Richard [Hammond] has his tongue so far down the back of Jeremy [Clarkson’s] trousers he could forge a career as the back end of a pantomime horse. His attempt to foster some Clarkson-like maverick status with his “edgy” humour is truly tragic. He reminds you of the squirt at school as he hangs round Clarkson the bully, as if to say, “I’m with him”. Meanwhile, James May stands at the back holding their coats as they beat up the boy with the stutter.
Adam Ferrara: A comedian and actor, his biggest credit to date is starring as Chief Nelson on “Rescue Me.”
Tanner Foust: A stunt driver whose credits include two of the The Fast and the Furious movies, he’s also a rally driver and has competed in the X Games.
Rutledge Wood: He’s the dark horse of the trio, having no major mainstream screen credits to his name, other than appearing on SPEED in a show called “NASCAR Smarts.” This show is so off the radar it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page.
Now, I’m not the most car-obsessed person in the world and I love original-flavor “Top Gear.” I also loved “Initial D” when I first saw it. And yet something really bothers me about the approach they’re taking in the trailer.
Lemme backtrack a second: German race car driver Sabine Schmitz has been featured on the original “Top Gear” several times; the most recent appearance was in 2008 when she and her two “D Motor” co-presenters took on the lads in a series of crazy races, one of which involved the removal of a prosthetic arm.
The thing I noticed about the German team was that Schmitz seemed to have the most personality and charisma out of the three (and I am willing to concede that perhaps I like her a lot because she’s a female racer). However, all three were pretty fun to watch during the double-decker race because they were as aggressive and crazy as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
These three guys? I don’t get a sense of that kind of craziness, and that’s what keeps people watching “Top Gear.”
But, [Tanner Foust] rocks because he wears his heart on his sleeve. While riding shotgun in a Lamborghini with him around the Las Vegas Convention Center, I told him that fan-boys of the UK series were rooting for this version of “Top Gear” to fail. His first response was viscerally physical. His jaw set, his eyes narrowed behind his sunglasses and he gripped the steering wheel more tightly. For a split second I had a vision of him letting go of the steering wheel and lunging at my neck. Then he explained just how much the concept of Top Gear meant to him.
It was at that moment that I realized he looked so hurt by the comment because the guy’s just like us — a fan-boy.
Anyway, this is going into my DVR, and if all things go right, you may even be able to either read or hear a commentary of the show between me and our U.K. TV expert Kara Dennison.
“Top Gear USA” premieres on the History Channel on Sunday, November 21 at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central and will likely repeat.