Warner Bros. // 1988 // 658 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 5th, 2013
Flatfoot hilarity is coming your way!
I guess it should come as no surprise that the Police Academy film franchise was given its own animated series. Police Academy's run spanned an entire decade (1984-1994), spawning seven movies (six of them running theatrically) and making it one of the most baffling success stories ever committed to celluloid. The movies started off as adult farce (Police Academy andPolice Academy 2: Their First Assignment), became kid-friendly comedy (Police Academy 3: Back in Training, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege), and finally ended as a straight-to-video turkey (Police Academy: Mission to Moscow). Those who grew up on the series may have an affinity for it, like myself, but other viewers would find the films about as entertaining as watching grass grow backwards.
Police Academy: The Animated Series is almost exactly what you'd expect from a show based on a movie series that never got the respect it didn't deserve. The show features most of the main characters from the film -- Mahoney, Tackleberry, Sweetchuck, Hightower, Lassard, Hooks, and Callahan -- as well as some new characters, most notably a few talking dogs (naturally, because animation can't survive without talking animals). Each episode usually revolves around the police cadets attempting to stop various criminals from committing crimes. Usually the criminals have specific personalities, like the cat burglar "Claw," who uses cats to help snatch jewels from unsuspecting rich old ladies. None of the crimes are overtly violent or heinous; usually it's just inept bad guys who look like Italian dock workers named "Rocky."
On par with just about every other cartoon series from the 1980s (most by Hanna-Barbera), the show features stilted dialogue, shoddy animation, and plot threads with all the complexity of a Teletubbies episode. In fact, the show is so bereft of ideas that it actually cribs plots from old Scooby-Doo, Where are You! episodes, as when the cadets come face-to-face with "The Phantom," a boogeyman with magical powers who turns out to be a cranky old man. The show's main antagonists are Captain Harris (also seen in the live-action films) and his bumbling sidekick Proctor, whom are always trying to set up Mahoney and his fellow cadets for failure. Usually the episodes end with Capt. Harris getting his comeuppance and being humiliated, much to the chagrin of Mahoney. Much like the film series, each character has specific traits to set them apart; Hightower is strong, Tackleberry is a weapons expert, Zed is crazy, etc.
Sadly -- or maybe not, depending on how you feel about the films -- Police Academy: The Animated Series does not include any of the original actors' voices. Steve Guttenberg (who left after the fourth film), Bubba Smith, George Gaynes, and Michael Winslow's personalities are all mimicked by lesser actors, which means fans are left with characters they remember but their ears don't recognize. Seriously, how can you make a Police Academy episode and not include Bobcat Goldthwait? The mind boggles at the gross disappointment.
Look, critiquing a show like Police Academy: The Animated Series seems a bit pointless. For goodness' sake, the main theme song is performed by The Fat Boys, which should tell you almost everything you need to know about the quality of this show. It features gags about cops eating donuts, cops dancing badly, fat cops falling through floors, and cops blowing things up (without anyone getting hurt, of course). It's hard to imagine anyone watching this show for more than an episode or two without catching a serious case of brain rot. If you actually laugh at any of the jokes included on any of these episodes of Police Academy: The Animated Series, you are found guilty of having a horrible sense of humor.
Police Academy: The Animated Series, Volume One (which means there's a second volume coming!) features thirty episodes spread across three discs, each presented in 1.33:1 full-frame (the show's original aspect ratio). Don't expect any of these episodes to impress you; the image looks about as good as a really well-preserved VHS copy. The colors and black levels look fine, but there's hardly anything exceptional about these transfers. The soundtracks are each presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in English. You can clearly hear the dialogue, music, and sound effects, which is the best that can be said about this flat, so-so audio mix. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are included on this disc.
No extra features have been included on this disc.
You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. And
you have the right not to sit through Police Academy: The Animated
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 658 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated