The Grand Tour Season 1: Journalists and Bloggers Give Their Final Verdict
The first season of The Grand Tour has already come to an end. Reason enough for some media websites to take a look back and put out a review of those first 13 episodes.
We’re going to sum up the opinions on the show from several different websites and newspapers, so you don’t have to.
First and foremost, since all The Grand Tour’s hosts were born in Britain, the British media is covering their new show quite eleborately. Although the rate of articles regarding the show decreased over the last few weeks, some still did a concluding review of the first season.
The Guardian: “The Grand Tour ends with a splutter having started with a roar”
The Guardian remains skeptical about the success of The Grand Tour. Because Amazon hasn’t released exact figures on how many people have actually watched the show, it was difficult to determine its actual prosperity, they say. They also quote Tom Ross, who was an editor of motoring shows for the BBC. In Ross’ opinion, the show lacked ingenuity and innovation. It also needed more guidance. Overall, The Guardian points out a very real problem of The Grand Tour: its “desperate need to offend“. They come to the conclusion, that the hosts lack spontaneity and confidence.
The Telegraph: “Jeremy Clarkson’s Amazon show needs an MOT”
In comparison to The Guardian, The Telegraph’s opinion on The Grand Tour turns out to be a bit more benevolent. “Fans of the old Top Gear are likely to have judged The Grand Tour a qualified success”, they say. Jeremy, James and Richard suceeded in “replicating the derring-do that was a signature of their years on terrestrial television”. But the show also needed improvement. The Telegraph points out the following things that in their opinion should be changed:
- The length of every episode: It needs to be shorter. That way it could be “assured that only the best ideas make it to the screen”
- The locations: No more exotic locations just for the sake of spectacle
- The scripted parts: Let the guys behave more natural in front of the camera
- The absence of facts: Put in more documentary pieces like the bit about the Ferrari-Ford rivalry at Le Mans in episode six
- The American and Celebrity Brain Crash: Both need to go
- The location of the tent: The guys behaved more natural in front of their home audience in Whitby and near Loch Ness. Let them go home more often
- The cars: The Grand Tour needs more actual pieces about cars, be it reviews or be it something like Hammond’s drifting practice
- Hammond’s beard: Hammond needs to get rid of his silly goatee
Badly missed: The Sun, the Daily Mail, The Times
Some of the big players along british newspapers haven’t put out a review of The Grand Tour’s first season so far. The Sun only did short news articles to inform people about the content of every episode. The Times did a review of the first episode (The Grand Tour “is in danger of looking like a giant ego trip”) and some news on the controversies the show rose. Finally, the Daily Mail, being one of the fiercest critics of Top Gear, did some reports on individual episodes, but thinned out the frequency of their coverage of The Grand Tour. Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail concentrates on articles reporting about the people Jeremy Clarkson and The Grand Tour offended.
There are quite a few websites, mostly specified on cars, which did their own review of The Grand Tour’s first season. These are the most important and interesting opinions:
Jalopnik: “The Grand Tour Season One Wasn’t Perfect But In The End It Delivered”
As a news blog about cars, the automobile industry and technology, Jalopnik covered the The Grand Tour quite frequently. In their final review of the first season, they consider “the first season a success”. But they also warn viewers “to approach the series as if there was no predecessor, or they could be disappointed”. As they state in their review, The Grand Tour has grown over the course of the season and the last third was way better than the first. They point out a few things they liked and disliked about the show. The things they liked were:
- The production quality with excellent music choice and sound design
- The character development: Richard bettering his driving style, Jeremy lecturing the audience and James, the “uncle you want to have a beer with”
- The tent, which is a unique part of the show
- The writing, with Jeremy’s review of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio being one of his best so far
What they didn’t like:
- Lawyers forbidding the guys to do and say certain things on the show
- Bits of the show that take part inside the tent and were a bit boring
- The guys missed the opportunity to reinvent themselves with The Grand Tour
They also pointed out things where The Grand Tour could improve:
- The show needs an enemy (like the Prius or environmentalists on Top Gear)
- A bigger production team
- More bits from behind the scenes (like the failures from episode 13)
Watson: “Why the first season of The Grand Tour was a drama with a happy ending”
Watson.ch, a news website from Switzerland, did a review on the first season, but it’s written in German. That is why we are summing up their review for you. “There is a fine line between genius and insanity” and that was also true with The Grand Tour, they explain. While the first episode started the season with a bang, the second episode marked a really bad fall in ratings. But, as watson.ch also states, the guys got their act together and hit the road again. Watson concludes, quite relieved, that they just need to cut the American to make The Grand Tour the best car show on earth.
