Drive -- An early look
When I first heard the general premise for Drive, I instantly thought of Cannonball Run. The Cannonball Run is a movie a fondly remember watching time and again as a kid. Tons of money on the line, fast cars, hot women ... I mean hell, I was a hormone-filled kid somewhere between 10 and 13 years old when I first saw this flick, so cut me some slack.
While there is the obvious similarity with the whole race-around-the-country thing with Cannonball Run, after watching the rough-cut first episode of Drive I can start by telling you one way where the two differ: The Cannonball Run was for pussies.
Some seemingly random people get a call at the same time, on the same kind of unique cellphone none of them seem to have seen before. On the other end of the line a man tells them they need to get in a car - no other transportation - within fifteen minutes and get to Key West, Florida. Fast. If they don't they could miss out on a chance to make their lives right.
Drive is a new drama coming to FOX in mid-April, staring (most notably from past television) Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) and Kevin Alejandro (Ugly Betty, Sleeper Cell) and is co-created by Firefly's Tim Minear. At its core, the show is about an illegal cross-country auto race, with an underlying prize of 32 million dollars to the winner. I say "underlying" because for at least some of the competitors -- many being thrown into a race they've never heard of before and somewhat against their will -- have something much more valuable to race for.
The show's title is actually a giveaway to what it's really about. This is more than a thrill ride for many of these people; what drives each of them to win is different. Alex Tully (Fillion) is out to find his kidnapped wife. Wendy Patrakas (Lynskey) is looking for financial independence to help her newborn baby. Winston Salazar (Alejandro) is looking to earn his father's respect. For themselves, the money is rather a secondary bonus.
Checkpoints throughout the race are given in somewhat riddle form. Since I've only seen the first part of the three-part premiere, it's not clear if the checkpoint destinations will always be given in this way, though it does give it a sort of Midnight Madness, scavenger hunt feel that's always fun. The big catch to the final checkpoints of the day is what makes this race unique and edgy, in that you do not want to arrive last.
Fans of Minear's previous work on Firefly and Angel will no doubt appreciate the quips thrown into what's really meant to be a serious situation. Not many of the racers are traveling alone on this adventure, and because of that you can already see the relationship's between the occupants of each vehicle developing in both positive and negative ways. I'm usually not one to look forward to relationship development in a show, so maybe it's the setting that makes it more interesting to me.
As far as the on-the-road action, it's definitely there, though how much of it you see will depend on who has the most drive to cross that finish line first.
As with several other shows with a theme that's seemingly limited, I have to wonder how this show can last past a season or two. Will the race just continue indefinitely? Will a new race with new racers start after this one? I guess we'll just get past the first season and go from there; I'm sure that's similar to what Minear's thinking, too. I only hope they change what they say in the intro voiceover -- it's pretty corny.
Drive premieres Sunday, April 15th at 8PM Eastern on FOX.