The time with Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear abruptly ended a few years ago, with the host punching one of the producers during a break, audiences around the world were shocked to see their favourite trio getting off the show. Due to the incident, Jeremy Clarkson was fired from BBC, while James May and Richard Hammond left the show soon after, followed by some of the staff (including executive producer Andy Wilman). While I think Jeremy Clarkson should get some sort of punishment following the incident, but the whole situation was poorly handled by the BBC.
Following the fracas, the trio struck a deal to bring their show to Amazon Prime Video, an online streaming platform rivalling Netflix. It has become one of the most anticipated shows in 2016, despite the limited availability of Amazon Prime Video. Amazon was hoping shows like The Grand Tour would bring their brand & services to the limelight. For me, the premiere didn't disappoint, not a bit. It's everything I hope the show would be.
The Grand Tour started off directly off the abrupt ending of Top Gear, with Jeremy Clarkson seemingly left an office building, suggesting the BBC office, then took a flight to California for the new show. Driving to the location with Richard Hammond & James May in modified Ford Mustangs, followed by a horde of modified vehicles driving through the desert, a la Mad Max Fury Road style. That 10 minutes is a showcase of how big the show is going to be and showing that is "Top Gear Unchained". It's really grand.
Episode 1 basically covers what are they going to do in the show, a new track, new car review segment and leaderboard. All of which are pretty much the same from the old Top Gear, just that the format is twisted so they are able to avoid any legal troubles from the BBC. This episode also settled one of their previous argument about which car is better, LaFerrari (Ferrari The Ferrari), McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, "The Holy Trinity". The quality of the cinematography for "The Holy Trinity", BMW M2 review and the intros are all astounding.
However, the key to all of the awesomeness of the show, is all down to the hosts themselves. Did the Top Gear legal issues and past controversies changed them at all. Not at all. What can we learn from all these is that, the hosts make up a lot of the points on whether a show would be good or not. You can put as many expensive cars as possible on the show, but one thing that makes Jeremy, Richard and James good bunch of mates on a TV show is themselves. The show might be scripted, but it's the banters between them that makes the old Top Gear great, and it can't be solved by just putting on several funny and car people on a show.
The Grand Tour premiere is very much a preview of the future of the show, while settling on some of the old gripes. I am pretty sure the show will still undergo some changes throughout the season. However, the first episodes is a very positive start with Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond being themselves again is a joy to watch. The first episodes started off with a big band, with even bigger show still to come. It might be under a different name, but The Grand Tour is basically Top Gear on steroids, and I love it!