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Hercules Walks Away From Starz’ Dopey Series CRASH!!

I am – Hercules!!
A drama from writers Glen Mazzara (“Nash Bridges,” “The Shield”), Ted Mann (“Total Recall 2070,” “Skin,” “NYPD Blue,” “Deadwood”) and Randy Huggins (“The Shield,” “The Unit”), “Crash” – like the Oscar-winning movie from which it takes its name and concept (but not characters or actors)– looks into the lives of several interconnected Los Angeles residents: A record producer, his driver, a handful of bad cops, a handful of unhappy wives, a paramedic, etc. Like the movie, the series works to show the good in outwardly racist characters. As terrible as the 2004 movie was, the pilot is worse, maxed out with extra-obnoxious, cartoonish, low-end TV-grade characters, wince-inducing dialogue, plotting that runs the gamut from amateurish to idiotic, bad acting, sloppy direction and appalling, groan-worthy stabs at comedy. Cars crash, surgeries are performed, sex is indulged, drugs are ingested, but it’s virtually impossible to care about any of the people depicted – surprising in light of the sheer number of players the project introduces.
Entertainment Weekly gives it an “D” and says:
… a swampy mess of ludicrous dialogue, disconnected characters, and offensively stupid plotting. Dennis Hopper, as a nasty, bigoted record-industry mogul who speaks in baroque Tourette's-meets-Beat-poetry paragraphs, is not even the worst of it. Frankly, no one seems to be at the wheel. …
USA Today says:
… it won't take you much longer than Dennis Hopper's opening, venomous rant to decide whether you think this Crash is a good idea. It isn't, but it can teach a few lessons to other cable networks: There's a difference between bravery and stupidity, and just because you're the only outlet brave or stupid enough to do a show doesn't mean it's worth doing.
TV Guide says:
… skitters along the surface of various racial, sexual, class and moral-ethical conflicts without immersing us fully enough in any individual story line. …
The New York Times says:
… hardly the most original depiction of Los Angeles, but “Crash” has a noirish appeal, and ambitions to tell a big story. …
The Chicago Tribune says:
… somewhat reliant on clichés. The show clearly wants to say something complicated about race and class in Los Angeles, but a number of the situations and characters on the show feel like situations and people we've seen before …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… neither crackles with excitement nor leaves you wanting to find out about any of the characters. … begins and ends without raising your pulse or making you think. …
The Newark Star-Ledger says:
… an hour of unpleasant yet bland people occasionally bumping into each other and saying racially provocative things. … Despite the requisite car crash, a shooting and Ben trying to start a knife fight, it's a fairly sluggish hour. Much of that again goes to the writing: if I cared more about the people involved, I wouldn't mind a slow pace … unless "Crash" the show improves rapidly, it'll just provide more fuel for the people angered that the movie beat out "Brokeback Mountain" and "Munich" for the big prize.
The Boston Herald says:
There are many bad TV shows on the air, but few genuinely disgusting ones. And then there’s “Crash,” an ungodly mash of nudity, profanity, over-the-top acting and loathsome plotting. … Imagine “Third Watch” if everyone involved were addicted to crystal meth. Oh, and insane. That’s about the only way to make sense of this show. …
The Boston Globe says:
… a show that's madly in love with its own daring and importance. … tries too hard, and fails hard too.
Variety says:
… To the extent a disclaimer is necessary, count me among the detractors in the great "Crash" debate of 2004, having found the movie heavy-handed even as a stylized rendering of Los Angeles. That's almost irrelevant, however, in evaluating this shoddy new series … Messy at best, the two-episode premiere suffers from wildly uneven performances, beginning with Dennis Hopper at his manic worst. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… Even more stupefying one-dimensional than the film, the series blasts out a collection of crude, disturbing images without a true unifying theme. No longer an allegory, it has devolved into an excuse to shock and repulse … Like the film that preceded it, the series wants us to believe there is race-baiting danger and mayhem lurking around every corner of our fair metropolis but lacks even the courage of these convictions. The racial fire is oddly muted, the characters disturbingly undefined, the interaction frustratingly nondescript. It's unclear what the show aims to be other than chaotic and boorish. On those counts, sadly, it succeeds brilliantly.
10 p.m. Friday. Starz.


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