a complete petrol head, or just someone looking for a few laughs and a
smattering of adventure, you’ll
find something to like about Top Gear. The popularity of the show owes a
lot to the big personalities of the three hosts, and the way the show
transcends demographics. It isn’t
just a car show, nor is it just a comedy or a documentary; it takes all
of those things and does them properly.
release contains all seven episodes, plus a handful of special features. The action
starts right from the get-go, as hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond
and James May embark on a mission to find Romania’s
incredible Transfagarasan highway. Along with the reviews themselves,
these road trips are the heart and soul of Top Gear, and this one is a
the boys faces’
as they race along this spectacular stretch of road, accompanied by a
booming instrumental soundtrack, sends chills up your spine. And if you
really want to know what it’s
like to have to sleep in the back seat of a supercar overnight, you’ll
find out here.
2, the boys make a good case for why Lancia (and not Ford or Ferrari) is
the greatest car manufacturer in the world, by taking us through some of
the iconic cars that have come out of that stable. Other
highlights of the season include an attempt to build a
car for a pittance, guest appearances by Eric Bana and Guy Ritchie, and
review of the Renault Twingo, which inevitably ends with that car coming
off worse for wear.
gets a bit ridiculous in episode 4, when the crew are tasked with
creating a car-themed art exhibition that will bring in the masses.
Jeremy occupies himself by firing some paint balls through an F1 car’s
exhaust, and trying to destroy Captain Slow’s
attempts at a sculpture. As a two-part feature, it’s
more of a showcase of loutish behaviour than comedy or information, and
a bit hard to stomach.
biggest highlight of season 14 is the 75-minute Bolivia special. In this
episode, the three hosts are challenged to buy a cheap four-wheel-drive
from the internet- and then drive it through deserts, jungles and rivers
to reach the pacific ocean. The scenery in this special is spectacular;
Transfagarasan highway from the Romanian adventure was the best road the
boys had ever driven on, then the Yungas
to La Paz must surely be the worst. This is one of the most amazing bits
of television I’ve
seen for a while. Watching the cliff edge crumble as Jeremy tries to
sidle past another motorist in his Range Rover is a harrowing
pain and exhaustion as they suffer from altitude sickness crossing the
majestic Andes, just as we share their exhilaration at finally reaching
the coast, and their love of these incredible cars that just kept going
through it all. As we’ve
come to expect from this series, the audio and video quality is
virtually faultless. This was the first time an entire season of Top
Gear was filmed in HD, and it looks crystal clear.
special features consist of some extra footage of all the guest stars as
they go about their laps, and a few behind-the-scenes snippets. These
featurettes are all very brief, and don’t
really offer anything new or interesting. It’s
disappointing that the BBC couldn’t
find some extra footage from the excursions to Bolivia and Romania to
add some value to this release.
all, Top Gear’s
fourteenth season is thoroughly entertaining, and well worth owning on