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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Satire > Detectives > Police > Police Squad! [In Color] – The Complete Series

Police Squad! [In Color] – The Complete Series


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: A-     Episodes: B



Not many spoofs work as they are expected (reference the recent Scary Movie series), but the 1982 series Police Squad spoofs the popular police drama/mystery series perfectly.  Police Squad [In Color]: The Complete Series is so funny and well done; it is surprising it only lasted six episodes.  The series, mostly in a nonsensical way, follows Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) and Captain Ed Hocken (Alan North) as the solve some of the toughest crimes the city has ever seen.  The show is humorous to the point of confusing with the constant bombardment of comical chaos while Frank Drebin plays the straight man.  Every second of the show has a joke, making half the fun trying to catch all the running jokes.  The show was well cast, full of guest stars, well written, and had such a great uniqueness that it should have been on for much longer than it was.


The series spoofed many police shows, but few in particular.  With the use of narrative in the beginning of each episode, the series started off as a sort Quinn Martin production from the early 1970s (like the hits Streets of San Francisco or FBI).  Police Squad [In Color] also used other shows like Lee Marvin’s M Squad for inspiration for its parody.  The opening sequence of the series even goes as far as to almost directly spoof the 1960s N.Y.P.D. series, as well as spoofing the 1960s making a big deal of the “In Color” that by the 1980s was a television standard.  From beginning to end the series gained insight from the past classics.  The final sequence used the freeze frame technique many police series had utilized; the only difference was there was no freeze frame, the actors just stood motionless as chaos ensued around them.  From fires too criminals escaping, they did it all but they did it with a straight face.


The technicals on this DVD release are not great but good enough.  The picture is presented in a standard 1.33 X 1 Full Screen, as originally presented.  The picture quality varies; the colors are off at times seeming a tad orange as well as being slightly grainy.  The sound is nothing special in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, that don’t necessarily ‘POP’ as much as they should, but it is adequate for this 6 episode comedy.  The extras are impressive for such a small set, where as larger more expensive sets often times offer no extras.  Extra features include an interview with Leslie Nielson “Behind the Freeze Frames,” a Gag Reel, a casting test for both Alan North and Ed Williams, Producers Photo Gallery of Scenery, Sets and Props, List of Celebrity Death Shots, commentaries on 3 episodes, and more.  Overall, the extras are a plus for any fan.


In the end, you may be asking, why was such a great show canceled?  Well, the then ABC entertainment president Tony Thomopoulos commented on the subject as saying "Police Squad! was cancelled because the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it."  This means people did not care enough about what they were watching to give it their full attention.  Just goes to show studio heads don’t always know best.  *cough* Family GuyArrested Development *cough*



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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