The 19th season of Top Gear wrapped up last night, which means it's time for speculation from everyone and their uncle on how the show can be improved. The Telegraph says that the show is getting tired and stale, and that Top Gear needs a new presenter, specifically a female. Balderdash and poppycock, I say. Top Gear needs nobody, regardless of gender.
One of the first signs that a show is heading for the end of its run is the addition of a new character. The Brady Bunch is probably the first example of this. The Brady kids started to get old, so they brought in Cousin Oliver to bridge the gap. The show was gone in six episodes. Itchy and Scratchy added Poochie. He only made it one episode before he was sent back to his home planet. Nobody even knew he was an alien! He died along the way to ensure he'd never return.
Yes, Top Gear has lost some luster as opposed to years past, but adding a new presenter to the mix would mean that the show has become self-aware. It realizes what tabloids are saying and is reacting to recommendations and public opinion. That isn't the Top Gear way and it never has been.
Hammond, May, and Clarkson have all become caricatures of themselves. Caricatures with ten years of chemistry.
Throwing someone new in the mix? In all likelihood it won't work out very well, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other factors. It's tough to just jump into a dynamic like those three have and be a voice that is both audible and respected. And if they were to chop one of the other three to add a new host, the chances of good chemistry would be even lower.
On 60 Minutes, Producer Andy Wilman said that Top Gear is a look into the male mind. It's kind of what the show is, at it's root. It's also flourished because Hammond, May, and Clarkson have that rare chemistry that is just so hard to find on TV.
Yes, the show has become more entertainment and less car over the years. Yes, it feels more scripted. Yes, some jokes are becoming tired. No, it isn't as good as it was five years ago.
But it still has its moments, and when they get it right, the show is still brilliant. It's natural that the brilliant moments become fewer and farther between over the years. I think Hammond, May, and Clarkson have the sense to throw in the towel when the show becomes totally stale instead of adding a new presenter.
Or maybe they'll just be blinded by the prospect of money and keep going until they croak.