In case you missed it last week, and are in need of a laugh, or more, Paramount Pictures released the classic, and far too short-lived Police Squad! (In Color) to blu-ray. Serving as the basis for the Naked Gun films, the makers of Airplane! turned their attention to television, and the police drama and piled it with sight gags, hilarious lines, and wonderfully crafted jokes.
Starring Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin (with a constantly changing rank), the six episodes visit all the usual police story tropes, and knock them silly. And could anyone ask for anything more appropriate than that at this time?
Nielsen plays it fairly straight, and lets the comedy swirl around him as he delivers laugh out loud dialogue and finds himself in situations that are recognisable but get twisted so out of shape in the twenty-five minute episode runtime.
The series was cancelled after six episodes, which, according to the series creators, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker may have been a blessing in disguise as they were unsure how they would be able to craft enough funny scripts for an entire season, and what about multiple seasons? A gag can only be repeated so many times.
The cancellation allowed them to later create the Naked Gun trilogy, and if you watch these episodes you may catch some jokes that got re-used in the films, but seeing them as they were originally meant, brilliant.
And there is no better time for this release to come along, because for folks stuck at home, this makes a great little afternoon, because you not only can watch the episodes, but a couple of them include commentary from the creators, as well as a gag reel, test reels with Nielsen and his co-star Alan North, the infamous freeze-frames that the episodes end with, a photo gallery, and Celebrity Death Shots – although I’ll admit to not knowing them all.
The series is sheer delight, and one I had never seen, I’d heard of it in passing when the first Naked Gun came out, but never had access to it before. I don’t recall any of my friends mentioning it, nor do I recall every seeing an ad for it. But, back then, there were fewer television channels, and my viewing time was restricted.
If you’re looking for something fun, and something that can be enjoyed by the entire family (and I bet you all get different things out of it) Police Squad! is the perfect viewing choice for your quarantine pleasure.
Police Squad! (In Color): The Complete Series is available now from Paramount Canada! Check it out today, and enjoy a dose of laughter, always the best medicine!