Get ready for 'Crash': The TV Series

Doncheadleincrash_lSeeing James Spader and Holly Hunter as co-presenters at the SAG Awards the other night gave me a warm feeling: How nice to see a mini-reunion, since these two probably haven’t worked together since co-starring as auto-accident fetishists in David Cronenberg’s Crash back in 1996. So when I read the news this morning that Starz is turning Crash into a TV series, my initial impulse was: How cool that they figured a way to turn Cronenberg’s weird and disturbing kink-fest into a premium cable series, and how bold of Starz to go that route, toward Showtime turf. Alas, I quickly realized that the Crash in question was the 2005 Best Picture Oscar-winner. Sigh.

At the risk of reviving the epic Crash-vs.-Brokeback Mountain debate that bitterly divided both critics and moviegoers across the country two years ago, I have to say this is a bad idea. I mean, I’m glad most of the filmmakers behind the movie (writer-director Paul Haggis, writer Bobby Moresco, producer-star Don Cheadle) are on board for the TV version, so it won’t be the usual hacky movie-to-TV-series adaptation, but how the heck is it going to work? Every week, a new vehicular mishap, a new racist tirade, and a new epiphany for some character who learns that all of us harbor impulses toward both compassion and xenophobia? To his credit, Cheadle (pictured, with Jennifer Esposito (left) and Kathleen York) says the show will be about more than just race relations, but then it’s not really Crash, is it? The concept simply isn’t that elastic.

The article notes that the only other Best Picture winner ever adapted into a series was In the Heat of the Night,another movie built around racial tension. Of course, when that 1967film became a series two decades later, most of the Civil RIghts-eraracism that was its chief theme was drained out of it, making it justanother police drama, albeit one set in a sleepy Southern town insteadof a big city. It’s hard to imagine that a Crash series, evenjust a couple years after the movie, would fare any differently or beable to retain anywhere near the film’s urgency, week after week.

What say you, PopWatchers? Think a Crash series can work? What other Oscar-anointed movies do you think would make good TV series?

Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • Nix

    When Daniel Day-Lewis dedicates his Oscar to Matt Dillon’s performance, then I’ll say this is a good idea.

  • junior


  • Heather

    How could such a heavy-handed movie be turned into a tv show? Who could take that message being beaten into your head every single week? No thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Hell no, the movie was enough torture.

  • idk

    I expect this to spark a debate over whether Crash is a good movie or not. The answer is that Crash is not a good movie. When you make a movie involving the topic of racism make the message “racism is bad” you’re opening, not your obvious conclusion.

  • Melissa

    Anytime I meet someone who has actually seen the James Spader “Crash”… I want them to come sit by me.
    The Oscar-winning “Crash” was horrid.

  • Robert

    What’s next? Are they going to make the English Patient seem even longer and more torturous by making that a TV show? I mean, as long as they’re translating undeserving Best Picture winners….

  • BrandonK

    I can think of better Best Picture movies to make into a TV series…

  • Kevin

    I hated Crash. Not so much that I thought it was a terrible movie, it’s just the fact that a middle-of-the-road melodrama somehow got caught up in the awards season and unjustly won the most prestigious award the industry has to offer. I was rooting for Brokeback at the time. In hindsight, Munich was the best movie in contention that year.

  • steve

    Sorry to continue the Crash-Brokeback Mountain debate brought on by the possible revival of Crash, but c’mon. It’s two years later and I’m still feeling as vehemently as I did two years ago; Brokeback Mountain was robbed by this bluntly manipulative piece of garbage!

  • gina

    i think they should leave well enough
    alone and not make itinto a series..they never work..leave it be..
    i did enjoy the movie but it shouldnt
    be a series.

  • Cara

    Yes!! We get to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer labeled “RACISM” for a whole hour every week!

  • :o)

    There is no way possible this series will work.

  • Gretchen

    why no love for Crash? seriously, it was a great movie. An FYI to people, racism is STILL a HUGE problem in our society and this was a GREAT movie to address it. No matter how “progressive” people think our society is, there is still discrimation – race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. It is intense and is heavy handed and damn well should have been.

  • RightNextToMars

    Hooray. Now I get to try and defend Paul Haggis on snooty message boards all over again.
    While I’m not going to get into a debate over whether Crash or Brokeback was better since that’s a matter of personal opinion, I do find it pretty sad that no one came out of the woodwork to derail the movie until after it won Best Picture. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the Academy voters, not the movie or its filmmaker.
    Finally, I will admit that I love Crash and have seen it probably a dozen times. “Racism is bad” is not the theme, per se. It’s far more about the expectations we put on each other–because of factors like race–and how those expectations dictate our personal identities. It’s about how those expectations play out in personal relationships as well as a society and a government.
    I have no idea if the Crash TV show will be good or not, but I trust the people in charge to make something that’s, at the very least, ambitious. Let’s wait and see then judge it.

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