Robocop: A Kid Friendly Animated Series Based On A Hyper Violent Film

  • Directed by Bill Hutton and Tony Love
  • Created by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner
  • Produced by Marvel Productions and Orion Pictures Corporation
  • October 1, 1988 to December 17, 1988
  • Syndicated

Voice Cast

  • RoboCop-Dan Hennessey
  • Anne Lewis-Susan Roman
  • Dr. Tyler-Barbara Budd
  • The Old Man / Clarence Boddicker / Casey Wong / Intro Narrator-Len Carlson
  • ED-260-Alan Stewart-Coates
  • Lt. Roger Hedgecock-Rex Hagon
  • Dr. McNamara-Robert Bockstael
  • Sgt. Reed / Dr. Roosevelt-Greg Morton

Officer Alex Murphy, mortally wounded in the line of duty, is resurrected as RoboCop in this family friendly adaption of the classic cyberpunk film.

This show is a family friendly continuation of the live action RoboCop movie and its concepts. It came out shortly after the first film and it is my understanding it was based on an early script and not the finished product. This show also made some changes from that to make it more acceptable for Saturday mornings.

As was often the case, to make this child inappropriate concept child appropriate they changed bullets to lasers and added in a big heaping of advanced technology to make it more sci-fi than cyberpunk. This is what they did with G.I. Joe for example. If you read the character cards of the time, they sported real world weapons and not lasers.

Still surprises me they would make a cartoon based on a hyper violent movie. They knew what they were going for before it was even finished so it is not like the movie was originally intended to be like this. Then again Rambo got his own family friendly cartoon. This was the 80s and such a thing was not improbable.

Aside from RoboCop, several other characters from the film return and get expanded upon. Anne Lewis, The Old Man, Clarence Boddicker (who died in the movie), newscaster Casey Wong, Lt. Roger Hedgecock, Dr. McNamara, Sgt. Reed, and Dr. Roosevelt who all had varying levels of presence returned in the series and were expanded upon.

RoboCop was not the most sophisticated storytelling ever. It had some pretty interesting themes and good ideas, but it was not an overly complicated series. I know it was aimed at children but so was G.I. Joe and even Transformers and I dare say those are far more sophisticated shows than this was. What helped it remain in my consciousness was that it was connected to RoboCop and it was an explicitly science-fiction animated series.

For me this was my first exposure to the RoboCop concept. I watched it to get a taste of a forbidden fruit. I was not allowed to see it in theaters but was able to rent the movie on VHS once we joined the present and got a VCR. I had seen clips when movie reviewers would talk about RoboCop. Something seemed wrong when I watched this. I am not talking about the shallow stories or the extreme family friendly nature of it. It just did not seem to fit and after seeing the movie I understood why. The violence was gone. The themes of the film were gone.

It lacked the violence of the RoboCop film. Nobody got shot and nobody got injured. The environment of the TV show was a clean future. The RoboCop future was dirty and lived in and a touch on the decaying side. And it lacked the emotion and the depth of characterization that the movie had. Robocop asked some questions about what defines who you are and what does it mean to be human. This show asked none of them. RoboCop was also a satire of corporatism and consumerism and this show lacked that.

However there were stories concerning the environment and even one about following false messengers. I give them props for that, but both of those episodes were seriously heavy handed yet also watered down.

RoboCop had a certain charm though. It tried to be very science-fiction oriented, and it had moments where it almost redeemed itself. One episode in particular is where the character of Hedgecock (he was the series workplace nemesis for RoboCop as well as Lewis) was given a power suit to test by the OCP recurring villain of Dr. McNamara who was extremely insignificant in the movie. Hedgecock, while testing the suit against RoboCop, almost got Lewis killed and RoboCop lost it. He went all out after Hedgecock and very nearly killed him until Lewis showed up in the nick of time. That was as deep as they got. And it is unfortunate because it was family friendly yet very serious and showed potential for something better.

RoboCop in the end was an adequate entry into Saturday morning animation. It was not great, but it was not terrible either. It attempted to straddle the sensibilities of the film as well as a growing dislike for animated violence and came up as something oddly memorable that failed to embody its source material. The animation looks good for the day and they do some interesting things that I had not seen in television animation. There was a rain on window effect that was extremely realistic.

RoboCop is entertaining enough, and you will not be completely dissatisfied. Near as I can tell the majority if not the entirety of the series is available on YouTube. I will give this an if you want just to get a peak into how some properties were handled in the past.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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