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Friday, December 28, 2012

'Police Academy: The Animated Series' V1: True to the Lore of the Steve Guttenberg Bible

Warner Archives' latest gift to classic animation fans in the form of the 30-episode DVD set "Police Academy: The Animated Series" V1 evoked fond memories of similar late 80s'/early 90s cartoon series of classic '80s live action comedies. The "Real Ghostbusters," "Back to the Future," "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and "Teen Wolf" cartoons were favorites from that era. "Ghostbusters" is on my list of desert island DVD sets, and "Bill and Ted" is high on my wishlist of series that I would love released on DVD.

These series are also notable because, along with "Academy," they marked the end of broadcast networks airing traditional Saturday morning cartoons.

Warner Archives' traditional release schedule indicates that fans of "Academy" can expect the release of the remaining episodes in roughly May 2013.

Like the titles mentioned above, "Academy" follows the proverbial winning formula of transporting the characters from the successful film franchise into an animated world with their personalities fully intact. This works particularly well in the case of "Academy" because most of the bumbling and/or quirky police recruits were essentially cartoon characters. Officer Jones, who was well known for his talent for creating sound effects with just his mouth, is a prime example of this. 

"Academy" notches up the franchise's surreal elements by having Mahoney and his gang of misfits face off against super-villains, such as the Phantom and the Kingpin. This squad receives aid from the very cute dogs in the K-9 corps, whose first assignment pits the entire two and four-footed gang against cat burglar The Claw and his real cat accomplice. 

The specific kid-friendly formula is that a typical episode begins with the uber baddie of the day committing the first in a series of crimes that prompts police involvement. This leads to the squad's nemesis Captain Harris assigning them to nab the perp, predicting that they will fail. The first attempt to thwart the evil scheme fails, often due to Harris' interference, and the second effort succeeds thanks to a team member's quirk-related talent.

Each episode winds up with a safety tip that is reminiscent of similar segments in "The Superfriends." These topics include bicycle safety and not going in strangers' home when you go door-to-door to do things such as collecting on your paper route or selling girl scout cookies. This is an early form of stranger danger.

Anyone with questions or thoughts regarding "Academy" is welcome to email me.