RogerBW's Blog

Top Gear season 2.25 28 June 2018

2018 motoring show, 6 episodes. The inevitable plunge into comedy starts here.

In terms of format it's more of the same: same hosts, same content in each programme (new sporty car review, guest driving round the track, outside segment), but also same clichés. Now that the team's been stable for a series, they've fallen into simplistic personalities: Rory is the comic relief who gets lost on the track, Chris is the vaguely sensible one and Matt does wild and wacky things.

Most of the excursions into pure silliness from series 2.24 are gone; instead, the comedy is wedged into the supposedly serious segments. There are enjoyable moments, but there doesn't seem to be much vim to the whole business; it all feels tired rather than enthusiastic (except when Sabine Schmitz turns up) – ironically, much as the first season of The Grand Tour felt at times, though that one recovered in season 2. Looking back on the season there's no specific incident that comes to mind as particularly fun.

Ratings were slightly down from the last series (which itself was only on par with 23's collapse after its first episode), and I imagine that if it weren't for all the merchandising opportunities the series would have been quietly cancelled a couple of years ago. (All right, the ratings in earlier years only really took off after the near-death of one of the presenters.) As it is, LeBlanc has said he's only doing one more series, and I'm not convinced the show is salvageable without some much better scriptwriters as well as more interesting hosts.

See also:
Top Gear season 2.24

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:05pm on 28 June 2018

    It needs more Sabine Schmitz, but she's not even been mentioned in the discussions of replacing Matt LeBlanc. And I suspect she wouldn't be enough to save it anyway.

    I'm tempted to suggest that the show is collectively embarrassed that Sabine is the best driver of them all. They claim to want to attract female viewers and have more women on the show, but to me it looks like they just can't stomach a woman being faster than them (faster even that the Stig).

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:32pm on 28 June 2018

    In this series, Sabine is mostly presented as the maniac they parachute in when they want someone (usually Rory) to drive faster.

    I've no idea what she'd be like as a presenter, but she doesn't seem to take herself entirely seriously, which is a good start. And she has an energy in her brief appearances that the guys are mostly lacking.

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