Sep 102017
 

This episode starts with a dilemma as Arthur, the Dumbest Man in the Apocalypse, has a gut wound and Grace is trying to get him to a doctor. They are in the middle of nowhere, or to be more accurate, right next to the dreaded Scar which has cracked America in half and in my humble opinion, leads straight to Hell. In the middle of this wasteland is a highly suspicious Chinese restaurant that could have come from the Twilight Zone.

The owner of the restaurant is an older Chinese woman who comes across as the worse caricature of Asian-American cinema and just when you think Blood Drive might have finally crossed some sort of line to finally offend me, the Chinese woman breaks character and rightly explains that Americans want the stereotypes or else they don’t consider it authentic. She becomes Regular Wise Woman instead of Chinese Wise Woman and offers to heal Arthur.

Unfortunately when you end up at a restaurant the edge of the entrance to Hell, this is not a simple medical emergency. This is a VISION QUEST and oh Sweet Vincent Price, Arthur is the least qualified person to go rummaging on a vision quest.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate once again how Blood Drive both embraces the source material and yet rises above it. Other shows and movies would have been perfectly happy to have a racist stereotype and wave it off as being true to the grindhouse genre. Blood Drive acknowledges it, calls it out, and moves on. Man, I love this show.

Back to Arthur’s vision quest. He gets Evil Robot Woman as his spirit guide and it is cool to see the actress in another role. She very clearly explains the traps of his mind and Arthur very clearly falls for each and every trap. At least Arthur is true to type.

Grace on the other hand has a kick-ass fight with the Wise Woman and loses while Wise Woman points out that gasp, Grace has gone soft because of Arthur’s good influence.

Meanwhile, Arthur goes through Hell. He enjoys domestic bliss with Grace before she is revealed to be a murdering killer. He gets chased by zombie versions of Blood Driver drivers and her get betrayed and then tortured by his best friend, Tortured Cop. Holy crap, that torture scene was brutal.

At the end of Arthur’s vision quest, we see Arthur’s origin story. He was a thief that got into a gun battle with a cop over some stolen food. The cop decided to let him go with the food and cover his crime, in exchange for Arthur being a better guy. Arthur agrees, and that’s when the cop dies from the bullet that Arthur shot into him earlier. Oops! Arthur feels bad, and the cop decides this guy should be one to carry on his conspiracy-busting work. Arthur agrees.

Obviously the lesson from all of this is to not pass on your life’s work to the idiot that shot you and didn’t even realize it.

No wait, the lesson from all of this is that we finally see why Arthur is the Dumbest Man in the Apocalypse. He is torn up with guilt. He made a huge dumb mistake and he has been trying to make up for it ever since by Doing the Right Thing no matter how stupid. Holy shit, we actually have a believable reason for every stupid thing Arthur has pulled. He is no longer the Dumbest Man in the Apocalypse, he is the Most-Guilt-Ridden Man in the Apocalypse.

To make sure we understand Arthur’s martyr complex, Arthur shoots himself in the heart in his dream quest. Hmmm.

Grace passes out giving blood to Arthur in the real world. When she wakes up, Arthur is gone! Where did he go?

Cliffhanger!

Stray thoughts

Wise Woman said she lost her daughter, Aki, and has a picture to make sure we understand it is Evil robot Woman and not some other girl named Aki. Wait, does that mean Aki started as human? That would explain why Robot Aki could have great sex and then turn human.

I suspect that Grace was on her own vision quest as her experiences involved fighting, swearing and admitting her love for Arthur.

Rib Bone returns as a Christ figure in a very fucked up recreation of the Last Supper. Ah, Rib Bone, I would love to see you rise from the dead.

Even Vision Quest Slink steals the show in every scene that he is in.

I love how when Grace wakes up, the Wise Woman had vanished but she still left Grace a bill.

Sep 042017
 

This episode of Blood Drive has a Western theme, complete with an evil sheriff, a gallows, a showdown and Ennio Morricone. Grace and Barbie end up in a town that has a continuous EMP pulse, preventing any sort of electricity.  This lets them remove their brain bombs and catch a short break. Grace uses her break to try to seduce Arthur but the Good Cop is too Good to just sleep with Grace when she is depressed.

