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TV Preview: "Drive"

TV Preview: "Drive"

Your feelings about "Drive," Fox's new drama about a top-secret, high-stakes road race, will probably depend on your tolerance for a few things:

  1. Cars, car racing, and all of the standard trappings of car chases (high-speed side-swiping, tailgating, running out of gas at the worst possible time).
  2. Serial shows where the plot unfolds slowly and nothing makes any sense at first.
  3. Entertainment that requires total suspension of disbelief and falls apart with even a little scrutiny.

That's not to say "Drive," which airs its two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. tonight before moving to its regular Monday slot, is necessarily bad. In its first hour, at least, the show is total mind candy, breezy and fast-paced and best when taken at face value. It's the TV equivalent of a summer movie, and if that's your style, it's worth checking out. For more on the series and a few video clips,

"Drive" plays out like a fictional version of "The Amazing Race": A number of people from around the country suddenly get a phone call inviting them to participate in an underground race across the country. At stake is $32 million — and a chance to save a life, since all of the people chosen for the race are in varying degrees of desperation. One is trying to leave her possibly abusive husband, one is a parolee, and three are refugees from Hurricane Katrina. And then there's the show's central figure, Alex Tully (Nathan Fillion, above), a landscaper who joins the race because he believes the clues to his wife's disappearance — and possibly his wife herself — will be revealed along the way.

It's an incredibly far-fetched premise, especially in the series' first few minutes, when a narrator claims that a race like this is going on right now and every reckless driver we encounter might be a part of it. Only the very most desperate people would ever drop everything in their lives on 15 minutes' notice for such a crazy adventure, and I think even they would think twice. But that very unbelievability did make me want to know more about the characters and why they'd decided to join the race.

But I hope "Drive" doesn't take itself too seriously. The show's crazy action sequences and completely impossible situations could be its greatest strengths, and I hope the creators realize that and keep it from becoming a gloomy, low-rent "24" on wheels. Check out the first few minutes, the scene where the participants get their offers, and the promo below and let me know: Will you be watching?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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