Who's Gonna Drive You Home?

Why, Nathan Fillion, of course. Sorry, Ric Ocasek fans. The fanboy favorite of Buffy, Firefly and Slither stars in Fox’s new series called Drive. It’s like The Amazing Race, except the contest is called only “The Race,” and if you get eliminated, you don’t get a conciliatory hug from an affable Aussie… your wife gets killed. Or something equally bad happens. Maybe.

Buried secrets abound in this show, and it’s a fairly safe guess they’ll all come to light once a group of ordinary strangers are forced to Cannonball Run across the country in search of $32 million and resolution of their personal dilemmas. So is it any good?

Based on the first handful of episodes, I’d say… sure. With reservations. Drive requires a pretty healthy suspension of disbelief. And I mean healthy like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable healthy – if you’re one of those people who say things like “that wouldn’t happen,” then watching this show shouldn’t happen. The Race itself is a little questionable, some of the pairings are suspect (particularly the estranged good/bad brother combo), and the show has a flight of fancy feeling overall.

But if you don’t get hung up on the details, it’s fun. Fillion’s always good, the accountant from The Untouchables is appealing as The Race’s DungeonMaster, and it’s a decent car chase every week. Plus, the producers have a good pedigree, with shows like Angel and Wonderfalls under their belt. Put your mind on cruise control and enjoy.


Thank Whoever or Whatever You Happen to Believe In You're Here

Pilot Opinion: Thank God You're Here
This new comedy show, sort of a spiritual successor to Whose Line is it Anyway, is an Australian import. Guest comedians are sent into a scene with no more preparation than than their character's costume – they've got to improv their way to comedy gold! It's funnyish, but unfortunately it strikes something more like comedy bronze. Maybe comedy brass.

The setup is sound, but the execution is... safe. As host, former In Living Color player David Alan Grier fawns all over the guests and tries to come up with synonyms for the door he sends the comedians thru. "Enter the Portal of Possibilities" and such. Kids in the Hall alum Dave Foley is ostensibly the judge, but it's like American Idol with all Paulas. "Ohhh, so wonderful – I can't decide which is funner!" Hm. I can.

Even the improv feels approved for network family hour. Comedy ought to be a little dangerous and plenty provocative, and the first two episodes of TGYH won't do anything to upset your V-Chip. The show also got less funny as it went on; past the initial gimmick it's a bit devoid of life.

It's pleasant enough watching; ok to have in the background, but not worth clogging space on your DVR.


The debate is over...

...it IS a Cheer-ocracy!

As faithful readers may or may not remember, I've been all over this issue since the beginning – do we, or do we not, live in a Cheer-ocracy. I am happy to report that further evidence has come to light, thanks to an often-prophetic force - teenybopper girl pop singers.

One can track their cheerful influence on top pop hits thru the decades. Take "Hey, Mickey, you're so fine." With a cheerleader-based video so fine it blew your mind. Or more recently, Gwen Stefani's declaration that she Ain't no Hollaback Girl. Listen to the lyrics: "bananas... b-a-n-a-n-a-s" and you'll wonder whether you are, in fact, listening to Nostradamus instead of No Doubt.

And despite the protests of a fellow blogger, another pop princess is in the process of confirming our Cheer-ocracy status - lil' Avril. Her new opus, Girlfriend, follows in the pom-pon-clad footsteps of the aforementioned cheeriffic hits.

Take a listen to the lyrics, dominated by "hey! hey!" and handclaps and I'm sure you'll agree - we live in a Cheer-ocracy.

Which may give Hilary an unforseen edge in '08.