Top Gear Australia: A First Look
The obvious first thing to say is that the producers were unable to bring themselves to move away from the winning formula: the opening titles, the staging, the set, and the photography are not just reminiscent of the British version, they are exactly the same. Same camera angles, same segments, same jokes. Even the same Stig! The car-porn photography in the review segments owes very much to the original, although it has been suggested that the editing is pacier.
But it is the choice of presenter that is most revealing. It is easy to map the three stars onto Clarkson, Hammond, and May: the lead presenter is older and opinionated; the little guy is excitable; and the boring one has a terrible sense of direction and drives slowly. They even dress the same.
All this leads me to suspect that the producers don’t understand why the original show works. It’s not the cars, or the photography. It’s not even the silly challenges: it’s the interactions between the presenters. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the show gets it wrong, but overall it makes for highly enjoyable television, and I’m not even remotely interested in cars.
In time the three Australians might develop the same sort of presence as their British counterparts, but it’s a tough ask, and the early signs aren’t promising.