This is based on the comic by James O'Barr, and adapted for TV by Bryce Zabel ( Dark Skies ). It stars straight-to-video martial arts star Mark Dacascos as the title character, an undead avenger.
Eric Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) and his GF Shelly are murdered by thugs. A year later, Eric rises from the grave as an undead Joker with ninja powers. He goes on a rampage, after the thugs who killed him. This is toned down from the movie, due to network censorship and budgetary constraints.
Police Detective Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) is still on the case.
Our pretty-boy Kung Fu zombie Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) has taken down the death-for-hire group. But he goes after the people who hired them to kill him and his live-in woman. Since he is out of leads, he instead tries to claim copyright royalties over a song he wrote. Before his death certificate was issued, that is - a muddy point indeed. The fact he is legally dead allows middle-men to steal the Intellectual Property of him as a content-creator, despite the fact that they would prosecute so-called music pirates themselves!
Luckily, all roads lead to Rome. Not only is Draven after the villain, but the villain himself is trying to catch The Crow. The villain may be in a wheelchair, but we do not need to feel sorry for him. After all, he is mean to his ex-model wife-come-boardroom executive.
Draven's personal vengeance was dealt with in the previous two eps. But he is still on Earth, unable to pass over. It seems he must work as a warrior for justice, saving other victims. Why the mystical force behind the Crow thinks that Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) and the normal cops are not up to the task is not explained. It seems that some mystical Vengeance Demon uses Draven as a Zombie Ninja, out to add evil souls to its undead army.
This time he has to help a young man who was framed for the murder of his GF ( Ingrid Kavelaars ) - by her father!
The wee girl's teenage friend falls in with Anarchist party-fiend JR Bourne ( Stargate SG-1 ). They break into rich peoples' houses, tie up the occupants and then stage an illegal rave. There is a lot of talk about a coming apocalypse, perhaps the Y2K. Lots of play on Generation X cynicism.
If anything, this is an after-school special - even more moralizing than this show usually is. Detective Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) shows his age when he tells Draven that the party-goers listen to YOUR kind of music.
This time the zombie saves a circus boy, and takes on a gang of fairground entertainers into the bargain.
Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) the friendly African-American detective gets kidnapped by an old enemy - an ex-cop he sent to jail for killing his partner. This is yet another re-telling of The Most Dangerous Game.
Mr Deadite Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) thinks he sees his deceased GF Shelly walking around. The girl is in trouble with the Mafia, and he has to save her.
The fact that he walks around in bright sunlight so much - far more blatantly than the similar Angel Chronicles - is a real move away from the utter darkness of the first film.
The guest star is Kadeem Hardison. He plays an spirit creature of some kind, who offers to help Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) cross over to be with Shelly. However, something goes wrong and a blonde babe gets possessed by the spirit of Shelly.
The main plot concerns the return of the villain from the pilot episode. He breaks out of the loony bin, hisses a lot instead of speaking clearly, then breaks into the skateboard-girl's apartment and forces them to cook dinner for him.
The villain tells Draven something to the effect of You don't have the guts to kill me! This illustrates how the TV adaption clearly lacks the cut-throat edge of the film.
After last episode, Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) still cannot see his dead GF Shelly. He takes hypnotic regression therapy, and discovers he first met her in the 19th century. He was a Native American, she was a missionary's daughter.
Back in the 20th Century, it seems that the villain Draven killed in the last episode can now come back and threaten people in their dreams.
Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) has found a way to see his babe Shelly again. For his good deed of the episode he has to save a young kid and his stunt-biking father.
Someone shoots at him, and he flaps his arms around as if he were in The Matrix.
Someone comes through the portal - but it is not Shelly. It is an undead serial killer, who kicks the crap out of Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) and then wanders off in search of more victims. Yes, we finally get a bad guy who's up to the job!
The killer was executed in the electric chair, and has special powers to do with electricity. He also has a list of victims - the witnesses at his execution. And one of them is a recurring character in the show!
The skateboard girl finds help on an Occult website. This may be a recurring character ...
This week the guest star is Tim Kelleher ( Dark Skies ) as an investigator from Internal Affairs. He is after Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) the African-American cop, and Kelleher gets the blonde rookie partner ( Christina Cox ) to spy for him.
Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) is up against a crooked businessman who is his bimbo friend's estranged husband.
Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) is on trial, falsely accused of murdering Shelly. The Prosecution's logic is this: Shelly and Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) were killed together, but since Draven is alive then he must have faked his death and was therefore responsible for Shelly's murder. Of course, the fact that he is a Goth rocker also counts against him. He has long hair, so he must have killed his GF. Hmm.
We get lots of flashbacks to the pilot and subsequent episodes. Is this a flashback show or part of a story Arc?
The trial's witnesses include:
This brings out the differences between the show and the film. To start with, Funboy is actually alive to testify! Secondly, his ex-GF was an alkie - not a junkie like she was in the film.
This episode was co-written by Brent Friedman, Producer Zabel's associate on the Dark Skies series.
The guest star is Kadeem Hardison again. He pops up and turns the clock back for Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ): our undead hero has the opportunity to relive the day leading up to his death.
Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) discovers there is another Crow on the rampage - Bobbie Phillips . However, she is a rookie. He has to teach her a few lessons, specifically about the futility of killing. Yes, this is well differentiated (or watered down, if you prefer) from the movie versions.
Firstly, Draven believes that becoming a killer is what prevented him from passing over and being with Shelly again. Secondly, while the Crow spirit reanimates the unjustly killed, there is a Snake spirit that can reanimate the Crow's victims.
Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) has been busted down to uniformed patrolman, but otherwise things are pretty much the same as they always were. His rookie babe partner ( Christina Cox ) has his desk, and is assigned to investigate the theft of Rasputin's manuscript.
The skateboard girl meets up with her Internet acquaintance again. He is involved with a Ruskie Satanist type who wants to bring Rasputin back from the dead. Rasputin's death was by 4 different attacks: he was poisoned, shot, stabbed and finally drowned. In order for him to be resurrected, 4 people must be sacrificed - one by each of the same means.
The hypnotic regression doctor asks Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) to help the Lazarus Group, a secret society of rich financiers who want to live forever. They know about the power of the Crow, and want to harness it for themselves. They put Draven's persona in a VR machine and the Crow personality (with the face-paint and bad attitude) asserts itself through Draven's unconscious body!
Meanwhile, Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) hires a Blaxploitation lawyer who wants to push the Race angle so Albrecht can get his detective job back.
Funboy (Ty Olssen - Supernatural ), the hired thug from the pilot episode, escapes from jail. His former employer, the undead Top Dollar, has a new henchman - a black guy who uses music to control peoples' moods.
Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) is back with his old band, though they do well enough without him.
Talon the female Crow ( Bobbie Phillips ) goes looking for a kidnapped baby. The child-snatchers have automatic weapons, for some reason. Luckily Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) is around, to give her backup in the climactic battle. After communing with nature and having a vision of his Eighteenth Century self dancing with his dead GF.
Christina Cox is back on duty after getting shot. Albrecht (Marc Gomes - X-Files: S8 ) does the field work, so she is free to do desk work. Someone has to, because Darla the ex-waitress has had a relapse into alcoholism.
We learn that Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) was a Vietnamese orphan, adopted by an American lieutenant colonel. Unfortunately the Colonel was listed MIA, and the kids had to grow up without a father figure. Eric's brother is an ex-con, on the run from a mobster whose ill-gotten gains he has stashed somewhere.
A Serial killer is abducting women. The Police Captain calls him a coward at a press conference. Naturally, the next abduction victim is his wife. All resources are put to finding her.
The villain does not have superpowers. As per usual in this kind of thing, the so-called hero spends his time beating up people who are weaker than him. The plot itself is inferior to ones that Police Procedurals like Criminal Minds use every single week.
Truax (Anthony Michael Hall - Dead Zone ) lurks around, with a creepy attempt at growing a goatee.
The Lazarus Foundation, villains in a previous episode, reappear and capture Draven's crow. Shelly returns to the world of the Living to help Eric. Draven (Mark Dacascos - Brotherhood of the Wolf ) and his Demonic Undead side are separated - the Crow and the mortal Eric must fight over Shelly.
The Personal Trainer is Michael Weatherly, AKA Eyes Only from Dark Angel .