+ Publish Ad FREE !
Ads stats: last 24h - 62, actual - 1102, total - 103788

The Grand Tour's first two-part special is stunning, but too long

3 January 2017 - Autoblog

The Grand Tour's first two-part special is stunning, but too long

I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead, but the first half of season seven has been a tough, occasionally boring slog.

How can a show about flesh-eating zombies and crossbow-wielding hillbillies be boring, you ask? Unnecessary 90-minute episodes. AMC spread three of this season's eight episodes from 9:00 to 10:30 pm, for a total of around 60 minutes, even if there wasn't enough story to go around. The result was plenty of unnecessary TV.

The Grand Tour suffers from a similar problem with its first big road-trip special. Blissfully free of studio jokes, The American, and Celebrity Braincrash, the show spreads the team's Namibian trek in three beach buggies across two installments and 102 minutes of television. An episode that long only works if there's enough content to keep the pace up – see the 116-minute Heart of Africa special from Top Gear's 19th season to see what I mean. But the Namibia special stretches too little across too much, particularly in the 44-minute first installment.

Here's what you need to know about the first half. There's an empty tent – it's the only time the show's iconic, mobile studio appears – before the show cuts to a Namibian beach with a helpful sign denoting a meeting point. The hosts arrive, explain their beach buggies, insult each other and their vehicle choices, and then proceed to wander idiotically around the Namib Desert and along the Atlantic coast.

The best thing I can say about this segment is that it's – unsurprisingly – beautiful to behold. The quality of The Grand Tour's work feels more appropriate for the BBC's phenomenal Planet Earth series, rather than some geeky car show, and that's doubly true of the entire Namibian saga. The show brilliantly displays the vastness and desolation of the Namib Desert, while the later segments are just as stunning – I'd rather not spoil those, because they're truly jawdropping.

But that beauty can't obscure the fact that part one of The Grand Tour's first big adventure feels like a waste of time. In the excellent Bolivian adventure from Top Gear's golden era, the inept hosts end up stuck on an Amazonian beach for 24 hours, before attempting a brutal trek through the jungle. When it takes the team over a day to cover less than a mile, the challenging nature is clear without taking up an undue amount of the episode. It's short, sweet, and easy to digest.

Namibia takes that same lack of progress and spreads it across 44 minutes of television. Want to watch the hosts scream while going down the backside of some very large sand dunes or simply get lost in the darkness of a desert night for three-quarters of an hour? Part one is worth a watch. Waiting for some actual progression towards the goal Executive Producer Andy Wilman assigned? Check out part two.

In the second half of the Namibian special, the team actually progresses across both different terrain and toward its arbitrary finish line. While part two is inarguably more exciting and entertaining than part one, the pacing feels broken as the show charges heedlessly from antic to antic, dismissing previous angles with abandon. For example, early in part two, the team decides to take a stand against rhino poachers. It's a very good, noble cause that ends with Clarkson "shooting" Hammond with a tranquilizer gun. Following a helicopter stunt, there are no mention rhinos for the rest of the episode.

I could have gotten behind this angle, if the producers built the episode around it. Imagine Wilman texting the team some interesting facts about rhino poaching and tasking them with preventing it. Sure, it'd be wildly staged because poachers are legitimately dangerous folks, but that lone angle is better than jumping from antic to antic, and it'd shed some light on a very real issue. Likewise, the final part of the episode seemingly comes out of nowhere, rather than being an organic, necessary thing. For that reason, part two feels like it lasts about 15 to 20 minutes longer than it really needs to be.

Ultimately, the Namibia special works best when the biggest challenge for the hosts isn't poachers, but the terrain. The first part, with its dunes and tides, is fun, just not for 45 minutes. Likewise, part two is at its best when the brutal terrain begins breaking the team's buggies. It feels like Namibia is challenging Clarkson, Hammond, and May with its steep sand dunes, washboard roads, dangerous fesh fesh sand, and boulder-strewn fields. Instead, fishing adventures, rhino protection, and some other nonsense break up the challenges of the terrain.

The overarching point here is that The Grand Tour's first two-parter would have worked far better in a single installment. The producers could have easily slashed the 102-minute runtime down to 70 or 75 minutes by eliminating the poaching element, most of the first episode, and the final challenge – it'd be tighter, more digestible TV. In other words, focus on terrain and distance. Top Gear used that strategy to great effect in other specials, like the Bolivian off-road adventure, the Vietnamese bike challenge, the Botswana trek, and it would have worked in Namibia. Instead, this promising special feels bloated and overlong, which is a shame. As Clarkson says, "Namibia is a beautiful bastard of a country." I just wish The Grand Tour's first special was as deserving of the same praise.

