Show kicks off its 24th season here in the U.S. on March 13

There’s no denying that Top Gear and the BBC are under a lot of pressure to make sure that the long-standing motoring show gets back on the right foot after the disastrous and short-lived Chris Evans era. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong with Evans behind the wheel and the man that was tapped to succeed Jeremy Clarkson as the face of the show soon found himself on the outs after just one season.

But now that the show is on the precipice of premiering its latest season, there’s no reason to believe that the ills of last season will rear its ugly head once again. Or will it?

Well, we won’t have to wait too long to find out after the BBC announced the premier of Top Gear’s 24th season on March 5 in the U.K. and March 13 in the U.S.

For the third season in a row, Top Gear is going to have a different starting lineup of hosts with Matt LeBlanc taking the reins from Evans as the show’s main host. LeBlanc will then be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid, both of whom mostly spent the last season on the spin-off show Extra Gear. Harris and Reid have since been promoted to serve as co-hosts next to LeBlanc and altogether, the trio is under the toughest of pressures to jolt some life back into the beleaguered show.

It’s too early to tell if LeBlanc, Harris, and Reid can carve their own identity as a three-man hosting unit, but based on early returns – one of which was the trailer that was released last week – the trio have the potential to make it work. At the very least, they’ve already exhibited more chemistry in that 22-second clip compared to what Evans and LeBlanc had in all of last season.

That’s a promising start for the show and the BBC, although only time will tell if the show can recapture the magic it once had when Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were at the helm.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Top Gear has a lot of making up to do

While Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May reap in the success of the first season of The Grand Tour, I can’t imagine what it must feel like for the BBC to see its hosts enjoying so much success in their new motoring show. At the very least, I think they’re somewhere between frustrated about how the whole Clarkson fiasco went down and hopeful that its new trio of hosts made up of Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, and Chris Harris can carve their own identity as the new hosts of Top Gear.

Personally, I don’t know how these three will be able to capture the chemistry that Clarkson, Hammond, and May continue to have (on a different show now), but I don’t want them to. The last thing LeBlanc, Reid, and Harris need to do is to copy Clarkson, Hammond, and May. That experiment failed miserably when Chris Evans decided to do his Clarkson impersonation, only to end up as a repugnant caricature of the flamboyant and opinionated host that preceded him.

The three new hosts need to carve their identity to make the show work, even if it means veering away from the juvenile humor that became a staple of the Clarkson, Hammond, and May partnership. The teaser that the BBC unveiled of the three participating in a race of sorts was a good indication because it kept Top Gear’s spirit alive while also giving us a peek into the relationship dynamics of the three hosts.

So once again, as the 24th season of Top Gear inches closer to its March 5 premiere in the UK and March 13 premiere in the U.S., I hope that the new hosts can carry the show to a nice rebound year and set up a legitimate rivalry with The Grand Tour. From a competitive standpoint, that scenario would be best for all parties concerned.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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