Old seasons of Top Gear used to be on Amazon Prime (in the U.S.), with the rights presumably purchased to drum up interest in The Grand Tour. Until they weren’t. But this weekend I noticed that several old seasons are there again, for reasons that I can only guess about.
It’s possible that these seasons came back some time ago and I just noticed; it’s also possible that MotorTrend’s deal to exclusively stream old seasons has lapsed or partially lapsed or changed in some way. What I do know is that shows and movies seem to stream to different streaming services on the internet until they don’t for reasons having to do with streaming rights and contracts.
Which is what appears to have happened to Top Gear and Amazon Prime, as — as of this writing at least — you can stream seasons two through nine, seasons 13 and 14, and seasons 23 through 25, in addition to many of their specials, if you pay for Prime.
Amazon appears to be doing this somewhat in concert with MotorTrend, as you can view the rest if you pony up for MotorTrend on Amazon, which costs $4.99 per month after the free trial ends. You will also get shows with titles like Roadkill and Hot Rod Garage included in that, which might interest me except I already pay for too many streaming services.
I emailed Amazon to see what the deal is, and it has yet to respond, though a part of me hopes they don’t, in case this is some kind of accidental glitch in the system.
I spent a good portion of yesterday, for example, watching James May’s Cars of the People, which I had never seen before, but when I Googled it just now the top result is for a different Amazon link that only lets you watch with a MotorTrend on Amazon subscription, while the show page I used to watch it with Amazon Prime is also live, like a parallel universe.
No, I don’t get it either, but probably best not to ask too many questions; your problematic fave is (partially) back (maybe has been here for a while?), as charming and repulsive as ever.
Oh, and, by the way, seasons 17 through 27 of Top Gear are on HBO Max, though I think that has been the case for a bit. This is all what watching TV and movies are like in 2021: You think of something you want to watch, and hope that one of the 18 million streaming services you subscribe to has it. But they don’t, or they don’t have all of it, and so now, yes, you are subscribing to another goddamn streaming service.
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)