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TV & sitcom DVDs - Police Squad!

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Police Squad! The Complete Series
Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Ed Williams
Written by Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, Jim Zucker
Originally aired on ABC 1992

A couple of years after Airplane! the comedy that spoofed all the Airport movies the Zucker Abrahams team put together a situation comedy titled Police Squad! In Color that made fun of all the Quinn Martin cop shows of the sixties and seventies. Police Squad! was cancelled by ABC after five shows to be replaced, according to the Zuckers, by That's Incredible as a better lead-in to a Jane Fonda produced series. The DVD features all 6 episodes of this unusual and brilliant though formulaic series

It is kind of hard to figure out why Police Squad! was cancelled but as Leslie Nielsen mentions in the extra feature interview this was a situation comedy you actually had to watch to get all of the sight gags , jokes, and puns, terrible puns. He makes the interesting point that many of us do not really look at the television set or pay attention when we watch TV. This meant a lot of the quick gags were lost on many viewers. The show featured a series of running gags such as the special guest star being offed at the beginning of the show, the voice over title not matching the screen title, the elevator scene, and, of course, the freeze at the end of the show where Nielsen, Alan North, and the other cops freeze but not everything else.

At the same time though the Police Squad! DVD and seeing all six shows together gives a good indication that it would have been difficult if not impossible to keep this situation comedy going for an entire season, never mind two, three, or the magic five season syndication deal. The sixth and weakest episode, written by Robert Wuhl, never aired but you can already see that some of the gags and situations are running thin.

Still, Police Squad's six episodes are great fun to watch and watch again just to see what you missed the first time around. There is no doubt this was original comedy and it has survived pretty well.

Extra features include some episode commentary by Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, Jim Zucker, and Robert Wuhl. In other words, the usual inane stuff by people who just showed up in a studio unprepared and relying on their failing memory. Especially useless is the Robert Wuhl commentary on episode six. Also included are a Leslie Nielsen interview, a gag reel, casting tests, and even lesser stuff.



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