Police Academy: The Animated Series, Volume One DVD Review: From Caddish to Kiddie

Some things simply will not lay down and suffer a painfully natural death like they should.
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It never fails to amuse me how something so decidedly adult in nature can sometimes turn into a franchise aimed solely at children. In Japan, the epic Godzilla character was conceived as a serious science-fiction look at the horrors of America's nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. A few years and several sequels down the line, Godzilla had somehow malformed into a heroic favorite with the kiddies. Several decades down the line, America itself was treated to similar-but-altogether different mutation. The popular Police Academy series started in 1984 with an R-rated comedy strictly for adults, complete with nudity, drug use, public acts of fellatio (always a plus in my book), and more. Four years later, in 1988, Ruby-Spears and Warner Bros. inexplicably turned the franchise into a weekday afternoon cartoon.

Sadly, the reason for such a travesty was simple. The filmic series grew popular with the younger audience, with later entries getting rated PG by the MPAA and becoming unaccountably sillier and inane than their predecessors. As such, you'd think that something like Police Academy: The Animated Series couldn't get any worse.

And you'd be wrong, of course.

All of Police Academy: The Animated Series takes place between the fourth and fifth entries in the motion picture franchise, prior to the departure of lead character Carey Mahoney (played in the movies by Steve Guttenberg, who eventually left the series in order to avoid getting typecast — only to enjoy what was surely not a very lucrative career as the lead in several completely forgettable kiddie films). But the world wherein this show takes place in is far more imaginary to what we saw in theaters. Here, there are dogs who are able to communicate with themselves (as with other animals) via the power of verbal speech. Why? Well, because as we learned in Marley & Me: The Puppy Years you absolutely positively must make dogs talk in order to be popular with the masses.

And yet, somehow, Police Academy: The Animated Series managed to air for two whole seasons on television before someone had the good sense to pull the plug on the project altogether, by which point even the live-action series had been laid to rest — save for a barely-alive attempt at a revision in 1994, that is. Naturally, some things simply will not lay down and suffer a painfully natural death like they should, and the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have proved that by bringing us a three-disc set with all 30 episodes from the show's less-than-epic first season, where we meet caricature versions of the movies' regular characters (voiced by completely different performers) as well as a gadget inventor named The Professor and a slew of over-the-top villains that would be hard-pressed to find employment in a Turkish superhero rip-off film from the '70s.

And that's me being nice to this one, folks.

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