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This US incarnation of the smash British series is seriously enjoyable (and dorky) reality-TV fun....
BBC / 704 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: February 19, 2013
This is definitely a Yankee adaptation of the smash UK series, but even if this American Top Gear lacks the gentlemanly sheen of its British counterpart, if you’re a gearhead, you’re going to fall for this series hook, line, and sinker. The premise of each episode here is reality-TV simple – our three main dudes (Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood) get a challenge in each episode and attempt to make good on it – but these dorks have a blast fiddling around with cars, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
At its best, this incarnation of Top Gear celebrates ingenuity and creativity when it comes to problem solving. After two or three episodes, this guy was pretty much ready to cry “uncle”, but The Complete Season 2 kept me coming back for more simply because it continually manifested a wonderful sense of process. Similar to Mythbusters, the passion with which our leading-man trio goes about their tasks at hand is positively addictive, and even though there’s no question this is bubblegum entertainment at its thinnest, that doesn’t make it any less rewarding.
Again, this USA Top Gear isn’t quite as well-oiled as the UK series that inspired it, but its main characters are a hoot, its mechanic geekdom is stunningly intriguing, and the challenges these car dweebs find themselves in are ridiculously ingenious. It may not be the kind of series even hardcore car dudes and dudettes return to again and again, but there’s more than a little fun under the hood of this DVD set. Now let’s see if some reruns of the original show are on cable somewhere….