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October 13, 2015

Drive: Let The Games Begin

by Brett Love, posted Apr 17th 2007 6:49AM
Nathan Fillion(S01E03) For those of you playing along at home, the ratings for the big two hour premiere of Drive are in. Unfortunately, they weren't very good. That isn't the end of the world though. To really get an idea of where the series stands, we'll have to wait until the numbers come in for the regular Monday night showing. Things should be fine. Nobody watches Dancing With The Stars or Deal Or No Deal anyway, right?

Moving on, thinking happy thoughts about Nielsen boxes tuned to Drive, episode three was another solid installment. That's solid, but not great. It didn't quite match the level of the first two. Not that there weren't high points. It just seemed that some of the stories lacked the intensity that we saw in the premiere. There was still some good information coming to us, but not in as gripping a fashion. That's fine, but not exactly what I wanted to see in the time slot premiere.

The highlight of the episode was the Alex part of the story. I was picking Officer Poole as another stranger working for the sponsors right about the time he gave Alex yet another shot to the head. Someone at Fox should really be working an advertising deal with Excedrin. Apparently that work beating on Sawyer, as Pickett on Lost, prepared Michael Bowen for this new gig. Previous to that, he also did a guest spot on The Inside. I thought he was good here. Dirty fake cop is a role that suits him well.

The big Alex reveal that came from all of that was hinted at nicely in the scene with Becca (Katie Finneran, Wonderfalls) and the detective. It was clear that Alex wasn't just a gardener, but hearing her comment on how he's through with all that gave the idea more weight. The choice to make him the wheel man for the crew serves a couple purposes. First, it's a nice boost to Alex's driving cred. A professional wheel man should be able to do all sorts of things with a car that may seem somewhat suspicious for a gardener. And second, it makes it easier to root for Alex. Yes, he was a criminal, and not a good guy, but despite what the law and the fake Officer Poole say, there is a difference between the wheel man and the trigger man.

My favorite bit of the whole Alex/Poole exchange was the line, "You don't want to meet the real Alex Tully." It called to mind the scene from Firefly's "War Stories" where Mal asks, "You wanna meet the real me now?" I have to say, I'm all for more of the real Alex Tully, and his badass Challenger. His beat up old Ford truck had a certain charm, but that car is awesome.

As far as the rest of the teams go, I was entertained, but not really excited about any of it. Dupree (Sasha Barrese) was certainly gorgeous, and the "Fugitive Recovery Agent" was a nice angle. She also helped to show just how much power Sean and Winston's father has now. Other than that, most of what we got from the Sean and Winston interaction was just ok.

It was similar to the Wendy and Ivy portion of the episode. It's worth getting some back story on how Ivy ended up in the race, but there wasn't much to really latch on to there. The only thing from them that I really dug was the strange mood swings from Wendy. She goes from so sweet and demure, to borderline crazy and threatening, and right back again, so quickly. She's an odd duck, and that's interesting to watch.

Rob's story hasn't really captured my attention yet. I am curious about Ellie though. At this point I'm not buying her whole trying to protect him story. I think there is another angle at work. She's manipulating him in fine fashion, even turning on the tears. Right up to the point where he agrees to go to Rome before making any calls. She's good, and I'm wondering what her real motivation is.

John and Violet were good together as she taught him how to lie. She probably had the funniest line of the night as she revealed her fib about going to the "Teen Girls Considering Celibacy" group. I liked how he played off the call from Doctor Roth, but the fact that he is hiding his illness from Violet was already well understood.

5 out of 7Overall, a step back from the big debut, but still well worth a look. The final run with Alex back in his Challenger was fun, and appropriate given that he really carried this episode. So, mostly on the back of Nathan Fillion, I'm giving this one a 5, out of 7.

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I'm not loving this show, but it's entertaining enough. All the actors I remember from Minnear's previous shows that I have loved are fun, and the camera work and frequent action sequences keep things exciting. But I think we're missing some humor and some genuinely likable characters. Even though we still know basically nothing about Violet, her scenes with her father are by far the best in the show, because they have a fun relationship. Everyone else sort of feels like a generic tv character. I have faith in Tim Minnear though, so I'm sticking with it for as long as it lasts in the hopes that they fix some of the issues I have.

