The Crow: Stairway to Heaven

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven is a Canadian supernatural drama television series created by Bryce Zabel. It originally aired from September 25, 1998 to May 22, 1999, consisting of only 22 episodes.

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
Crow stairway titles.jpg
The Crow: Stairway to Heaven title card
Genre
Based on
Written byBrent V. Friedman
Naomi Janzen
Peter M. Lenkov
John Turman
Directed byScott Williams
StarringMark Dacascos
Marc Gomes
Sabine Karsenti
Katie Stuart
Narrated byMark Dacascos
Sabine Karsenti
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Production
ProducersBryce Zabel
Edward Pressman
CinematographyAttila Szaly
EditorsCharles Robichaud
Richard Schwadel
Running time43 minutes
Production companiesCrow Productions
Alliance Communications
Alliance Atlantis Communications
Crescent Entertainment
PolyGram Television
DistributorPolyGram Television
Release
Original networkSyndication
Picture format4:3
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 25, 1998 (1998-09-25) –
May 22, 1999 (1999-05-22)
Chronology
Preceded byThe Crow: City of Angels
Followed byThe Crow: Salvation

The series was based on the 1994 film The Crow, which itself was based on James O'Barr's 1989 comic book series of the same name. It starred Mark Dacascos as the protagonist, Eric Draven.[1]

SynopsisEdit

Exactly one year after being brutally murdered, rock musician Eric Draven returns to Earth, searching for a way to right what was wronged and to reunite with his missing soulmate Shelly Webster. Guided by a mystical Spirit Crow, he is neither living nor dead, possessing strange new powers to aid him in his search for revenge which, ultimately, must become a quest for redemption.

CharactersEdit

MainEdit

  • Eric Draven (played by Mark Dacascos):
    Eric Draven was the lead guitarist in rock band Hangman's Joke . Exactly one year after his murder and the rape/murder of his fiancée, Shelly, at the hands of T-Bird and his crew, he returns from the dead. Imbued with regenerative powers, heightened strength, and immortality. He seeks to "set the wrong things right", and ultimately return to Shelly and move on to the Land of the Dead.
  • Daryl Albrecht (played by Marc Gomes):
    Albrecht was the detective heading up the Draven-Webster murder investigation, and initially thinks Eric may have been responsible for Shelly's death, and then faked his own to escape justice. As the series progresses he begins to trust and befriend Eric, until he becomes an ally in his quest for redemption - even at the risk of damaging his own career.
  • Shelly Webster (played by Sabine Karsenti):
    Shelly was a photographer, murdered by T-Bird's crew after getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. After Eric is sent back to the Land of the Living, she waits for him, unwilling to move on to the Land of the Dead without him.
  • Sarah Mohr (played by Katie Stuart):
    Argumentative and headstrong, Sarah is a 13-year-old kid with a rough upbringing. She befriends Eric and Shelly, who became parent-like figures to her before their murders. She becomes Eric's closest friend after his return, helping him in any way she can.

RecurringEdit

  • Darla Mohr (played by Lynda Boyd):
    Darla is Sarah's mother, and works the front desk at Albrecht's precinct. A recovering alcoholic, her relationship with her daughter is sometimes strained.
  • Lieutenant David Vincennes (played by Jon Cuthbert):
    Vincennes is Albrecht's boss. They share a close friendship, although Vincennes "plays by the rules" and is suspicious of Albrecht's relationship with Draven.
  • Jessica Capshaw (played by Christina Cox):
    When Albrecht's relationship with Draven starts to raise eyebrows among his superiors, Capshaw is brought in as his new partner. Young and inexperienced, she often finds herself left out of the loop by Albrecht.
  • Top Dollar/Jason Danko (played by John Pyper-Ferguson):
    The manager of the Blackout nightclub, Top Dollar ran contract killings for Mace Reyes using T-Bird and his crew as muscle before Draven returned and shut them down. After Draven's return, Top Dollar becomes obsessed with gaining the power of a crow and goes after Draven in order to be killed by him in search of becoming a crow. After being killed by Eric Draven, he appears as a phantom and manifests supernatural powers; waiting till the time comes he will be able to return as a snake.
  • T-Bird (played by John Tench):
    The leader of a gang of criminals who serve as muscle for Top Dollar's criminal operations. He leads the gang in killing Eric and Shelley.
  • India Reyes (played by Julie Dreyfus):
    India was the manager of the Blackout before it was bought by Mace Reyes, whom she married. She later resumes her old role, hoping to bring the club back from its dark past.
  • Shea Marino (played by Gaetana Korbin):
    Shea is an employee at the Blackout, who harbors at least a physical attraction to Draven - if not more. It is in the course of helping her escape the attentions of her abusive ex-husband that truly brings Draven to the attention of the law.
  • Cordelia Warren (played by Suleka Mathew):
    Albrecht's girlfriend, and Port Columbia's District Attorney, Cordelia is strong-willed and intolerant of the kind of vigilante-style tactics Draven utilizes. Albrecht's friendship with Draven ultimately causes problems between him and Cordelia.
  • Funboy/George Jamieson (played by Ty Olsson):
    One of T-Bird's crew, Funboy was Darla's boyfriend until Draven's return. Even after finding religion and repenting for his sins, he finds himself as a pawn working against Draven. He was later killed by the dark version of the Crow.
  • Tin-Tin/Mark Tremayne (played by Darcy Laurie):
    One of T-Bird's minions. He is the one who uses his throwing knives to attack Eric Draven in the alleyway. He hangs out with the gang.
  • Skull Cowboy (played by Kadeem Hardison):
    Cryptic with a black sense of humor, the Skull Cowboy is a guide in the Land of the Living for all the "poor souls" like Draven who find themselves in the limbo between life and death. Although he is a bystander for the most part, allowing each course of action to play itself out, he is willing to get involved in certain situations.
  • Hannah Foster/Talon (played by Bobbie Phillips):
    Like Draven, Hannah has returned from death to put the wrong things right. Unlike Draven, however, she constantly struggles between the need for redemption and her lust for vengeance on the men who murdered her and her daughter. Even afterwards, her methods are far more vicious than Draven's.

