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Top Gear: The Complete Season 10 (DVD Review)

13 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 4/21/09
BBC Video
$39.98 three-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, Helen Mirren, Ron Wood, Simon Cowell, David Tennant, James Blunt.

Typically, a DVD regarding high-performance automobiles would interest me about as much as a disc highlighting yoga. Then again, BBC America’s TV series “Top Gear” is hardly stuck on the subject of racecars.

With an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million (largely outside the United States), “Top Gear” remains a cultural phenomenon since bowing originally in 1977 and re-launching in 2002.

The hosts — politically-incorrect Jeremy Clarkson (who co-founded the program), Richard Hammond and James May — hardly disappoint in Top Gear 10 (2007), taking part in ubiquitous car comparisons and amusing races in picturesque locales (including clunker jalopies across the African bush country) all the while enduring zany pranks played on each other.

One episode seeks the best driving road in the world, which turns out to be the San Bernardino Pass in the Swiss Alps around Monte Carlo in the south of France.

To get there, however, Clarkson points to a map of the world and dismisses the United States (“they go 55 mph there”); and South America (“they are all on drugs”); continental Africa is “full of oxen”; Australia has too many spiders; and Eastern Europe has communists. And the Middle East is out because you “can’t go there, the Americans will shoot you,” he says.

Another episode features a wild concept car so impossible to handle it requires the driving skills of The Stig, an actual performance driver whose identity is never revealed. His job is to post lap times for cars on the “Top Gear” test track, train celebrities to race in the popular segment “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car,” and perform related crazy tasks asked of him.

FYI, the fastest celebrity driver in Top Gear 10: “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell.

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