• Jul 27, 2008
Filming for the NBC pilot for Top Gear has wrapped. Speculation about the show's format and hosting choices has left Top Gear fans hoping for at least a decent representation of the popular British show. Some of those prayers may be answered , as NBC brought in a number of BBC folks, along with the original Top Gear producer, the assist in the pilot's taping. The show follows the BBC version's format, right down to the set details. Also, as noted earlier, the "star in a reasonably priced car" segment gets carried over. However, the driver might come as a bit of a surprise (a really awesome surprise, at that). The signature top-notch video production viewers expect is there, though it must be said that the geography of the United States offers a richer variety of visual possibilities than you might be accustomed to seeing on Jeremy & Co.'s show.

One key to the BBC Top Gear's is the camraderie between the presenters. As such, it's probably a little unfair to compare the Top Gear of today, 11 seasons in, to a crew just coming together for the first time. Still, Carolla, Foust and Stromer are off to a good start. Their interactions during taped segments were wildly entertaining, enough to distract the show's own crew members from their tasks. Each host fits into his own role, but not the exact molds laid out by Jezza, Hamster and Captain Slow. Carolla's razor-sharp wit is on full display. Causing at least one member of the audience to say, "That is the most funny Adam Carolla has ever been." Foust is also not made out to be anything more than a total car geek -- his true personality. His enthusiasm may be too technical for general consumption on its own, but it's perfectly complimented by Carolla's blunt comedy. Stromer doesn't fare nearly as well. Before the live audience, he comes across as if he were presenting a sales pitch to a room full of prospective timeshare buyers. Hopefully, he'll adapt his field mannerisms, which are far more easygoing, into his studio presence in the future. That is, if the show has a future on American television.


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  • 55 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I too was at the taping. Though a long, long day, it was enjoyable. I have to agree with all the aforementioned assesments. Corolla was surprisingly amusing and really pushed the boundries with some racier materials. Let's see what NBC does on the cutting room floor. The star guest was amusing and played to the crowd. It was interesting to see how many takes they need to get a simple shot. Audience, pretend to laugh again. Anyway, I was amazed at how well they replicated the BBC effort and it was good to see some critical BBC folks there to ensure success. The taped segments were spot on brilliant and amusing. Also agree with all regarding Strommer in person. Dead and boring. However he was great on the taped segments. Time will tell. All in all, looking forward to the series!
      • 6 Years Ago
      i'm not american but i'll certainly give it a watch when its on t'internet, cant be worse than fifth gear or any of the crap on men and motors in the uk
        • 6 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?
        Yes, I agree, the personalities is what 5th gear is lacking compared to top gear, which makes it worst television/entertainment, but as a car show, it's not that bad. Top Gear is a show you can enjoy watching even if you don't know anything about cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I totally agree, i cant wait to see this, hopefully not too much "americanisms" ie whooping and hollaring throughout, high fives etc etc.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Why do you say that Fifth Gear is crap? It has more useful stuff than TG which is more entertainment than information.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fifth Gear is having trouble presenting a personality. But it does a much better job of covering cars than Top Gear, if only because they talk about cars you might actually be able to afford in each and every episode.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fifth Gear is a great alternative to Top Gear. I really do think it has great personality. I love Tiff and crew. I love that there are two great auto shows for us car guys. Well other than motor week and that Pat Goss's garage it really pulls me in every saturday. LOL
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even if this doesn't live up to good ol' original Top Gear, it will still be the best American motoring show. And also on a non-cable only station (although I will probably just be downloading episodes in high def to watch at my convenience rather than watching them when they air).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good writeup, I was there last night and it was fantastic. Identical in every way to the original in format. Carolla was very very funny and may just be able to pull off the lead role. The "chemistry" between the hosts will need time to work but some of the banter between them was actually pretty good, mostly between Tanner and Adam. Adam said "I'm not one of your gay drift buddies" after getting his "cheap car challenge" car bumped by Tanner's. Agreed on the "star" in the Rio, it was awesome and I won't ruin it. I did swing an autographed picture of them though! :D Can't wait to see it all edited together. Andy Wilman from the BBC was on hand and you could tell he wouldn't let them move on until it looked right. The segments were already filmed and edited together and were very good, especially the cheap car challenge. The head-to-head comparison (ala 911 vs R8 with Hammond and Clarkson) was very entertaining as well and it was great seeing the 2 cars they chose in the studio. I was on camera standing beside the "left one" when Adam did the first "some say he...." intro for the Stig.

