For many years, Top Gear US has been stuck in development limbo. Bouncing from network to network, studio to studio, with a rotating speculative group of hosts, this American adaptation of the hit BBC series seemed like it would never see the light of day – that is until The History Channel stepped in. Now, one of America’s most anticipated British remakes, Top Gear US, will premiere November 21, on The History Channel.
Heading up the iconic trio for Top Gear US will be comedian and car enthusiast Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), stunt driver Tanner Foust (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and The Dukes of Hazard) and car-obsessed NASCAR expert Rutledge Wood. Of course, no cast of Top Gear would be complete without the show’s ominous white-knight, The Stig.
Keeping with the successful format of the original series, Top Gear US will feature super-cars, extreme stunts, challenges, car reviews and celebrity interviews accompanying a timed lap in their version of the “reasonably priced car.” Kicking off the first round of celebrities facing the track are Buzz Aldrin, Tim Allen (Toy Story, Home Improvement), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Tony Hawk, Bret Michaels, Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Kid Rock and Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar).
Unfortunately, even with big names and a familiar adapted format, in my opinion there is no possible way that Top Gear US could compare to the original BBC series, which is watched by an estimated 350 million people worldwide each week and is considered one of the most popular television shows in the world. The original version of Top Gear has one of the largest production budgets on the BBC, which happens to be the largest television network in the UK.
With The History Channel being a moderately successful cable network, there’s just no way could it compete financially with its British counterpart. Indeed, budget constraints might hurt the series when it comes to the higher-budgeted challenges, which fans of the British series have become accustomed to.
Additionally, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are much more than just the show’s labeled hosts for BBC’s television phenomenon – they are one of the core elements that make the series work. It really doesn’t matter how much thought was put into casting the American version, you will never find a trio that works together as flawlessly as Clarkson, Hammon and May. Even though I have yet to see how Ferrara, Foust and Wood work together (although, you can get an idea from the videos below), it doesn’t take much to realize that they’re just not up to par.
While it may appear that I’m unfairly slamming a show I have yet to see, what I’m really trying to convey is that if you’re looking for the original Top Gear in Top Gear US, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead, think of Top Gear US as a somewhat sister show to the popular franchise – something akin the Fifth Gear series in the UK. It’s not attempting to be better than the original, just provide American audiences with similar elements that they’ve grown to love of over the past years with the original series.
Below you can check out series trailers, preview clips, as well as a large collection of photos from the upcoming season. If you’re in the mood to play photo detective, you may even find out where the celebrities finish in the “star in a reasonably priced car” segment.
Top Gear US Trailers
Top Gear US Preview Clips
“Riding with the bulls”
“Riding with the bulls 2”
Top Gear US premieres Sunday, November 21 @10pm, on The History Channel
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