- This article is about the live-action series. For the animated series, see RoboCop: The Animated Series.
RoboCop: The Series is a 1994 television series based on the film of the same name. It stars Richard Eden as RoboCop. The TV Series takes place at least five years after the first RoboCop movie, where Delta City has been greenlit for development amongst Old Detroit, and follows the dystopian world of RoboCop through its titular hero.
While RoboCop was initially an American property, Orion Pictures received a $500,000 cash infusion for TV licensing rights to Canada's Skyvision Entertainment. This allowed access to co-production treaties and possible partnerships with other countries. The series was filmed in Toronto and Mississauga, Canada and originally planned for a January 1994 debut, several months after the unsuccessful release of RoboCop 3. Skyvision was also in negotiation with Peter Weller, the original RoboCop, but this did not come to fruition. Twenty-two episodes were made, but the series was not renewed for a second season. Expense played a significant part in this; according to Skyvision VP Kevin Gillis, episodes would be produced at $1.2 million to $1.5 million each.
While made to also appeal to children and young teens, with the graphic violence that was the hallmark of RoboCop and RoboCop 2 absent for obvious reasons of television broadcasting standards, The Series nevertheless maintains its originating material's penchant for adult black humor and social commentary by more subtle means, and through the original script for the sequel, showcases a greater deal of humanity on RoboCop and his career through the turbulent metropolis of Delta City and Old Detroit. MediaBreak still exists, covering both the larger than life news in Delta City and the globe, while a rather twisted superhero parody significant of the 90s era of western animation by the name of Commander Cash has his own related animated segments, who is an OCP mascot made to peddle and promote various excursions of the company relevant to the episode. Many of the episodes were also explicitly critical of conservative and libertarian policies, i.e. the privatization of health care and welfare, the rise of televangelism and prosperity gospel superchurches as corporate powers, covering up scientific evidence and research in the pursuit of profit, etc. and the ironic handling of many of the negative aspects of modern urban life through Near Future Detroit and Delta City was now maginfied and given a greater view on a broader; more frequent scale, helping to widen the scope on seeing the quality of life its citizens would go through.
Rather than killing criminals, RoboCop now has several non-lethal alternatives, which ensure that certain villains can be recurring; nevertheless, some one time villains come to meet rather grisly ends by being more rephrehensible than most of RoboCop's rogue gallery, the former being rather the results of the dystopian world they live in than its instigators in this case.
Villains on the series include Boppo the Clown, Dr. Cray Z. Mallardo , OCP executive Chip Chayken, William Ray "Pudface" Morgan , Vlad "Don't call me Stitch" Molotov and even Commander Cash himself (although, in one episode, it is revealed that Commander Cash was actually a misunderstood hero - a former OCP employee who was the real creator of OCP's Commander Cash toy line whose idea was stolen by a co-worker and subsequently terminated from the company due to the said coworker).
The series gave writers more of an opportunity to develop the central characters and to extend the human interest aspect through the introduction of Gadget; the station mascot and the adopted, insightful daughter of station Sergeant Parks. Gadget, along with the presence of Jimmy Murphy did much to shift the focus from the adult to the youth target audience. The writers also introduced an element of virtual romance and deus ex machina in the persona of Diana, formerly a secretary to crooked Vice-President Chip Chaykin, who becomes transmogrified through her death into the 'face' and 'body' of Metronet, OCP's city-running super-computer. The OCP Chairman and his corporation are also treated as merely naïve and ignorant, in contrast to their malicious and immoral behavior from the second movie onward.
- Alex Murphy / RoboCop - Richard Eden
- Sergeant Stanley Parks - Blu Mankuma
- Detective Lisa Madigan - Yvette Nipar
- OCP Chairman - David Gardner
- Bo Harlan - Dan Duran
- Rocky Crenshaw - Erica Ehm
- Charlie Lippencott - Ed Sahaly
- Diana Powers - Andrea Roth
- Gadget - Sarah Campbell
- Ellen Murphy - Jennifer Griffin
- Umberto Ortega - Patrick McKenna
- Jimmy Murphy - Peter Costigan
- Willam Ray 'Pudface' Morgan - James Kidnie
- Chip Chayken - John Rubinstein
- Dr. Cray Z. Mallardo - Cliff De Young
- Edward Foster - Richard Waugh
- Stitch Molotov - Hrant Alianak
- Reggie Braga - Daniel Kash
- Fred Friendly - James Millington
- Rochelle Carney - Marla Sucharetza
- Aubrey Fox - Jason Blicker
- Martina Marx - Catherine Swing
- Shorty - Wayne Robson
- Bea - Jackie Richardson
- Leo - Donald Burda
- Mr. Fraker - Christopher Bondy
- Coroner - Neil Crone
- Dorothy Murphy - Nonnie Griffin
- Joe Avery - Ted Dykstra
- Ami Avery - Jane Spidell
- Josh Avery - Dov Tiefenbach
- Big Dog - Chris Kennedy
- Tom - Bruce Hunter
- Jerry - David Huband
- Warden - Micheal Donoghue
- Mr. Smith - Richard Comar
- Reverend Bob Taker - Richard Paul
- Dr. Roger Yung - Chris Wiggins
- Bambi Taker - Debra McGrath
- Young Jimmy Murphy - Jordan Hughes
|1 (Pilot)||The Future of Law Enforcement|
|2||Prime Suspect||(First Suspect)|
|3||Trouble in Delta City||(Delta City)|
|4||Officer Missing||(Absence of Police)|
|5||What Money Can't Buy|
|6||Ghosts of War|
|9||Faces of Eve|
|10||When Justice Fails|
|11||The Human Factor|
|13||RoboCop vs Commander Cash|
|16||Sisters in Crime|
|21||Midnight Minus One|
Home videos and merchandise
- The episode "What Money Can't Buy" was released on VHS on March 28, 1995. Episodes of the series were also released in a Japanese laserdisc set. They include "First Suspect," "Delta City," and "Absence of Police."
