Although I am a massive Top Gear fan, I wouldn’t say it is the best show of the last decade – it certainly is ONE of the best shows on television, but my heart would really want to see an original comedy series or drama fit that roll – even if TG is part both of those things.
But when the question comes up ‘what is the best television show of the Noughties?’ in a poll on the Guardian website – I find myself torn.
First there is my love of good drama and original comedy: shows like The West Wing and The Wire, The Thick of It, QI, Life on Mars, Flight of the Conchords, Doctor Who, Black Books and Spooks are all on the shortlist.
But then there is my loyalty to the community, brand and bigger multimedia experience that is Top Gear. You see Top Gear is more than just three blokes pissing about for an hour a week 12/13 weeks a year. It’s a magazine, a series of columns and books by the main personalities and most importantly a community.
There aren’t many British shows with online communities surrounding them the size of the one Top Gear enjoys – what with the hundreds of comments every new blog post attracts on the official Top Gear website to the 40 thousand member Final Gear fan forum.
The only other show I can think of off the top of my head is Doctor Who and its related spin-offs – Torchwood and Sarah-Jane Adventures – two shows with a long history and relatively recent major re-launch.
So back to the poll – as you can see I’m torn, between my love of a good drama and my loyalties to the Top Gear community – in the end I decided to vote twice – for Top Gear and Spooks.
But not before heading over to the Final Gear forums and posting a new thread with the details of the Guardian Poll and inviting members of the forum to go and vote.
I included the word Rig in the title but really what I was doing was attempting to mobilise the mass of internet savvy Top Gear fans.
Here was my thread opening post:
The Guardian are running a poll trying to find the best TV show of the noughties and Top Gear currently has 1.5% of the vote.
The top two shows are currently The West Wing and The Wire – they’d both get a vote from me if I could as would The Thick of It, QI, Life on Mars, Flight of the Conchords, Doctor Who, Black Books and Spooks – but you get to vote for one only.
So it went to Top Gear.
And I included a link to the Guardian page with the poll. As you can see when I posted it Top Gear had a share of just 1.5% of the vote and there were even comments questioning why Top Gear deserved to be in the shortlist at all.
Within a few hours it was up to about 3% and by the time I looked the next morning it was in second place with about 10%.
After lunch it had gone up again to about 12% – taking the lead and by the time I wrote this blog post Top Gear had 22% of the vote – a nearly 12% lead over second place The Wire.
The Guardian picked up on the mobilisation moves themselves with JasonDeans posting: “Although at the moment it looks like the Top Gear fans have got organised & that could be top soon. Let’s see if any other fanbases mobilise…”
Oh and in response, later, to a post saying ‘how the freak can Top Gear be in first place’ JasonDeans came back with: “cos top gear fans have got organised.”
Now, as I mentioned before – this isn’t a case of saying ‘look Top Gear IS the best show of the last ten years’ but more of how a strong community, when mobilised can easily influence things like polls, debates and even charts.
Although to be honest – it does only have 113 members and to have any impact it would need to break into the top 20 singles chart – for that you’d need to sell thousands of copies.
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