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Friday, 8 October 2010

Robocop : The Series

Okay, so here's the thing. Last week I posted a load of waffle about how I tried to get hold of some Robocop DVDs and failed. Well, not long after that post went up - the next day actually - I embarked on a day out that very nearly was, for real, as much of a fart on as the one I exaggerated. A bit of bureaucratic nonsense I needed to get sorted for my 'real' life sent me on a trip that severely taxed my patience. Silver lining though, I came across a branch of good old Poundland on my travels and managed to pick up the first two discs in the Robocop collection.

I have now watched the first disc, comprising Pilot 'The Future Of Law Enforcement', and the first episode thereafter. I have also composed a long, reasoned, analytical post about its (many) shortcomings and (few) saving graces. Which disapeared when my laptop died. So now your getting the dashed off in 5 minutes version instead.


The new characters are pale imitations of their movie counterparts, with even Blu Mankuma failing to do much to lift the material.

The Old Man, now The Chairman, has been neutured, in order to allow him to be a regular. He's like a loveable old Uncle or something.

The ways around the lack of killing are comically bad. Shooting cabinet legs so it topples onto someone? Realy? Or dropping chandeliers on them? Weak.

The CGI is broken. I know it was early days for the form but if all you're using it for is a cheap gag and it doesn't work, lose the cheap gag. Better than embarressing yourself.

The actress playing Murphys wife is both blatantly too old and also as wooden as hell. Seeing as how the "I love you very very much" memory is, as in the movie, one of the lead characters primary motivators, and therefore shown quite a few times, you'd think they'd hire someone who could actually say the line without sounding bored.

There seem to be some very awkward tonal shifts in the show. When we are with the cops it's all very earnest and damatic. When we are with the villains they are virtually cartoon characters, so over the top and played for laughs are they.

The biggy - there is a cute kid. Yes, a regular character, in the titles and everything. She hangs around the station and helps Robocop. She's like his little mascot or something. She is even allowed to be hanging around in the Robo maintenance lab, messing about with equipment, when none of the scientists are anywhere to be found. I mean,a cutesy kid sidekick? For Robocop? Had they no shame?


The animated inserts in which a superhero flies around espousing the virtues of capitalism are a much subtler (and funnier) way of satirising the greed culture than all that "I'd buy that for a dollar" stuff in the movie.

I know I said the tonal shifts were a bad thing but if I'm honest, the pantomime villains did, at times,raise a glimmer of mirth. You have to take your entertainment where you can get it with this show.

Sight gags - Street signs, business names (I'll admit I grinned at Ecoli meat packers), and computer graphics (the mad genius Dr Cray Mallardo is revealed to have the middle initial Z when Robo reads his bio) are full of little bits and pieces for the careful observer.

Andrea Roth. And not just because she's a attractive woman who seems to wear formal outfits a lot, though I do like a woman in a posh frock. She can act, for one thing, which puts her above most of the rest of the cast (Mankuma excepted) and she somehow managed, against all the odds, to take the dire writing seriously and actually conjure up an affecting performance.

So there you go. A quick and dirty Robocop write up. I'm a bit peeved actually, because the one I lost was the first, I think, halfway piece of proper, no messing about writing I've done for this blog. I was genuinely quite proud of it. I'd done research about the movies and everything. Oh well, maybe next time.

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