N.Y.: WOR, Fri. March 18, 8 p.m.
Filmed in Toronto by Skyvision Entertainment Prods., RoboCop Prods. Limited Partnership and Rysher Entertainment. Executive producers, Brian K. Ross, Kevin Gillis, Stephen Downing; producer, J. Miles Dale; director, Paul Lynch; writer/creators, Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner; He’s back and TV’s got him: 21st-century RoboCop. He with the strength of 10 –’cause his heart’s pure engine — makes his syndie bow in 119 markets, with 96 lined up for the series. Writer/creators Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner originally assembled the automaton from murdered policeman Alex Murphy and from technobits and bolts for the 1987 sardonic, violent and foul-lingo’d feature “RoboCop.” Cleaned up, with violence relegated mostly to comic-book action, the pilot proves a semi-hoot.
Good-guy RoboCop (Richard Eden) and his partner, Lisa Madigan (Yvette Nipar), apparently the only live patrol officer in Detroit and futuristic Delta City, cover the capers of mad scientist Dr. Mallardo (Cliff de Young). Mallardo, abetted by Omni Consumer Products exec Chaykin (John Rubinstein), has been extracting people’s brains for his Neuro-Brain computer. The brain of Chaykin’s secretary, Diana (Andrea Roth), gets dropped into the gizmo, so she now exists as an electric force.
Story’s well constructed, offers lots of inventiveness, and the kids as well as parents should buy into the satiric ha-ha-heroics. Broad humor’s the key, and Neumeier and Miner display characters that might be found in a “Dick Tracy” comic strip or ABC-TV’s ’60s “Batman.” The pilot, like the feature, takes swipes at TV newscasts and teleblurbs for some laughs.
Eden’s RoboCop is firm-footed, as expected, and deliberate, with Nipar serving as a nifty partner. Blu Mankuma provides the sentimental station house Sgt. Stan Parks, and Roth limns a strong entry as the electrified Diana.
Director Paul Lynch supplies plenty of fanciful action against Perri Gorrara’s creative production designs. William Gereghty’s lensing and Gary L. Smith’s astute editing sustain the pace set by Lynch. J. Miles Dale’s production , reportedly clocked at $ 36.5 million, looks impressively ultramodern on the small screen. Music by Jon Stroll and co-exec producer Kevin Gillis fits the pilot’s outre style.
Series has a good chance of succeeding because, on the basis of the opener, it’s brave enough to amuse instead of intimidate. There’s a lesson there.