The final episode of Top Gear Australia Series 1 has just gone to air. Tonight’s episode started with a great concept, ‘The Ultimate Drive’. Pick your ideal car, and add some truly great driving roads. The lads headed to Tasmania, including a closed road run on a Targa Tasmania special stage. Charlie in a Porsche 911 Turbo, Warren behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DB9, and, finally, Steve in a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. The footage was good enough, the cars were fantastic, but… it was an opportunity missed. Maybe it’s too harsh to compare the home grown effort against the British original. I’ve cautioned against it myself. But, eight shows in, it’s probably okay to do so. This, is how it should be done.
Claudia Karvan was the guest, and well, she’s a babe, so of course this segment went well. Mostly. If Charlie is deemed the best host for the job, I hope he brushes up on his technique during the off season.
Charlie took the new Jaguar XF for a fang. Looks like a nice car, and the piece, while not brilliant, was still pretty good.
We were also treated to another Ford v Holden comparo. This time Charlie and Steve pitted the entry level models against each other. Clearly stung by criticism of their first effort, this time they made a clear decision in the eternal Ford v Holden debate. They chose the Falcon. But, undoing all that good work, Charlie went on a poorly hashed rant about what good cars the local products are and that they are endangered species. That may well be true, but I’m not sure he needed to go to such lengths to make his point.
I can’t let the irony of the ‘What were they thinking?’ wall pass. Steve cooly posted a picture of Clarkson, Hammond and May and posed the question, ‘what were they thinking when they let us make their show’. Quite.
In closing, though, I would say the premiere season of Top Gear Australia has been, overall, both enjoyable and worthwhile. Yes, there are some flaws present, but I love the concept of the show, and I’ll continue to watch the show. The major flaws, for me, centre around the delivery of the three hosts. For the most part they’re quite good, and have improved, but their sometimes forced delivery has not really had all of its rough edges ironed out. Oddly enough, I think one of their best efforts was the first clip they filmed together, the Astra Lawn Bowls piece.
Series 2 has been commissioned, and there will no doubt be a thorough debriefing session now that Series 1 is complete. With any luck, they’ll work on the weaker points of the show, and return to our screens in the first half of 2009 with a new and improved Top Gear Australia. I look forward to finding out.