With Apologies to Nathan Fillion

Filed under:Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on April 15, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

I didn’t expect much out of Drive, the new Nathan Fillion-led, Tim Minear-written/produced “drama” on Fox. The premise–a secret, illegal, cross-country race, as the cast of tonight’s premiere kept reminding us in those exact words–seemed weak and the previews were not promising. Unfortunately my suppositions were correct. Though I love me some Fillion, he alone can’t rescue the show from insipid, repetitive dialogue, a sinister but meaningless premise, and weak costars.

Briefly, the main characters are all in the race for a reason–Tully (Fillion) because the race’s backers have kidnapped his wife, his partner because they kidnapped her when she was a child and she watched as her parents’ car, racing to reach her, was forced off the road and over the edge of a ravine, killing them both. Others’ reasons have yet to be revealed, but Tim Minear, sick imagination that he is, saw fit to include the one thing that turns me off any show faster than anything else: endangerment of an infant. We know that “Wendy Patrakas’s” husband was abusing her and that she escaped into the race, leaving her newborn in a safe-haven care facility. But previews for coming episodes show that somebody, one presumes the abusive husband, is zeroing in on the safehouse to get to the baby. My first thought is not that the race backers will do anything to help Wendy save her child. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I can tolerate the show long enough to find out.

Like reviewers have said of Studio 60, which by the way looks to have held its last after-party at this point, it’s just too hard to accept the premise as seriously as its characters do. Like most of the TV audience seems not to care if a comedy sketch show gets produced properly, I can’t make myself care about the race as such–it produces instead only a healthy portion of, ahem, road rage at the kidnapping of Tully’s wife and the endangering of Patrakas’s baby. Not to mention the killing of “Corinna’s” parents. Though there are a few indicators–a few–that the race backers have some humanity about them, still, they are putting the “contestants” through a rat race of their choosing. One supposes that we will eventually see that these people might have something up their sleeves that makes them worthy of being “punished” in this matter, a la Lost, but unlike that erstwhile trial/judgment drama, the show’s already made me angry enough not to care about the ultimate ends and altogether disinterested enough not to bother finding out for sure.

In a nutshell, if a show makes it that difficult to see how they’re going to make sense of it all, and that boring along the way (we really need four or five scenes per hour of the cars zipping in and out of traffic as they try to outdo each other?), it won’t be long before a lot of the audience stops trying. Even dedicated Firefly fans like me.

Minear as a writer really seems to have something of a split personality. I’ve seen him put together a really incredible show, and I’ve seen him put together some junk. Come on, Minear, where’s the guy who wrote “Out of Gas”? Get him back, fast. Because, with apologies likewise to Adam Baldwin, the guy who brought us The Inside never did it for me either.


  1. “Drive” Review…

    Anwyn watched it, and wasn’t very impressed. Captain Mal deserves better, and even Firefly writer Tim Minear can’t seem to elevate this into more than a less-jokey version of Cannonball Run. These bleeds? I didn’t see it, but I still……

    Trackback by Ace of Spades HQ — April 16, 2007 @ 9:21 am

  2. as a Floridian, i was laughing the whole time, first of all, the interstate they were driving on was definitely not one in south FL, i have driven those dozens if not hundreds of times and no where on those roads do the lanes have a double yellow line signifying a carpool lane… secondly in the scene where the guy in the truck gets hit over the head and left on the road, as he stands up there is a hill/mountain in the background… those don’t exist in FL…. and finally, at the end where they are all presumably driving north on the interstate, they look out their right front window to see the shuttle launch, but if they were traveling north from the cape, the shuttle would be to their right rear… the only exception was the woman in the mini-van who looked out her left front window which would indicate that she was traveling either toward the cape on SR 520, or south on the interstate…

    Comment by chris — April 16, 2007 @ 9:37 am

  3. Ugh. Location/scene troubles as well. The hits keep coming.

    Comment by Anwyn — April 16, 2007 @ 9:48 am

  4. Yeah, it’s sad. While fast-forwarding thru the commercials on whatever Tivoed thing I was watching the other night, I caught a glimpse of Fillion’s face and backed up to watch the preview. It was so depressing I didn’t even bother to catch the premiere; I could tell I’d hate it.

    How about if they make him Chief of Surgery on Grey’s Anatomy? No? Cuddy’s new love interest on House perhaps? A deputy on Veronica Mars now that there’s a new ballgame in the Sheriff’s dept? That I’d watch.

    Comment by Anwyn's sister — April 16, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  5. Yeah, I hope that he’ll be getting something bigger and better soon.

    Comment by Anwyn — April 16, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  6. I was disappointed that Richard Brooks’ detective character didn’t ask Tully, “Does that seem right to you?”

    Comment by Daddyman — April 17, 2007 @ 6:49 am

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