Now as for the people here and in the pilot comments saying the networks shouldn't cancel a show after x episodes, or that they should have predefined running lengths, that just wouldn't make the networks money. Episodes are expensive to make, so if nobody's going to watch them, they can't afford to give them away for free. When a show gets canceled, 9 times out of 10 it's because the public just wasn't interested. Fox gets a bad reputation for canceling good shows, but that's only because they put more good shows on. And in many cases, because their ratings expectations are lower than NBC/CBS/ABC, they stick with a struggling but good show for a long time (Arrested Development would've lasted three weeks on CBS, but got three seasons).


April 19 2007 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All you commenters about the "freeway" looking like California? You DO know that the freeway scenes are not real? Those cars are computer simulations. So, if may not look like Florida, but it is more Intel than it is California.

April 18 2007 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No memntion of the Twitter-event? Director Greg Yaitanes twittered during the East and West Coast (many of the same messages, but they were "live") feeds. He gave out lots of interesting show development tidbits; for example the comment about being in LA - yes it was - "the series is shot completely in LA but we change colors accordingly - florida is coral, we use a tobacco colored filter for nebraska, etc" Check out http://twitter.com/foxdrive for all of the messages. While it wasn't the first textmsg-during-a-show (My Name is Earl writer twittered during some episodes back in Feb - http://twitter.com/michaelpennie)

I thought the show was interesting - I'm a sucker for mass ensemble shows/movies. Plus I love me some Fillion. Also fun, Amy Acker! And it looks like Tim Minear may have pulled K Callan (one of the ppl on the motorcycle) from his old Lois and Clark days.

April 17 2007 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Contrary to the other commments, I found the last five minutes of driving in the Challenger really cheap and unworthy of the rest of the show.
Just give the guy his car and he'll be unstoppable, and make it as plain as possible so even the dumbest viewer gets his moment of glory.
Felt like it belonged into Knight Rider or even the 60's Batman TV series, but not a Minear show.

Concerning the rest: Right track, keep it like that.

April 17 2007 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually liked this a little better than the previous episodes.

I thought Winston had the car before the race. Maybe the race people got it out of wherever he had it stashed before he went to jail?

I do think that we're pretty screwed with this series, though. They've only got 6 episodes in the can at all (hence why there was ALREADY going to be a hiatus in between the total 13!), and it'll be ohsoeasy for Fox to cancel the show to save the bucks to not film the rest. Grr.

April 17 2007 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kevin Beaumont

The ratings for Monday:

Fox drama Drive debuted in the time period with a mere (and fourth-place) 3.7/ 6, which was a decline of 35 percent from former occupant Prison Break on the year-ago Monday (5.7/ 9 on April 17, 2006).

April 17 2007 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a question about Salazar's car. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they make it seem like the Race bought it for him in the first episode, and then last night, he gave his little speech about it being his gangsta car? Am I remembering this wrong?
If they're retconning this early in the series, it's a really bad sign.

April 17 2007 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hasn't FOX learned anything from House. They put that show right after American Idol and it took off. If you want to showcase your new shows, put them after American Idol. If they can do it for some dumb Jeff Foxworthy game show, they can do it for Drive.

April 17 2007 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

#16 is SO right. Half the reason these serial shows fail is that people are afraid to start watching them. The last few years have gotten worse; the minute you get hooked on a show some stupid exec pulls it because it wasn't an instant runaway hit.

Tim Minear said that they have a 13 episode "ending" and a 22 episode "ending." COMMIT TO ONE OR THE OTHER, FOX. Tell us in advance that this will air no matter what, and others might join in, if for no other reason than they know you're going to let the damn show air!

As for last night, I loved it. That car is simply a thing of beauty, and watching Tully drive it...I could watch a whole show based on nothing but Nathan Fillion delivering quips to the blonde, threats to everyone else and driving that car. Of course given my user name I may be a bit biased...

April 17 2007 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree that network TV only has itself to blame if a show like this fails. Fox should be advertising that no matter what all 22 episodes of Drive will be broadcast and the series will reach a conclusion.

That's the only way to get people hooked on serials. Either stop canceling shows after 3 episodes or produce series with smaller production runs that conclude.

Anyhow, I'm enjoying Drive and I think that they've done a decent job exposing backstory without resorting to flashbacks. They've also done a decent job keeping large portions of the story outside of the cars. I think you'll find less continuity errors as the series progresses.

April 17 2007 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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