And with that, I'm done. This is my final story as a contributor to Autoblog (I'm sure that will come as a relief to some of my more ardent critics in the Comments). As I prepare to move away from Autoblog after three-and-a-half years, I wanted to take this moment to thank the editorial team for their guidance and help. And for you Commenters, you're some of the toughest and most frustrating people I've ever dealt with – I mean that as the highest compliment. I've tried to read every comment and critique on my stories throughout the years, and I'm certain that your ardent fact checking, criticism (constructive or otherwise), and general banter has made me a better writer. I thank you, and hope you'll continue serving the Autoblog community in the same manner.

 

News By Tags

2011 models2012 models3D printing458 italia6-series coupeA1A2abc motorsabu dhabiaccidentaccidentsaccordACIMacuraadidasADSUadvertisingafricaagalegaAIair pollutionairbagairbagsairbusairportAlan GanooAlbionalcotestalfaalfa romeoalgeriaalibabaAllemangeAllied MotorsAlmaalpineAmauryamazonamendesamphibiousandroidAnil BachooAnse-la-Raieappappleappointmentsappsapriliaarabiaargentinaarielarnold schwarzeneggerarsenalArtashok leylandasiaastonaston martinAston Martin ZagatoauctionaudiAudi E-TronAudi Q3Audi Q8audit reportaustraliaAustralian Grand Prixaustriaautoauto industryauto shanghaiauto showauto-écoleautonomous carautonomus carAutopilotautopont de Decaenautopont Decaenautoroute M1aventadorawardsAxessBABagatellebahrain grand prixBAIBaie-du-TombeaubajabajajBalaclavaBambousBangkok International Motor ShowBangkok Motor ShowBangladeshBarklybatmobilebatterybattlebeachbeachesBeau-BassinBeau-ChampBeau-VallonBeaux SongesBeaux-SongesbeetleBeijing Auto ShowBeijing Motor ShowBel-AirBel-EtangBel-Ombrebelgian grand prixBelgiumBell VillageBell-VillageBelle-MareBenellibentleyBentley BentaygaBentley Continentalbernie ecclestonebetamaxbetamax casebicyclebicyclesbikebikesbiodieselBlackBerryBlue-BaybmwBMW 3 SeriesBMW 4 SeriesBMW 8 seriesBMW i8BMW ix3BMW M2BMW M3BMW M4bmw m5BMW X2bmw x3BMW X5BMW x6BMW x7BMW z4boatboatsboeingBogota Auto ShowBois-MarchandBois-Marchand accidentBois-PignoletBologna Motor ShowBon-Accueilbondboschboston dynamicsBPObrabusbrakesBramsthanbrazilbrexitbribebribesbridgebridgestonebrioBrisée-VerdièreBritish Grand PrixbudgetbugattiBugatti ChironBugatti La Voiture Noirebugatti veyronbuggybuickburnoutbusbusesbuyingbydcadillaccalebassescamaroCamp ChapelonCamp-ChapelonCamp-de-MasqueCamp-DiableCamp-LevieuxCanadacanadian grand prixCandosCanotCap-Malheureuxcaporal Chooluncarcar buying tipscar dealercar dealerscar firecar importcar industrycar loancar marketCar Of The Yearcar rentcar rentalcar salecar salescar servicecar sharingcar showcar theftcar washcarbon fibercarburantsCarlos GhosnCarPlaycarscartingcascavelleCaudanCCIDCCTVCEBcelebretiescelebritiescentre de fitnessCentres De Fitnesscertificat de fitnesscertificats de fitnessCESChamarelChamp de MarsChamp-de-MarsChebelChemin-GrenierChengdu Motor ShowcherychevroletChevrolet CamaroChevrolet CorvetteChicago Auto ShowchinaCHINESE GRAND PRIXChris EvanschryslerCité Vallijeecitroencivicclassicclassic carclassic carsclassicsClémenciacode de la routecollectioncommercialcomparisonconceptconceptsConfinementConstanceconsumer reportsContract buscontraventionsconvertiblecoromandelCoronaviruscorruptioncorvetteCottagecour suprêmeCourtCourtscouvre-feuCOVID-19CPBcr-vcrashcrash testcrash testsCristiano Ronaldocrossovercrowdfundingcruise shipCubaCupraCurepipecurfewcustom bikecustom carcustomsCUVCWACybertruckcyclonedaciadaihatsudaimlerdakardakar