C.O.P.S. – The Animated Series
Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: C+
Back in the golden and silver age of fun children’s
television, one of the golden rules was that the programming was supposed to be
separate from the commercials and the results were some of the greatest shows
ever made. Mind you, this was not even
the educational shows, but the commercial fare. In the 1980s, that rule was trashed and this kind of TV naturally
went into decline. The line just did
not blur, it collapsed and entire shows would be built around or based on toy
lines. C.O.P.S. – The Animated
Series (1988 – 1989) is one of the most blatant examples of all.
This show was the product of the teaming of Kenner (now
Hasbro) doing the toys and Hanna-Barbera/Filmation wanna be company DIC. In the near future, the police have more
technology available to them in a more technologized world, and they have to
battle evil villains like “The Big Boss” and other over-simply named
baddies. The problem is that the whole
world was as oversimplified as Fisher Price toys, but without the
benefits. The show is so bad, it is
amusing and now, all 22 shows are here on DVD from Shout! Factory with extras
and in a nice casing.
Though it is reactionary and to the Right ideologically,
it tries to be a nicer version of that formula and the results are
oddball. Without realizing it, the
producers made a show that was all over the place and did not know if it should
be nice, tough, high-five its audience or be dramatic. As a result, the toy line did not do that
well and the show was cancelled after this season, but it did help set a new
style of art between two and three dimensions that was not intended to be fancy
or innovative; it was meant to make the characters look like the toys they were
trying to sell, increasingly dulled colors and all. It also tries to imitate some of the Japanese Animé that was just
catching on at the time, but not very well.
You just have to see it to believe it.
The 1.33 X 1 image shows its age, in its limited
animation, the flaws in the hand-drawn process you would not see today and the
slight agedness of the prints. Colors
are somewhat muted, as was the style of the show, but there is something
entertaining about the flaws versus the sterile look of similar product
today. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is
passable, but just fine for its age and as good as any sound one would have
heard during the original broadcast.
Extras include rare concept art for some episodes, public service
announcements involving the characters, a storyboard/screen segment on the
opening and more sketch art for key characters and locales.
- Nicholas Sheffo