Has The Grand Tour Learnt Its Lessons From The First Season?

Article By 
Tom Matthews
January 5, 2018

Has The Grand Tour Learnt Its Lessons From The First Season?

Article By 
Tom Matthews
January 5, 2018

The second season of The Grand Tour debuted on Amazon Prime last December, and at the time of writing this article, five episodes of the new season have been aired. It seemed from the debut trailer for the second season alone, that things were going to be quite different from how the first season of The Grand Tour was. Now, despite the first season of the show being a global success, with The Grand Tours production company, W. Chump & Sons profiting an estimated £4 million, and with the first episode of season one being one of the most pirated shows of 2016, there were a few issues that the show had. So, since we’re now nearly halfway through the second season, has the show learnt from its errors, listened to feedback and improved from season one? The answer? Yes. One hundred percent yes.

Immediately when watching the second seasons first episode, Past, Present and Future, it feels so much more fine-tuned and trimmed. You can see this straight away with the shows all new introduction sequence, accompanied by a slightly rearranged theme tune with a more guitar heavy frontline. As well as this, the studio tent no longer moves around the world, instead they are now based at the bottom of Jeremy Clarkson’s garden. But just because the show’s tent no longer moves around the world, does not mean that the show is no longer a Grand Tour. This is hugely evident within the second seasons montage, featuring the usual stunning cinematography, drop-dead gorgeous locations from all corners of the globe, as well as some ridiculously expensive cars.

The Grand Tour trio bickering about 3 stunning cars, with a stunning backdrop of Switzerland.

But by a country mile, my biggest compliment I can possibly give this show is how much it’s listened to the fans feedback. The main two issues people had with the show are now gone; those of course being the American test driver, and the celebrity segment titled “Celebrity Brain Crash”. Thankfully, both of these issues for the second season have now been fixed by A) having a new female racing driver, who doesn’t cough up unfunny anecdotes about being American or hating communism, and as well as that, she is bloody quick! And B) they’ve completely revamped the whole celebrity segment, now titled “Celebrity Face Off” which involves bringing in two celebrity guests each week to challenge each other around a race track in a Jaguar F Type to see who can get the fastest time. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it… Well either way, it seems that both of these fixes have been much more accepted than what we were given in season one.

Furthermore, the second series seems to have brought back some of the fan favourite tests and challenges that we were used to seeing trio attempt back in the days when they worked for the BBC; such as car versus public transport, or James May versus some youths on some skateboards, its all of these little things that just feel so much more natural and fun! Plus thanks to The Grand Tours stunning 4K cameras, these challenges now look so much more sharp, crisp and prettier, which only adds to the pleasure of the viewing experience of the show.

James May showcasing the, rather pretty, Kia Stinger in Majorca.

However, despite fixing a lot of the mistakes the first season made, people still love to complain, because. let’s face it, it’s the internet. And by far one of the biggest complaints that The Grand Tour gets is how it’s “way too scripted”. Now, to me this is a complaint that makes absolutely no sense, and I’m sure it’ll also make no sense to anyone who works in television production, or has any basic understanding of how television actually works, because everything ever made for a television series requires a script. This is so that the camera operators, sound operators, Directors, and presenters all know where they need to be and what to say. A lot of the time the way a show can feel is due to how it’s paced in the editing of the episodes, or maybe it’s how the dialogue is delivered, the list does go on. Anyway, despite this The Grand Tours script writers recently decided they would have a bit of fun by creating an entire film for an episode without a script. As you can imagine chaos naturally ensues, and people are still complaining about it, but secretly I think that’s what the writing team where hoping for.

Overall the second season has been an absolute blast to watch so far, we’ve seen Hammond crash off a hill climb in Switzerland, we’ve seen Clarkson challenge May and Hammond in a public transport race to Niagara Falls, as well as a stunning homage to the short film Rendevous, with a Bugatti Chiron ploughing through the streets of Italy. And with all that, plus a finale that see’s the trio attempt to end world hunger in Africa, it seems that the second season has still got a lot to offer over the remaining few episodes. It's safe to say that the team who produce this show really do listen to fan feedback because by god have they improved this show. Trust me if you didn’t like season one, this season definitely gives what they used to do back at the BBC a good run for its money, and I don’t think this show can get any higher praise than that.

Tom Matthews

Tom is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. He's the face behind the iconic Gear Knobs series, which is recorded and edited in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. When it comes to Tom Matthews, two things come to mind – cars and Jeremy Clarkson, and you can expect to hear a lot of that amongst his various ramblings and rants in his weekly Sunday column.