- An action figure collection for the series was produced by little-known Toy Island, a company that would continue making RoboCop figures in the future. The basic series includes RoboCop, Madigan, Stan Parks, Commander Cash (also released as "Commandant Cash"), and Pudface. It also features the OCP Interceptor, Tactical Field Vehicle, Tactical Field Ambulance, Mobile Armored Detention Vehicle, and Cyrochamber playset. In 1995, the Power Glow figure series was released. This includes RoboCop variations with illuminating armor such as a basic RoboCop (blue), Thermo Shield RoboCop (red), and Xicor Shield RoboCop (lime green). Each figure in the collection includes various accessories and several points of articulation.
- A soundtrack entitled A Future to This Life was released January 24, 1995 on both CD and cassette by Pyramid Records. Aside from the show's theme writers, Joe Walsh & Lita Ford, it features classic rock songs from groups like The Band, The Flamingos, Iron Butterfly, and KC & the Sunshine Band.
- Alliance Home Entertainment released RoboCop: The Beginning: The Complete Series on DVD only in Canada (Region 1) on July 27, 2010.
- Madman Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Australia (Region 4) on July 25, 2006.
- Stax Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in the UK (Region 2) on March 20, 2006.
The series was re-released with slimmer packaging on January 22, 2007.
- Liberation Hall released the complete series on DVD and Blu-ray in Region 1 on May 24, 2022.
- This section is incomplete.
While it does not explicitly disregard the events of RoboCop 2 or RoboCop 3, the series deliberately only acknowledges events from the first film, with some of these events appearing in the opening credits, but re-staged with the show's cast. Thus, several of the series' characters essentially serve as replacements for film characters:
- Lisa Madigan replaces Anne Lewis
- Stanley Parks replaces Warren Reed
- The Chairman replaces the Old Man
- Ellen Murphy is renamed Nancy Murphy
- Charlie Lippencott replaces Dr. Tyler and Roosevelt
Despite these cast/character changes, the series' first episode shows footage of Clarence Boddicker and his gang killing Murphy, taken directly from the film. The series occasionally implies that the above replacements are the same characters, but with different names:
- In "The Future of Law Enforcement," Madigan blows a bubble of gum, as a nod to Lewis.
- In "Officer Missing," the Chairman says he approved RoboCop's design and he is referred to as "old man" a few times.
Although the characters were likely intended to be the same, this interpretation creates continuity issues with the original film:
- In the film, the featured precinct is Metro West, whereas in the series, it is Metro South, which is mentioned in the film as Murphy's former precinct.
Finally, although the series ignores RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, if Anne Lewis and Lisa Madigan are one and the same, it cannot share continuity with RoboCop 3 because Lewis dies in the film. It cannot be set between any of the films either, as Delta City is never realized in the film trilogy, while the series shows that it has been constructed.
- The series takes place five years after the original RoboCop film. It ignores some things from the two subsequent motion pictures.
- In the TV series Anne Lewis was never Alex Murphy's partner. Lisa Madigan instead was his partner as evidenced in Midnight Minus One where RoboCop flashesback to day that leads to Alex Murphy's rebirth as RoboCop. It shows Lisa Madigan begging Alex Murphy not to die.
- Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier scripted an unused RoboCop sequel, Orion went in a different direction, but elements of this unused sequel appear in the pilot for the television series.
- The production company wasn't aware the RoboCop writing duo had the right of first refusal to write and film the RoboCop television pilot episode. When they read about the announced series, they contacted the producers and they had a meeting of minds.
- This episode "Prime Suspect" plays out like a remake of "The Fugitive" movie, with RoboCop in the role of Kimball. Even going so far as to replicate the Kimball/Gerard face off in the sewers down to the dialogue. This Episode was also based on the "Prime Suspect" Dark Horse comic.
- For legal reasons, Murphy's wife was changed to Nancy as opposed to Elen in the movies. For the same reasons, The Old man was changed to the Chairman.
- The gun on the TV series is a lighter version of the one in the first movie. The original was a 9mm weapon. A lighter gun was created when importing the real gun into Canada proved difficult. It was also easier to handle by the actor in the RoboSuit.
- The series films in Canada costs for around $1.25 million per episode.
- Ten series scripts were ready for production when principal photography ended on the pilot.
- Cinespace studios in Toronto devoted fifty thousand square feet of permanent sets to simulate Old Detroit and its environs, including Omni-Consumer Products headquarters.
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