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As Jeremy Clarkson has probably said, "Thank God for the internet." 

After all, the cocky Brit's television career could have ended following his unceremonious firing from the BBC's Top Gear. But it hasn't, thanks to his friends Richard Hammond and James May jumping ship with him -- and the good folks over at Amazon opening their checkbooks. 

The result is Clarkson's new car show, The Grand Tour, which premiered Friday on Prime after a wait lasting well over a year.

If the first episode's an indicator, the wait was worth it.

Anyone who knows the trio of hosts from their Top Gear days should feel right at home on The Grand Tour: The new show feels strikingly familiar to the old -- and that's not a bad thing. 

From right: Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

From right: Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

Amazon

What made Top Gear so enjoyable with Clarkson, Hammond and May went beyond the fantastic (or terrible) cars they reviewed in each episode. The three had tremendous chemistry, giving each other grief constantly and never shying from a witty comeback.  And tucked between the informative segments were instances that varied from mild British humor to outright insanity: hovercraft wreaking havoc on pedestrians, train cars bursting into flames, trucks racing sled dogs in the Arctic, Hammond and May getting thrown off horses, etc. 

The Grand Tour seems to remember all that. It remains first (and foremost?) a car show, but it promises to be wicked good fun. 

The premiere episode, "The Holy Trinity," has a cold open of sorts in rainy London, as Clarkson glumly reenacts his departure from the BBC. He promptly gets on a plane and lands in L.A. before jumping into a blue Ford Mustang and hitting the road. With a cover of "I Can See Clearly Now" by Hothouse Flowers blaring, he's joined by May and Hammond in white and red Mustangs as they charge into the California desert -- escorted by a fleet of old, new and crazy vehicles -- to their own "Burning Van" festival.

The trio races through the desert to "Burning Van" -- and the start of their new show.

The trio races through the desert to "Burning Van" -- and the start of their new show.

Amazon

From there, we're shown a highlight reel of what's to come, and it looks bonkers. Beautiful locations? Check. Pricey sports cars? Check. May driving a car made of bricks in a body of water? Check. Tanks blowing stuff up? Check. It promises all the crazy antics from this trio that audiences across the world love, although none of it comes in the premiere.

That's a smart move. While teasing the insanity to come, "Holy Trinity" lays the ground rules for what will make The Grand Tour: The hosts are car journalists, so they will be testing cars. In this case, we get a review of a BMW M2 coupe while most of the episode focuses on the trio facing off in a Porsche 918, a McLaren P1 and a Ferrari LaFerrari. For non-motorheads, the talk is heavy on details, but the hosts make it easily digestible and enjoyable to watch because, well, they're just hilarious. 

While some of the dialogue is clearly written, the fear, anger and joy the hosts show behind the wheel is genuine -- and often hilarious.

While some of the dialogue is clearly written, the fear, anger and joy the hosts show behind the wheel is genuine -- and often hilarious.

Amazon

Perhaps it's difficult to bring variety to car shows -- especially when the hosts have previously worked on a very successful car show -- but it is almost surprising how similar Grand Tour is to Top Gear. TG has the hosts with a large, standing audience in a studio; GT has the hosts in a large, standing audience in a traveling tent. TG tests cars on a private track driven by the mysterious Stig; GT tests cars on a private track driven by people who aren't the mysterious Stig. Both shows have the hosts travel across the globe to test cars in a variety of circumstances.

The similarity is not a bad thing. A large portion of Grand Tour's audience will be watching solely because they miss the dynamic of the Clarkson/Hammond/May Top Gear (the new TG, with new hosts such as Matt LeBlanc, has been plagued with on-set drama and mediocre ratings). 

And, hey: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Clarkson says early in the premiere "We have poured everything we know, everything we care about into this show." 

One has to believe him -- after all, he's trying to make an online venture reach the level of the global phenomenon from which he was fired. Fortunately for him, The Grand Tour is off to a solid start and good fun for gearheads and newbies alike. 

For more, follow me on Twitter @HJuncensored

In conclusion, here's Clarkson at the show's track with some sheep.

In conclusion, here's Clarkson at the show's track with some sheep.

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