rallydartzdash camdashcamdatsunde tomasodealersdéconfinementdecongestion routiereDelhi Auto ExpodeloreandesignDetroitDetroit Auto Showdéviationdéviationsdéviations routièresdieseldiesel scandaldieselgateDIVADIYDLCdodgedodge demonDonald TrumpDPPdragdrag battledrag racedrag racingdriftdriftingdriver licensedriverless cardrivers licensedrivingdriving licensedriving schooldriving schoolsdriving testdriving tipsdronedronesdrug racedrugsdrunk drivingdsDubaiDubai Motor ShowducatiDysonD’EpinayearthquakeEbayebeneEbène Car ParkecoecologyeconomyEducationEICMAelecticelectionselectricelon muskemissionsEmmanuel Macronengen motor showengineenginesEOCescroquerieethanoletios livaEUEuropeeveventsexamens de conduiteexcès de vitesseexpofacebookfailfakefake policeFast And Furiousfaux coupons de parkingfaux permisfaux permis de conduireFCAfeeder busfeeder busesfermetureFernando Alonsoferrariferrari 812ferrari romaferryFIAfiatfiestafilmsfinancesfinefinesfinlandFireFirefightersfishingfiskerfitness centerFlacqFlic-en-FlacfloodFloodsFlorealflying carflying taxiFond-du-SacFootballForbachForbach accidentforce indiafordFord BroncoFord F-150ford fiestaford focusFord mustangFord Mustang Mach-EFord Rangerforest-sideformula Eformula1forza motorsportFrancefrankfurtfrankfurt motor showfraudFSCfuelfuel economy scandalfuel pricefuel stationfuel stationsfunnyfutureGaikindo Indonesia International Auto ShowGaikindo Indonesia International Motor Showgamesgare de Rose-HillGare du Nordgare VictoriageargeelygenesisGeneva Auto Showgeneva motor showgerman grand prixGermanygirlsgmgodzillagolfgolf carGoodlandsgoodwoodGoodwood Festival of Speedgooglegoogle glassgoogle mapsGoProgovernmentgpsgran turismogrand tourgrand-baieGrand-BassinGrand-BoisGrand-GaubeGrande-RivièreGrande-Rivière-Nord-Ouestgreat wallgreecegreengreen energygrnoGros-BoisGros-CaillouxGRSE accidentGTAGymkhanahackershakershamannharley davidsonharley-davidsonHatchbackhealthcarehellcatHennesseyHenriettaHermitageherohertzhighlandshistoryhit and runhitachiholdenHollandHollywoodhondaHonda AccordHonda BrioHonda Cityhonda civicHonda Civic type rhonda cr-vHonda Ehonda fitHonda HR-Vhonda jazzhonda monkeyHonda s2000Honda VezelHong Konghorse racinghorsepower falsifyingHospitalhospitalshot rodhot wheelshotelhotelshoverbikehoverboardhow toHuayrahummerHummer H1Hummer H2humorhungarian grand prixhurricaneHusqvarnahybridhydrogenhypercarhyundaiHyundai CretaHyundai ElantraHyundai i20hyundai ioniqHyundai KonaHyundai Santa Cruzhyundai Santa Fehyundai sonataHyundai TucsonHyundai VelosterHyundai Venuei3i40ICACiframacIIHSillegal racesillegal racingillegal rallyillegal taxiillegal transportIMCimportindiaIndia Auto ExpoIndian Motorcycleindian motorcyclesIndian OilindicaIndonesiaIndonesia International Motor Showindonesia motor showinfinitiInfinityinfotainmentinfrastructureinsuranceintelinteriorinteriorsiPadiphoneiranirelandIRPisraelisuzuIsuzu D-maxIsuzu MU-Xitaliaitalian grand prixItalyjaguarJaguar Land Roverjamesjames bondJames MayJan Palach stationjapanjapaneese carsjapanese carjapanese carsJapanese Grand PrixJawajazzJDMjeepJeep CherokeeJeep GladiatorJeep Grand CherokeeJeep Renegadejeep wranglerJeremy ClarksonjettaJin FeijobjobsJohn DeerekartkawasakiKawasaki Ninjakei carken blockKenyakhankiaKia CeedKia ForteKia NiroKia OptimaKia SorentoKia SportageKia Stingerkia TellurideKoenigseggkoreaKoshik ReesaulKTMKTM DukeLALA Auto ShowLa Brasseriela butteLa ChaumièreLa FloraLa GauletteLa MarieLa PrairieLa Tour KoenigLa VigieladaLallmatielamborghiniLamborghini Aventadorlamborghini diablolamborghini gallardolamborghini