Now here’s a high concept. Everyman landscaping dude (Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, so deserving of stardom) learns that his wife has gone missing (kidnapped?), and his only hope of finding her is to partner with an equally desperate Woman With Secrets (Kristin Lehman) in a mucho mysterious cross-country car race with a mythic history and a $32 million prize. Their competition includes an emotionally battered housewife and new mom (Two and a Half Men‘s Melanie Lynskey) on the run from her husband; an ex-con (Kevin Alejandro) freshly sprung from the joint; and a pair of masked motorcyclists who turn out to be geezers. Fox should mail out racing forms to help keep track of everyone.
A mad, mad, mad, madcap marriage of The Amazing Race and The Game, Drive presents an outrageous scenario that requires some suspension of disbelief. He’s got to win the race to…rescue his wife? He can’t just get the police on this one? The pilot seems keenly aware of its own hard-to-swallowness, and executive producers Tim Minear (Wonderfalls) and Ben Queen seem to think that by loading up on good humor (embodied by a wry Charles Martin Smith as the vaguely sinister emcee of the race) and blood-pumping action, viewers will just roll with it.
Done. Now I hope Drive will stop winking and fully embrace its crackerjack Lost-on-wheels conceit. Give us mystery. Give us mythology. And give us some meaty secondary characters. But with some fine-tuning and bolder steering, Drive could be one souped-up storytelling machine. B