This episodic adaptation of the Oscar-winning drama Crash
succeeds primarily on the strength of its performances, particularly that of Dennis Hopper, though its complex interwoven storylines have their engaging moments as well. Writer-director Paul Haggis, who helmed the feature film version, and actor Don Cheadle, who starred in it, serve as executive producers for the series, which again looks at the intersections between class and race in a sprawling meta-Los Angeles. Hopper is given full rein to devour scenery whole as an aging, out-of-control record producer who forms an unlikely partnership with his new driver (Jocko Sims), an aspiring songwriter. Elsewhere, police officers Arlene Tur and Ross McCall deal with infidelity and racism while keeping the peace; Clare Carey struggles with feelings for a married real estate agent (D.B. Sweeney) while caring for her ailing father; and EMT Brian Tee attempts to rise above his gangland past. It's a beguiling mix of storylines, some better played than others; Hopper makes his mad genius repellently fascinating, though Tom Sizemore runs a close second as a police detective who arrives late in the season. If there's any quibble with the series, it's that the issues it chooses to tackle may be too unwieldy to address in detail in just 13 episodes (a problem that dogged the feature version as well), though clearly, the writing and direction is capable enough to produce some dramatic results over the course of several seasons. As it stands, season 1 of Crash
is an intriguing and frequently adventurous television series that bears further examination as it progresses.
The four-disc set of Crash's debut season presents all 13 episodes in widescreen, and offers an agreeable selection of supplemental features to accompany them. Chief among them is a 20-minute featurette on the show's conception and production, featuring interviews with Haggis, series creator Glen Mazzaro, Hopper, and many others. There's also a three-minute alternate ending for the final episode of the season (somewhat more satisfying than the televised version), and a brief discussion with the cast on their respective characters. A raucous promo with Hopper for season 2 and promos for several unrelated movies round out the extras; DVD-ROM content includes cast bios and episodes of other Starz Channel series. --Paul Gaita
From the producers of the Academy Award®-winning Best Motion Picture of the same title, “Crash” takes an in-depth, up-close and deeply personal look at some of the lives slamming together in the melting post of Los Angeles. Led by film icon Dennis Hopper, it’s here where all ends of the social spectrum meet that collisions happen, shattering lives and creating new futures. Now, for the first time on DVD, the complete first season of this daring drama from Starz is available in this 4-disc set. Includes all 13 compelling episodes plus tons of bonus features!
Stills from Crash: Season 1 (Click for larger image)