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Friday, April 13, 2007

FOX’s new show DRIVE is a race of adrenaline

by Jennifer Squires Biller

After watching DRIVE, you may just say goodbye to road rage.

In fact, you may sympathize with the next guy who cuts you off in traffic and find yourself asking, “Why is he driving like the hounds of Hell are nipping at his tires?”

FOX’s new show DRIVE offers up a possible explanation for those crazy, aggressive drivers: They’re racing for their lives, the life of a loved one, or in some cases, just the $32 million prize.

This show is a little bit The Fast and the Furious and a little bit The Amazing Race, but with its own unique story premise. DRIVE has fast cars, action, humor, drama and a good-looking talented cast.

And did I mention it stars Nathan Fillion? He plays the main character, Alex Tully.

The concept of DRIVE is that a diverse group of drivers are participating in an illegal cross-country road race that, apparently, has dire consequences for the losers. Some of the participants have been forced to race; others are there willingly, with the hope of winning the prize money.

Several TV critics around the Web already have proclaimed their love of the show, including Maureen Ryan at The Chicago Tribune and Kristin Veitch at E!Online. I won’t go that far. It’s not really my type of TV, but that shouldn’t deter you. If fast cars, action, and adventure are your TV crack, then you don’t want to miss this one.

Here’s the main reason you should at least take DRIVE out for a spin: Tim Minear.

Minear is a writing genius. He has thrilled TV fans with his work on Lois and Clark, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Wonderfalls. Honestly, if you told me that Minear had joined that dreadful Pussycat Dolls show, I’d be forced to tune in. That’s how good he is.

I won’t lie to you, though. I didn’t love this show the way I have previous Minear projects, such as Firefly and Wonderfalls. I found it a little hard to believe that the racers in DRIVE, who were coerced, didn’t head straight for the cops. (Yes, I know the two other aforementioned Minear shows included space travel and talking chotchkes, but that stretch of the imagination worked on those programs.)

As for DRIVE, no Tim Minear, I didn’t “hate it, in which case, the less said the better.” In fact, I think plenty of folks will enjoy the show, especially the male demographic.

TV fans will see plenty of familiar faces, beginning with Fillion. He plays a man forced into the race in an effort to find his kidnapped wife. Actor Kevin Alejandro, “Santos” of Ugly Betty, stars as a criminal bad-boy who meets his half-brother and sets out to prove something to his father. Felicity fans also will recognize actress Kristin Lehmen, who played Ben’s love interest Avery for a few episodes. Lehmen also starred on Prison Break and a number of other TV shows, before taking on the DRIVE role of Corinna Wiles. Wiles seems to hold the key to the secrets of the race. One of the funniest casting coups occurs when a leather-clad motorcycling couple takes off their helmets. I won’t tell you who the actress is, but let’s just say Lois and Clark fans will be squealing with delight.

In addition to those characters, the race participants also include new mother Wendy Patrakas (Melanie Lynskey), who is on the run from her husband; Hurricane Katrina survivors Ivy Chitty (Taryn Manning,) Leigh Barnthouse (Rochelle Aytes) and Susan Chamblee (Michael Hyatt) who are determined to start their lives over; and John Trimble (Dylan Baker), a conservative scientist who enters the race with his 15-year-old-daughter in an effort to be spontaneous.

DRIVE premieres this Sunday, April 15, on FOX. Check it out to see if it revs your engine.


Greg said...

I have never been more ambivalent about a show in my life.. but I'll take it "out for a spin" (i hate myself) just for you...


tube talk girl said...

Thanks, Greg! Let me know if you give it a thumbs up or down.

Jim said...

Sounds like cannon ball and the new Bull Run on Spike with a soap opera twist. Not really my cup of tea either, though if the dialogue's good I'll probably get hooked as always.

Kim said...

Jen, it doesn't look like my kind of show either, but I'll check it out. Nathan Fillion could get me to watch anything.

Allison said...

How can a show with so many car chase scenes make it?

tube talk girl said...

Allison, there have been plenty of hit TV shows where driving scenes played a pivotal role i.e. The Dukes of Hazzard, B.J. and the Bear, Knight Rider, Starsky & Hutch, etc. so it can be done, if the storylines are interesting.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you're reviewing this show, yet I haven't seen a word on here about the best mid-season replacement this year...October Road on ABC. The show should have massive appeal for all of us thirtysomethings that were in college in the early tp mid-90's. It's much better than Drive (or, as I call it, Prison Break on wheels).

tube talk girl said...

Tim, I would have loved to review "October Road," but my friends at ABC did not send me a screener of the show (like the smart folks at FOX did for "Drive.) So, I missed the premiere of October Road. What can I say? I'm not above bribery for a good review. (Relax. I'm kidding, Tim.)Actually, Mike Ausiello at TV Guide and a bevy of other critics panned "October Road" so much before it aired that I wasn't excited to watch it. Did they mislead me? Seriously, do I need to get on board with this show?

Anonymous said...

The show certainly aims for a certain demographic...apethetic, transient thirty-year-olds who stew over missed opportunity and regret past decisions (count me among them). But, it's also smart, funny and chock full of great music and interesting, complex characters. Now that I think about it, maybe, much like Studio 60 before it, it's too hip for the average TV viewer. In the few weeks that it's been on nothing has blown up, there have been no high speed chases and Jeff Foxworthy hasn't appeared to offer anybody a "cheat".

I hope you get the chance to see it. I'm interested in what your take is. But, I can tell you, my wife and I love it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I misspelled "apathetic". Maybe the show's too smart and hip for me, too. Ugh.

tube talk girl said...

OK, sold. I'm on it. Hmmm...Tim, you sound like a TV critic. Perhaps you should ditch that "antiquated radio box" Jack and I discussed and come over to my world.

I'll see if I can catch the back episodes of "October Road." You sold me with the "missed opportunity" and "regret" bit. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, most days I'd love to ditch the antiquated talking box...I just haven't figured out a way to make the internet a paying gig. Unlike yours, my writing isn't very entertaining. Of course, come to think of it, neither is my talking. I wonder if they're hiring at the Bob Evans?

I think back episodes of October Road are available online through ABC.

tube talk girl said...

Yes, they are. Thank you, ABC! I just checked it out, and I have four hours to catch up on. Damn you, Tim! It's not like I don't have enough to watch.

Kim said...

Jen, I'm with you. "Drive" isn't my kind of show either. I hope FOX kills it soon.

big tuna said...

Drive was eh-eh. It didn't wow me. I think your review was fair. I could see where people could like this show. The premise is ridiculous and I don't think I'll have the patience to get answers to these myteries. It's no Lost.

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