7 things The Grand Tour team need to fix for Series 2

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I think we can safely say that when The Grand Tour launched on Amazon Prime back in November 2016, we were all brimming with joy at the sight of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May reunited on our screens, driving Ford Mustangs in the Californian Desert.

And while the first 12 episodes have no doubt been entertaining, we couldn’t help but notice a few slightly annoying aspects which we hope will be ironed out for Series 2.

1. Send ‘The American’ home

Before we get in to this, let us just say that we know The Grand Tour needs a test driver – we get that. But Mike Skinner as ‘The American’ is simply not entertaining in any way at all. We’re struggling to find any redeeming features – his complaints whilst behind the wheel aren’t funny, and don’t even mention the communist jokes. They’re shitty.

2. Give ‘Celebrity Braincrash’ a frontal lobotomy

We get it – due to legal reasons The Grand Tour isn’t allowed to conduct guest interviews or hold laps in a reasonably priced car. But it isn’t that entertaining to see the guests pretend-killed en-route to the tent every single week, so why even bother with the segment at all? The gag has been repeated to buggery, along with James’s stupid response.

3. Make it feel more realistic

As the Clarkson-spec Top Gear evolved over the years, it became obvious that the show was at its best whenever the boys went on one of their Cheap Car Challenges and Epic Roadtrips – these episodes were almost always received well, resulting in a reduction of car reviews, and other more run-of-the-mill segments.

Sadly, The Grand Tour has kicked things up several notches in an effort to outdo the old show, and as a result many of the boy’s “adventures” feel unrealistic, as if we’re watching a B-grade action movie which desperately wants you to believe everything is real.

Sure, we’re aware the older Top Gear episodes were scripted too, but the difference here being you noticed it a lot less.

4. Don’t force fake personas on the hosts

The Richard Hammond we’re seeing on The Grand Tour is completely unlike any Richard Hammond we’ve seen before – and that’s even before you consider the homosexual ice cream fiasco. Instead of the kind and funny Hammond we’re used to, he’s angry and always ready for an argument or extended bickering session. It’s as if he’s been asked to play a brand new version of Hammond, and it’s wearing a little thin..

And in the early episodes of The Grand Tour, James May also had a similar problem – except that he was playing a bumbling idiot. For those who have seen James May’s The Reassembler or practically any other show he’s ever done (Top Gear included), you’d know he’s probably the smartest and most articulate host out of the three. We genuinely felt sorry for him.

One of my favourite parts about Top Gear was that it felt like the hosts were all mates having a laugh together, with a bit of light-hearted teasing and pranks thrown into the mix. Now it simply feels like they all dispise each another.

5. Go on more epic roadtrips

In our opinion, the best episode of The Grand Tour so far would have to be the two-part ‘Beach (Buggy) Boys’ episode which they released over the New Year – but even that was a little shaky at times. Whilst they literally drove around in circles for what felt like the entire first episode, overall it was a return to form for the boys and a glimmer of hope to what is possible with a bit of smart planning and and a good itinerary.

6. Reduce the studio segments

While ‘Conversation Street’ is quite an interesting addition to the show (and the sting’s are excellent), it is essentially a supersized version of ‘The News’ from Top Gear – only twice or three times the size. It is not uncommon for the studio segments to feel like they take up half the episode, and quite often the conversations degrade into something which often feels like a stand-up comedy routine. Don’t remove the segment by all means, but we do think it could be reduced a little.

7. Make the Cheap Car Challenges more meaningful

We here at MotoringBox love a good Cheap Car Challenge, but the only one to feature in The Grand Tour, with the three used Maseratis, was a bit of a let down.

I mean what exactly was the point of it? Why Maseratis? Why did they set off without any kind of plan or aim? A pointless drag race, then a lap time challenge without any lap times being revealed? Heading to the south of France, and then deciding to see who could get back to the UK the fasest, which resulted in perhaps one of the least believable sequences we’ve ever seen on a motoring show? Not exactly their finest hour…

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve enjoyed The Grand Tour so far overall, and we’ve certainly enjoyed it more than Top Gear Series 23 – but it is our love for the show which means we’d love nothing more than for it to reach even higher levels of success. And you can only do that by refining the show’s formula – cutting the bits which don’t work outright, and polishing those which need a bit of work.

So that’s why we’re pointing out the bits we didn’t enjoy so much, and hope you’ll all add a few of your own in the comments below.

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  • duke

    agreed on every point

  • SCOOBY252

    If love it if they jokingly said in the next series “welcome to series 24”

    • Isaac

      That would be epic!

  • Andrzej

    I wish these points reach trio.
    Unnatural behaviour was really cringy, felt like bad parody of them.
    Though I don’t mind talking parts being long, like news segments in tg, they are usually pretty funny to listen.

