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April 16, 2007

Fox Drives me crazy with its new action driving adventure show

Ap_drive_logo "The next time you're cut off by crazed drivers on your way to work, give them a little slack. They could be racing for their lives." (Or so says the official DRIVE text on the microsite. I spent four hours watching the season premiere of DRIVE tonight... once live, and then again on video tape because I suffered so many  interruptions the first time, it was impossible to follow it.)

DRIVE is an action-fueled drama following a diverse group of Americans competing for their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) in an illegal, underground cross-country road race. Some of them have been coerced into joining "The Race"; others have sought out The Race themselves, hearing rumors of the $32-million prize. Each has a reason to compete. And each must win. (Again, so says the official schpiel.)

Tonight's two-hour premiere introduced us to each of the characters and provided a small amount of information into their backgrounds and reasons for joining the race. It appears the show will focus on one segment of the race each week, as we watch the racers face the challenges of the road as well as their life. Its regular timeslot will be Monday nights at 8pm on Fox... so now I'll be watching my local Fox affiliate for TWO hours every Monday night since DRIVE leads into my favorite show "24" -- and then I'll be sharing my comments on the show so you can read them on Tuesday morning.

Ap_drive_database The show also has a cool microsite that allows us to peek into the "reason2drive" database for more information on each of the characters and their reasons for racing. It also offers an opportunity to put yourself in to the show thanks to an online driving game.

Here's the official lowdown on the characters:
Ap_drivesplash_2 ALEX TULLY (Nathan Fillion, "Firefly," "Slither") is thrust into The Race in an effort to find his missing wife. New mother WENDY PATRAKAS (Melanie Lynskey) is on the run from her husband and competing for the safety of her newborn baby - or possibly something much more extraordinary. JOHN TRIMBLE (Dylan Baker) is a buttoned-down scientist who embraces The Race as the last chance to show his rebellious 15-year-old daughter VIOLET (Emma Stone) that he can be spontaneous. WINSTON SALAZAR (Kevin Alejandro) views The Race as an opportunity to leave his criminal past behind and bond with SEAN (J.D. Pardo), the half-brother he has only just met. Hurricane Katrina survivors IVY CHITTY (Taryn Manning, "Hustle & Flow"), LEIGH BARNTHOUSE (Rochelle Aytes) and SUSAN CHAMBLEE (Michael Hyatt) are determined to start their lives over and help rebuild their fallen city with The Race's winnings. ELLIE HOWE (Mircea Monroe) sees The Race as an opportunity to keep her boyfriend, military specialist ROB LAIRD (Riley Smith), from being sent back to Iraq. And CORINNA WILES (Kristin Lehman), who becomes an uneasy partner with Alex, is a gorgeous and mysterious stowaway who may well hold the key to the secrets of "The Race" and its mysterious benefactors.

Although MR. BRIGHT (Charles Martin Smith), The Race liaison, has informed them that there are other competitors, the group does not know exactly whom they're racing against, or even where the finish line is. With each mile clocked, the drivers get closer - not only to the end of the road and a critical, life-changing victory, but to understanding the mystery behind The Race itself.

Created, executive-produced and written by Tim Minear and Ben Queen, DRIVE is a 20th Century Fox Television Production. Greg Yaitanes serves as an executive producer and director.

Brandy_schaffels_s Come back tomorrow for part two of my ongoing DRIVE blog. I'll have more info on the characters, as well as photos, and show commentary.

by Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor and Television Watcher

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