Friday, April 13, 2007

Driving On Painkillers

For those of the more fantasy-inclined among us, a couple of new series debuting this weekend should pique some interest.

Tonight marks the debut of "Painkiller Jane," (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) based on the comic book series of the same name. Starring "Terminator 3" sexy cyborg Kristianna Loken, the show has been described as "Heroes" in reverse: This time, it's the lone super agent - who is completely invulnerable - working for a shadow agency who is being used to hunt down people with powers.

Though "Jane" has gotten mixed reviews thus far, Sci-Fi has a solid track record with its original programming, so it may be worth a look. (Loken herself is worth many looks).

Also hitting the air is "Drive" (Fox, Sunday, 8 p.m.), one of the weirder concepts to hit the airwaves in a while. Think the cast of "Lost" running "The Amazing Race," and you have a bit of an idea of what this show is about.

Created by the always-terrific Tim Minear ("Angel," "Firefly," "Wonderfalls"), the show involves many people who find themselves caught up in a cross-country race sponsored by a mysterious organization (is there any other type of organization on TV these days?) for a prize of $32 million. But many of the racers have other motivations to drive, such as lead star (the always-likeable Nathon Fillion), who is trying to rescue his kidnapped wife (the even-more-delightful Amy Acker).

Minear has tended to get the short end of the stick from Fox with his other series, so hopefully this one will get a chance to get some breathing room. Hopefully, Minear has taken a page from the "Heroes" playbook and will answer some of the mysteries of the show at a regular pace rather than drag it out.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: A pretty quiet night on Friday, filled with mostly reruns. The only new drama tonight is "Raines" (NBC, 9 p.m.)

Here is yet another pitch for "Robin Hood" (BBC America, Sat., 9 p.m.) a ripping good yarn that has a lot of fun with the famed legend.

It was disheartening to see my favorite team of Uchenna and Joyce get knocked off last week's "Amazing Race" (CBS, Sun., 8 p.m.), particularly because of an airline snafu. (Boy, teams have really taken their lumps because of the airlines this season). Hopefully, Danny and Oswald will win out.

"The Apprentice" (NBC, 9 p.m.) wraps up its season with a two-hour challenge, apparently tweaking things this time with a four-person finals. (Steffani is so ridiculously ahead of the pack, it's not even funny, but watch Trump pick James). Of course, most of the other tweaks Trump has done this season (the winning project manager keeping the job until he/she loses, having the losing team live in tents) have sucked big time, so who knows how this will turn out. At least it won't be like Season 2, in which Trump spent three hours totally screwing over a former schoolmate of mine on live TV.


Anonymous said...

(this is zodin2008)

Thanks for reminding us 'Sci Fi fans' about "Painkiller Jane". I wasn't sure if I had missed the premier or not and it sounded intriguing enough to watch the pilot. Not all SF shows have been winners...I was bored and confused by "The Dresden Files" and gave uip on that midway through episode #2, though I liked the lead actor.

Loken is hot so yes, she's always worth a look. I will set the DVR.

As for "Drive", I can't say I am wild about the concept per say, but it's Tim Minear, it's Nathan Fillion, and now you have upped the good news by telling me that they have cast the adorable Amy Acker as Fillion's wife. Looks like Minear is giving the Whedon crowd some of their favorite actors backs. And count me as hardcore among the Whedon crowd.

Speaking of which...will Joss ever produce another TV show? The wait is killing us and let's face it, no one on TV has ever been better then Joss.

Phillip Ramati said...

I like the Dresden Files better than you. After an admittedly slow start, it has picked up in recent weeks, and the season finale airs Sunday.

Drive is probably worth a look, though given Minear's track record on Fox, I'm not holding out hope for a long run.

I doubt Joss is coming back to TV for a while, given the gut-wrenching experiences he had battling the networks over Buffy, Angel and Firefly. Even though he is off Wonder Woman, I expect he'll be sticking with the big screen for a while, assuming he also gets to direct. He also is writing about six different comics titles, so he has his hands full.

Phillip Ramati said...

Mea culpa on something I wrote in the blog, I said The Apprentice was ending this week. The final challenge is this week, and the season finale is next week at 10 p.m.

Anonymous said...

I didn't love the "Painkiller" pilot. I am still trying to find a 2nd show after "Battlestar" on Sci Fi that I like.

This Girl said...

I actually liked Painkiller Jane. Some of the exposition was stilted, but I like Loken as the badass. I think it will come into its own. I gave up on Dresden Files at the end of the first episode. If it is getting good, I'm glad. More good sci-fi takes the stigma off of sci-fi in general. Or some schlock like that. I am interested in Drive, not because it looks good but because I miss Mal.

Phillip Ramati said...

The Painkiller Jane pilot was pretty uneven, but there was enough there for another look. I thought the Dresden Files really picked over its last few episodes.