Monday, April 16, 2007

“I don’t mean to wobble” – Drive

It’s funny to go from reviewing Prison Break to reviewing Drive, because my one big negative in regards to Prison Break – it’s ever escalating level of silliness – could also be said of Drive, and yet with Drive I count its silliness as a definite positive. Drive proves that if a show manages to strike the right balance between silly and just plain stupid, it can work brilliantly. But it takes as great a writer as Tim Minear, and as clever a premise as a illegal cross-country road race, to strike that balance just right.

Not to say that Drive is perfect. The simplistic action movie-style car chases aren’t very well shot and end up the most boring parts of the show; though admittedly, they are few and far between. The show also seems unconcerned with making its characters empathetic – Nathan Fillion’s Alex Tully is undoubtedly the show’s moral centre, but he’s also the only member of the ensemble with a backstory that truly invests us in his fate. Most of the other characters are selfish assholes without any trace of morals. His partner Corinna has admittedly been given her own backstory in the second episode that explained her own reasons for being in the race – avenging the death of her parents – but she’d screwed Alex around so much in the past two hours that it’s still hard to empathise with her. Hopefully this flaw can be fixed in subsequent episodes by giving more background to the rest of the ensemble.

These flaws, however, are easily forgivable in the face of such an unashamedly fun show. After a slightly slow opening, Drive soon kicked into gear (sorry) and from that point on delivered one of the most entertaining eighty minutes of this television season. The introduction of the plot and characters, which can often weigh a pilot down, whizzed by at a lighting-fast pace and yet I never felt overloaded with information as I did with the pilot of The Nine, for instance. As soon as the road race kicked off and the camera began flitting between the various vehicles, with the various characters inside shouting at each other as they speed through the motorway, Alex finding himself chased down by a gun-wielding mystery man, and Corinna popping out of his trunk – the whole thing had such an infectious enthusiasm to it that it quickly won me over. Fillion’s immense charisma and star-power were no hindrance either.

Despite its disappointing ratings, I’m hoping Drive isn’t doomed to cancellation as everyone seems to think it is. If Minear and co. keep up the pace, the fun and the surprises as they have done with these first two episodes, they could have a hit on their hands. Either way, they’ve got me hooked already.


Libby said...

Since I'm an idiot, I'll post my Entourage thoughts here ... See above for Drive.

I find Eric to be supremely irritating and completely boring. Without Ari, Eric is a completely superfluous character, which is why I think they're straining so much to create conflict for him. Conflict, which I may add, that no one is interested in.

But maybe it's just me.

Kenny said...

Aww... did it get terrible ratings? I just wrote a rave on it, myself. I doubt that you could sustain this as long as, say, Lost--at least not without losing what I love about it--but I want them to keep it going. I'm just hoping they'll have enough episodes to make a satisfying DVD set.