TOP GEAR USA: The Complete Season 3 (DVD)
BBC / 2012 - 13 / 704 mins / NR
Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood are back for another season of wildly outrageous automobile shenanigans in the American version of the popular British show, TOP GEAR. For this third season of the History Channel incarnation, TOP GEAR has undergone some major changes that may or may not be good news for fans of the show. For the third season, the show has done away with several of the segments that have long been (and still remain) a staple of the UK series. Gone are the Power Laps (which also effectively dismisses the iconic Stig from the show), Car Reviews, a studio audience, celebrity guests and their "Big Star, Small Car" laps. So what is left? Challenges!
Basically, TOP GEAR USA has turned into MTV's JACKASS for the customized car enthusiast. This is not a bad thing. The producers of the series recognized that American audiences are more interested in entertainment than information and that the camaraderie and joking between Ferrara, Foust and Wood were what was making this show a success. So why not cut what isn't doing well and spend that additional money and time boosting what American audiences want to see in the first place?
So for Season 3 we get 16 wild challenges that not only span these United States of America, but also send our trio to some pretty far out destinations. Some of the highlights from this season include the search for the ultimate taxi in Las Vegas, reliving the Spring Break trip to Mexico they never had, designing their own RVs and going to Iceland to prove that American trucks are the best in the world.
TOP GEAR USA seems to have found its groove and has put the pedal to the metal in diving in. Ferrara, Foust and Wood make time fly as fast as the cars they are driving with their pitch perfect chemistry. When all is said and done, I still prefer the politically incorrect antics of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May but for an American remake, this TOP GEAR is highly addictive and one wildly enjoyable ride.
The show is presented in a solid anamorphic 1.78. The stylized color timing comes through nicely giving this a very polished final look.
The sound is a simple Dolby 2.0 which delivers better than one would think. Dialogue is clear, engines roar with a vengeance and the background music makes it all drive smoothly.
Unlike the recent DVD releases of the UK version, TOP GEAR USA is packed with supplements.
Disc One holds six "Extra Scenes."
Disc Two houses commentary with the guys for episodes 6 ("Monument To Moab") and 7 ("College Cars").
Disc Three has 14 "Host Interviews" where our trio reminisces about their favorite cars, locations, challenges, etc. not only from this season but their entire run up to date.
Finally, Disc Four contains 22 "Behind the Scenes" featurettes, mostly short bits and pieces but funny nonetheless and worth checking out.
With Season Three, TOP GEAR USA comes into its own and finds its voice. While it is now unfair to compare it to the UK version that spawned it, Ferrara, Foust and Wood can now sit alongside Clarkson, Hammond and May as equals. Hopefully it will not take too long for the producers of the show to pit the American hosts against their UK counterparts in a Super Challenge! Recommended!