GuestsEdit

EpisodesEdit

No.Title
1"The Soul Can't Rest"
A year after he and his fiance Shelly Webster were murdered, Eric Draven returns as a Crow to get revenge on gang leader Top Dollar and his henchmen T-Bird, Tin Tin and Funboy.
2"Souled Out"
Eric goes after the man who hired Top Dollar, corrupt businessman Mace Reyes, who is secretly a Snake, an evil version of a Crow.
3"Get a Life"
After a woman is killed in a shooting, Shelly's spirit asks Eric to find the killer and clear the name of the victim's ex-boyfriend, Gil.
4"Like It's 1999"
When one of her friends joins an anarchic gang, Sarah infiltrates it to save him, only to end being taken prisoner by the group's leader, Shane Gant.
5"Voices"
Eric tries to help Jesse Hickock, the medium of a visiting carnival whose powers are being exploited for criminal ends by unscrupulous ringmaster Doc Connell.
6"Solitude's Revenge"
Greg Kessler, a murderer who Albrecht arrested, is released from prison and captures Albrecht, who he begins hunting for sport on abandoned island off the coast of Port Columbia.
7"Double Take"
Shelly's identity is stolen by a woman who is on the run from a corrupt FBI agent who is working for the Mafia.
8"Give Me Death"
Top Dollar escapes from an asylum and goes on a rampage, intent on forcing Eric to kill him in the belief that this will give him the powers of a Crow.
9"Before I Wake"
A despondent Eric undergoes an experimental form of hypnosis to try and contact Shelly, and instead ends up being possessed by the spirit of a previous Crow named Blackfeather.
10"Death Wish"
Eric befriends suicidal stunt motorcyclist Jake Thompson at the behest of the ghost of Thompson's young son, Casey. While working to reunite the two, Eric uncovers a plot to assassinate Thompson.
11"Through a Dark Circle"
An occult ritual that Eric performs in an attempt to reach Shelly accidentally summons the spirit of executed serial killer Richard Lee Wilbanks, whose demonic powers can harm even Eric.
12"Disclosure"
The Blackout is bought by crooked real estate developer Frank Moran, the abusive husband of Eric's friend Shea. Eric infiltrates and dismantles Moran's organization for Albrecht, who is forced to turn Eric over to Internal Affairs.
13"The People vs. Eric Draven"
Eric is put on trial for the murder of Shelly Webster.
14"It's a Wonderful Death"
Incarcerated after being found guilty of Shelly's murder, Eric is placed in an unwinnable time loop of the night that she died by the Skull Cowboy after wishing, "What I really want is to be back with Shelly before this whole nightmare started."
15"Birds of a Feather"
After being acquitted of Shelly's murder, Eric meets Doctor Hannah "Talon" Foster, a new Crow who was killed alongside her daughter, Rebecca.
16"Never Say Die"
A deranged Russian criminal uses a cursed manuscript, four ritual murders and the power that resides within Eric's loft to become the host of the evil spirit of Rasputin.
17"Lazarus Rising"
Eric becomes the unwitting test subject of the Lazarus Group, an ancient secret society whose leader, Frederick Balsam, seeks to achieve immortality by transferring his mind into the body of a Crow.
18"Closing Time"
Acting through an agent named Soleil Hazard, Top Dollar uses a mystical melody to enthrall Eric and the rehabilitated Funboy.
19"The Road Not Taken"
Eric and Hannah break up a human smuggling ring, and rescue a baby named Celia Meyers.
20"Brother's Keeper"
Guided by the spirit of their father, Eric has an uncomfortable reunion with his troubled stepbrother Chris, who is hiding money from the Mafia.
21"Dead To Rights"
As a serial killer who specifically targets police officers runs amok in Port Columbia, Eric begins finding it harder and harder to control his actions as the Crow.
22"A Gathering Storm"
After acquiring a new body, Frederick Balsam murders every other member of the Lazarus Group, and uses a dark ritual to separate Eric and the Crow, which abducts Shelly, who had been sent by Heaven to try and save the now powerless Eric.

