I’ve been a fan of Top Gear for a couple of years, and I was cautiously excited for the US version. For what it’s worth, it’s not bad for the reasons I’d worried it would be bad… but it’s bad.
The problem is pretty exclusively the hosts. Almost every time they open their mouths I get the impression that A) they’re just reading cue cards or scripts as woodenly as possible, or B) they’re chattering pointlessly because they feel they should say something, instead of because they have something witty to say.
Rutledge, the “expert”, is least prone to this. He can make a witty comment and seems genuine, now and then. But beyond that, it’s like you’re not watching actual people doing this. You could CGI up some hosts of similar quality.
The second season is at least a little better than the first, so perhaps there’s hope. They seem to have told the most obnoxious of the hosts to tone it down, and he has, a little. The UK Top Gear replaced one of their hosts after the first season, and the Australian one replaced several of them, several times. Wish they’d learn that lesson here.