Ten Ways To Fix Car Reality TV

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Automotive reality television shows have been attempted for decades but have rarely succeeded. These are the ten best ways to make car reality TV shows more watchable.

10.) Stop Making Them

Just stop. You producers are beating a dead horse! When looking at the success rate that these so-called automotive reality TV shows — the classic car restoration flops, the hot rodder garage dramas, the custom car tuning troubles — is it really worth it to keep trying? If you’re going to try and produce another one, maybe send the pilot to your good friends at Jalopnik, and we’ll tell you if it’s really worth putting it all out there.


Suggested By: ejp hates automatic transmissions

9.) Lower The Budget

Let’s see the presenters in cheap cars, attempting low-budget challenges. Not extreme hot-rod building or supercar customization. Reader CobraJoe explains what he wants to see:

What are the consistently best segments in the various Top Gear shows?

The long adventure trips and the crappy car comparos.

So, here’s my pitch: Adventure drives in crappy cars.

Have a group of at least 3 people who really enjoy cars (I think more would be more interesting), Give them a tiny budget, a few days to modify them if they wish, and send them somewhere interesting to drive.

And if that sounds a bit repetitive and/or boring, then lets include a guest that can buy their own car. Doesn’t necessarily need to be someone famous, but it does need to be someone who also loves cars.


Suggested By: CobraJoe

8.) Teach The Audience

The show doesn’t have to be completely educational, but it would be nice if episode plots included some sort of honest and upfront DIY instructions, technical info or something along those lines. It seems like a simple thing but I’m not sure if I’ve watched an automotive reality TV show that didn’t treat me like I’m a toddler.


Suggested By: ZaqAtaq

7.) Find Better Hosts

Find a cast that works together, but sometimes doesn’t. A cast that’s competent, quirky, funny, and most of all, relatable. Oh, and it would probably help if they knew a little something about cars.


Suggested By: burglar can’t heart click anything

6.) Lose The Cast’s Fake Drama

It’s unnecessary. I guess a fair argument to this would be that there’s drama in reality, fair enough, but no need to create fake drama between the “real cast”. Reader Kerberos824 can explain where he’s coming from with this one:

Make it about the cars. Don’t make it about the people, or fake drama, unless that’s an honest byproduct of the cars. While I adored Top Gear, the manufactured aspect of the show did occasionally get in the way. Large parts of the show are saved by the amazing chemistry the three hosts had. One of my absolute favorite episodes of all time, and still gives me chills to think about, was the 24 hour race. It was incredible because it was ALL about the car and the drivers. The drama was real, because there was something at stake. Even if it all started out rather silly, it was an emotional ride watching everyone (drivers, mechanics, etc) going through that.

I can’t stand almost all the reality TV shows about cars. The fake drama about deadlines, and the missing part that they can’t find, but then on the other side of the commercial break they magically find. Cut that shit out. It’s not 2004 anymore, and none of it’s new.

If you can’t make the cars themselves interesting, you are doing it wrong. If you rely on petty infighting and drama to manufacture a reason to watch it, stop. I’d rather watch car auctions at that point.


Suggested By: Kerberos824

5.) The Car Should Be The Stars

Through teaching the audience at home about the cars and actually having cars that real people and enthusiasts alike can relate to, this one shouldn’t be too hard. Let the audience get to know the cars, even if they’re just around for a single episode.


Suggested By: DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane

4.) Lose The Deadlines

Why the extreme deadlines? There has to be some other ways to make the show feel more “authentic” or dramatic. Show how stressful it is when your parts supplier delivers a front-wheel drive Audi A4 transmission instead of a Quattro Audi A4 transmission, maybe when an employee shows up to work extremely late and hungover or how about even when a customer never returns with payment for the work completed on their car. It happens!


Suggested By: AntiLag

3.) Lose The Script

Or at least please don’t make it obvious. It’s hard to watch a “reality” TV show when everything is extremely predictable. Keep the cameras rolling and let them catch some of that real embarrassing and juicy stuff.


Suggested By: cazzyodo

2.) Make It Relatable

Let’s say the show is based around a “real” auto mechanics shop, actually use a real auto mechanics shop. Find the shop real customers with everyday cars looking for everyday services to be done and not some insane custom builds on the regular. Find some 944s. In fact, make sure it’s a German car shop, with tons of 944s. I’ll even volunteer my own!


Suggested By: Nobi

1.) Look For The Untold Stories

This one’s on you, producers! Go where TV hasn’t gone before. Travel, find stories that haven’t been told. I’m not telling you that you’ll have to travel halfway around the world, what you might be looking for could be right around the corner. Here, I’ll even give you some good leads.


Suggested By: cesariojpn

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Top Photo Credit: Top Gear