ProductionEdit

Filming locationsEdit

Production took place in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, which in the series was named Port Columbia. Several scenes were filmed inside the top floors of the Sun Tower, and at the BC Museum of Mining in Britannia Beach.[citation needed]

MusicEdit

As with each of the movie adaptations and the original comic book, underground music played a key role in the show. Bands such as Econoline Crush and Mudgirl made guest appearances on the show, while the source music included tracks by Rob Zombie, The Crystal Method, Delerium, Bif Naked, The Painkillers, Oleander, and Xero (a pre-fame Linkin Park). Two tracks from Peter Himmelman's 1998 album Love Thinketh No Evil, "Fly So High" and "Seven Circles", were re-recorded for use by Eric Draven's band, Hangman's Joke, with the latter song becoming a major plot point during the early episodes of the series.

AccidentsEdit

A special effects explosion went wrong during filming on August 15, 1998, when stuntman Marc Akerstream was struck on the head and killed by flying debris.[2]

CancellationEdit

Despite positive reviews[3][4][5] and decent ratings,[citation needed] the series was cancelled after one season in June 1999, when Polygram was sold to Universal Studios, which decided not to continue Stairway to Heaven.[6] The producers planned to make a television movie to wrap up the major loose ends from the cliffhanger at the end of the final episode, but it never materialized.

BroadcastEdit

In 1999 and 2000, the series was aired extensively on The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States and the United Kingdom. In March 2010, CBS Action in the UK aired the series.

DVD releasesEdit

On March 17, 2005, all 22 episodes were released in a 5-disc DVD boxed set in central Europe through Dutch distributor A-Film. The set features the original broadcast trailer, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and interview snippets with cast members Mark Dacascos, Marc Gomes, Sabine Karsenti, Katie Stuart and John Pyper-Ferguson, fight co-ordinator James Lew, crow handler Dave Sousa, director of photography Attila Szaly, and executive producers Bryce Zabel and Brad Markowitz.

2005 also saw a bare-bones episode-only release of the series in Australia on six discs across two volumes via Warner Bros.; this release was preceded by an even more basic single disc through Magna Pacific which featured the pilot and two "bonus" episodes.

On July 24, 2007, Arts Alliance America released The Crow: Stairway to Heaven - The Complete Series in a 5-disc DVD set in Region 1 (US only). This set features an extensive array of special features including commentaries, a photo gallery and a gag reel.[7]

On February 15, 2011, Alliance Home Entertainment released The Complete Series on DVD in Canada only.[8]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
1999 Leo Awards Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series Attila Szalay Nominated [9]
Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series Richard A. Schwadel Nominated [9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : Life After Death: A Hit in the Offing?". UGO.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  2. ^ "'crow' Curse: Stuntman Killed". The Hollywood Reporter. August 18, 1998. Archived from the original on 2008-12-29 – via Allbusiness.com.
  3. ^ "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven Review - IGN" – via www.ign.com.
  4. ^ "THE CROW: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN - THE COMPLETE SERIES".
  5. ^ "The Crow: Stairway To Heaven - The Complete Series". DVD Talk.
  6. ^ "16 Superhero Shows Canceled For Strange Reasons". ScreenRant. December 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven - The Complete Series". Dvdempire.com. 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  8. ^ "The Crow: Stairway To Heaven - The Complete Series: Amazon.ca: Mark Dacascos, Marc Gomes, Sabine Karsenti, Katie Stuart, Lynda Boyd, Jon Cuthbert, Christina Cox: DVD". Amazon.ca. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  9. ^ a b "1999 nominees" (PDF). leoawards.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016.

External linksEdit