ScreenCritics Adam checks out this weeks Grand Tour episode ‘Berks of the Future’.
When Top Gear as we know it got killed off with the announcement that Jeremy Clarkson’s contract was not to be renewed, we all got excited what he would do when he inevitably made a new show, especially when it became apparent that Richard Hammond and James May would be joining him wherever he went. When asking people what they wanted from the trio, they seemed to agree they wanted more of the road trips that made the show a hit in the first place, more Botswana’s, more Vietnam’s, more India’s. Wait, scratch that last one. And with The Grand Tour, we seemed to be getting that. So far, we’ve had road trips through Italy, Morocco and Namibia in a whole range of different cars. But not every show can be massive, not every show can go for six. Some simply have to make sure that ball doesn’t hit the wickets. Keep the momentum up, but not spend too much. Actually scratch that last one. This weeks The Grand Tour: ‘Berks of the Future’ seemed to address this.
So what we get is a number of different but amusing segments where it tends to be one presenter on their own for a lot of the film, before being joined by the other two. To begin with is the only segment with just one presenter, when James May does a fairly standard test of the Honda NSX, which is finally returning. It’s a fairly standard test, nothing spectacular but a pretty decent start.
It is the other three segments which are gems and makes this rather quiet episode of The Grand Tour into one of the better episodes in the series. First up, Clarkson who hates the looks of SUVs, so he decides to make one himself. Like in Environ-mental, they rip apart a Discovery to get to the chassis and to begin with, he put an MG on it. After that goes badly, the MG falls off the chassis, a Mercedes gets plopped onto the chassis before being sold at a luxury car auction. Not only does this segment have some consumer value, SUVs are indeed rubbish to look at and are a bit pathetic, it comes up with a fun way to play around and prove that maybe car makers know better than Clarkson. Maybe. And the addition of Hammond and May at the end to simply take the mick out of Clarkson’s creation means the film keeps on going when otherwise it might run out of steam.
Next up is a segment that follows a similar pattern, but it is everything else that is completely different. With electric cars becoming more popular, a new problem may arise. Mainly, that we may not have enough power to charge the cars as well as the other electricity needs we have. So the trio come up with new ways to get renewable power out of the everyday. May places a dynamo above a rotating door, while Hammond and Clarkson look to use the energy of dogs and children. All get some sort of charge, though Clarkson gets the charge most related with former employees of the BBC when they get close to children. It’s very funny, and ends with James May trying to see how long a G-Wiz will run on power collected from people working out at the gym, an idea we’ve all had in the power. Turns out, it’s not a great idea.
The last segment is also fun, if a bit of a missed opportunity. Hammond decides to investigate the phenomenon of bug out vehicles, which are cars created by preppers which will manage to keep on working during the apocalypse. This could have been a fantastic road trip segment I feel with the trio all making their own bug out vehicle and putting them from various apocalyptic tests, but instead Hammond makes a lot of different ones, which keep getting destroyed because Clarkson and May don’t like bug out vehicles and are being a bit childish. This does play in well to their relationship and the one-upmanship is fun to watch, but it could have been more.
It is a fun episode though. And that’s all this one wanted to do. It was no epic, but we’ve just done the epic tale of them crossing Namibia, we can let them relax and just have a bit of fun with a number of different segments. It’s different and gives us a break from the road trip, which i complained were getting a little stale just a few weeks ago. So that was a nice break Grand Tour, but we want you up and fighting for the next one.
The episode takes place in Stuttgart, Germany. As the home of Mercedes and Porsche it is a natural place for The Grand Tour to go and amazingly, no one made a World War 2 joke.
The American is still unfunny.
Honda NSX went around the track in 1:26:0 but it was wet.
The Conversation Street has a dancing women in it.
Conversation Street sees the trio discuss the non-existent smog in Stuttgart, how Germans will follow rules just because they are rules and Germany’s weird fines for driving on the Autobahn wrong.
The guest of Celebrity Braincrash was Nena, of 99 Red Balloons fame. She died in the most predictable way, floating away on 99 red balloons.