However much of a Good Cop Arthur is, he is still the dumbest man in the apocalypse and a sucker for any authority figure that happens to be around. This time it is the Evil sheriff who tricks Arthur into sneaking into the next town over, and sabotaging their defenses on the flimsy premise that the people are vaguely evil. Arthur jumps at the chance until uh oh, PLOT-TWIST, the people are quite nice and the Evil Sheriff plans to hang innocent men, women and children.

Where is Grace in all this? She runs into Best Character in the Show, Slick, at the local coffee bar. Slick explains he diverted her to this no-electronics town because it is free from surveillance from Heart Industries. See, Slick is tired of Grace messing up his art and just wants to kill the woman. Corporate however has a ton of notes on Grace and won’t let him kill her. Slick plans to have a showdown with Grace and kill her ass once and for all.

Once again, the show notes are the real evil of the show.

Meanwhile, Tortured Cop gets free and spends about ten minutes back in the real world before nearly getting killed by raiders. Evil Robot Woman comes to his rescue and declares that she now feels this emotion that humans call love. Tortured Cop, with a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome, declares he loves her too. They have awesome sex and Evil Robot Woman’s eyes change. She is becoming more human and why the fuck not?

I don’t need to tell you that Grace eventually saves Arthur. I knew it was going to happen and so did you. What Blood Drive did that was clever was for the first half of the episode, we follow Arthur and his repeated attempts to get Grace to help. In the second half, we see Grace’s point of view where she is trying to find shit out from Slick and Arthur keeps bugging her about this week’s adventure until she eventually has to stop and rescues Arthur.

You know, I really wish we never saw Arthur’s side. The shit he went through was so predictable and quite frankly, the same stupid shit he always falls for, that I would have loved to have an entirely Grace episode where Arthur checks in to give us and her a bare-bones outline of the episode we don’t need to see.

“Grace! This Sheriff we met needs our help!”

Later, “Grace, that Sheriff is totally crazy! I got a bad feeling but I am going to keep doing what he asks!”

Later, “Grace, that Sheriff is really a monster and he tricked me into hurting people. Now some orphans are going to die!”

Later, “Grace, I fucked it up and now they are going to kill me too!”

That would have been awesome.

Quick thoughts,

The Scholar gets a girlfriend and becomes the new sheriff! Holy crap, is he the first character in this show to get a happy ending?

Slink got stabbed and healed as soon as the knife was withdrawn. He was also set on fire and calmly put it out. That boy ain’t human. I’m leaning into thinking Slink might be an actual demon from the Scar.

With no more brain bombs, I have a bad feeling we might not be doing the racing part of Blood Drive for much longer.

Tortured Cop’s eye-weapon is awesome and I wish I was still running role-playing games because it would be in the very next adventure.

Aug 282017
 

In this episode of Blood Drive, the Gentleman becomes the new Master of Mayhem while Slink is demoted to janitor. The Gentlemen proceeds to over-compensate by blowing up three unnamed drivers and then trying to hold a management meeting where he emphasizes having class as well as sadism. He also gives Grace and Arthur a hard time and is annoyed to discover he just can’t murder people who are not actively racing. We are also treated to the most awkward seduction attempt of all time as Arthur tries to seduce the Gentleman so Grace can steal the control box.

Meanwhile, Slink lurks around corporate headquarters somehow managing to upstage executives while wearing a janitor’s outfit. He stabs my favorite corporate executive in the cafeteria showing once more that Heart Enterprises has a very slack employee-on-employee violence policy. Slink quickly tricks Tortured Cop into doing something stupid like opening a vault door while on camera because hey, Tortured Cop wouldn’t be Tortured Cop if he wasn’t so gullible.

Speaking of Tortured Cop, he has a subplot where he discovers that Evil Robot Woman is also fucking his former Cop Boss who I had totally forgotten about. He kills Cop Boss and Aki helps him get away with it. Is the cold robot having feelings? Probably!

