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Series premiere: Cra$h and Burn

In television on 11/18/2009 at 11:00 am

Cra$h & Burn: Steve Bacic, Leela Savasta, Luke Kirby, Caroline Cave and Clark Johnson

Series name
Cra$h and Burn

Debuts
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009  at 5 and 9 p.m. ET on Showcase, repeating Friday at 5 and 11 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.

Regularly airs
Wednesdays at 5 and 9 p.m., Fridays at 5 and 11 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. (or at least for the first couple of weeks)

Premise
Insurance adjuster tries to do the right thing by himself,  his fiancee and his clients, making a break from a harsh upbringing. If he can foil the Russian mob at the same time, bonus. Set in gritty Hamilton.

Primary cast and crew
Luke Kirby (Tell Me You Love Me, Slings and Arrows, Mambo Italiano) is Jimmy Burn, street kid trying to make a life with his fiancee
Leela Savasta (Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Intellligence) is Lucia Silva, the fiancee with the big Italian family.
Caroline Cave (Saw VI, The L Word) is Catherine Scott, the firm’s recently divorced lawyer; she devours any man who gets between her and happy hour.
Clark Johnson (The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street) is Walker Hearn, Jimmy’s mentor.
Steve Bacic (Smallville, The Guard, Flash Gordon) is Korkov, mobster, body-shop owner, and now physio-type body-shop owner. You might notice his distinct fashion sense.
Malcolm MacRury (Deadwood, ZOS: Zone of Separation) is creator and exec producer.
Paul Gross (Eastwick, Due South) is producer.

But what do I know anyway? After having watched the first two episodes, I predict…
First things first: Showcase should not be showing this series at 5 p.m. (as it appears to be doing Wednesday and Friday) or even 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Russian mob storyline is mostly notable for its cliches but also delivers brief scenes of torture (on and off camera) that are not only a bit much and narratively unnecessary, but jarring departures from the general tone of otherwise mildly bleak comic drama. Not supper-hour viewing. Now then, the show: Insurance adjuster as hero? Hmm. Isn’t he the guy who refused to renew my home insurance because some punk broke into my apartment? But series protagonist Jimmy Burn puts a heroic spin on things. And while the show has problems, Luke Kirby is so likable as Jimmy, and the payout on his troubled-kid back story is mostly well played, I will give it a couple more episodes at least. Clark Johnson is very laid back as Walter, Jimmy’s mentor. The insurance firm’s lawyer, a rabid cougar going through a divorce, has a good simmer going, though many scenes present her as laughable. (Mystery in the unfolding of a character is good, inconsistency is not.) Biggest problem? The mobsters, apparently a long-term part of the series, are too cartoonish to take seriously. Also, the tone is uneven, which can be dramatically effective, but seems erratic here: bleak, slapstick, violent, pensive. And while I’m at it, some of the scenes are trying way too hard to be quirky. I direct your attention to a scene that will involve urine. Lots of urine. But there is appeal in the main story, about a guy trying to outrun his past and not lose what’s left of his soul in the only job he can find. Likewise, the drama in the small stories, like the final turn in the old man’s story in the premiere episode, is satisfying.

Other reviews
The Globe and Mail’s Andrew Ryan haaaaates this.

Official website
Um, is it just me and my lame little laptop (it is the older backup laptop, but still) or is this website unnavigable because of the sainted videos that start playing (and overlapping each other, which i LOVE) all on their own? The site looks interesting and I would like to have explored more. I want a website with options, but not options that all launch themselves all at once. Or maybe it’s just me and my lame little laptop?

Facebook
Minimal.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?

Click here for my select list of fall 2009 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

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  1. TV Review | Cra$h & Burn 1.1 – “God Protect Us”…

    Cra$h & Burn (Showcase: premiered November 18, 9:00 PM ET/PT) bases itself around insurance claims adjuster Jimmy Burn (Luke Kirby), as he patrols Hamilton, Ontario’s city streets.  The show is sold as “The Office meets The Sopran…

  2. I loved this show. I’m very disappointed that it seems to have disappeared as unheralded as it came.

    I did think the Russian mob angle was pretty unbelievable, though the bearded main guy was played by a good actor. I agree the lawyer/cougar was over the top and rather disgustingly stupid, but she had potential. And one moment Walter-the-mentor was fired and next moment he’s back on the job!

    Jimmy, though, I found perfectly played and very intriguing.

    Hope it shows up again.

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