Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Note how the dopey UK distributors have respelt color the UK way with a 'U', and lost the joke
Nearly 30 years on, Police Squad! In Color is still a masterclass in comedy.

Sure, a few of the jokes are now so well-known that they thud a bit, but the hit-rate is so high that you welcome them anyway.

This is slapstick at its most extreme. Leslie Neilsen's original straight take on Frank Drebin is, for my money, much funnier than his loosened-up performances in the later Naked Gun movies, and the brevity of these episodes' 22-minute run-times ensures that most of them thunder along at breakneck speed.

I haven't listened to any of the directors' commentaries, but the other extras on here offer little to add to the high value of the main feature. The exceptions would be Leslie Neilsen's enlightening perspective on the show's refusal to be mean-spirited, an out-take so disastrous that you wonder why it wasn't used in the programme, and an incredible four-minute freeze-frame gag from the never-released movie edit. I'd have really liked to have seen the whole of that version included on a second disc here.

Police Squad! was cancelled after just 6 episodes due to terrible ratings, and in the absence of a clear reason for its failure, several people have gone on the record with their opinions about it requiring too much attention from the viewer.

I'd like to generously suggest that while that theory may be the strongest explanation available, it still doesn't ring true to me. Slapstick is incredibly popular, and when delivered with this intensity, it's hard to come away without alot of it having hit its target. I think, in fact, the show was just monumentally unlucky, as probability states that every so often one great series must be.

That's the thing about us humans, we insist that there must be an explanation for everything.

Almost a decade later in the UK, the people marketing Red Rock Cider sure banked on its popularity. Want to see a complete new Police Squad! story? See below...

And there were two others...


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