Inside the Vault is a terrible monster with the best origin story ever. Dr. Vermaak, heart’s mad scientist, put all the nasty chemicals he had on hand, put them in one beaker and planned to inject it into a test subject. Before he could do that, he got startled and spilled the crap in the face of the test subject who became a Brute or Hulk depending on your mythology. A Brute that is traumatically susceptible to freaking out when something wet gets on his face.

The Brute is teleported to the Blood Drive where he fucks shit up. The Gentleman begs Grace and Arthur to stop it and they sure try in an awesome fight sequence between two heroes and an unstoppable muscle machine. My favorite part of the fight is when they slam a giant blade inside the monster who then later SHITS IT OUT of his body.

The Blood Drive executives are pissed that the Brute is killing the Blood Drive and Slink offers to fix it. They know he caused it but have no choice but to put him back in charge. Slink then uses the Gentleman’s own car to ram the Brute and after popping the hood, Grace and Barbie are able to feed the monster to the engine. Problem solved!

Oh wait, there is still the matter of the Gentleman vs Slink. Slink put it best when he said, “Oh please. You can’t out-dandy me!” As Slink whips the Gentleman’s ass, Slink also brags about how he manipulated everyone into the Blood drive with years of planning and secret scheming. That scheming includes getting Grace’s sister committed to Grace would do the Blood Drive, which I really would not have done in front of Grace. Oops!

The Gentleman ends up blowing his own head off thanks to some sabotage from the Scholar and one of the Blood Drive’s best characters comes to an end. Oh well, at least we keep the Scholar who might be the show’s most sympathetic character.

Stray thoughts,

At one point, the Heart CEO gives this speech.

“This race is the greatest sacrifice in human history. It’s a blood-stained altar. The gore-soaked peak of a Mayan temple. The smoke from an erupting volcano on Mount Olympus. And that pleasing aroma is not for a god, it’s for Heart Enterprises, the most powerful corporation in the known universe.”

Now maybe I am still buzzing from American Gods but this reinforces my idea that Heart gets their power from a supernatural source. There is a dark god in that Gap and he wants sacrifices.

Grace and Arthur’s battle with the Brute was awesome mostly because it was something happening in the background and off-screen while more important shit was happening on screen. Most shows would have made the Brute fight the centerpiece of the show but Blood Drive saved that for Slink vs the Gentleman.

It looks like Tortured cop and Evil Robot Woman might become a couple which would be my favorite wicked romance in a long time.

 

 

Aug 062017
 

This episode of Blood Drive sends our Heroes into a wasteland that also just happens to have the women’s penitentiary where Grace’s sister is being held.  I thought we were going to have a parody of women’s prisons but the show throws us a curveball by doing a parody of Amazon culture when we discover the women prisoners have escaped and are running a female Utopia/Spa. barbie gets beat up a lot and thrown into a cell to be milked later while Grace gets a spa treatment and is told how great her sister was.

You see, Karma apparently led a revolt against the prison guards and is the reason the woman have a spa lair today. Now that gets me thinking. What if Karma is the Mad Maxine of this world? She could be a lone wanderer, going from place to place, doing good deeds and defeating evil gangs and staying one step ahead of the sister that she doesn’t know is looking for her?

Now the Amazons try to spoil this idea by saying Karma fell in the rebellion and all they have of her is her ID bracelet and a really nice shrine. Nice try Amazon ladies! We all know that if there is not a body, then a character isn’t really dead.

The other plot involves the Murder Couple still having martial problems. I feel kind of foolish for thinking they had resolved their problems a few episodes ago. Anyone who has ever been married knows that no issues ever get resolved in a single episode. Murder Couple gets seperated by the Amazons and Murder Wife is seriously considering staying with the Amazons but her husband’s heartfelt plea for them to murder together wins her over. She slaughters some Amazons and creates enough chaos for the Heroes to take advantage of. Oh Murder Couple, you truly are the heart of the show.

Speaking of Heart, Tortured Cop is now a Security Guard and living in strange Stockholm domestic bliss with Evil Robot lady.  Tortured Cop almost immediately uses his new position to break into the wonderfully named Hall of Secrets to find out anything. What he finds out is Evil Robot Lady can spy on him through his eyes and she presses some buttons to make him projectile vomit until he submits.

