A short lived show about an illegal, underground, cross-country, Cannonball Run-style street race, written by Tim Minear and starring Nathan Fillion. Everyone had a reason to be in it, with many of those reasons involving blackmail. It was supposed to mix character study and action, but it didn't last long enough to succeed at the character study, at least not to the level advertised.No matter where FOX put this show, how many ads they ran for it, or who was in it, the show couldn't get any viewers. Four episodes aired in two timeslots on two weeks before it was canned, at which point the usual people blamed FOX for everything.This show's failure is a major reason that Sunday nights on FOX are reserved for animation. And perhaps vice versa.This show provides examples of:
Cool Car: Subverted at first, as most of the characters are entering the race with their own cars, which include a Ford Taurus, an old landscaping truck, and even a minivan. (Only the Salazars' Impala lowrider and the Lairds' Trans Am count.) Then, in episode three, Alex gets that black Dodge Challenger.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: As a reward for being the first team to reach the checkpoint in Rome, Georgia, Alex and Corinna are given a chance to skip the next checkpoint in exchange for completing a task. That task turns out to be robbing a bank. It doesn't end well.
Eureka Moment: Leigh realizes that the clue to the next checkpoint, "Surrender, America", is a reference to Appomattox Court House in Virginia, where Lee surrendered to Grant, after seeing that the highway is named for a Confederate war hero.
Guide Dang It: Many of the clues to checkpoints require knowledge of fairly obscure trivia to figure out, which you wouldn't expect to be in the hands of ordinary people running in an underground, cross-country road race.
"Kennedy killed in '73," accompanied by a countdown. The destination? Cape Canaveral, known as Cape Kennedy until 1973, the name change "killing" the Kennedy name. The countdown was for a shuttle launch.
"Surrender, America." The destination? Appomattox Court House, Virginia, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.
A pair of hot candies with wrappers that say "Atomic Fireball". The destination? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with the clue referring to the song "Great Balls of Fire". Made especially frustrating by the fact that Three Mile Island would've been a much more obvious destination, given the clue.
Loophole Abuse: As punishment for being the last person to cross the first checkpoint in Jupiter, Florida, Wendy is given a gun and told that Ivy, one of her competitors, could not arrive at the next checkpoint in her vehicle. Wendy is too sweet-natured to kill Ivy, so her solution is to convince Ivy to abandon her teammates Susan and Leigh, and partner with her instead. Ain't no rule saying that she had to kill her!
Not Named in Opening Credits: Dylan Baker for five of the six episodes, despite appearing in all of them. (He finally got moved up to the opening for the finale.) Oddly, Rochelle Aytes, Riley Smith, and Mircea Monroe do appear in the opening credits despite not appearing in all of the episodes.
Screwed by the Network: And how! The only consolation was that the two unaired episodes they had in the can were eventually released online.
In spite of the efforts Fox went to in promoting the series, ratings for the episodes they did air were terrible. It's hard to blame them for pulling the plug on a show nobody watched.
Same Character, but Different: Detective Early, who is pursuing Alex (Nathan Fillion) is played by the same actor that portrayed Jubal Early in "Firefly" who chased after Nathan back when he was Malcolm Reynolds.
Viewers Are Goldfish: The Soup put together a montage of how many times characters used the phrase "secret illegal underground road race" to describe what they were doing when asked. It lasted a minute and a half.
Some of the contestants have "sponsors" who got them into the race. Some sponsors have benevolent motives, while others have revenge or other nefarious ideas on their minds. One racer, John Trimble, sponsored himself, looking to have one last thrill before he dies. Other contestants, such as the team of Leigh, Susan and Ivy, were put in as background racers to shake things up, similar to non-player "bots" in a video game.
There were various ideas going around as to the identity of the truck driver who killed Susan. The most likely idea would've had it be a former contestant who had been crippled in the race and was now seeking revenge. Other ideas would have been for it to be a faceless serial killer (a la Duel), or have the driver be played by Eliza Dushku.
Had there been a second season, it would've focused on a new race and new characters, with first season characters taking on new roles in the race.