The Crow: Stairway to Heaven

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The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
Crow stairway titles.jpg
The Crow: Stairway to Heaven title card
Written byBrent V. Friedman
Naomi Janzen
Peter M. Lenkov
John Turman
Directed byScott Williams
StarringMark Dacascos
Kadeem Hardison
Katie Stuart
Narrated byMark Dacascos
Sabine Karsenti
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Producer(s)Bryce Zabel
Edward Pressman
CinematographyAttila Szaly
Editor(s)Charles Robichaud
Richard Schwadel
Running time43 mins per episode
Production company(s)Crow Productions
Alliance Communications
(season 1)
Alliance Atlantis Communications
(season 1)
Crescent Entertainment
PolyGram Television
DistributorPolyGram Television
Original networkSyndication
Picture format4:3
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 25, 1998 – May 22, 1999
Preceded byThe Crow: City of Angels
Followed byThe Crow: Salvation

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 22 episodes.

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]


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.


Eric Draven was the lead guitarist in rock band Hangman's Joke, signed to Mace Reyes' record label. 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 and heightened strength, he seeks to "set the wrong things right", and ultimately return to Shelly and move on to the Land of the Dead.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

When Albrecht's relationship with Draven starts to raise eyebrows amongst his superiors, Capshaw is brought in as his new partner. Young and inexperienced, she often finds herself left out of the loop by Albrecht.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

One of T Bird's helpers. He is the one who uses his throwing knives to attack Eric Draven in the alleyway. He hangs out with the gang together. He was later killed by Eric Draven later in the scenes.

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.

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.


  1. The Soul Can't Rest: A year after he and his fiancé were murdered, Eric Draven returns from the dead as a supernatural avenger.
  2. Souled Out: Eric goes after the man who ordered his and Shelly's death.
  3. Get A Life: Shelly's ghost contacts Eric to save a man accused of murder.
  4. Like It's 1999: Sarah gets in over her head when she infiltrates a group of destructive teens that her friend belongs to.
  5. Voices: Eric must save a young medium from his corrupt boss, who uses the boy's paranormal talent for crime
  6. Solitude's Revenge
  7. Double Take: Top Dollar escapes, and concocts a plan to die at Eric’s hand, so he can become a Snake.
  8. Give Me Death
  9. Before I Wake
  10. Death Wish
  11. Through A Dark Circle: An attempt to bring back Shelly goes awry when Eric accidentally resurrects a serial killer.
  12. Disclosure
  13. The People vs. Eric Draven
  14. It's A Wonderful Death
  15. Birds Of A Feather
  16. Never Say Die
  17. Lazarus Rising
  18. Closing Time
  19. The Road Not Taken
  20. Brother's Keeper
  21. Dead To Rights
  22. A Gathering Storm

Filming locations[edit]

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.


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]


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

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 started to show all 22 episodes.

DVD releases[edit]

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.[3]

On February 15, 2011, Alliance Home Entertainment released The Complete Series on DVD in Canada only.[4]


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.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
1999 Leo Awards Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series Attila Szalay Nominated [5]
Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Series Richard A. Schwadel Nominated


  1. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : Life After Death: A Hit in the Offing?". 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
  3. ^ "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven - The Complete Series". 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  4. ^ "The Crow: Stairway To Heaven - The Complete Series: Mark Dacascos, Marc Gomes, Sabine Karsenti, Katie Stuart, Lynda Boyd, Jon Cuthbert, Christina Cox: DVD". Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  5. ^ "1999 nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 15 November 2016.

External links[edit]