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:
- 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).
- Serial shows where the plot unfolds slowly and nothing makes any sense at first.
- 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