Evocars: “The Grand Tour has an expiration date”
The german website evocars-magazin.de remains much more sceptical. In their review, which was published in the middle of January, they say that the show has missed a chance. “We miss a leitmotif”, evocars sighs. “A tent, fated to die stars and a fat american as a replacement for the Stig […] are just an accumulation of aligned damp squibs, that are serving the one purpose to piss off the old employer and its lawyers.” For them, The Grand Tour is just a sad shadow of old Top Gear’s greatness. That is why, in their opinion, the show has an expiration date.
Moviepilot: “The Grand Tour Season 1: What Worked, And What Didn’t”
Reporting about TV-shows and movies, the website Moviepilot did a summary on the good and bad things of The Grand Tour’s first season. Those were the points they thought did work:
- The interaction between Clarkson, Hammond and May: The guys still suceed in explaing the fascination of cars to people, who know nothing about them
- The cars: The first season featured lots of great cars like the Ferrari La Ferrari together with the P1 and the Porsche 918 or the Bugatti Veyron
- The episodes: The season had a lot of really great episodes, like the Namibia-special
Moviepilot also thought of certain things, that in their opinion didn’t work:
- The American: Moviepilot calls the new test driver “annoying as hell”
- The gags: Especially Celebrity Brain Crash gets a beating
- The episodes: While there were many good episodes during the first season, it also had some pretty bad ones, like the second episode
The media’s view on The Grand Tour: Overall positive
Although Evocars presents quite a negative opinion on the first season, the media’s view is overall positive. They mostly agree with The Grand Tour fans, that the show has room for improvement, but also is on a good way so far. Many of them think that the guys should drop the American and Celebrity Brain Crash. Therefore, the media is probably pretty curious about the next season.
What do you think? Do you agree with the media’s reviews of the first season? Let us know in the comments and take a look at our own review. Also, read more of the latest news regarding The Grand Tour on our main page.
Way too scripted and forced. I think nearly every season of old Top Gear was better than this season of GT, but it’s still better than nothing. I hope for season 2 they go back to the old Top Gear way of thinking, with no more scripts, American, or Celebrity Brain Crash. And stop saying things that aren’t funny as jokes, it’s annoying. I hope season 2 is actually good.
I would agree with most of the reviews. I dint mind the American. Knowing that he was a stack cat raver and not a Formula trained driver helped. I liked the Stig’s style better but the American will do. Celebrity Brain Crash needs to go, period! I really enjoyed Conversation Street, with the combination of banter and genuine car information. The biggest change I wish Anson would make is to let the guys have more bobber interactions. They have amazing chemistry. You don’t need to script them to death! Overall, I’m a huge fan and can’t wait to see the continued improvement. It’s nice to have the guys back!
Pretty accurate really. It wasn’t a patch on old top gear but it got better through the series to the point that the final episode was excellent. I have confidence it will improve for series 2.
The first season was a good foundation to test what works, what doesn’t and where to improve. The entire world agrees the 2nd episode sucked. Okay. I understand the whole point of “The American”, but that’s now done and needs to be changed. Give the lawyers the same middle finger that has been given so many others and move forward. Stop being afraid of the BBC as they serve to lose more with removing their products from Amazon, and make them understand it. Let the men have fun, and it will show for all of us.