You might have thought one of the most violent films ever made would struggle to be adapted into something appropriate for kids but, to quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “life finds a way.” Or rather, in this instance, Marvel Productions did. Though much of the violence was jettisoned from the RoboCop cartoon series, which was released in 1988, a year after the original film, the opening credits still featured a brief sequence of Alex Murphy being gunned down by Clarence Bodicker and his gang. In fact, in the universe of the cartoon, they were still very much alive and popped up in one episode.
Lasers replaced guns while most episodes saw RoboCop battle other ED-209-like creations, as well as corrupt police officers, save for one odd episode focusing on a KKK-style gang called “The Brotherhood,” who wanted to eradicate robots of any kind. Originally slated for a 13-episode run, just 12 were produced after Marvel Productions opted to spend the budget set aside for the finale on an X-Men animated series pilot. It was probably a wise move.
The Police Academy movies were already well past their expiration date by the time this animated spin-off arrived in September 1988, a few months on from the release of Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach and a few months before Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. Though Steve Guttenberg had bailed after the fourth entry in the franchise, the character of Mahoney returned for the animated series alongside old “favorites” like High Tower, Laverne, Tackleberry, and the Sound Effects guy. This time, however, they had reinforcements in the form of the Canine Corps, a group of talking police dogs who were largely there to paper over the cracks left after much of the nudity and inappropriate jokes that made the films so strangely popular were removed.
Featuring a theme song performed by hip-hop trio the Fat Boys and memorable for featuring a villain called “The Kingpin,” who looked and sounded a whole lot like the Marvel character, the show proved strangely popular in Europe and Italy, in particular, and ran for two seasons before Police Academy fatigue finally set in.
Highlander: The Animated Series
In the Highlander films, Christopher Lambert’s character Connor MacLeod can often be heard to remark that “there can be only one.” That’s certainly not proven to be the case for the Highlander franchise which, to date, has spawned six films, two TV shows, an upcoming reboot, and two seasons of this unusual cartoon.
Set in the 27th century and briefly featuring Connor, who ends up being killed, but thankfully not beheaded, the show borrowed heavily from the first movie with a plot that sees Connor’s nephew, Quentin MacLeod, killed then resurrected to serve as a Highlander under the tutelage of Ramirez. A franchise already steeped in confusing and contradictory mythology, Highlander: The Animated Series introduced the concept of Jettators, immortals who have renounced their quest to be “the one” and win “The Game.” Instead they wish to help mankind. The problem is, a few bad apples among the Highlanders decided against becoming Jettators, creating the series’ central conflict.