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This weekend on TV: BBC’s remodeled ‘Top Gear’ mentions Utah (sort of)

First Published      Last Updated Mar 10 2017 12:09 pm

The BBC's latest reboot of "Top Gear" (Sunday, 9 p.m., BBC America) references Utah … without ever using the name of the state.

This is the second attempt to make "Top Gear" work in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson getting fired, which resulted in Richard Hammond and James May quitting.

(There are fans unhappy about Clarkson's ouster, but how many of us would keep our jobs if we'd been repeatedly warned about making offensive — even racist — comments and then, unprovoked, punched a co-worker in the face?)

The good news is that the annoying Chris Evans has been jettisoned, and Chris Harris and Rory Reid have been promoted to equal co-hosts with Matt LeBlanc — which is genuinely a huge improvement.




After the disaster that was Evans and LeBlanc co-hosting, it's nice to see, as the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph put it, "the hosts appear to not completely hate one another."

Among the adventures LeBlanc, Harris and Reid undertake in Sunday's season premiere is a race through Kazakhstan in three cars — a Volvo V70, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and a London taxi—that each have more than half a million miles on them.

As they're racing across some extremely forbidding territory, Harris exclaims, "That's a dried-up salt bed. Wow! That's like Kazakzstan's Bonneville." And, a bit later, LeBlanc again refers to it as "Kazakzstan's Bonneville."

They don't ever explain what or where that is, apparently assuming anybody who cares about cars would know about the Bonneville Salt Flats.

It's a minor point. The major point is that "Top Gear" is once again watchable.

Friday on TV ...

• "MacGyver" (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Mac and the team travel to Hawaii, where they join Chin and Kono from "Hawaii Five-0" to rescue a group of government scientists trapped in a building after an earthquake.

• "Last Man Standing" (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Vanessa takes Mike's advice to expand her tutoring business but then he gets too involved.

• "Grimm" (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): After a series of brutal and deadly attacks, Nick and Hank find an unlikely lead in a local nursing home.

• "The Vampire Diaries" (7 and 8 p.m., CW/Ch. 30): First up is an hour looking back at the series to date; then, in the series finale, Stefan and Damon must fight their greatest enemy for one final battle.

• Women's college gymnatics (7 p.m., BYUtv): Arizona at BYU

• "Dr. Ken" (7:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Ken's old professor makes an appointment and torments Ken during his visit.

• "Hawaii Five-0" (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): McGarrett and Kono suspect that an abused young girl may be the victim of a sex trafficking ring.

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