My Thoughts on The Grand Tour’s Season 2 Premiere
I have to admit, I had the bar set pretty low for the first episode of The Grand Tour. The first season of Clarkson, Hammond and May’s post-BBC shenanigans was a bit underwhelming, and even awkward at times (I’m totally not taking a shot at the Celebrity Brain Crash section here…)
However, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to give the three amigos the benefit of the doubt. After all, they did transition from one of the world’s most lavishly-funded television networks to, well, the same people that hired Gary Busey to sell the AMAZON FIRE TV STICK! So a few growing pains were to be expected.
Ironically, one of Amazon’s most useful features is the ability for consumers to leave their feedback. As Clarkson admits freely, this was the reason why the producers of The Grand Tour spayed the “Celebrity Brain Crash” segment and fired “The American”. In fairness to Mike Skinner, I got the impression that he’d really be a great guy to share a Molson Canadian with. I’m sure he hated that American facade as much as we did.
Anyways, back to Season 2. The premiere episode, to nobody’s surprise, involved the much-awaited Mexican standoff between the “past, present and future of the supercar”. With Jezza driving a Lamborghini Aventador SV (the past), Captain Slow in a Honda NSX (the present), and Crash Bandicoot in the Rimac Concept One (the future). The “Conversation Street” segment makes a comeback, and the dreaded “Celebrity Brain Crash” was replaced with something called “Celebrity Face Off”. This involves two celebrities with somewhat similar occupations (in this episode, reality TV talent show judges Ricky Jones and David Hasselhoff) having a lap battle on a sketchy half-gravel, half-tarmac raceway. It’s all very similar to the “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car” segment that we all know and love from Top Gear. The main difference: instead of a two-bit hatchback, the celebs get to whip a Jaguar F-Type around the circuit. Yes, this does make things a little more exciting.
But did those changes actually make the show any better? Absolutely.
Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by how great the first episode of Season 2 was. For all of us who grew up watching Top Gear, it felt refreshingly familiar. The cinematography was on point, the indescribable chemistry between the hosts seemed organic, and it really brought out some emotions at times. I laughed when Jeremy Clarkson got a hose shoved up his ass. I smiled when the ‘Hoff kicked up some dust and grass in the Jag. And I felt the dagger go in when I watched Hammond getting medevaced out of a field after his horrifying Rimac crash.
Overall, I think you could call this a comeback for Clarkson, Hammond and May. Watching Season 2, so far, was like watching Tiger Woods shooting 8 under par at the Hero World Challenge last week. They might have been deep in the rough over the past couple of years, but they’re not about to let you forget why they became living legends.