Top Gear USA: The Complete Season 3 DVD Review

  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2013
  • Run Time: 704 minutes


            Any time you take a beloved product and change or adapt it, there are bound to be fans of the original that have nothing better to do but bitch and moan on internet discussion boards. “Top Gear USA” is a perfect example of this, angering many fans of the original BBC series which is exclusively made for gear heads. This American spin-off (aka: rip-off) is less interested in a passion in the technical aspects of the cars, and far more interested in the spectacle. This is fine until it becomes clear how much of the spectacle is staged, and how poorly it is done.


            The first problem many people have with this show is the hosts, and I think they are about 2/3 correct in this assessment. Actor Adam Ferrara is the least competent of the three, capable of crashing more than actually driving. His personality can also be somewhat grating, insisting on being as arrogant as the others without any of the ability and minimal knowledge. The racer included is Tanner Foust, who has the ability and knowledge paired with the show’s most obnoxiously conceited personality. Only the expert Rutledge Wood amused me, with a sense of humor and less competitive nature to make up for an unwillingness to speed dangerously or crash recklessly like the others.


            There could be an argument that these shows should focus on the ability of the cars more than anything else, but this is hardly the case with TGUSA, for better or worse. It comes off more manipulated and staged, like a majority of American “reality” television seems to be. For example, in one stunt challenge they are given passengers with drinks that aren’t to be spilled. When Adam and Rutledge drive, there is liquid in the drinks, but Tanner brings his own car to the race and apparently didn’t want to get water in the car. So instead of using a different car or addressing his vanity, instead they try and fake it by having cubs without water and the actors put their hands over it for the entire drive. The manipulation of the audience’s intelligence calls into question the validity of everything shown, and nullifies any belief in the stunts as well. American producers need to stop treating audiences like idiots when they make reality television. In that regard, the British version is still lightyears ahead in terms of accurate information and intelligent tests. The US version is poorly staged fake TV, kind of like watching “Jack-ass” with stunts done on a closed track and half faked.


            The complete third season is included in this four-disc set, along with special features. There are extra scenes, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with each of the hosts.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10

    Historical Significance: 3/10

    Disc Features: 5/10



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