Aired on: FOX
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
Television seasons have become so strange. Weíve gone from Fall Season, to Fall Season and Mid-Season replacement to the new three-quarters of a season replacement. Itís an odd construction, but it happens and we must strive to understand it. Sometimes itís a good thing. Windfall was a surprisingly fun little soap opera that survived all of last summer only to be cancelled the minute the fall shows came back. This season, however, we have been given doses of a new show to whet our appetite with: Foxís Drive. This series instantly annoyed me with its two hour Sunday premiere followed by its Monday night actual schedule. My DV-R does not like switchable schedules like this, but thankfully it survived, and I got to watch the premiere.
The premiere was two hours and mainly followed Alex Tully (Nathan Fillion, Firefly, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) a regular guy whose wife (Amy Acker, Angel in a bit part that will leave all Joss Whedon fans in a tizzy) has been kidnapped, for no reason that he can possibly see, on their anniversary. He gets a mysterious phone call that tells him to drive somewhere without anyone else and he believes that it is a clue to finding his wife. He goes, only to discover that the only way to get answers is to join a very illegal, very mysterious, cross-country race. He is all but told that his wife will be waiting for him if he reaches the finish line as the winner. So, he goes, and is reluctantly joined by the mysterious Corinna Wiles (Kristen Lehman, Forever Knight, 24) who has no desire to win the race, seems pretty determined to take down the race, and shares a mysterious connection with the race organizers. Other racers include Wendy Patrakas (Melanie Lynskey, Two and a Half Men, Sweet Home Alabama) a woman on the run from her husband and desperate to protect her newborn son, Winston Salazar (Kevin Alejandro, Ugly Betty, Sleeper Cell), an ex-con, denied by his straight-laced corporate father, who is racing with his newly discovered brother Sean, (J.D. Pardo), a father (Dylan Baker, Spiderman 2 & 3) who has just learned he is dying and wants to leave his daughter (Emma Stone, In Search of the Partridge Family) with something to live off of, an ex-soldier (Riley Smith, Joan of Arcadia, 24) and the wife that is desperate to keep him from being called to the army again (Mircea Monroe) and three friends (Taryn Manning, Rochelle Aytes, and Michael Hyatt) who we know almost nothing about.
There are a lot of good things about this show. For one, it is action packed and there are some great characters. Alex and Corinna have interesting storylines as do the brothers, and the other characters have moments of interest. The series is worth keeping an eye on, if for nothing else, just to solve the race mystery. Tim Minear (Firefly, Angel) is working on this show and that is always a plus. However, while there are no stand-out bad actors, some of the storylines are either completely uninteresting or are have not even been touched upon yet. For an ensemble show, the action is not weighted very evenly and we spend the lionís share of the premiere with Alex and Corinna, although they are stunning.
Despite the odd balance, if I were you, I would check it out. Complete with an interesting mystery, a mostly talented cast, and eye-popping car chase scenes, Drive could be the action his of the seasonÖif it doesnít get cancelled before it gets the chance to shine.