huracanLamborghini SiánLamborghini UruslanciaLancia Stratoslandland cruiserland roverLand Rover DefenderLand Rover DiscoveryLarsen & ToubroLaventurelawlawslazarethLe HochetLe MornelealLebanonLeevy Frivetlegolewis hamiltonlexuslicenselicense platelight metrolimousinelincolnlink roadLionel MessiLockdownlondonLos Angeles Auto Showlotuslow cost carLRTluxuryluxury carluxury carsL’AventureL’EscalierM1m2m3macondemad maxMadagascarmaha shivaratreeMahebourgmahindramaintenancemalaysiamanmansorymanual transmissionmanufacturingMapoumapsMare d’AlbertMare-d’Albertmarketmarketingmartinmarutimaruti suzukiMaruti SwiftMaruti Wagon RmaseratiMatt LeBlancMauricioMauritiansmauritiusmaybachmazdamazda 3Mazda 6Mazda MiataMazda Mx-30Mazda Mx-5Mazda RX-7mazda3McLarenMcLaren 720smecedesMELmercedesMercedes AMGMercedes E63Mercedes G-ClassMercedes G63Mercedes GLEMercedes S-ClassMercedes X-classMercedes-MaybachMESmetroMetro Expressmexican grand prixmexicoMGmichael schumachermichelinMicrosoftMidlandsminimini cooperminivanMITDmitsubishiMitsubishi DelicaMitsubishi EclipseMitsubishi L200mitsubishi lancerMitsubishi MirageMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi PajeroMitsubishi TritonMitsubishi XpandermitsubushimitsuokaMMMMokamonacomonaco grand prixMont-ChoisyMont-RochesMontagne-BlancheMontagne-LongueMontagne-OrymontebelloMontebello accidentMontée Smontereymoose testmoparMorcellement St AndrémorganMorneMoroccomotoMoto Guzzimoto-écoleMotoClub Racing TeammotorMotor Racing Clubmotor showMotor Vehicle LicenceMotor vehicle test centremotorcyclemotorcyclesmotorsportmotorsportsmotosportmoviemoviesMPAmpvMRAMRCmugenmuscle carMusicmustangmv agustamv augustaMVDANADA Auto ShowNandanee SoornackNando BodhananonascarNational Coast Guardnavigationnavigation systemnavigation systemsNavin RamgoolamNCGNDUNepalnetherlandsnew carnew york auto shownew zealandnfsNHTSANigerianikolanissanissanNissan 370ZNissan 400Znissan altimaNissan AriyaNissan FrontierNissan GT-RNissan GT-R50Nissan JukeNissan KicksNissan LeafNissan Leaf NismoNissan MicraNissan navaraNissan NoteNissan PatrolNissan RogueNissan SentraNissan SkylineNissan TerraNissan TitanNissan X-trailNissan ZnorwayNouvelle-FranceNTANTCNTLANürburgringoff-roadoffroadOlympic GamesOnline Renewal of Motor Vehicle LicenceopelOpel Corsapaganipagani huayraPagani ZondaPaillesPakistanPalmarPamplemoussespanasonicpapamobileParisparis motor showparkingparliamentPebble Beachpenaltiespenalty pointsPereyberepermis de conduireperoduapetit raffrayPetit-RaffrayPetite-RivièrepetrolPetrol Retailers AssociationpeugeotPeugeot 2008Peugeot 208peugeot 508PhilippinesPhoenixPhœnixpickuppickupspininfarinapirelliPitonPlace de l’ImmigrationPlace D’ArmesPlaine MagnienPlaine-des-PapayesPlaine-des-RochesPlaine-LauzunPlaine-MagnienPlaine-VerteplayboyPNQPointe d’EsnyPointe-aux-PimentsPointe-aux-SablespolandpolarispolestarpolicepoliticspollutionpompiersPomponettepontPont ColvillePont-BlancPont-FerpontiacpopemobilePor Louisporscheporsche 911Porsche BoxsterPorsche CayennePorsche MacanPorsche TaycanporsheportPort LouisPort-LouisPoste-de-FlacqPoste-LafayettePoudre-d’Or-HamletPPCPPPprankPravind JugnauthpricepricespriusproguardprotestsprotonPSApublic transportpublict transportQ3qorosQuartier-MilitaireQuatre Bornesquatre-bornesr8Raceracingrainrallyrallyerallye illégalrallye motoramrangerange roverratingsRDArecallrecallsrecordrecordsred bullred bull car park driftreduitrenaultRenault ClioRenault Kwidrenault meganeRenault TwingorenderingRenewal of Motor Vehicle Licencerent a carrepairreplicaretroReunionRezvaniRHTRiambelRichard DuvalRichard HammondRiche