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October 4, 2015

Drive -- An early look

by Keith McDuffee, posted Mar 26th 2007 11:02AM
nathan fillion drive
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.

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I'll be watching it, but I also have the same fears as VIgital about it being axed before the characters back out of their respective driveways.

March 26 2007 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you are looking to discuss the show, forums can be found at www.DriveForums.Com .


March 26 2007 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Hollander

As the unofficial "official" photographer for the 1975 and 1979 REAL Cannonballs, I have to agree with the poster who noted that this was just for bragging rights. For the 1979 event, organizer Brock Yates (hmm, should he change his first name to Barak for publicity reasons?), lost his job at Car and Driver over running this event.

Not to worry about Yates, he wrote the Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II movies and had a piece of that action. He's doing just fine, and David E. Davis, then Editor of Car and Driver, has forgiven him.

The Gumball Rally, done as a comedy long before the Cannonball Run movies, was loosely based on events that actually happened at the Cannonball. You can see a number of famous racing drivers in that film.

All in all, great fun, now thirty years back.

March 26 2007 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, a better forerunner to this idea would the Gumball Rally which inspired Cannonball Run and was a better movie.

I have faith in the Whedon stable, so I plan to watch.

March 26 2007 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Amazing Race>>>> the drama series

March 26 2007 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No need to worry about what this show is going to do in future seasons. It's a Tim Minear show, so only six episodes will be produced, and of those only four will make it to air. I'm already setting aside my dough for the DVD set to find out what happens.

March 26 2007 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kyle Beasley

I have been looking forward to this show for a long time. I loved Firefly, Angel and Wonderfalls. Add in Nathan Fillion (who is charisma personified) and I am totally in for the long haul. I really do hope it is good.


March 26 2007 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I first saw this being promo'ed my first thought was "Fast Lane", the abysmal Bill Bellamy vehicle (no pun intended) FOX tried to shove down our throats a few years back.

But I figure anything featuring Nathan Fillion is worth checking out. Hopefully his latest project with Tim Minear will be as entertaining and get the fighting chance that Firefly never got.

March 26 2007 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It just looks too B-movie-ish. This type of plot belongs in a silly B-movie and not a drawn out series. There's going to be a LOT of filler. BOO!

March 26 2007 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just for the record there was no money involved in Cannonball Run, either the movie version or the real ones. It was pure bragging rights.

I have high hopes for this show. It could easily become my favorite show unless it is pure crap.

March 26 2007 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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