      All in all, a great pilot and not at all the crap most commenters said it would be. I was skeptical as well but they delivered. I just hope people watch it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Eric Stromer? Didn't he host some home improvement show on a chick channel?

      Why on earth is he hosting a program about cars?

      -ted
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did you happen to look into the background of Richard Hammond or James May?

        Using a generic host worked in the UK, it was worth a shot. From what I hear though, it didn't work in this case. It's only the pilot, there's still time to change him up.

        Get Patrick Dempsey instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope this show is given a chance. Like mentioned in the post, the current Top Gear team is not the one they started with.

      And Adam Corolla is hilarious. Right now I'm listening to him graphically describe the beach scene of Rocky III on the Sports guy podcast. Good times.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll watch the pilot too, but I'm just as skeptical as anyone. I don't know two of the presenters at all and while Adam Carolla can be funny (in very small doses) I just don't see what a stand-up comedian is doing talking about cars and he doesn't seem to have any history around cars or any special experience or knowledge of cars or access to people in the car industry.

      Having seen Carolla's TV show (now axed, I think) I just don't see how anyone could produce a car show relying upon his personality (which in simple terms is focused on a bored, weakly sardonic disregard for anything that's not sex or booze.)

      Hopefully they've got a lot more budget than the "set" (and that's being generous) shown above.

      I guess the saving grace will be a complete lack of competition (there's just never been a decent car show on US TV) and an abundant supply of great content.

      I'll set the TiVo (or should this be strictly downloaded to the iPhone and watched as a last resort when there's time to be killed.)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Adam Carolla actually does have a pretty good background with Automobiles. Google it.
          • 6 Years Ago
          I did Google it (and listened to, and read some of what he's got to say on cars in general) but he doesn't seem to have any connection to motorsport or cars. When he speaks about cars he doesn't speak with knowledge, he speaks like someone who can't draw on examples or knowledge that even a casual interest in cars would normally be accumulated by the time you're in your 40's.

          He's got some money and he's bought some cars -- that doesn't qualify him as anything but a guy with some money. He certainly has some conversational knowledge of mainstream vehicles, but he voices his opinions with no substance and certainly with no more entertainment value than bumping into someone in the paddock and talking cars (certainly not something I'd sit down in front of the TV to watch.)


      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm still trying to get over that two of the most annoying TV personalities are on the same show together. If Gilbert Godfried was the third host it would complete the trifecta.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll watch this and give it a chance, I'm a European viewer of TG and I'm curious to see how this show will translate. Now I hope for you US guys that you're not going to be stuck with a nice show that only has 6 episodes a season ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will give it a try.... But it won't be honest... Any country like ours can't be brutally honest...

      I would rip a hole in Toyota (the Buick of our times)... Laugh at the quality of a Nissan (has bigger gaps in the panels then a 1974 Grand Am).... Scream at BMW for not bringing over a 4 cylinder... Congrats to Ford for waking up (6 Euro-cars slated for our country)...

      Sadly we won't hear it... Ever read Car and Driver, Motor Trend or Road and Track???? They never are honest, there ratings are biased..... A new GT-R is better looking then a Porsche 911??????????????? Come on... Nissan had 3 ads in that month's pages!!!! hummmmmmmm....

      When a car is bad, a car is bad!!!!!!!!! Let the public know...... Good luck getting advertiser though...

      In the end, maybe it should be on HBO with NO advertisement support.... Then it might work....

        • 6 Years Ago
        NBC did make a statement saying it would be totally unbiased and the hosts would be able to say whatever they want
      • 6 Years Ago
      Before anyone judges this show as soon as the pilot airs, i suggest you go back and watch the first 5 seasons of Top Gear to remind yourself just how terrible it initially was. To expect these presenters to have Jeremy, James, and Richard comradery from the get go is probably a little optimistic given the 5+ years it took them to get to that point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How does the 7th age of computing effect this?
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