Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Gear

I've mentioned my love of Doctor Who previously, so it seems appropriate to mention my other love on BBC America, Top Gear.

Top Gear is a show about cars.  Beautiful cars.  Super cars.  But also everyday cars and historical cars.  It is where I first heard of and quickly fell for the Bugatti Veyron.  It's where I learned that
the Fiat 500 is a really good car, years before its eventual introduction to American markets.  It’s where I learned the word “petrolhead” and began to question my philosophies – was I a Ferrari person?  A Porsche person?  (Answer – neither, I’m a BMW person.)

There are over-the-top races.  Can a car be faster than a plane for travel?  Which is the fastest method across traffic congested London:  car, bike, mass transit or boat?  Can a car beat the sun across England?

But beyond being about cars, it’s funny.  It’s the most consistently funny show I’ve ever seen.  That is not to say that there aren’t serious moments.  But the three hosts, or presenters, have such disparate personalities that laughter is built in to any interaction the three of them have.  And there is quite a quirkiness factor, which I enjoy.

It’s part travel show.  They have come to America to film episodes.  They have gone all around Europe.  They have filmed in Africa and Asia.  And there are vistas to behold. 

It’s also part Michael Bay film.  There are elements of the ridiculous, with explosions.  Or pianos falling on cars.  Or crazy races with two-story cars (top with steering, bottom with gas & brake pedals). 

Oh and I can’t forget the Stig.  I love his Stigness.  The “tame racing driver” who is basically their expert to help guests with driving and also appear occasionally on the show as a character who doesn’t understand anything about the world beyond driving cars quickly.  How someone can be so funny without saying a word is a testament to the writing on the show.

If I remember correctly, it is the most popular show in the world, based on number of viewers (~350 million according to Wikipedia).  And it deserves it.  I hope it stays around for a long time.


  1. Ooo! I need to check this show out, then.

    As always, Kat, you are full of useful recommendations!

  2. Yes, Top Gear is full of awesome. BBC America, every Monday - and often repeated other days of the week, too.