TerreRiche-TerreRichelieurickshawrimacRimac C_TwoRing RoadrioRipaillesRiviere-des-AnguillesRivière-du-PosteRiviere-du-RempartRiviere-Noireroadroad accidentroad accidentsroad closedroad closureroad rules & regualtionsroad rules & regulationsroad safetyRoad TaxRoad Traffic (Amendment) BillRoad Traffic ActRoad Traffic Amendment ActRoad Traffic Amendment BillRoad Traffic Billroadsroads safetyrobberyrobotrobotsroche-boisRoche-TerreRodrigo DuterteRodriguesrolls-roycerolls-royce cullinanromeorond-point de Beau-BassinRose BelleRose Hillrose-belleRose-HillroverRoyal EinfieldRoyal EnfieldRoyal Enfield Continental GTRRSRSURuben RacingRue Jemmapesrue VandermeerschrumoursRussiaRussian Grand PrixrvsaabSafe Citysafetysafety ratingsafety ratingssafety testsafety testsSaint-PierreSainte-Croixsalesamsungsamusao paulo auto showSao Paulo Motor Showsaudisaudi arabiascamscandalscaniaschool busschool vanscooterscootersseatsebastian vettelSebastopolsecond hand carsecond hand carssecond hand cars importsécurité routièreself driving carself-drivingself-driving carself-driving carsSEMASEMA showSeoul Motor Showservice stationservice stationsShanghaishanghai motor showShehzad SooraballyshelbyShellshowsingaporeSingapore Grand PrixskodaSlovakiasmartSMFsnakeSobrinho caseSodnacsoftwareSohail Sesungkursolar energySolitudesonysorezesoreze accidentSouillacsoulsound systemssouthsouth africasouth koreaspaceXspainSpanish Grand Prixspare partsspeed cameraspeed camerasspeed limitspeedboatspeedingsportSportscarspy shotsssang yongSsangYongssuSt-JeanSt-Jean roadSt-JulienSt-LouisSt-Paulst-pierrestar warsstartupstation-servicestations-servicestatisticsSTCste croixSte-Croixstreet racingstrikestudysubaruSubaru BRZSubaru ImprezaSudhir SesungkursudySunshine AutosupecarssupercarssuperyachtsuprcarssurfboardsurveySUVsuzukiSuzuki BurgmanSuzuki ErtigaSuzuki HayabusaSuzuki IgnisSuzuki IntruderSuzuki JimnySuzuki S-CrossSuzuki Swiftsuzuki vitaraSuzuki Wagon RSuzuki XbeeSwedenswiftSwitzerlandTATaiwantakatatamarintankTanzaniaTarisa Resorttatatata motorstaxtax fraudtaxestaxiTBStechnlogytechnolgytechnologytenderTerre-RougeTerre-Rouge–Verdunteslatesla model 3tesla model stest drivetestsThai Motor ExpoThai Motor ShowthailandThailand International Motor ExpoThe Grand TourThe ValetheftThierry Henryticket pricetipstiresTMRSUtokyoTokyo Auto Salontokyo motor showtoptop geartotaltourismtourism authoritytoyotaToyota 86Toyota AlphardToyota AvalonToyota Aygotoyota C-HRtoyota camryToyota CenturyToyota CH-Rtoyota corollaToyota FortunerToyota HiaceToyota HighlanderToyota HiluxToyota Land CruiserToyota PriusToyota RAV4Toyota RushToyota Siennatoyota supraToyota TacomaToyota TJ CruiserToyota TundraToyota Venzatoyota yaristoystoytatractortrafficTraffic BranchtrailerTranquebartransformersTransinvesttransporttransport policeTravaux routierstrendsTrianontricksTriolettriumphTrois-BoutiquesTrou d’Eau DouceTrou-aux-BichesTrou-d'Eau-DouceTrou-d’Eau-DouceTrou-Fanfarontrucktruckstsunamitug of wartuningtuniningTurfTurkeytvsTyacktyresUAEuberUBIWUBSukukraineunionsUnited StatesuomuralUrban TerminalUSUSAused carused car importused carsVacoasVacoas-PhoenixvalettaVallée-des-PrêtresVallee-PitotValtonvanvarma caseVeer Luchoomunvehicle inspectionVehiclesvelostervenezuelaVerdunVictoria Bus StationVictoria stationVictoria Urban TerminalvideoVienna Auto ShowvietnamVintagevintage carvintage carsVipervivo energyvoitures reconditionnéesvolvolkswagenVolkswagen Golfvolvovwvw beetleVW Buggyvw golfVW ID.3VW JettaVW passatvw polovw t-crossWakashiowaymoWeatherwheelsWolmarWootonWork Access PermitWorldyachtyachtsyamahayariszagato
Sell Your Car