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Crash Zone is an Australian children’s science fiction television series which aired on the Seven Network from 13 February 1999 to 25 August 2001. It was produced by Australian Children’s Television Foundation, in association with the Disney Channel, and ran for 26 episodes. The series starred five high school students, “high-tech whiz kids” of varied backgrounds, who are hired by the president of the Catalyst software company to save her failing business.[1] The premise of the series was unique in that it was one of the first series to examine the early use of the internet as well as the video game industry and artificial intelligence. {{Patricia Edgar, Bloodbath A Memoir of Australian Television. MUP 2006, pp325-329) Director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Patricia Edgar, who developed the concept and then produced the series, attended an academic conference in Cologne, Germany where she heard an address from a games maker at SEGA. The company was concerned that girls were not buying their games and were researching girls’ interests to find out what kind of computer games they would like. Edgar saw the potential for a series in which a group of kids worked for a computer company, run by a woman, road-testing computer games for software development. The series would explore the question posed, along with the broader issues involved in the development of computer games concerning parents, educators and regulators. She was interested in the process whereby girls lost confidence in their voices around 12 years and also wanted to investigate the concept of cyberspace which was deeply mysterious to many people at that time. She ran a workshop with a group of writers and computer buffs to design Crash Zone as a series of five telemovies with extensive use of special effects and the creation of fantasy characters who would live in cyberspace. It was developed well before the advent of Lara Croft and the spate of movies produced about creatures living in the computer. It was a highly imaginative concept which Edgar presented to Claire Henderson at the ABC who rejected it outright. Disney was undergoing a resurgence with Children’s Channels in Europe and given Edgar’s success with Round the Twist internationally Disney agreed to fully fund the series with creative control retained by Edgar.

However Elaine Sperber, the Disney producer did not like the fantasy characters, she wanted a straight teen drama, and after much negotiation only the fantasy character of Virgil, an artificial intelligence survived. The ACTF/ Disney partnership was rocky. It is detailed in Bloodbath ibid p328. The series was successful, despite Edgar’s belief it could have been so much more. She saw it as a hazard of co-production financing that led to compromises. At the end of the production Sperber told Edgar that her favourite character was Virgil.}} From wikipedia.com

No of Seasons – 2

No of DVDs – 2

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Seasons

1, 2, All

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