Well, that was fast.
After less than three weeks on the road, Drive, the secret road-race show starring CHUD favorite Battlin’ Nathan Fillion, has been cancelled by FOX. Michael Ausiello of TV Guide ran this item in his blog, citing “multiple sources.” Official confirmation came later, with Variety reporting on its official cancellation. According to Ausiello and Variety, FOX will fill Drive’s Monday night slot with House reruns and may burn off the remaining two episodes of the series online or on Friday nights later this year.
I liked Drive a lot – it had some flaws, but it was engagingly dumb fun that didn’t take itself too seriously, unlike FOX’s other dumb actioneers 24 and Prison Break. Fillion got to showcase the side of him that’s more Harrison Ford than Kurt Russell, and the supporting cast, while uneven, had some standouts in Melanie “Milf” Lynsky, Dylan Baker and his jailbait daughter Emma Stone, and Mircea Monroe’s boobs. Even though I’m just now learning to drive, the show was very, very good car porn with some truly excellent crashes. The race sequences needed a little more pizzazz, but they were working. (There were also a couple of shout-outs to American Graffiti, which I appreciated.)
Unfortunately, when you’re FOX these days, you expect every show to do big numbers right off the bat, and when they don’t, it’s goodnight, nurse. (This is ironic because one of FOX’s biggest winners, House, was a show that didn’t do fantastic in the first half of its premiere season – it was only until they paired it with Idol that it picked up.) Drive placed fifth for the hour in the most recent episode, and its poor ratings — 1.5 million viewers in the 18-49 demo — were blamed on bringing down 24 as well. For a show that’d already been bumped to midseason so they could rework the cast and concept, I kept thinking it would have made more sense for Drive to premiere during the summer a la the first few episodes of The O.C. — as it was exactly the kind of stupid summer show people could get behind; a glossy blockbuster concept on television.
The guy who this sucks most for, though, is Drive co-creator Tim Minear, who’s beloved in the Cult Of Joss Whedon for his work on Firefly and Angel. Minear previously co-created or created the series Wonderfalls and The Inside, both of which were cancelled very quickly by the same network that canned Firefly. Maybe it’s time to look for a network that will actually support your stuff, Tim. I know you’re probably still under contract with FOX, but come on – I hear NBC’s looking for some new talent. And besides, “Not. This. Time” really isn’t as bad as “STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN.”
But fear not, Drive fanboys – if you really want to follow the continuing adventures of Alex, Corrina, Ivy, Wendy, and the Bros. Salazar (no relation to the 24 Salazars), I’m sure that there will be bad fan fiction and crappy, amateur “virtual series” to be found in the corners of the internet for years to come. Alex/Corrina OTP 4eva!