The more things change, the more they stay the same

So remember that show that premiered on Amazon Prime last week? It was called The Grand Tour and apparently, a lot of people watched it. And by a lot, Amazon says that it generated “millions” of subscribers who watched the episode all over the world, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan. The web streaming service didn’t say the exact figures, but a nine-figure viewership in the pilot episode is as good a start as the new motoring show could have. Not that we embrace the practice, but you can bet that more people also tuned in to watch the return of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond in some form or fashion, legally or illegally.

More importantly than the viewership, the episode hummed along smoothly save for a few bumps here and there. The trio proved that they were already in mid-season form with their banter and wise cracks. They also also spent a good time setting the table for future episodes, all while having enough time to highlight today’s holy trinity of hypercars, the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari, and McLaren P1.

All told, it was a good episode in my book. Turns out though, I’m being conservative with praise compared to other media outlets who also tuned in to catch the show. The Guardian, for one, described the show as a “brilliant, beautiful spectacle.” The London Evening Standard didn’t hold back on its praise too, calling the show “stunningly beautiful” and episode one as a “confident opener that leaves the BBC’s attempted Top Gear revival in the dust.” Likewise, online reviews for the The Grand Tour have been effusive with praise, getting a 9.6 rating from over 10,000 votes on IMDb to go with a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even Amazon’s own vote rankings system gave the show a 4.9 out of 5 rating.

To be fair, not everyone was on board the The Grand Tour’s praise train with The Spectator remarking that the three hosts are “a bit on edge and over-eager to impress.” And somewhat predictably, the BBC wasn’t throwing flowers at the show either, even calling the lack of a comedic payoff from the massive opening sequence as “uncomfortably hubristic.”

Then again, this is the BBC we’re talking about so it’s not surprising that it would throw as much shade on The Grand Tour as it possibly can. It still has to protect Top Gear, which, by the way, is now under more pressure to put its lost season behind it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Not surprising, but expectations will continue to grow

The Grand Tour Generates "Millions" Of Subscriber Views, Earns Glowing Reviews
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The reception behind the first episode of The Grand Tour isn’t surprising when you take into account a number of factors. The first and most obvious factor is the return of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. Evidently, the three hosts are still very popular among its existing fans and the hype surrounding the show only added to the excitement of seeing them back in their habitat.

The second factor is the reported budget of the show, which is four times that of what the BBC shelled out during their run at Top Gear. The budget not only allowed The Grand Tour to be ambitious with the setup of the show; it also gave them access to some of the most expensive and high-tech production equipment you can find. I’m not technical enough in that field to understand what they mean, but you only need to see the product itself to realize that no expenses were spared in the creation of the show.

Ironically enough, the last factor was Top Gear, which arguably had the worst season in its otherwise illustrious history. All the controversies surrounding Top Gear also fueled the expectations for The Grand Tour and when the BBC show hit rock bottom with the departure of failed host Chris Evans, all eyes immediately turned to The Grand Tour and the expectation grew from there.

All these factors played into how positive The Grand Tour’s first episode was received. The show still has 11 episodes left in the first season and you can be sure that the best is yet to come.

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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