In the middle of the mayhem that is season three of History’s Top Gear, BBC Worldwide has released Top Gear: The Complete Season 2 on DVD. This includes the episodes “Texas,” “First Cars,” “America’s Strongest Pickup,” “Death Valley,” “Luxury Car Challenge,” “The $500 Challenge,” “Beating Tanner,” “Hollywood Cars,” “Big Rigs,” “Muscle Cars,” “Dangerous Cars,” “Continental Divide,” “Supercars,” “Limos” and “Rut’s Show.”
These fifteen installments are where the American Top Gear began to come out of the shadow of its UK parent and establish itself. Not long into season two, hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood have found their chemistry, and while they’re still borrowing some challenges from the British edition, they’re also starting to try a few of their own. The icing on the cake is the “Big Star, Small Car” segment, which attracts the likes of The Voice coach Adam Levine and Castle star Jon Huertas.
The quality of the transfer is pretty good; it’s a step above the initial standard-def broadcasts on History, but not quite as sharp as the versions that have aired on History HD. While there’s some grain in certain shots, colors are still decent and the audio captures speech and all those awesome engine noises alike. You won’t be disappointed in your view of all the beautiful cars and head-scratching happenings.
This DVD set has a much better selection of special features than the season one release. On disc four, you’ll find a vast selection of material that didn’t make the cut for broadcast, including deleted scenes, extra challenges, and extended segments. There’s something for pretty much every episode. Some of the bonuses are awkwardly set up (the entirety of the “Season Two Memories” section, for example, comes off as obviously prompted), but the great banter between Adam, Tanner and Rutledge shines through regardless. These are three guys who love to needle each other, and even in small doses, you’ll get more than a few laughs. If season two does anything, it proves that this trio is the right unit to host Top Gear.
There are a few negatives about this set, though. The menus look average at best, with grain throughout; the main menu is particularly bad, appearing like a title screen you might have seen on your Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. The transfer of some of the special features is akin to that of a home movie, given that much of the footage is shot either outside, or during breaks in filming, or both. That doesn’t mean it’s not watchable, but it won’t win any awards. Oh, and considering this is a car show, whoever misspelled “Ferraris” on one of the bonus screens deserves a stern talking-to.
Yet those are mostly cosmetic issues with a set that contains an impressive season. If you are one of the folks who is still skeptical about the idea of an American version of Top Gear, or who was underwhelmed by the first season, give The Complete Season 2 a look. It may just change your mind.
You can order Top Gear: The Complete Season 2 on Amazon or at your local DVD retailer.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.