Top Gear Season 16 reignites the fast-paced reality car comedy of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. One part car show, one part competition show, and a lot of laughs continued to make Top Gear a success in its sixteenth season. The old Stig (the Top Gear Racer X style mascot) is gone, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten. The Blu-ray release collects all the great moments of Top Gear as well as a few behind-the-scenes moments with celebrities from Top Gear’s “Celebs in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment. It’s also just a great series to watch over and over again as you dream about all the cars you would love to ride in if only you had a fairy godmother/executive producer to give you the funds to do it.
The Complete Season 16 takes Clarkson, Hammond and May off to the Middle East and America for more car competitions. There’s a lot of insane fun to be had, but not without first diving into the harsh reality of life and poking fun at it. The season starts off with the hosts mocking the financial crisis with smart humor. While it’s always great to see them mock the world about them, it is even better to see the three hosts talk trash about each other’s car. The car competitions kick off in America this time around. Needless to say Clarkson, Hammond and May all think they have chosen the best car to race through the Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia to North Caroline. Unfortunately, they find out fairly quickly that America’s roads are slaves to the speed limit. So despite selecting some of the fastest cars on the market, the 35 mph limit keeps them in low gear (pun not intended).
Eventually, the group gets decides to make fun of the limit performing quick five-second races to New York. When the speed limit jumps from 35 to 40 mph, they race to see who can hit the speed the fastest. It’s these kinds of childish antics that keep the entertainment value high. In another challenge, they head to New York City and have to deal with traffic in order to win a chance to be on American TV. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the result is hysterical.
Although the antics are always present, the hosts do perform a few very serious challenges. In one instance they have to execute a drive by shooting. Don’t worry; the targets were all cardboard cutouts.
One of my favorite episodes features Clarkson showing off his love of the Skoda Yeti. As part of his tests, he has a tattoo artist give someone a tattoo in the backseat while driving across bumpy terrain. He then repeats the same test with another SUV. It’s a little strange that the individual signed up for such a dangerous experience or at least an experience that could leave him with a terrible deformed tattoo, but one has to think there was some magic “fixer” clause in the contract. Clarkson also drives through a burning building with the Yeti, while holding an ice cream cone to test the Air conditioner. He then has a helicopter land on top of the vehicle, while the car moves. It’s like a reality action show about cars and it’s always fun.
Season 16 features celebrities like Jonathan Ross, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and Amber Heard as part of the “Celebrities in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment. This is another great Top Gear set that, unlike most reality shows, can be watched more than once and still be entertaining (that is if you find general reality TV entertaining at all). By the way, a new Stig will be born!