structure with pieces like ‘Conversation Street’ and their piece on their new ‘Ebola shaped’ track, propelling the show into a more journalistic future.
As the boys trot out a bevy of famous faces from Jeremy Renner to Arnie Hammer and a brief cameo from Carol Vorderman, the boys bask in their roles as blithering idiots. Killing off guests as quickly as possible, in order to mask their lack of interview skills.
The trio’s chemistry carries the rest of the show and while there’s no new innovation, the show fulfills every Top Gear fan’s wishes: Clarkson, Hammond and May back in the driver’s seat.
The Grand Tour streams every Friday on Amazon Prime.