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Join comedian Adam Ferrera, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust and racing analyst Rutledge Wood as they unleash Top Gear and explore the history of America, one lap at a time! Filled with wit and humor, Top Gear brings even more ambitious stunts, extreme challenges, humor and mischief in a series chock-full of high adrenaline action entertainment, car reviews and eccentric adventures. Top Gear challenges include travelling a moonshine run along a classic Prohibition route in the Deep South, teaching a blind man to drift a Nissan 370Z, racing a HALO jumper in a Ford Velociraptor across the Arizona desert, discovering America’s toughest truck on an epic journey through the Alaskan wilderness, and evading a Cobra helicopter gunship in a Dodge Viper… through the middle of town. The Stig also appears, setting definitive Power Laps for performance cars featured on the show, and there’s a host of celebrities taking the wheel in “Big Star in a Small Car” including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Lost actor Dominic Monahan, Modern Family’s Ty Burrel, musician Kid Rock, Avatar star Michelle Rodriguez and skateboard legend and game designer Tony Hawk.
A very popular, very English auto show crosses the pond with the debut of Top Gear US, featuring 10 first-season episodes plus bonus material on three discs--and while the Brit-ness is definitely gone, in virtually every other respect this feast for car freaks has made the trip intact. Three hosts the new Yanks are Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood road test high-performance, high price tag "supercars" Lamborghini Gallardo, Morgan Aero SuperSports, Aston Martin V12 Vantage and trucks; merrily punish old beaters purchased for $1,000 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, Buick Roadmaster; take part in bizarre challenges, like those matching a Dodge Viper against a helicopter and a Ford VelociRaptor truck against a HALO parachute jumper; host visiting celebs Tony Hawk, Michelle Rodriguez, Kid Rock, astronaut Buzz Aldrin who drive a lap in a cheap Suzuki sedan; and exchange occasionally witty banter in front of a studio audience. The vehicles may differ, but the show's format is identical to its British counterpart's. And why not--it works. That includes the music, too; it's hard not to like a show that features Black Sabbath, the Doors, and Mussorgsky along with the Allman Brothers' "Jessica" as its theme song.
Of course, there are a few differences. Instead of tooling around, say, the Italian Alps, our heroes do their driving in rural North Carolina, coastal Florida, the western desert, and other American locales as always, both the locations and the cars are beautifully photographed. And in the absence of the English hosts, especially the droll Jeremy Clarkson, the tone is markedly American; less Jeremy means more Jackass, you might say, although Ferrara, assuming the Clarkson role, gets off some good one-liners, like comparing driving the Lamborghini to "being aroused at gunpoint." Bonus features include a podcast and a series of "poolside chats" in which the hosts discuss airline travel and other pointless trivia. --Sam Graham