Side note, if you wanted to write a grim dystopian BDSM story, you could gather enough ideas for a series of novels from Tortured Cop/Evil Robot Lady’s arc.

Meanwhile, the best character, Slink, endures another executive meeting. Sweet Vincent Price, watching Slink explain the appeal to the Blood Drive and what he is trying to do to clueless artless executives warms a place in my writer’s heart. In this executive meeting, Slink throws a knife into an executive, Slink gets fired and the head executive discovers that he can;t kill slink outright because Slink has a “Holding Contract”.

Let’s take a moment to think about how a contract prevents Slink from being killed by the head of the worse company on Earth. Why would a contract hold so much power? Could it be because that contract is infernal which would prove my earlier theory that Heart gets their technology straight from Hell? Hmmm?

Favorite random bits.

Barbie gets beat up by women alot in this episode and it is awesome.

The amazons have a milking machine to extract seed from men and it is wonderfully awful.

The Milked Men are douchebros who are placated with junk food, beer and video games.

Our Heroes get tricked by a painting of a wreck, which Grace calls “Getting Wile Coyoted”.

Some new drivers show up, without names, and pretty much die in 15 minutes.

Jul 272017
 

After a disappointing episode last time, Blood Drive roars back to life with a crazy entertaining episode. Jack and Diane, brother and sister carriers of a terrible sexual zombie plague, are out to kill Slink and infect the entire Blood Drive to do so.  Once the people of the Suck Bus get infected, zombiesexual hijinks ensue!

It is pretty amusing to me as the writer of Pusse’ and Cox to see a mindless zombie plague transmitted by sex on the television screen. I was impressed by how they had the infected covered in blacklight style glowing foam as a way to suggest nudity without showing it. Much like mud-wrestling, once everything is covered in liquid, you pretty much look naked.

There is a lot to love in this episode. Barbie tries his hand at playing DJ to the Blood Drive and finds a small amount of success when he lets people try to kick his ass. Being an MC is hard!

Later, Barbie gets infected and tries to bang Grace. Horny Barbie is a hilarious change of pace for the Good Cop and easily one of my favorite bits. A knee to the nuts from Grace brings Barbie some clarity and Grace keeps re-applying the treatment.  You know, Barbie getting hit in the nuts is a powerful metaphor for what this series keeps doing to him.

Speaking of abuse of male parts, Tortured Cop finally stops getting tortured and gets a job as a mail boy for the Heart Company. Of course, doing such menial work is just another form of torture but sheesh, I am so grateful that the Hostel-level of torture seems to be at an end. Hot Robot Chick continues to titillate and torment in ways that I am sure will imprint on many of the viewers of the show.  They might be my favorite Dom/Sub couple in fiction right now. Plus, Tortured Cop gets to try to do sneaky stuff to help Barbie. At the end of the episode he becomes a Security Guard and you just know that won’t end well.

We get more back-story in this episode. Slink worked at a bio-weapons lab. Of course he did! The sex plague was made by Heart! Of course it was! At the old lab is a prototype blood engine called a Soul Something-or-Another. I missed what it was because my ears perked up at the mention of ‘Soul’ which backs up my theory that all of Heart’s inventions actually come from Hell.

Let me tell you, my wife was so happy to hear the engines run on souls instead of blood because she thought the blood spray from the engines was too wasteful of a machine that turns blood to fuel. Science!

The episode ends when the Heroes realize Jack and Diane are carriers and the only cure is to get them to have sex with each other. Of course! As an erotica writer, I am all for the solution involving a sex act. Don’t worry, as soon as they gave into their unspeakable desires, they were fed into the Soul machine and everyone was cured of their sex plague.

All in all, this was a great crazy episode. It completely restored what doubts I had for the series. Heck, even Tortured Cop and Hot Robot Chick has some fun moments.

Jul 212017
 

Blood Drive has had an amazing first couple of episodes.  They have had a streak of great action, great world building and greater character development. Sadly, all streaks must end and episode four gets a bad case of the “Are you fucking kidding me?”

