Lochdown: failed to flatten the curve
WARNING!! SPOILER ALERT!!! DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED LOCHDOWN!!!!!
Considering the fact that a Massive Hunt was released almost 8 months ago, I was very hyped for Lochdown. The trailer looked very promising but watching it, I concluded that it doesn't live up to the expectations. This has various reasons, but one quite important part is the new way of making The Grand Tour
What's wrong with that?
It's an easy conclusion to come to, season one was revealed in 2016/2017, season 2 in 2017/2018 and season 3 in 2018/2019. All these seasons contained on average 12 episodes of around 1 hour. Season 4 (I won't count episode 1 due to some sort of pandemic) has 2 episodes that are 8 months apart. This is due to the simple fact that a "special" requires way more time to prepare and shoot. Even if the end of the pandemic will make travelling easier, I expect making an episode to take 4 months. This will result in season 4 being finished in Juli 2025. This won't be a problem if the watching time of 1 episode also would be longer. In this fictive situation, one year will bring us 3 episodes, in other words, 4,5 hours, while an "old-fashioned" year would give us 12 hours of watching time.
Simply said, a TGT special should be, like in the old situation, a double episode; 2 to 2,5 hours. The average season 4 time is 1,5 hours, the International Buffoons' Vacation is 1 hour and 21 minutes, almost as long as a new special. Another thing is that we used to get 1 episode a week, for 12 weeks long, if you'd be thrifty and watch one every 2 weeks, you'd have 24 weeks or about half a year. Now, you have 1,5 hours for one time because you're too excited.
Okay, but what's wrong with Lochdown
In the first place, it screams "MONEY". The cars they're buying are in quite a good shape, they literally use castles to sleep in (at least they say). It's not like other specials where they'd been given some money to buy a car and it'd be a shitbox and then they'd sleep in either a tent or a cheap motel. I missed the sense of adventure, the sense of travel, the sense of everything going wrong. And here too, the MONEY screaming is working against them, apart from filling James' caravan with water and putting some people on it, they didn't really "modify" the cars of the others to annoy them. I missed the cutting out the bonnet, destroying the air conditioning and lifting up James in a tent. Right, a massive hunt didn't have that either, but that at least had a sense of exploration, adventure and ridiculously modifying their cars for something they aren't made for. This was, well a walk in the park for their cars. Except for Hammonds car boiling over on occasion it all went perfectly well until the modifying.
What it could've been
"Here have 3000 pounds, get yourself an old American car and drive from the most southern part of the UK to the most northern part, without using a motorway." That already sounds more adventurous than comfortably driving around in some nice old American coupes in Scotland. And sleeping? Well have this caravan, or you'll sleep in a tent or you modify your car. Not in a bloody CASTLE, admit that really sounds ridiculous. The episode would take 2,5 hours, and they'd have more challenges than now, they'd mess around with the cars of the others and have problems on the way.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Lochdown, I laughed of James May being flooded away, caravans being destroyed and the boys being en Edingbrough. But, it's not what I'd want from a special, adventure, things going wrong and challenges. I've spent hours and hours rewatching old episodes and specials of TGT and TG, but Seamen wasn't one of them. And I doubt Lochdown will be one of them while waiting for episode 4 somewhere in 2022.