TV show review : The Grand Tour

I remember distinctly when Top Gear had suddenly stopped airing and i wondered what had happened. I waited a week and then again there was no sign of a new episode. Concerned, i went onle looking for news about Top Gear and my fears had come true. The lead presenter Jeremy Clarkson had apparently punched the producer after being served a cold meal at the end of a long hard day. Richard Hammond and James May were asked to continue with the BBC’s most watched show but they too resigned and walked away.

Those were nervous times really as no one knew what would happen to their favourite car show. Top Gear announced a new set of presenters which included none other than Matt LeBlanc himself along with a few others. It was all any one could talk about in those months. Speculations and more speculations about the new format of the show. Rumours surfaced and then died but all waited in anticipation with fingers crossed. Meanwhile, another rumour surfaced from an unlikely destination that the trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May had partnered with Amazon Prime to launch their own car show. This set fire to an already raging volcano. Suddenly Top Gear had competition and they knew they couldn’t be taken lightly. Top Gear had the advantage of already being a brand and airing several weeks before while these three hadn’t even come up with the name for the new show.

Finally the day arrived and i remember watching the first episode of the new season of Top Gear. I sat there in nervous excitement. But the episode was crap. Subsequent episodes showed a hint of promise but failed to deliver to an audience begging for a strong return. It was all over for Top Gear. People were visibly pissed and took to social media and rampaged hate comments all over the place. The show that had a waiting period of almost 20 years to be a part of the studio audience was now struggling to keep up ratings. The season ended in a “terrible disappointment”.

Anyway, the stage was set and the audience was primed and ready for The Grand Tour. And it was a smash. The pretty much nailed it and then some. It was exactly what the people wanted and that was exactly what was delivered. The same quip and snark that made the show so loved and admired was there again. Only now, they were on a much bigger budget. Which meant these three could let their imagination wild and set fire to whatever they liked. And that’s exactly what they did. In the run up to the show, BBC had laid out strict laws and regulations that The Grand Tour were not allowed to steal ideas from Top Gear. But they didn’t need to. They came up with something entirely new and original yet somehow keeping elements of the old show still intact. Their on-screen chemistry for instance is unparallelled. Now having aired its 12th episode of the first season, things keep looking up and up for the new show. Top Gear was defeated in its own game by the very people who made it famous worldwide in the first place.

While i do feel bad for Top Gear, but justice was done here. I mean Clarkson was punished rather harshly in my opinion and it was a bad move to let them go. Now after a season full of criticism, new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has already called it quits after just one season with the show. Matt LeBlanc has agreed to stay on but the show seems to be grasping at straws and a comeback seems unlikely.

For now though, The Grand Tour is the show to watch even if you aren’t a petrol head. This show is for everyone. There’s laughter, there are explosions, there are serious bits as well, there’s drama all rolled into one. I honestly cannot think of another show quite like it. And i am sure as hell these guys brought their magic back.

Match review : EFL cup semi final second leg Hull city vs Manchester United

United would consider themselves lucky to have escaped a disaster and came dangerously close to one. Visiting with a 2-0 lead from the first leg, the task seemed an easy one for United. Maintain the lead, defend well, don’t lose the ball, no silly fouls in dangerous areas and that’s it. Job done, happy days. 
However United decided to make life difficult for themselves with some questionable defending from the centre back paring of Smalling and Jones. Taking the lead with a rather soft penalty decision, Hull city looked like they were in the mood to make life difficult for United and they did. However, after some neat skill by Rashford on the left flank and a cool finish by Pogba, United reinstated their two goal lead. Post that he match was pretty much dominated by United who held the ball for the majority of the time. 
Hull however weren’t done yet and after some sublime passing, scored again to regain the lead on the night. After the last few minutes of “squeaky bum time” United managed to hold on to the slender aggregate of 3-2 and emerged victorious in the semi final clash which will be played at the Wembley on 26th February. With this, United’s 17 game unbeaten run comes to an end. The manager and players looked visibly upset with the performance and showed no joy in reaching the final of the EFL cup and setting up a chance to be one step closer to winning some silverware. 
I won’t have any problems but we were severely lacking in quality today. Again De Gea kept us in the game and the back four looked uncomfortable on the ball. The midfield too was lacking confidence with Herrera being ineffective and Pogba being uncharacteristically invisible for large parts of the game. Rashford was probably our best player for the night and linked up well with Zlatan up top. 
United need to step up their game a bit and need to attack with purpose. This lacklustre performance will not do us any good at all. Although there are various signs of improvement under manager Jose Mourinho, we still have a lot of work that needs doing. However, I have no doubt that we will get there soon enough. We will once again become the team to beat.