And They`re Back

Last night saw the premiere of the thirteenth season (or series, to be overly British about it) of Top Gear. Since the death of the new American Gladiators it`s become the only unscripted (well…. not-fully-scripted) show I watch. Serialized drama is kinda my thing, so anything else TV-wise will have to be really amazing to get me to watch.

coal clarksonI said that last bit to make this next bit have more meaning: I`ve been looking forward to the return of Top Gear for months. Quite a bit more than the other two recent returns to my schedule, Raising the Bar and True Blood. I should also add that I am in no way a car guy. Nor is a large percentage of their audience actually, they appeal to an extremely varied demographic.

Because while showing off very expensive cars is a big part of the show, it`s the hosts and the challenges that make Top Gear one of my favourite series. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are hilarious and have amazing chemistry as a team, even when they`re just doing normal things. But when they`re doing crazy races (such as this week`s London-to-Edinburgh race between the world`s fastest car, fastest motorcycle, and most advanced train — circa 1949), building their own limos or space shuttles, or travelling through exotic locales on cheap yet durable transportation (Oliver!) that the show really shines.

stig unmaskingI should also mention the visuals. The directors, or cinematographers, or some combination of them I`m not sure, but they`ve put to film some of the most amazing visuals I`ve seen. Not just on television either, many of their shots rival the most beautiful I`ve seen in movies. There are examples of this in every episode, but I`d suggest checking out the Polar Special and the Vietnam Special in particular.

While this post has been mainly about Top Gear in general, I do feel the need to touch on something from last night`s episode, the revelation of the Stig`s identity. Sure it was cool and that was a good interview, but it just felt weird knowing who he is. Made him human and not some mythical creature. It was always fun to see the Stig standing stoically while the boys were being… well themselves. Knowing who he is…. euuuuugh.

Which is why the show ending with the `maybe he isn`t the Stig` bit was perfect. Can`t have a car show without a mythic man of mystery!



~ by Jerk on June 22, 2009.

2 Responses to “And They`re Back”

  1. The stig is almost certainly not one person. It’s more believable that the car companies send a factory driver with the car when its tested. It makes sense for Schumacher to be the stig in this case due to his involvement with Ferrari. The ‘reveal’ just worked because he happens to be one of the most famous racing drivers and warrants an interview.

  2. Oh there have to be multiple Stigs, not even counting Trucker Stig or African Stig. I mean, the one who jumped a snowmobile off a ski jump was clearly not the normal Stig. But they have to have a ‘House Stig’ in the guy who test drives the lesser cars, as well as participating in their other features (such as Stig May in the Top Gear vs German Car Show episode).

    I mean, that’s why they killed off the old Stig by having him drive off an aircraft carrier, it was because the guy had confirmed he was the Stig in an interview so they replaced him.

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