The TV cemetery is littered with the tombstones of unjustly culled shows. Among the Bobby Davro’s Rock With Laughters and Up The Elephant And Round The Castles you’ll find the likes of Veronica Mars, Firefly and Bodies. And this summer saw Fox’s ratings flop Drive join this list of unfortunate shows. Cancelled after only four episodes, Drive was a terrific high-octane drama that co-creator Tim Minear described as "anything from Cannonball Run to The Game to North by Northwest to Magnolia-on-wheels". The series premise is simple but ingenious: a group of ordinary Americans are selected by a mysterious organisation to take part in a secret illegal underground road race with a $32 million prize for the winner. Most are in it for the money but for Alex Tully (Nathan Fillion) the stakes are higher – the race organisers have kidnapped his wife and to have any hope of seeing her again he must win the race. If they gave this incentive to Louis Hamilton I think we’d see a few more podium finishes. Although, he was fucking that poisonous sow Danielle Lloyd so maybe not
"A bunch of other cunts with fascinating stories seek the cash as well but we’ll never get to know about them because they pulled the series."
Tully partners with Corinna Wiles (Kristin Lehman) who watched her parents die in a previous version of the race 27 years earlier. The sadistic fucks kidnapped her and use her as bait to secure her parents’ participation in the event. Like everyone taking part, she has a colourful past. Recently freed jailbird Winston Salazar teams up with the half-brother he’s just met Sean. Wendy Patrakas seeks a new future for her newborn son Sam away from her abusive husband. A bunch of other cunts with fascinating stories seek the cash as well but we’ll never get to know about them because they pulled the series. I was looking forward to hearing the story about the elderly couple on the touring motorbike (Jimmy and Ceal Cousins the intermeweb tells me).
"Briefcase carrying nerdocrat Mr. Bright (Charles Martin Smith) dishes out penalties and rewards to the hapless contestants"
The wacky racers main contact with the race organisers is through the briefcase carrying nerdocrat Mr. Bright (Charles Martin Smith) who dishes out penalties and rewards to the hapless contestants. Each race stage has a cryptic clue referring to the stage’s finishing line. So driving fast isn’t good enough – you’ve got to drive smart. The clues are communicated through the mobile-phones handed out to all competitors. One wonders how the old race functioned in the days before SMS? CB radio I imagine.
"It’s fundamentally mad and makes no sense but it’s pacy, funny, and exciting. It’s a mystery in the style of Lost or The Prisoner where a malevolent unseen Other fucks with everyone and whose motives are anybody’s guess."
After the excellent initial four episodes and the cancellation announcement, FOX announced that the final two episodes would air on July 4, 2007. they then fucked about, rescheduling them for July 13 and then fucked about once again and pulled the episodes from broadcast altogether. The final two episodes were posted online on July 15 putting a full-stop on one of the more bizarre programming sagas we’ve seen recently.
You really should see this. It’s fundamentally mad and makes no sense but it’s pacy, funny, and exciting. It’s a mystery in the style of Lost or The Prisoner where a malevolent unseen Other fucks with everyone and whose motives are anybody’s guess. Furthermore, there’s lots of a great car chase action. It had real potential but apparently America would rather be watching Deal Or No Deal. Go figure.
The best thing about it: Nathan Fillion
The worst thing about it: Stupid Fox stupid cancelling it.
The verdict on Drive : Free love on the free love freeway.
Marks out of 10: 8