In this episode of Blood Drive, the Heroes sneak away from the race to go to where Grace’s sister is being held in an asylum. Slink is not amused so he sends Rib Bone to go kill them. Also during this episode, we get flashbacks to Grace and her sister before the events of Blood Drive as well as even more torture scenes with Tortured Cop and Hot Robot Woman.

Now if you have ever read, watched or heard of fiction involving an asylum, then you know that there is a 90% that any asylum is being run by the inmates who have seized control. Blood Drive maintains that by having the crazy people in charge. What is bizarre to me, is that Grace and Barbie are completely obvious to this until it is too late. Barbie especially suffers from a case of near-terminal stupidity in this episode. Honestly, I wonder if the writer was new to the show or this was an early episode because Barbie is just about too stupid to live where as in previous episodes, he was Naive-But-Tough.

Rib Bone on the other hand, walks in and instantly asks the first person he sees how long ago did the crazy people take over. Go Rib Bone! I mean seriously, Rib Bone catching on was so damn entertaining that I almost forgive the stupidity of Grace and Barbie.

Sadly, the two other plots are not very good. Tortured Cop gets really put through the wringer in this episode. O-M-G was it rough. The bright light was when Hot Robot Woman took off her dress to reveal nipple-less breasts like a doll. That was a nice touch but man, you got a lot of torture to go through to get there. I will admit, I had a pretty good laugh when Robot Woman offered to collect his seed with the plunger or the hand. Poor Tortured Cop. It never works out for him.

As bad as the torture was, the flashback was worse. Grace and sister Karma get into a nightclub so Grace can get a job with the Blood Drive. They need money and Grace is trying to support her sister. Along the way, Karma overdoses on some drugs and gets committed. At the end we get more backstory where we find that Slink offers Grace a blood-sucking engine and a spot in the race to pay for Karma’s treatment. We also discover that Slink probably hooked karma on the drugs. Diabolical!

Yet, also dull. Grace trying to get the attention of a previous Blood Drive winner by acting slutty isn’t compelling to watch.  Also, she is a bad sister.

There are some highlights to this episode. The primary reason the crazies are crazy is that they are hooked on a synthetic sugar made by Heart Industries. When poor Rib Bone gets covered in the stuff, the inmates literally eat him alive. Barbie finds a nurse who teaches him how to act crazy to blend in and that’s cool. Grace had an awesome fight with an inmate that almost offsets the awful flashback.  We get a hint that Slink used to work at the asylum fifty years ago and doesn’t appeared to have aged. Wha? The plot thickens.

But sadly, we lose Rib Bone. Damn, I would almost rather lose Barbie. At least Rib Bone gets an awesome tribute in the end and who knows, maybe he will come back as a cyborg?

All in all, not the best episode of Blood Drive but it is still my favorite show on television right now.

Jul 142017
 

The third episode of Blood Drive keeps the streak of great episodes going. In this episode, the Heroes must stop at a town that used to make cars but went mysteriously silent after a strange event. The city is filled with crazy cultist survivors and the horrible light-adverse mutants who now run the city.

First of all, hats off for naming the deadly mutating gas, Trioxin. I knew it sounded familiar and I got a big kick out of finding out it is the name of the gas from the Return of the Living Dead series. If you never heard of it, you won’t notice it.  That is the kind of Easter Egg I like as oppossed to the average comic book movie/series that does a dramatic pause when they make an Easter Egg. It is the kind of pause that makes me go, “Okay, you want that to mean something but all it means I now have to look on Wikipedia.” Folks, don’t do those kinds of Easter Eggs.

This episode gives us the subplot of the failing marriage of racers and full on psychopaths, Domi and Cliff. It is nice to know that even killers who murder for fun can have periods of no sex in their relationship. By the end of the episode, they get their groove back in a gory fashion. The storyline was cute but in a way I feel like we have exhausted their potential now. They can die now.

Speaking of dying now, Tortured Cop continues to get abused by Hot Robot. Holy shit, I can’t imagine being a writer for this show and having to do three episodes worth of torture banter. My wife is burned out on it and quite frankly, I am just ready for these two to move on. I like both of the characters and would like to see them do something different.

Which brings us to my favorite part of the show, we see Julian slink meet with executives who have show notes for his illegal murder race. The Blood Race is broadcast to rich fucks and corporate elite but the company wants to go mainstream. Julian is against it but like last episode, he is just helpless middle management.

