August 18th, 2006
|12:14 pm - Caution: Do Not Blog While Driving|
Some of you may have heard about Drive, Tim Minear's new project for FOX, his abusive boyfriend. It's about a secret cross-country road race. That's pretty much all I knew, and that's all you get to know at this point.
A couple days ago, by some crazy twist of fate, Blogger.com chose, as a Blog of Note, the Drive blog. This was very fortuitous because I had just been contacted by the person in charge of the blog to write a review of the pilot script. He posted his own, which is really good. My review of an earlier draft went up today, and I will reproduce it here behind a cut because, well, I wrote it. But you should also go leave comments on the blog post itself to show interest and create buzz! Neither review contains any major spoilers; we've both done our best to keep as much under wraps as possible because the surprises in the pilot are so much fun.
Lost meets The Amazing Race. Magnolia meets North by Northwest. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Two of these could be used as pitches for Drive, the new series in development by Tim Minear (
Buffy Angel, Wonderfalls, The Inside) and Ben Queen (Century City). The other has no relevance that I know of, but the beauty of this show is that you can't discount the possibility that Abbott and/or Costello may be behind the whole thing. The pilot script draft I read presents the Race as a mysterious and dangerous event whose mystery is only exceeded by its danger.
Pithy references aside, the pilot does a fantastic job of plunging the audience into the world of the show and then expecting it to keep up, in exactly the same way the participants of the Race have been. Following a short introduction, the teaser kicks off with the camera frantically flying from vehicle to vehicle, briefly giving us a glimpse of the cast of characters. Even these brief scenes show the diversity of personalities among the teams. A reluctant father and his disaffected teenage daughter, who has no idea what her dad has gotten her into. A pair of bickering brothers, whose constant "Shut up"/"YOU shut up" exchange is one of my favorite recurring jokes, both because it's so true to brotherly interaction and for the payoff at the end. A mother and infant who aren't where they're supposed to be. All sorts of interpersonal relationships are accounted for.
All by himself, however, is Alex Tully, who begins the show as our partner, the Exposition Conduit. He has the amazing ability to have the camera on him when characters are explaining to him the rules, both official and unofficial, of the Race! Through him, we learn the shady, unnerving intricacies of this most dangerous game, and I would not dream of explaining any further. Suffice it to say that participation in the Race requires much more than simply hitting up Yahoo!Maps to find the dopest route.
One of the major strengths of the pilot is its breakneck pacing. You cannot have a show called Drive and have it be slow. That is a show called Stuck in Traffic that nobody wants to watch. The premise here demands scenes of people running to their vehicles, revving their engines, threading through traffic: whatever needs to be done to get to the destination. In addition, the pilot deftly juggles its multiple characters so that you're always jumping from one set to the next; not long after you're hit with a surprising revelation, BAM! you get another one. It had me turning pages excitedly, and if it's that thrilling on the page, I can't wait to see it on the screen.
The other major strength is the sense of discovery that is inherent to pilots but promises to pervade the entire show. Minear and Queen have set up a rich, complicated world where nothing is what it seems. One particularly brilliant move is that no one knows who else is in the Race. This lends the show a healthy vibe of paranoia, as any new character is met with immediate suspicion. Is he a participant? Is she an operative? Are they, perchance, completely unconnected? Even the characters we meet firsthand are suspect. Why are they in the Race? What's at stake? Is it just for the money, or is there something more? How far will they go to win? Although we only get a small taste of it in the pilot, it will be especially delicious when the competitors begin to get wise to each other and actually start...competing. Or even collaborating. I'm rooting for Alex, myself. Or maybe John and Violet Ashton. Or the Salazar brothers.
Reading the script left me thinking, "Holy crap, that was awesome. I want more." We can only hope that FOX has the same reaction after seeing the pilot and puts it in the midseason line-up. Because this show is primed to grab America by the balls and never let go.
Read the reviews and get anticipatory! I really think this one might actually have enough mainstream appeal to last till the end of the season. Conspiracies and paranoia are totally in these days. And did I mention Nicholas Lea plays an important role? With both arms functioning!
Current Mood: guilty
Current Music: No Doubt - Excuse Me Mr.
Nicholas Lea! I'll be there. Also, that's an awesome icon.
I wondered where he'd been, and it turns out he's been working all this time! All these episodes of Andromeda, C.S.I., some random show called Whistler, and Kyle XY.
And yes, it is an awesome icon for an awesome moment.
It's Minear, so I'm definitely going to give it a look.
Excellent! You made me want to watch it. I love Tim's writing, but The Inside was just too much for me (as relates to my tastes and squicks; this is not mentioned as a criticism of its quality), and left me unenthusiastic about Drive. I want to be enthusiastic about Tim's work, and you fixed that, so thank you.
I should mention, I'm totally taking your cut-tag as a shout-out to me.
Uh, it totally is. *hearts you*
I'm glad I reinvigorated your enthusiasm! This doesn't look to be squicky like The Inside. Just mad crazy fun and excitement.
This is where I am happy for torrents, because if it even makes it to Australia, I can just see it being screwed over and broadcast after midnight.
Duuuuuuuuuuuude! Nice review. I mean as in "nicely written" as well as "says nice things". :)
Thanks for that. I am so ridiculously behind on the Minearverse news and Gossip. Nicholas Lea? AWESOME!
Can't wait to see this!
I agree that Stuck in Traffic would be a weak premise for a TV show, although it could perhaps make for an interesting collection of short films. :/
That I do, Melanie. That I do.
I love it when people use "pithy." It needs to be used much more in everyday speech.
And, I hope Drive is well executed. I need more television shows this year. Three shows just aren't enough.
I hope it is executed very poorly, so poorly that the failure to execute it causes it to run for five seasons due to the sheer ineptitude of the FOX Grand High Executioner.
If things go as planned, it will be a midseason replacement on FOX in January or March.
It sounds like a fun show. I'll have to check it out.
I'm confused, is it a reality show, or a show about a reality show? I guess if it has a script, the latter, but I'm still confused. But not because you're review wasn't good, because it was.
It's neither. It's a drama about characters in an secret race. No TV cameras following them around because that could be a liability when they, you know, die.
I am so making a tv show called stuck in traffic when I grow up.
|Date:||August 21st, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)|| |
YEA. I saw that a couple days ago and thought, WTF? SUNIL GOT TO READ THE DRIVE PILOT?!?!?
Damn, you're too cool. I can't wait for this one. Just the fact that it's a Minear show has me jazzed enough. What is the state on the show? Midseason?
It's not officially slated for midseason yet, but that's where it will be, as long as it gets picked up.
|Date:||August 21st, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)|| |
As a huge Nick Lea fan I wonder if you could reveal something about Nicks role? Just a tiny bit? What do you think are the chances that Drive gets picked up as a series?
Nick is one of the operatives behind the Race, Mr. Bright. He seems to be the proxy between the players and the organizers, the one who actually contacts the players with rules and instructions and all that. So he's kind of on the "bad" side, but he's not malevolent. He's just doing his job. And he has fun with it.
I really think this show has a chance. It's got that conspiracy/paranoia vibe that is all the rage these days.
I missed the last episode of Whistler. Caught all of Kyle. Lunch With Charles was on Toronto tv last week. Can't wait for Drive.