Robocop-The Series (1994)

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Released 21-Jul-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Bonus Episode-Pilot Episodes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 976:30
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (5)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mario Azzopardi
Timothy Bond
J. Miles Dale
Allan Eastman
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Richard Eden
Yvette Nipar
Blu Mankuma
Andrea Roth
David Gardner
Sarah Campbell
Case Slip Case
RPI $79.95 Music Kevin Gillis
Glenn Morley
Jon Stroll


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.

The surprise success of Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop (1987), the science fiction action film, turned into something of a phenomenon; it spawned two sequels, (RoboCop 2 (1990) and RoboCop 3 (1993)), comic books (RoboCop vs. The Terminator (1992), Frank Miller's RoboCop (2003-2006)), arcade video games (RoboCop (1989), RoboCop 2 , RoboCop 3 (1992), RoboCop vs. The Terminator (1992)), two animated series (RoboCop: The Animated Series (1980s), RoboCop: Alpha Commando (1998-1999)), and two live action television series, RoboCop: The Series (1994) and the more recent RoboCop: Prime Directives (2000).

Regardless of being a descendant of an R 18 rated film, the 1994 television series RoboCop: The Series was made for an adolescent audience. This initial motivation immediately changes what the audience should expect from the television series, as RoboCop: The Series is representative of how violence on television was becoming controlled in response to parent's fears of violence in popular adolescent shows such as "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" (1993) in the mid 90s. Also, with the sequels of the original RoboCop film both critical and commercial failures RoboCop: The Series was not admired by fans as it takes a completely different direction, that of a satire. The series takes place two years after the original film and somewhat ignores the events of the two unsuccessful sequels, disrupting continuity.

RoboCop has moved back to Metro South and OCP is still in business. Within the first scenes of the pilot RoboCop is critically injured by William Ray "Pudface" Morgan - his nemesis. Meanwhile, Dr. Cray Z. Millardo transforms OCP secretary Diana Powers into NeuroBrain, the CPU of Delta City's MetroNet. Powers is a character who will continue to help RoboCop in his investigations throughout the series and in the pilot Powers manages to repair RoboCop. Also established is the beginning of RoboCop's unspoken agreement with the Chairman which means that RoboCop will continue to have OCP's complete support, while in exchange RoboCop must bail out the Chairman and OCP whenever they get into trouble. Also, RoboCop refuses to reveal his true identity to his wife who has been renamed Nancy Murphy and his teenage son Jimmy. RoboCop's partner is Officer Lisa Madigan and his Sergeant is Stan Parks - both are reminiscent of Lewis and Reed from the original film. Parks is also an adoptive father of a foster child named 'Gadget' who often helps RoboCop in his investigations.

As mentioned, violence was limited due to the cultural changes on television in the mid 90s. A consequence of this is that RoboCop cannot fatally wound any enemies. As such "Pudface", an arch-enemy, appears in many episodes as he is merely injured. Also RoboCop has new devices such as a gun which places an electronic tag on the person or object allowing RoboCop to track down the villain. Despite the restrictions with weapons, the strength of RoboCop is played upon as he breaks through walls, pulls doors away and bends steel. As each episode cost approximately 1 million dollars to film in Canada, an episode can incorporate blue screen special effects, matte paintings and computer animation to visualise Delta City and Old Detroit circa 2018. The production is very much reminiscent of the original film with a mixture of the old abandoned warehouses and darkened streets and the tall futuristic buildings which fill the skyline. Overall the show is commendable but as the tone is much lighter it does take away from the brutality of the character of Robocop which made the first film what it is. Actor Richard Eden inhabits RoboCop and while the suit can look awkward at times his overall performance is understated and the character is given emotion through voice. The satirical part of the show is embodied through parodies of prime time television entertainment, news programs and advertisements which feature throughout the episodes. While the series overall has an interesting approach to the concept of RoboCop it is not for everyone. It has its moments of intelligence and style but overall can become contrived, especially with the ludicrous villains.

A comprehensive episode guide can be found at The RoboCop archive.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The transfer is presented in full frame 1.33:1 and unfortunately the picture is riddled with defects. This isn't surprising as the series was shot on 35mm film and transferred to tape. The defects are not a result of the DVD mastering process, but rather inherent in the source material itself.

The picture is noticeably soft with a lack of sharpness and definition throughout. Grain and colour bleeding are evident, although overall the colour scheme is relatively natural. There are instances of aliasing and edge enhancement as well. Also, an instance of an analogue tape tracking error was evident.

Despite these flaws and considering the show has not been remastered and is over a decade old, this is an adequate presentation of a television show which is highly visual with neon colours, smoke and is darkly lit. The episodes are encoded at an average of 4.45 Mbps. There are no subtitle tracks.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and is suited to the source material. It is clear and dialogue is audible. There are no evident flaws in regards to the soundtrack. The memorable original film soundtrack by Basil Poledouris is slightly referenced in the main theme of the show.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

The menu is well designed and functional. Each episode has four chapters and the menu plays on the action elements of the series.

Gallery-Photo

A production gallery is available to view on Disc 1.

Bonus Episode

The movie length "THE FUTURE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT" is the pilot episode and is noted as an extra feature on the packaging.(86:00)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The show is unavailable in R1. The UK R2 presentation is 6 DVDs in a fold out digipack with leaflet and episode details. A customer review on Amazon UK notes production information is available as text screens - presumably these are retrieved from the original laserdisc release.

Summary

While the series overall has an interesting approach to the concept of RoboCop it is not for everyone. It has its moments of intelligence and style but overall can become contrived, especially with the ludicrous villains. The presentation is average with limited extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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