  • Isaac

    Completely Agree

  • Oneniner

    Mike Skinner isn’t a NASCAR favorite. He would be considered an OK driver and he wasn’t brought on to appease Americans. I think, like the others his act is scripted and a contrived persona in order to come across as an ignorant stupid American. Just what Clarkson and the British audience ordered.

  • Doug

    When you watch old Top Gear particularly the news, it felt normal and not staged at all, very entertaining and enjoyable to listen too. But The Grand Tour, it just feels unnatural when they talk now, and is it just me or does it seem as though James hasn’t a lot to say? He just seems to sit there and say nothing almost while Jeremy and Richard talk like they have a different personality. I also think while the road trips are awesome. Their is such a thing as too much in my opinion anyway. The Grand Tour has a lot of potential but it’s not as enjoyable as old Top Gear. I understand it can’t be the same but I think if they don’t fix these issues pointed out then it will fade.

  • Jacqueline Blom

    I really really wanted to love this show. I realise now for me that meant getting old Top Gear back. And that is not going to happen. So I have to judge it by it’s own merits. I agree with the points made. There seems to be hardly any real content. A big part of every show is just filler. Some parts from the tent are very uncomfortable to watch. Just actors playing a role and reading a script. I like Conversation Street, but it is too long. The films are beautifully made, fantastic scenery and beautiful cars, but the banter feels like real animosity sometimes, n with no real laughs. You start to believe they really hate each other. I won’t give up on it yet though!

    • Jacqueline Blom

      That came out a bit too negative I am afraid. It does not mean I don’t like the show. My expectations were not realistic. And I know nothing about making a show and they certainly do. Looking forward to next season.

  • vancouver bill

    I have no serious complaints…the points outlined by sean are valid and will need some attention. however there were lots of less than funny scenes in the originals as well.
    and for me they have always come back with something better.
    I await their new efforts agog with anticipation….
    also I am looking forward to Seinfeld on Netflix which I can actually get in Canada…
    which brings me to MY big problem with the Grand Tour: I cant get it on Amazon here in Canada.
    I am very tired of the woman who says ‘sorry guys…..’ and otherwise forced to view under primitive circumstances.
    tried the ‘different country sever thing’ …too many glitches – damn thing was continually stopping to wait for the stream to catch up or something…

    • Vince

      FYI amazon prime is available in Canada, the content is lighter than the US version but still… Try the one month trial and see if you like it. Just letting you know, I also thought it wasn’t available here.

  • SackMagiclight

    “I agree.”

  • Speed Demon

    WHAT ABOUT THE END OF THE SHOW WHEN JEREMY CLARKSON SAYS: ON THAT TERRIBLE DISAPPOINTMENT IT IS TIME TO END. THAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED THE QUOTE FOR REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Antonio Manoel

      That are the “with that bombshell…” quote in Top Gear, that always went well and always worked, being it about an win or fail moment in the previous segment, what don’t happen with the “on that terrible disappointment…” quote. I think that they can use that in some moments, but not in every epsode…

  • Scooby252

    My main issue is when the tent is in let’s say holland and on the programme they say “tonight we are in morocco!!” No it’s confusing and wrong so look if the tent is in Germany then have the show in and around Germany , or if the tent is in California then go to a nearby race track or whatever just don’t have the two things in different countries . But I get a feeling they won’t change this and carrying on being all muddled up.

  • vancouver bill

    er … apparently as of January…. I can view the grand tour on amazon Canada….
    looks pretty good compared to the you tube stuff quality….

    • Antonio Manoel

      You’re comparing an billionare TV show with a big team of experient camera crew, directors, producers, presenters etc with youtube channels with an only guy with some Gopros filming and talking about cars, what doesn’t make sense, it’s like to compare F1 races with some car meetups in parking lots. There are some great automotive youtubers, like Shmee150, Mr JWW, Car Throttle and other channels…

  • Freedomofspeech

    Disagree on 1 and 2 but otherwise yes. The American is short and I find his comments funny and Celebrity Braincrash is fine as a filler as well.

  • Help Us Help You

    I can agree with the comments in the article, but I would add one other point:

    – Drop the vulgarity.

    I used to be able to watch Top Gear with my kids. The Grand Tour has too much swearing and adult behavior (how many dildos were in this season?). I still watch the show with my mom, because we used to watch Top Gear together too, but there are some points where it is uncomfortable. Top Gear was accessible as a family show with the occasional remark that was sketchy. I’d be hard pressed to find a segment of The Grand Tour that didn’t degrade to a bunch of sophomoric man-children talking dirty.

    I think The Grand Tour has a lot of potential and I REALLY want to see what heights they can take it to.

    PS. The Reassembler is awesome!