American Pickers on the History Channel is just plain awesome television. I started watching the show a couple of weeks ago and I am hooked. In fact I almost dread knowing that show is coming on late in the evening because the temptation to watch vs. sleep is too powerful.
Verdict: American Pickers is must watch reality TV. I give it two big thumbs up.
P.S. Check out the Antique Archaeology web site while your watching the show. You can by some of the items the show’s stars have picked as well as some cool hats and t-shirt.
The Man in the White Suit Book Cover
I just finished reading Ben Collins‘ book The Man in the White Suite: The Stig, Le Mans, the Fast Lane and Me and wanted to jot down some thoughts. As a huge fan of the BBC’s Top Gear I have been looking forward Ben Collins’ book since his role as The Stig was confirmed last year (due in part to the law suit brought by BBC and the producers of Top Gear to keep Collins and his publisher for selling this book).
Should Collins have written this book? It seems that there is a group of very vocal Top Gear fans out there that are angry at Collins for revealing his role as The Stig and removing the mystery. Personally I don’t find it all upsetting. If I were the producers of Top Gear I would milk this for all it is worth (and they have actually, think The Stig Farm for starters). The book and the incidents around its release make for great publicity for the show.
So what about the book?
First off you should know that Ben Collins, as handy as he might be behind the wheel of a super car, is not not going to be confused for Shakespeare. The Man in the White Suit is not a work of literary art but it is a fairly tight, well paced read. Collins jumps around a fair amount (and some reviewers have complained about the disconnects) however I found the pacing and jumps to be fairly logical and tight.
The book is really aimed at someone who is a fan of Top Gear and high performance automobiles and auto racing. As a fan of all of the above I found Collins’ book to be very interesting. My primary complaint about the book is that I actually want more. I want more stories of his coming up through the auto racing ranks and definitely more behind the scenes stories from the set of Top Gear.
Verdict: If you are a Top Gear fan and don’t hate Collins for revealing that he was The Stig then you should get this book.
I just finished watching the first episode of Ricky Gervais’ An Idiot Abroad and it is absolutely brilliant. I love the way that Ricky Gervais describes the show as ”The most expensive practical joke I’ve ever done.” Of course I am not sure in this episode if the joke is on his friend Karl or the people of China. In the end I think it is a little bit of both.
Verdict: An Idiot Abroad is a must watch for its combination of amazing locations and hilarity.
I received the John from Cincinnati – The Complete First Season for Christmas and I am working my way through re-watching episodes 1 through 10 of this epic TV series. I still can’t believe this show was cancelled after only one season. From the opening credits (featuring the song Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros) right up to the close of each episode I found myself weirdly riveted by this show.
Unfortunately for the show its ratings totally sucked and it didn’t matter that it had an incredible cast (Bruce Greenwood, Rebecca De Mornay, Ed O’Neill, Luke Perry, Luis Guzman, Garret Dillahunt, and more), was brilliantly filmed, had a great sound track, and had a story that was… well, what the hell was the story actually? What did any of it mean?
You could join fans of the show over at The John From Cincinnati Wiki to talk about the meaning of the show or you could just do what I am doing and enjoy watching the series again.
Last week I wrote about how dreadful I thought episode one (Cobra Attack) of the new Top Gear USA was. As of today I have manged to catch up with the show and watch both episode two (Blind Drift) and episode three (Flying Coupe DeVille). The verdict? The show is improving, slowly.
The hosts are still painfully wooden when talking directly to the camera or interviewing guests. These guys need some serious help to learn how to loosen up. When they aren’t talking at the camera things improve dramatically and the show begins to flow more naturally.
When it comes to reviewing a car the only one of the three with decent credentials is Tanner Foust. Rutledge Wood’s review of the Aston Martin Vantage in episode two (Blind Drift) was lame even if it was beautifully shot (almost Top Gear UK quality cinematography). Contrast that with Tanner’s almost exciting race against skiers in the Mitsubishi Evo… yes it was a bit on the lame side but Tanner flogs the Evo down the mountainside and loves every minute of it. Tanner is no Clarkson but he has promise and the driving skills to back up his automotive opinions.
That said I loved Wood’s comment about the V12 Vantage being like, “Angelina Jolie in knee high boots with a riding crop.”
Challenge wise episode two (Blind Drift) and episode three (Flying Coupe DeVille) beat episode one (Cobra Attack) handily with the blind drifting competition currently at the top of my list. Tanner’s expression when the brought out the blind comedian he had to teach to drift was priceless and easily the best single moment of the first three episodes.
And… what is the deal with The Stig? “Our silent race car driver?” Can’t the writers come up with something better than that?
So yes, Top Gear USA is improving, slowly, but it still has a long way to go. Let’s hope they keep getting better.
P.S. The Brett Michaels Hit and Roll song sucks.
I just finished watching the first episode of Top Gear USA on the History channel. As a fan of the original, and very British, Top Gear I was prepared to be disappointed… which as it turns out is a good thing as the show proved to be the opposite of the original in almost every way.
First, while I actually like all three of the hosts (Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood) they were so dreadfully wooden as to be painful to watch. Individually each of the hosts has proven to be at least mildly entertaining on other TV shows in the past so their inability to be funny as a team is strange. It was almost as if they were being forced to perform at gun point. If it wasn’t a show that involved driving cars I would suggest they have a few drinks and loosen up…
Second, the Viper versus Cobra battle should have been cool but wasn’t.
Third, the interview with Buzz Aldrin was sad. Really sad. It had a lot of potential that was totally wasted by Ferrara. I felt sorry for Aldrin although he looked happy.
I could add a few more points but instead I would suggest checking out the show’s trailer embedded below.
And yes, as lame as Top Gear USA is I am going to keep watching it because that is how I roll.