'Top Gear' Premiere Recap (VIDEO)

Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust take a Dodge Viper on a Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter in the premiere episode of

It's been said before (including by me) but it can't be said enough: America deserves its own version of 'Top Gear,' the BBC car show that dispenses global glee over supercars, sports monsters and other dream gear-grinders.

We may not have created the concept of the car (depending on who you ask) and what you are willing to define as a car. We did, however, create one unmistakable and essential part of the car: its coolness.

We put the sense of style into a streamlined '57 Chevy by sticking those killer tail fins on the back and turning an ugly hunk of V-10 oil and metal into a smooth, sultry piece of pornographic machinery. We gave the world the one thing that made Steve McQueen just slightly cooler than Steve McQueen: a green 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback. Hell, without us, cars wouldn't have unnecessary rear-spoilers, custom flame paint-jobs or (God forbid) cup-holders.

So it's good to finally see the good ol' red, white and blue step up to the plate with a 'Top Gear' of their own, which premiered last night on The History Channel. The problem was it had to have a smidgen of the greatness of the original or risk becoming another enemy combatant in a Guantanamo-sized sleeper cell of failed British TV remakes ('Payne,' 'Red Dwarf,' the unwatchable 'McSpaced'). And since the original is just about as close as an information and entertainment show can get to perfection, my hopes weren't high -- but they weren't completely destroyed.

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