The show notes were great. Quite a few of them were meta as Julian answered with asking for a bigger budget. Other show notes foreshadowed scenes and character time. I thought the whole thing was brilliant and I am quite jealous of the creativity.

There is a lot more that I am neglecting to cover, which is a good sign of how good the show is. I am constantly impressed with how much work goes into even minor characters.

Sadly, this episode sees the death of Clown Dick. I am greatly depressed that we never got an evil clown episode.

 blood drive  Comments Off on Blood Drive: Steel City Nightfall
Jul 122017
 

Episode Two of the insane series Blood Drive evolves into a different beast from the pilot episode. We are given a history lesson that fills in a lot of what has happened to America. We are given multiple separate storylines with the Heroes bonding, Julian Slink at an employee evaluation, The Gentleman and the Scholar’s relationship problems, Tortured Cop’s ordeal AND a small peek at the villains of this episode, the Cannibal Diner Crew. A shit-ton is going on and yet no plot line feels lost or tacked on.

In fact, there is much going on that it is impossible to discuss a lot of it without doing a blow-by-blow of what happened. Instead of that, I just want to touch on them briefly.

First of all, the Orientation video for Tortured Cop explains that fracking caused a giant earthquake rift to open up in America. A company named Heart explored the ‘Scar’ and found “new minerals, morally questionable fuel alternatives, unnatural gases and deep wells of unidentifiable glowing goo.”  From this, Heart was able to become the most powerful company in the world.

The “morally questionable fuel alternatives” has to be those shredder car engines that run on blood. How do you find car engines that run on blood in a hole in the ground? My guess is that the Scar goes straight to Hell. It would certainly explain why the engines look like they were designed by Pinhead from Hellraiser.

That is my best guess. The answer I am hoping it will be is that the Scar opens into the Hollow Earth filled with sadistic Dero.

The second thing of note I want to focus on is the arc of Julian Slink. He runs the Blood Drive and in the first episode, he comes across as the Chief Villain of this evil race. In this episode we see him go to his bosses, at Heart, and sit for hours in the lobby. He is being put in his place and he knows it. This person who have come to know as the tormentor and villain is literally middle management in a bigger enterprise. not only that, but we see him suffer and go through insecurity. This transforms him from a villain into another victim.  The fact that he murders someone he perceives as his competition just includes us in his struggles.

This is quite unexpectedted and I applaud it.  Julian Slink is a charismatic character and I hope we see more of him.

Speaking of unexpected, Rib Bone, the main thug in the first episode, stops a huge brawl to find out who locked their dog in a truck with the windows rolled up. He wants to know so he can rescue the dog and kill the former owner. This promotes Rib Bone straight from Forgetful Thug to Monster-With-A-Heart. That is a clever and delightful surprise. Go Rib Bone! I hope he sticks around forever.

Which brings us to the couple who gets as almost as much screen time as our heroes. The Gentleman and the Scholar have an unhealthy relationship of abuse, homosexual sex and humiliation. Most other fiction in the ‘Grindhouse’ genre would have used the genre as an excuse for homophobia. They would have played up their homosexuality as a campy thing or something that is gross, but Blood Drive manages to treat it as just another bad relationship without getting offensive. Heck, the Scholar becomes a genuine sympathetic character. There is show of affection near the end that will warm your heart if you forget these guys kill folks for fuel.

Speaking of the Heroes. I don’t think I said much last time but the dynamic between these two is good. Grace is certainly the brains and maybe the muscle while Barbie is the heart and and more muscle. Can I say how much I love that the pretty guy is the one who gets stuck with the nickname, Barbie? That rocks. Barbie is a bit too naive for a cop but I am sure that he will get that beaten out of him.

Meanwhile, Tortured Cop keeps getting seduced and tortured by Evil Robot Lady. I enjoy their exchanges, especially as Evil Robot Lady is a quirky looking brunette instead of a statuesque blonde like something from Battlestar Galactica. It is a shame that the one prominent black character spends most of his time in bondage getting abused but I am sure he will have a thrilling arc later when he is turned into a Cyborg Hunter of some sort.

