American Top Gear is set to debut tonight on History Channel at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time, but TV critics have already viewed the first three episodes of the show that has become a worldwide phenomenon in it original British form.
The British version of the show, which has aired since 2002, is the worldwide phenomenon with hundreds of millions of weekly viewers, and features Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May…who bring reality car TV to a worldwide audience.
According to the New York Times review of the American show:
“the overall feel of the show is the gee-whiz earnestness bordering on sanctimoniousness that is the default position of much of American reality TV. One result is that some of the segments feel more like auto advertisements than they do in the British show.”
The New York Times goes on to say that the American Version of Top Gear sticks very close to the same reality TV formula that made the British Show a huge success, but without the character of the British original but is “reasonably entertaining” by American reality show standards.
“for the person with a casual interest in cars, anyway — is a show that at this point lacks the character of the British original but is, particularly in its second and third episodes, reasonably entertaining by American reality-TV standards.” Mike Hale of the New York Times writes.
“The gap between the shows — which easily could have been much wider — can be attributed to problems in translation, beginning with the hosts: the actor and comedian Mr. Ferrara, the stunt driver Tanner Foust and the racing analyst Rutledge Wood. They’re somewhat younger and significantly more bland and callow than their British counterparts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, who, to be fair, have had more time to develop their on-screen personas,” he ads.