The films were pretty good, all told. The Dodge Viper stuff wasn't too great, but probably wasn't any worse than any given gimmicky car test from Clarkson's era, and the Blackpool trip, although the first stuff they filmed, was actually pretty fun- I particularly enjoyed the trip up to Blackpool, and LeBlanc being laconic on the back of his lorry.
LeBlanc's Ariel test was a gem- the host genuinely laid back and having fun, the gimmicky stuff handled with a proper lightness of touch, arresting visuals. It's the sort of film I don't think Clarkson's Top Gear ever did all that well- you can easily imagine Hammond absolutely mangling something like that, for example- and LeBlanc's handling of it was exactly right. If I'm right, and this was filmed later in the schedule than the Blackpool and Dodge films, that speaks good things about future films they're doing.
The studio stuff is very odd. Evans is plainly incredibly nervous throughout, and he's far too shouty, far too often. LeBlanc didn't seem to know what he was doing, Ramsey and Eisenburg seemed all at sea, the opening was stilted, the audience layout needs a top-to-bottom rethink... All a bit of a mess, all told- not unsalvageable (the new guest format could actually be really good, given the right guests and a revised way of handling it), but certainly in need of significant improvement, which, fortunately for them, the schedule allows for at this point.
It's a little bizarre, honestly, that they emphasised the similarity to Old New Top Gear so much- I can understand that they were trying to be accommodating to the people who were hostile to it in the first place, but that was only going to emphasise the deficiencies. Get all six of them out there right from the off, and introduce the wider roster of presenters- apart from Sabine's credit as host at the end of the episode, absolutely nothing about this would have told you that there were any hosts apart from Evans and LeBlanc, and that is a baffling choice.
I can well see this show looking very different indeed by the end of the series, in ways that are only going to benefit it. All the bits that are best are locked in- all else can be altered.
Originally Posted by Rubbish King
This show will be cancelled.
I honestly don't think it will- there's a lot of room between what the old show was getting and cancellation levels for BBC Two, and the brand is still big enough worldwide that I can see the BBC giving them some room to manoeuvre and improve even if the ratings are calamitous- the BBC shouldn't be chasing ratings, after all.