Cars 2

As the only network on the airwaves solely devoted to science fiction—that branch of literature that explore the heights and depths of the human condition through the lens of the amazing and the fantastic, often shortened to the simple sobriquet “Syfy”—the Syfy Channel has never taken its commitment to scientific excellence lightly. Sure, there are the occasional missteps—a lapse into crowd-pleasing fare like an adaptation of an old Arthur C. Clarke novel, for instance—but the minds behind the network always know how to course-correct and provide audiences with the demon-slaying cowgirl, ghost-hunting action required to enrich themselves on an intellectual and, dare we say, spiritual level.

Nowhere is that devotion to the network’s highest ideals more clear than its decision today to give a 13-episode series order to Blood Drive, a “grindhouse-inspired” splatterfest about a man forced to kill his way across near-apocalyptic America in order to keep the engines running on his blood-powered car. The show—from John Hlavin, the star-speckled mind that brought you part of the script for Underworld: Awakening—centers on one of the classic moral dilemmas: Whether “LA’s last good cop” will stick to his ideals, his oaths, his very sense of self, or if he’ll give in to the demands of his “dangerous femme fatale partner” and exsanginuate a bunch of poor bastards in order to win a cross-country race for nebuluous, as-yet-unstated reasons.

Besides Hlavin, Blood Drive is also being executive produced by David Straiton, a veteran TV director whose long resume includes claret-focused highlights like Angel, The Originals, and Blade: The Series. The pilot was written by James Roland, and has been described by Syfy executives—presumably from behind horned-rimmed glasses and in the midst of a discussion of Robert Heinlein’s role in the development of speculative fiction as an engine for social change— as a “highly stylized roller coaster ride” in which “gritty action and dark humor can push the envelope in some fun and unexpected ways,” which doesn’t seem like something you actually need to add when you’ve already established that your show is basically Cannonball Run with vampire cars.