Duke to Screen Top Gear America 2021

TVNZ has confirmed the Top Gear America series that will air 9.30 Sundays on Duke from July 10 will be the 2021 season.

The first season, in 2017, was commissioned for BBC America but the series was rebooted for its second, complete with new hosts Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry and Jethro Bovingdon and a new platform: Discovery’s MotorTrend app.

It was shot during COVID in 2020 and ran for 11 episodes; a second season will debut this weekend in the US.

Top Gear America follows the UK format and should not be confused with History’s Top Gear USA.

Said one review: “The inevitable comparisons to the original Top Gear aren’t really fair, nor are they very elucidating. Because while the new Top Gear America shares the bones of the old British one — there are car reviews, challenges, stunts, The Stig, etc. — it also leaves behind a lot of the bad, like the casual racism.

“There are no studio audiences or celebrities either, but the car reviews are solid; if the challenges might need a little work that can be explained in part by limitations imposed by the pandemic …

“It was supposed to film across the country. Instead, because of the pandemic, they were confined to California for the most part, filming episodes this past summer in a heatwave. The three have a puppy-dog sort of chemistry that had to be developed on the fly.”

As for the UK original, which returned this month on the BBC, TVNZ still doesn’t have a transmission date.

It used to air on Prime, before switching to Duke ahead of a brief run on TVNZ 1, where sub-par ratings saw it resume on Duke.

Critics still think it’s running on empty. “Its focus on car culture makes it better than Clarkson et al’s last series,” The Guardian said. “But the driving show needs to address its Paddy McGuinness problem before it can become genuinely great TV.”

Quipped The Telegraph: “The BBC celebrates its hundredth year in 2022, and it feels as if Top Gear (BBC One) has been around for at least 250 of them … This format now feels as old-fashioned as a Model-T Ford.”

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