Top Gear Thursday: Watch Season 19 Videos and Super Bowl Car Ads

The Stig faces off with Damian Lewis, right. (BBC America)

The following was not lost on us: the triumphant return of the Super Bowl of TV car shows takes place just one day after the Super Bowl itself. As far as we’re concerned, Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII is definitely an appropriate opening act for Monday’s premiere of Top Gear Season XIX.

And as a result of these two super ginormous mega-events — well, okay, one super ginormous mega-event and also the Super Bowl — we’ve got tons of automotive video goodness for you this week.

First, there’s the teaser trailer for the new Top Gear season.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes discussion that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond had about the new season. Richard perhaps sums things up the best when he says: “You’ve seen Top Gear. It’s like that, but new.”





There’s more. TopGear.com’s Nick Dalton (chyroned as a “trainee weatherman”) braved a snowy track to introduce the series and an outtake featuring Homeland’s Damian Lewis as a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, an experience that Lewis says is much better than winning a Golden Globe.





• Just in case there’s anyone in your circle of friends who doesn’t know that Top Gear Season 19 begins airing this Monday, February 4 at 9/8c, you can send them a totally free e-card. Just click here and fill out the info. Believe us, nothing says you care like a Top Gear premiere reminder.

• Now on to the automotive and entertainment aspects of the Super Bowl. And it’s here that we try to provide a little public service. If you watch enough of the ads, or the teasers, before the game, you can probably avoid watching the game altogether. And with the commercials being more high stakes than the football, advertising companies now rarely wait for the game itself — most of the ads are already online.

The early winner, already having gone viral, is the “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion” teaser ad. It needs no explanation or commentary.

Volkswagen, used to generating buzz with its Super Bowl ads, like the famous 2011 Darth Vader kid ad, has been getting lots of attention this year but not all of it is favorable. Their “Get in. Get Happy” ad features a white guy from the Midwest speaking with a Jamaican accent as he offers words of reggae-style wisdom to everyone in his corporate suburban environment. Critics say the ad’s juxtaposition of stereotypes is racist. VW says it tested the ad in Jamaica, where even members of the government approve of it. See what you think:

VW continues the Jamaican theme in another commercial in which music legend Jimmy Cliff sings the Partridge Family’s “C’mon, Get Happy” while trying to cheer up and bring together such disparate characters as a “crazy cat-hugging lady,” a “supermarket tantrum girl,” and an “irritating llama.”

Kia combines the most basic kids’ question (“Where did I come from?”) with Hollywood sci-fi production values in its “Space Babies” ad:

Toyota enlisted The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco for its “I Wish” themed ad:

Mercedes has another New Orleans-themed commercial:

http://youtu.be/FWjycKOsI2o

Audi’s Super Bowl commercial rewrites another American institution – the prom:

With most ads being released before the Super Bowl, some people have complained that they miss the excitement of seeing the ads for the first time during the game. That’s led to “teaser” ads meant to entice curiosity for ads during the big night. That’s the approach that Cars.com takes in this teaser:

Remember last year’s Clint Eastwood “It’s Halftime in America” Chrysler commercial, which created political controversy? This year, Chrysler is mum on its ad strategy.

“No teaser, no plot line, no hint about any celebrity involvement — no public discussion about the ad of any sort,” writes Forbes. “And that, of course, has created great anticipation of just what the company might be planning.”

That silence, says the magazine, could give its ad a huge impact.

Share your thoughts on the Super Bowl ads.