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COPPING AN ATTITUDE Officers Nick E. Tarabay and Arlene Tur collide in Crash.

Don’t judge the TV version of Crash based on your closed-minded, outdated judgments of the Paul Haggis schlockfest from which it’s adapted. That would be racist. Don’t convict it for the sins of its father film, or automatically assume it’s like other shows based on movies. And don’t think that just because it’s the first high-profile show Starz has ever produced, it might struggle under the weight of its own bullshit. No, consider Crash the TV show on its own merits to decide if it will succeed or fail.

And by that, we mean fail, because this Crash is an overwrought parade of clichés, from the Noble Young Black Man to the Steely Female Cop who can’t say “I love you.” At least the movie had a plot and eventually ended. Not so here, where the entire conceit of the show is that variously loathsome characters arbitrarily interact. Wants-to-Escape-Gang-Life Korean EMT Guy saves Obnoxious Grandpa White Dude but then faces scrutiny from Tattooed Gruff Latino Cop over a drug murder. Worlds collide! And Dennis Hopper’s character refers to genitalia as “snatch” and “junk,” so you know the show’s edgy. Unlike your racism.

The show and the film have a lot in common visually, and the underlying thematic elements remain, but the similarities end there; the show doesn’t have the same characters or even the same titular collision. The problem here isn’t that the series fails to distinguish itself from the movie, it’s that it fails to distinguish itself at all.

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