Netflix is a juggernaut of visual content. Every day it seems like there is a new series, movie, or documentary added to their lineup. Sometimes all three at once. This is great news for two kinds of people: those with addictive personalities, and car lovers. Luckily, the latter is also the former.
Other than The Fast & Furious franchise, Top Gear, NASCAR, and the occasional cars featured in FX’s Archer, quality automotive related content can be scarce at times. Netflix has changed that. You can easily type the words “automotive” into the search box and be presented with over a dozen options at any given moment. Its latest original series? Fastest Car.
Fastest Car has gotten high praise from a lot of automotive media outlets. What’s not to like? Four different cars owned by four different people competing in a $5000 drag race with a unique lineup each episode. Count me in!
But then I watched one. Then a second. Then a third. And now I’ve had my fill. As a fellow car enthusiast I’ve found that there are some real problems with this series, 3 to be exact, which I will highlight below. If you don’t want me to potentially ruin the show for you, it might be best to stop reading now!
1. Fastest Car is too dramatic.
I love the idea of introducing four wholly unique people each episode and documenting their lives. It’s fun to learn a little about their past, what got them into cars, and what they are driving today. But after the introductions end, the show gets way too real way too fast. It seems like everybody’s entire existence is on the line for…a drag race? I know $5,000 is a good chunk of money but c’mon. Cut the episode length in half and you’d have a stronger show.
2. It’s insulting to car enthusiasts.
I admire the “built not bought” mentality of the three contestants going up against the one that purchased a car above their means, but they all seem to be clueless about cars that aren’t their own. Not a single one of them knows how much horsepower a Lamborghini Huracan or Ferrari 488 GTB has or how fast each can run a quarter mile. Hell, they don’t even know how fast their own cars go in a quarter mile! Here’s a hint: Do a test run in your own car and then Google the others.
In my experience, every car enthusiast I’ve ever known can tell you general horsepowers, 0-60 times, and quarter mile times of over 100 different vehicles. We spend our lives tinkering on our own cars and memorizing facts about ones we’ll never own. It’s what we do.
3. The automotive community is still very sexist.
Ok, this one is not the show’s fault by any means, but it’s probably the most concerning. “I can’t believe a girl drives that”, “I just hope it’s not a girl”, and, “I don’t want to lose to a girl”, are said by men of all ages in nearly every episode. Even in 2018 man’s greatest fear is losing to a girl.
Take, for example, episode 5. The three “built” contestants are awaiting the “bought” car to arrive at the strip. A yellow Ferrari 488 GTB pulls up. One guy goes, “It’s a girl driving; oh yeah you’re gonna get beat by a girl.” Another says, “It’s yellow. I had a mental block about it being red so we’re good. Let’s hope it’s not a female,” followed by, “I swear if I lose…” when a small, middle aged woman named Lisa Clark steps out. She kindly introduces herself and another man in the background remarks, “I think I’m gonna throw up.” Finally they tease her by asking if her preparations only consisted of getting it washed and detailed.
Needless to say, she blew them all out of the water.
Netflix’s Fastest Car is a fine show that could use a little polishing for a second season. The episodes are too long, the perceived stakes are too high, and the ignorance of the contestants is eye-rolling. That’s not to say I don’t want to see more stuff like this, just dial back the drama a bit, okay?