A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blood Drive is a show that pushes cable network boundaries on sex, language, and most particularly, violence. The main story involves a road race with cars that run on human blood, requiring many murders to get “fuel.” Characters are fed face- or feet-first into whirling knives, with fountains of spurting blood, screams, clumps of gory flesh, engine parts clotted and slicked with blood. There are crotch-stabbings, amputations, an attempted rape that ends up in the would-be rapist being fed to the “victim’s” car. Law enforcement in this futuristic society is privatized and violent; officers are expected to collect teeth knocked out of the mouths of roughed-up suspects. Characters have sex with moaning and thrusting (no nudity), including while operating a moving car. Cursing includes "hell," "s--t," "ass," "f--k," "damn," "bulls---t," "bastards," "sons of bitches," "a--hole," "motherf--ker." A man calls an audience "road trash" and "queers.” Most traditional street drugs are obsolete in this show, but characters use a faux drug called Red Rapture, and drink liquor (though water is more valuable). This show satirizes the exploitation genre, but it's just as violent and definitely not for kids.
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What's the story?
In the futuristic year of 1999, the environment is poisoned, climate change has made temperatures soar, and water is more valuable than gold -- or anything else. In the crime-ridden cities, the police force has been privatized, and corporate Contracrime enforcers are free to beat answers out of suspects. But when officer Arthur (Alan Ritchson) follows a hot tip from a sleazy criminal, he stumbles onto the BLOOD DRIVE -- a cross-country automotive death race with just one prize: $10 million for the winning driver. The rest get death. Competitor Grace (Christina Ochoa) is determined to win and get the cash she needs to get help for her estranged sister, a plan that takes a major hit when she's forced to take Arthur as her driving partner. Can Grace and Arthur vanquish their rivals, stay alive, and see that baddies like BLOOD DRIVE host Slink (Colin Cunningham) get their just desserts? Oh, and did we mention that all the cars in the race are fueled by human blood -- and that no one's lining up to donate willingly?
Is it any good?
Disgusting, gory, and morally bankrupt, this gonzo series is nonetheless a lot of fun for viewers who aren't turned off by its more over-the-top aspects. At its best, Blood Drive is a messy, intense, gasp-inducing good time. Showrunner James Roland (formerly a production assistant on Mad Men and Weeds) is clearly a drive-in movie fan, proving it by paying homage to a different grindhouse genre in each episode: The show's pilot is a road adventure (like Death Race, or the drive-in classic on which this remake was based, Death Race 2000); subsequent episodes tackle zombie movies, toxic mutant monsters, and spaghetti westerns. The show has a (gross-out) sense of humor too, wringing cringes and laughs from scenes like the one in which a "gentlemanly" driver promises a rival he'll leave a carload of cheerleaders alive -- but then amputates their fingers and tongues the moment that rival has driven down the road.
Blood Drive has also done some thinking about what life might be like for average folks in this horrendous future world, where water is dispensed by ATMs, teens can be executed for crimes, and cranial implants can be programmed to make someone's head explode. The road antics are good gory fun, but equally interesting (in a RoboCop sort of way) are the less-manic scenes that imagine the real-life ramifications of a broken world. It's all a bunch of crazy nonsense, and even gore-hounds will have to look away during some bloody scenes -- but it's go-for-broke enjoyable mayhem for those who like that sort of thing. Just be sure to wait to watch until the kids are in bed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Blood Drive's brutal violence. Why do you think this show's creators chose to make the violence so intense and bloody? What effect does it have on the show overall? Does it make you like Blood Drive more or less?
Families can talk about this genre of film and television. How does using humor and satire change the way the content is presented?
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