The Bottom Line
Crash Course is a great concept, which unfortunately loses out in its execution. The pace needs to be quicker, the commentary needs to expand and get a bit looser, and the focus needs to shift from the contestants' relationships with each other to the exciting obstacles they are undertaking.
I sincerely hope that ABC will consider doing another season of this show, with lots of changes to highlight the actual driving. Extending the challenges would also go a long way towards giving the game more substance, which right now is sorely lacking.
- Dan Cortese plays a decent straight man, while Orlando Jones provides great one-liners.
- The challenges are entertaining, if a bit short.
- The concept is solid and could really be gripping television.
- There's a feeling of stopping and starting, rather than the show being fluid.
- Giving all teams equal air time doesn't work when some teams aren't all that interesting.
- The hosts try to inflate drama at times, when humor would likely work better.
- The challenges themselves need to be expanded and lengthened.
- Five teams of two people start off the game.
- After each of the first three rounds, one team is eliminated.
- Teams take turns at the wheel, facing a variety of challenges and stunts in each round.
- The final two teams face an actual obstacle course, with the fastest team taking home $50,000.
- Hosts are Dan Cortese and Orlando Jones.
- Stunts include trying to drive a car onto the flatbed of a moving truck, and knocking over propped-up cars like dominoes.
Guide Review - 'Crash Course' - More Potential Than Substance
Crash Course was created as a partner for the successful ABC obstacle course game show Wipeout. The two shows both include obstacle courses and two funny commentators, but that's where the similarities end.
Where Wipeout entertains for a solid hour, Crash Course stutters and falters. The show has a great hook, putting regular, everyday drivers in situations they would never encounter in their regular, everyday lives. Obstacles and challenges include inversions, explosions, and other stunts that require a very different skill set than people learn in driver's ed. Five teams compete in each episode, made up of two people with pre-existing relationships. We've seen teams made up of married couples, siblings, co-workers, and roommates.
The hosts are Dan Cortese and Orlando Jones, who are both quite funny and roll with the punches dished out by the contestants. The problem here is that they just don't have a whole lot to work with.
You would think that, with these contestants and this kind of setup, we'd be getting a lot of laughs out of this program. Sadly, Crash Course just doesn't deliver the funny like it should. There's lots of unnecessary and inflated drama, long gaps between stunts, and too much focus on the contestants' interactions with their teammates.
I don't want to turn this show into another Wipeout of course, but there are a few things that would easily perk up Crash Course and make it infinitely more watchable.
- Add a fast-paced qualifying round, in which a dozen or more teams start off.
- Let the hosts give us a bit more banter, rather than focusing on the less interesting pairs getting ready for their next stunt.
- Extend the obstacles so that they're not over quite so quickly.
The debut season of Crash Course consists of six episodes, airing from August 26th to September 30th, 2009, on ABC. This show has a lot of potential, and I would love to see it come back for a second season with some changes.