A 4 out of 5 star review for a show that isn't on the same level as the Grand Tour, but gives you something to do to space out watching repeats of Grand Tour and TG. This show is also more for the off-road minded truck and Jeep enthusiasts than the ones interested in custom paint, spinner wheels and under glow.
Round 1 - "Bumps and Jumps"
At the end of each round, if everyone makes it through, the competitor with the worst showing is sent home. It is plain to see from the above image that this 750ft section of the competition separates those ready to compete from the posers. For someone we know only as Josh in the 4Runner, its 1 and done. He cut off the Grimm Creeper to sneak in at 4th, but after a stare down by the Creeper at the finish line, the 4Runner failed to move to the next course due to a busted starter (heh heh heh). Don't cross the Creeper! The Grimm Creeper returns from an untimely dismissal to creep on to the next round.
After the first round we get to meet the drivers and their rigs, then the hosts pair up with them for the remainder of the competition. Michael Vance brought a 1978 CJ-7 with Golden Eagle vinyls that he calls "Locked 'N Loaded" and gets paired with Rob "Bender" Park. Trisha Glezen is in a 2007 JK Wrangler she calls "Silver Bullet", selected by Glen Plake. Steve Oakes brought a 1994 Cherokee that wears its cage on the outside, "friends call it Prom Night", and he is paired with "Pistol" Pete Sohren. Last, but in no way least, is the frankensteined "Grimm Creeper". Owned and driven by Bill Blaisdell, its a conglomeration of cheap and free parts he's meticulously acquired and amalgamated over the years, but mostly referred to as a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon; the creation garners a partnership with Abe Wine.
After the introductions competitors move to sponsored garages with 1 hour to make repairs and refinements with their expert partners before heading out to Round 2.
Round 2 - "Slingshot"
I'm not going to spoil it any further with the results of Rounds 2 or 3. Round 2 was the least interesting round, especially since the clips shown tended to emphasize the game more than how the trucks were performing.
Round 3 - "Fire Escape"
After Round 3, the 2 finalists get 1 more hour in the garages to prepare for the championship. We do not get to see more of the trucks or find out all of the repairs and adjustments made, just a few snippets of light work and comments.
Final Round - "The Green Hell"
The finalists power through the 3 mile course of multiple sections called "The Green Hell" in which, unlike Fire Escape, the obstacles are less trees and brush and more dirt, mud, water, and metal - but I'm sure it was all green at one time. Still, a contestant manages to knock a tree and for another a tree pushes back. To win $10,000 you have to be the fastest to complete the course or make it the furthest.
Without spoiling too much, The Green Hell wins this round, with both competitors failing to finish. The one that gets the furthest finds out they've won while sitting dazed on the tail of a ute next to their overturned vehicle, waiting for a ride to the nearest medical facility.
Its a show worth watching for a certain type of enthusiast. I am glad I didn't have to roll my eyes through owner bios and obnoxious self-promotion, but for me, there wasn't enough time and detail spent on the vehicles. For the viewers, the hosts were really only there for commentary and play-by-play. Because of the lack of intellectual stimulation, when the show ended I felt more like I wanted to get on the course than having the satisfaction of some new and interesting mechanical know-how or off-roading advice. Also among the not-so-good were views from inside toilet bowls and implying they were setting a forest fire (which was to be the main encumbrance of a particular round but wound up of little consequence). Fortunately, previews of Episode 2 indicate the tasks in each round will change (except the final round). I will be tuning in next week. I fell in love with the Grimm Creeper this week (probably deserves an article of its own), so I'll be looking for a vehicle that can jump that bar - will it be an orange Scout?
2 preview articles to this are posted in WhatWeWant .