Last we have the killers. I am not a big fan of Cannibals in fiction. One of my problems is that movie cannibals are always filthy and disgusting. How are you supposed to catch anyone if your place looks like a sewer? I was pleasantly surprised to see these cannibals keep a tidy place and hygiene becomes a running theme. As someone who has worked in restaurants, it made my soul feel good to see someone die from not mopping enough.

All in all, this was the episode that really hooked me into the series. The explanation of the Scar does a lot of heavy lifting for the universe, while quite a few potentially shallow characters like Julian and Rib Bone were made into elevated into something special. So far the show appears to really aspire to be something interesting as opposed to just throwing gore on the screen.

RIP Fat Elvis. We never got to know you but then again, I guess being called Fat Elvis and dressing like the King is all we need to know.

 

 

Jul 032017
 

Blood Drive is a television series on the SyFy channel. It is set in the far dystopian future of 1999 where everything has turned to shit and gas is now 1000$ a gallon. There are food shortages, gas shortages and a helluva morality shortage but one thing there is not a shortage of is blood because every time someone dies, there is a geyser of that stuff.

The plot of the first episode is that a super hot goody two-shoes male cop is forced to team up with a super hot not-so-good female driver in a deadly race across country where all of the cars run on blood instead of gasoline. It is an illegal race run by Julian Slink for a group of lowlifes that also seem to crop up in apocalypses. The prize is ten million dollars but at the end of every day, the last person to cross the finish line gets their heads blown off by bombs implanted in their heads. Carnage and hilarity ensues.

It is an interesting show. When Rodriguez and Tarantino did their Grindhouse Double Feature, I thought they were ushering in a new wave of genre movies. I thought that as an audience, we were smart enough and at the same time, hungry for a sort of pseduo-grindhouse style where we embrace the crazy spectacle and mock the stupidity of the genre while still creating material that would fit in the genre. It was a big inspiration for my own novel, Pusse’ and Cox and I patiently waited for the rest of the world to do the same. Other than Hobo with a Shotgun, and a few other movies, it didn’t really happen. The closest we got was Jack Shear’s excellent Planet Terror, the RPG.

Now here we are, ten years later and we have one of the true inheritors of Rodriquez and Tarantino’s vision. The plot is stupid but gloriously entertaining. The references to previous genre movies are as endless as they were in Planet Terror or Death Proof. The characters are ridiculously hot and instead of indulging in will-they or won’t-they, the two main characters fuck in the first episode to save their lives. This is a show that knows what their audience wants and it gives it to them in bucket loads of blood, gore and sex.

Having said that, I had a small problem with the show. The cars need blood to drive so all of the racers are looking for victims to kill. At one point, a car full of smiling cheerleaders gets hijacked. It was disconcerting as a viewer to watch the cheerleaders tied up, crying and screaming. The cop stops it but you know, I was taken a bit out of the show. Up until this point, with the exception of the cop, we had seen only really nasty people in a nasty world. Even the cop’s police force maintains a quota of teeth that they beat out of citizens.  It is easier to accept gore and violence when you accept that everyone is a piece of shit anyway and probably deserve what they get. The cheerleaders break that concept and get me distracted thinking about to really deserves to get fed into a hungry engine rather than sitting back and enjoying the violence.

Funny enough, I am three episodes in and a similar situation has yet to happen again. I hope the show runners learned from that.

Stray thoughts,

ContraCrime, the police force owned by a corporation has as their motto, “We kill because we care.” Fuck, that is pretty much our police in the real world, isn’t it?

Julian Slink runs the race and I didn’t say much about him because you really have to see him to appreciate how awesome he is. He has the pacing of a DJ, the humor of a horror host and the menace of a promotion broker who really just wants to make some money this time.  he is played by the amazing Colin Cummingham and he is a delight in every scene.

How weird is this world? We got engines that look like something out of Hellraiser drinking blood, androids posing as people, a Murderous Clown driver, cops who carry computers that instantly assess crime penalties and pulse bombs in the back of your necks.

Did I mention how ridiculously sexy everyone is? Christ, even the male cop is supernaturally sexy.