So it's been five days since the show/episode's premiere, but I'm just getting around to it. Busy schedule. With Arrow gone until the fall, I need something to review on Wednesdays.

Blood Drive is an over-the-top "grindhouse"-style series set in the not-so-distant future (next Sunday, AD?). Oil is $200 a barrel, and cars run on human blood. America --and presumably the world--are in economic crisis, and we're told in the opening narration that the only way out is the $10 million prize for winning the Blood Drive and becoming the Primo. Some people race for the money, some people because they're psychos.

In "The F*ucking Cop" our primary protagonist is Arthur Bailey (Alan Ritchson--Blue Mountain State, Aquaman on Smallville) He's a cop in LA, and the police have been taken over by ContraCrime, a private company. Turns out that they're part of Heart: more in a minute.

"Saint Arthur" and his partner Chris stumble across the Blood Drive. Given a choice of either being killed or hamming it up to become a driver, Arthur hams it up and is paired via an explosive implant with Grace Argento, a bad-girl racer who needs the $10 million to help her sister with some unspecified problem. Arthur gets tossed in Grace's car and off they go. Arthur insists on still being a cop during the race, at least in the first episode. But he soon finds himself on a shaky path when he has to fight a rival driver over a car of cheerleaders/fuel, and negotiate with rival driver The Gentleman and his engineer, The Scholar.

All of this delays Grace's car so they're coming in last at the checkpoint. Coming in last at a checkpoint means the MC, Julian Swank (Colin Cunningham), activates your implant. Conveniently, a heavy dose of adrenaline blocks the signal. So Arthur and Grace have sex to save their lives, even though so far they hate each other, and they survive coming in last. Julian assures Arthur that he's changed the signal so the same thing won't work again, the crowd chants the episode title, and Arthur discovers that Heart is sponsoring the race.

Meanwhile, Chris investigates a blood-donor fueling crime ring. He teams up with new cop Aki, only to discover that she's an android and that she's in on the whole thing. Judging from the previews, Chris will be strung up for blood and tortured for some of the next 12 episodes. He's already more-or-less lost his left eye. Between that and the previews, one gets the impression he'll be the butt of most of the physical/torture "humor".

There's also plenty of SyFy nudity, expletives, in-jokes poking fun at SyFy executives and network censorship, and blood not just showing but spewing everywhere like Evil Dead. The red stuff doesn't just flow, it shoots as people are tossed into the mouth-like gear-gnashing engines that drain off the human blood and drop the grisly remains out the bottom of the car.

We don't find out much about the characters. Arthur is literally "Saint Arthur," so I suppose the fun is seeing him slowly compromise his morals. His partner Chris is the opposite extreme: he starts as a play-along-to-get-along guy but has an unexpected noble streak. For which he'll apparently get punished for big-time.

We don't know anything much so far about Aki. And Grace is the "Bad gal with a heart of gold" type. Heck, she tosses a would-be rapist into her engine-chipper in the opening tag, and then uses another guy's arm to "top off her tank." But she's racing to help her (presumably) sick sister, and she soon develops a soft spot for undesired partner Austin. I suppose she'd have to, as 13 episodes of her ragging on them would get a bit old.

The most interesting of the main cast is Julian. As actor Cunningham describes him, he's a combination of Joel Grey, Tim Curry, and Gene Wilder. He works for Heart, but also ignores a knife thrown into his hand (is he an android like Aki?), and seems to be playing the corruptor. Julian is the one telling Austin to embrace his inner darkness, after all. It also looks like Julian will get to be meta-voice of the show. He does the opening narration where he calls the audience "mouthbreathers", and some of the other episodes have him giving the middle-finger to the barely-disguised SyFy Executives who sponsor the Blood Drive.

We also get a brief look at The Gentleman, who is one of those literal-word-of-the-deal types rather than a "spirit of the deal" guy. The other drivers don't get more than names and brief appearances: Rib Bone is a cannibal/killer type, Cliff (who looks a little like Stephen Root) appears to be a salariman in over his head, Domi is a lesbian, and so on.

So if you're big on grindhouse-style movies with social commentary thrown in, particularly Death Race 2000 (the original, not the remake), or just want to see lots of blood, sex, and cursing, Blood Drive is the show for you. Wednesdays at 9/8 central. Be there, or be bloodfree. Aloha.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (4)
Jun 25, 2017
You know, for blood being their fuel, they sure seem to waste a lot of it.
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