Consider this the smoke alarm that alerts you to the extreme hotness of Fox's upcoming Drive. It's written by Tim Minear (Angel). It stars Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity, Lost). And it is awesome. The suspense, the action and the comedy are all top-notch, and heck, Prison Break is off until next year, so seriously, whose sculpted abs are you going to be eyeing Mondays at 8 anyway?
After checking in with cast and crew on set and at a fan event last night at Universal CityWalk (thanks to the help of our new WWK addition and fellow instant Drive fan, Jennifer Godwin), there is much to tell you about this high-octane thrill ride—and no, Fox didn't pay me to say that!—that has its two-night premiere this Sunday and Monday.
So, here are six reasons why you must watch:
1. The Premise: If you haven't seen the umptrillion promos for Drive airing during Idol, the basic story is that a band of mismatched average joes are recruited by a secret organization to participate in an illegal, cross-country road race. Crazy, yes, but the prize is $32 million, an amount that can instantly cure whatever ails the winning driver (debt, missing loved ones, family issues, etc.). Um, can we play?
2. The Pretty: Nathan frickin' Fillion. In case you hadn't noticed, the man is easy on the eyes. He's playing Alex Tully, a man with a dark past who wants to save his kidnapped wife (played by Amy Acker of Angel). Producer Tim Minear compares Alex Tully to Viggo Mortensen's character in A History of Violence, which makes my undergarments drop to the floor of their own accord (not my fault!). Nathan says, "Alex has basically led two lives. He's sacrificed the first life to enjoy this second life, to start anew, and now he's having to dip back into that first life."
3. The Patrakas: Wendy Patrakas, "the mom in the minivan," is played by Melanie Lynskey, and she will simply break your heart—and make you laugh out loud. The producers describe her as "our secret weapon."
4. The Parolee: You all know Kevin Alejandro from his gig as Justin's dad on Ugly Betty, but in Drive, he goes from thickheaded thug in Queens to thickheaded thug on the road in a bitchin' '69 Impala. (An Impala makes a big difference, I'll have you know.) His character, Winston Salazar, gets out of jail only to meet his half-brother for the first time under unfavorable circumstances. Hot jailbird with hot brother issues? Told ya this was a good replacement for Prison Break!
5. The Producer: Folks, isn't it about time we gave Tim Minear the hit show he so rightly deserves? He wrote many of Angel's greatest episodes, he executive produced Wonderfalls and Firefly, and he's generally considered to be the second coming of Joss Whedon. He also sent out just about the funniest show-promo letter to the press ever, which makes me heart him all the more.
6. The Peril: Everyone has secret mysteries that tie them to the race, and in classic Minear fashion, some are probably not long for this world. As Tim said about the entire ensemble of characters: "If they don't have a dark secret in their past, I'll give them one in their future."
Now, go set your DVRs and meet me back here on Monday so I can dish more on the show in the chat—because the upcoming plot twists on this little Drive are gonna make your head spin. (Have the Dramamine standing by.)
—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin