Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Modern Classic: 21 Jump Street (1987)

21 Jump Street, when it aired on Fox from 1987-91, was described as a comedy adventure show. The feature film reboot put more emphasis on slapstick comedy, which might've turned off fans of the original series.

It came from Stephen J. Cannell's factory, with one of Cannell's former proteges, Patrick Hasbrough, starting his own company to co-produce. The concept is the same. Adult cops undercover in high school. Thing is, in the movies, there's just 2 (Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum), who've been depicted to be a few steps higher up the IQ ladder than, say, Beavis & Butt-Head. I only needed to see the trailers for the movies to make that assumption.

21 Jump Street is Johnny Depp's only TV series to date, and it was the last time that Depp played a character that wasn't quirky or bizarre that I know of. Depp fronted an ensemble that also included Peter DeLuise (Dom's son), Holly Robinson (later Peete), who also sang the theme song, and Steven Williams ("The Blues Brothers") as their CO. The early success of the series led to a spin-off, Booker, as someone thought Richard Grieco might be a breakout star. Didn't happen, as Booker was done after 1 season.

Hulu serves up a sample episode.

One wonders why Depp chose to veer away from roles like this in later years. He didn't really stand out on this show, as the ensemble, not one person, carried the show.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

Yes, Depp was part of an ensemble, but he did stand out in his own way - he was a heartthrob at the time.

This show was a lot of fun - a bunch of young looking cops playing narc in various schools trying to bust the perp of the week. IIRC, before Steven Williams joined the cast, thee was another cop who was their handler who's character was killed in the line of duty.

I have yet to bother watching the big screen remakes.

hobbyfan said...

A shame, then, that Depp traded his good looks----and his common sense, it seems----for a career of eccentricity.

In the movies, Ice Cube's character may be in fact modeled on Williams'.