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Heres a write up Jeff...

'Drive' a whir of fun, mayhem; 'Jane' superficial
Tribune television critic

April 13 2007

There's good escapism; then there are shows that give the word a bad name.

"Drive," which has a two-hour premiere 8 p.m. Sunday on Fox (the show then moves to Mondays), is the kind of well-made brain candy that nearly demands that you watch it with a bowl of popcorn . The sturdily crafted saga follows competitors in an illegal cross-country road race, and it percolates along nicely, with just the right amounts of action and deft character development. It's not going to re-invent television as we know it, but that hardly matters. It's good, clean fun, and who doesn't like a dose of motor-vehicle mayhem now and again?

"Firefly's" Nathan Fillion plays Alex Tully, who's in the race against his will. His wife is missing, and eventually he finds himself on the road and under the thumb of the mysterious people running the secret road race. Through an affable spokesman, the race authorities keep reminding Tully they have his wife, and that if he wants to see her again, he must win the competition.

Fillion's impossible not to like, and you're soon caught up in not only his search for his wife but the race itself. The road sequences are exciting, escapist fun at its best ("Drive" often recalls the best of "The Amazing Race," and that's a good thing). Other standouts in the cast include Dylan Baker, a Walter Mitty type who's racing with his teen daughter, and Kevin Alejandro of "Ugly Betty" as a former prisoner who's forced into collaborating on the race with his uptight brother.

Will watching people racing around in cars get old? Possibly (though there are non-racing scenes throughout the show, it should be noted). And if you're thinking that this show resembles serialized fare such as last fall's "Day Break," you're right. So you have to wonder if Fox will yank this show early (as it has done to other shows from "Drive" co-creator Tim Minear, who was behind "Wonderfalls" and "The Inside"). We've been down this road with "Kidnapped" and "Day Break," and I don't blame folks for being wary of a semi-serialized show that may not finish its run.

This is the kind of show that nearly demands a one- or two-season limited run -- if that. Fox's "Prison Break" is a textbook example of what goes wrong when a good but narrow concept is stretched way past its breaking point.

In any case, "Drive" is worth the risk. Even if you don't know where you're going, or how long the show will last, this is one of those cases in which getting there is more than half the fun.,0,7905443,print.story?coll=mmx-television_heds

Jeffrey Scott:
thanks for the article. Yes, many of the same thought I was having. I'll save my judgement for after the first episode.

I'm going to record it also.  Can't miss TAR.  It's getting good now!


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