The third season of Amazon Prime’s “hit car show,” The Grand Tour, debuted Jan. 18, and this season marks the end of their “Big Tent” era.
Judging from the first episode, which took the gang back to the United States, here are 10 things we know about — or can expect from — Season 3:
The Main Players are Still Intact.
I mean this in a couple of ways. Yes hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are still all together, but from there have been no announcements of major accidents involving the hosts this year. Don’t expect to see Hammond get shipped off to an emergency room yet again.
“Abbie” is back, too.
Last season, The Grand Tour answered the unfavorable response to the first season’s driver, Mike Skinner, by replacing him with British racing driver, Abbie Eaton. Her part in the series was happily accepted by fans, and she is back as driver for this newest season.
The Big Tent is still stationery.
While the big draw of the first season was seeing where the humongous tent caravan was landing each week. Season 2, gave it semi-permanent in the British town of Chipping Norton. It’s up in the same location this year, and once more, it won’t be moving.
Of course, they have filmed segments all over the world including in China, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Georgia (the country), and at least two episodes in the United States.
Episode 1 is in Motor City.
The first episode, “Motown Funk,” sent Clarkson, Hammond, and May to Detroit with three American muscle cars: a Ford Mustang RTR, Hennessey Exorcist, and a Dodge Challenger SRT “Demon.” There was the usual trash talk (about each other, as well as the “hipster” takeover and poverty in Detroit). However, the show also reminded people how important this city’s history is to the automobile industry. One of the most impressive and sad reminders of some of Detroit’s past was a “noise” test they did in the now deserted Michigan Theatre, which was built in 1926 on the site of the garage where Henry Ford built his first car. They further paid homage to Motown’s music ties by using images of Detroit-born music stars as markers for a race around “Cadillac’s Old Factory.”
This season comes with its own game.
In anticipation of Series 3, Amazon Game Studios has released its official The Grand Tour Game for Xbox and PS4. Amazon describes the game as “an episodic racing game” allowing players to drive the cars used in Series 3. It has four-screen, multiplayer ability, cut scenes from the show, and voice acting from all three presenters. The digital format of the Teen-rated game is currently listed as a “Bestseller” on Amazon.
The comic book graphics are long overdue
This year, the graphics during the Season 3 have been given a “comic book” look, which is very effective. It not only fits with the high-energy spirit of the show. Other than that, the look of the tent is the same, as well a the silhouetted intro graphics to their “news” section, “Conversation Street.” I’m hoping to see this style continue through the season.
The rating is still TV-14
Due to the continued salty language and humor of the presenters, the show’s rating is still listed as the television equivalent of the PG-13 movies. This first show wasn’t too bad, with one dropping of the S-bomb and couple of incidents of mild cursing, mostly while reacting to the cars’ performance. The new season’s trailer, not to mention the promotional trailer for “Amazon’s Hit Car Show” presented as #amazonshitcarshow, reminds us there will be more juvenile humor, including one at least phallic joke. Parents should proceed with caution, once again.
The next two episodes will air back-to-back.
This Season gives viewers their first “special” two-parter in which they devote an entire episode, or two, to a driving adventure. Episodes 2 and 3 will be a Columbia special with Part One on Friday, Jan. 25, and Part Two soon after on Saturday, Jan. 26. The remainder of the season’s 14 episodes will air on a weekly basis.
No more celebrity guests, at least for now.
Episode 1 made gave the “audience a choice” of seeing their celebrity segment, or more of the presenters racing antics at the end of the show, but it was obvious no celebrity guests were planned. The next two series will be “tentless,” so there should also be no guests. From the looks of it, they’ve dropped the celebrity guest segment entirely. That’s not a bad thing, as it slowed down the show.
This is the last season to enjoy The Big Tent.
Clarkson, Hammond and May have announced there will be a Season 4 of The Grand Tour, but in a new format. Although details and locations haven’t been announced, the show will no longer feature it’s “Big Tent,” but instead focus on their “big adventure road trips” that have been audience favorites since their Top Gear days.