Little luxuries that I like to spend my earnings on are (quite rightly) Top Gear DVDs. Challenges, Great Adventures, Winter Olympics, you name it. Clarkson, Hammond and May just never-ending in their hilarious, motoring antics. I don't think I can get enough of the show. It's just essential entertainment.
Which is why, naturally, I had my eye on Apocalypse for quite some time. But also because it was exclusive to DVD, and that the after-Christmas period saw this reduced to an absolute bargain price. I couldn't really see any reason NOT to get this.
Top Gear: Apocalypse is basically Hamster and Captain Slow on their own this time. With Jezza off on his `Italian Job', Richard and James decided to film a DVD of their own to keep fans happy. And true to the boys' nature, they're mucking around. And they justify this, by donning goggles, shaggy-clothing, war-paint (on a REALLY bad hair day!) and explain how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Immediately, Apocalypse scores with its premise. To see Hammond and May in their bunker (kitted out with Quavers and a bizarre selection of DVDs i.e. Strictly Come Dancing), and mucking around in this setting is hilarious. Hamster and Captain Slow crack open their typical humour and, like the exceptional characters that they are, entertain in a variety of ways.
To begin with, Richard and James show you how to drive to work in the pitch darkness of Nuclear Winter, relying purely on satnav to navigate the roads and obstacles. One can immediately see where this goes, yet it's still worth watching the results...and other drivers, police and ambulances arrive on the scene! It's top-notch stuff, as is the `Doomsday M.O.T.' test, which is essentially a giant version of Robot Wars (I MISS that show!), with spectacular carnage to behold.
Richard also tries to escape from the ever-surviving paparazzi, James also gets lost in a car park trying to outrun `Zombie minis', they then try to perfect the art of motor-sport with only the two of them left alive, various games to play while the rest of humanity flees from terror, and finally, the VERY intriguing dilemma of what car you would drive if there was only ONE barrel of petrol left on the planet.
All well and good, but Apocalypse sadly turns out to be an average DVD. The most common criticism against this release is one I agree with completely. It NEEDED a Clarkson. This whole environment of explosions, post-Apocalyptic world, what car to use your last barrel of petrol on; all this suited Jeremy. He would've been right at home here, and his absence (though understandable given his filming of The Italian Job) makes a lot of the gags and antics rather redundant.
Don't get me wrong, Richard and James DO a fine job of things here, but the reason why Top Gear works as a whole is because of ALL THREE presenters, who together are so much greater than the sum of their parts. It's a theory that's proven true for Apocalypse, and it doesn't feel as there's much material to replay again as there are in other DVD releases of the show.
At over seventy minutes long, the DVD's content doesn't really fill or justify the running time. There are no special features, either. There's also a fluff which takes place during the actual programme itself, making it rather disruptive. It would've made more sense to include a collection of outtakes and stuck them on as extras. That could've helped boost the appeal of the disc.
But - as mentioned earlier - there's some really cracking stuff here that you won't find on the telly. And now that it's at a discount price, it's better to buy now. There's a Digital Copy facility on this disc, allowing you to transfer it onto your iPod if you wish. Top Gear: Apocalypse is something I would label "For Completists Only." If you're curious, you certainly won't regret checking it out. Again, there's some worthwhile stuff to be found. Just don't expect anything like the North Pole Special or any one of the Challenges DVDs.