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Old November 10 2013, 08:32 PM   #16
Timby
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

ReadyAndWilling wrote: View Post
Timby wrote: View Post
Imagine you're walking down the street, and suddenly you come across a $100 bill on the sidewalk.

As you bend over to pick it up, someone runs up behind you and kicks you in the junk, hard.

To top things off, as you stumble around, half-blind and trying not to vomit or pass out from the pain, that son of a bitch steals the $100 bill.

That's the experience of watching Prime Directives.
Uhhh how can it be this bad?
The same way any movie or series or miniseries can be bad: A bunch of incompetent nincompoops were hired to write, direct and produce the thing.

Fireworks Entertainment, a Canadian studio that was known for insanely low-budget works, had acquired the television rights to RoboCop from Skyvision through some scamboogery or another. Those rights were due to expire sometime in 2001, so Fireworks commissioned the Prime Directives miniseries, helmed by Julian Grant (known for making low-budget schlock) and written by two goons with no feature credits to their name (but they were really big RoboCop fans! And they interacted with the fans on the Internet! So of course it would be great!), with a crazy low budget and a bunch of no-name, cheap actors. The biggest name in the cast was Page Fletcher, as RoboCop -- and his biggest claim to fame was starring in The Hitchhiker on HBO in the '80s.

(Fun side note: Because the Prime Directives production was so low-budget, they couldn't afford to have multiple fiberglass Robosuits struck from Rob Bottin's original mold. So Bottin sent one of his only "original" Robosuits to be used by Fletcher. Upon receiving it, the crew realized that Page Fletcher was about five inches shorter than Peter Weller, and so the suit was ridiculously oversized for him. Their solution? They took a hacksaw to a few portions, notably the lower legs, to try and get it to fit Fletcher better. Bottin was, shall we say, not pleased when the suit was returned to him.)

Prime Directives is bad. It's really bad. Even the score is beyond terrible (the hero theme sounds like something you'd hear at a bullfighting event). There is no reason for it to exist, and watching it may in fact give you dick cancer.
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Old November 10 2013, 09:03 PM   #17
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

davejames wrote: View Post
I think the main problem is the first Robocop already told the best and most compelling story with this character-- his creation and Murphy's gradual reawakening from within-- and already had the best villains (in Boddicker and Jones) and coolest action sequences (Robo vs ED-209, Robo vs the people who killed him, Robo vs his own police department, Robo vs an entire freakin warehouse of armed bad guys...)
I think The Series managed to do excellent work with the RoboCop character, by exploring his existence as a hybrid being who was neither man nor machine, who remembered the life of Alex Murphy but could never be Alex Murphy, never return to his family or even let them know that a part of him survived. It also developed him by giving him distinct relationships with various other characters. Although it took a while to get the hang of it. The early episodes tended to marginalize Robo by having him frequently damaged and taken out of action, with the focus more on his supporting cast, but over time they really enriched their exploration of his character. I don't agree that an origin story is the most interesting story to tell about a character; quite often it's one of the least interesting, because there's so much emphasis on establishing how a character became who they are that there's not much room to explore that identity.

Indeed, what disappoints me about the original film is that once RoboCop remembers his past, he's portrayed basically as Alex Murphy in a metal suit. I'm much more intrigued by the series' version, where he's not just Murphy but a new, unique entity formed from the blending of Murphy's incomplete memories and psyche with RoboCop's logical programming. It makes him a more distinctive and complex character, a being caught between worlds and identities, not fully a man or a machine and struggling to reconcile the demands of both. (And kudos to Richard Eden for the amazing way he conveyed so much of that internal struggle so subtly, with the barest hint of expression and intonation -- a skill that nobody else since Leonard Nimoy has ever mastered so well.)

And sure, R:TS didn't have action sequences on the level of the movies, but action is boring without worthwhile characters and emotional stakes, whereas stories that have those things can be entirely satisfying without needing big action.

(That said, I do have a soft spot for RoboCop 2's climactic action, since it's probably the last great stop-motion animation set piece in cinema history. Sure, the underlying plot is silly and the characters superficial, but you can say the same about a lot of Ray Harryhausen movies.)
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Old November 10 2013, 09:04 PM   #18
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

The TV series was actually surprisingly good. I mean yes the violence and language was really toned down, they added the obligatory annoying brat character and the magic hologram was a tad ridiculous for the setting, but other than that it was rather okay. Heck, I don't even see the toning down of violence and language as an issue.

While it was sanitized, it still felt true to the original movie and it's concepts. Plus it did some great work with the characters from what I remember.

Prime Directives though was really awful for all the reasons mentioned.
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Old November 10 2013, 09:33 PM   #19
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't agree that an origin story is the most interesting story to tell about a character; quite often it's one of the least interesting, because there's so much emphasis on establishing how a character became who they are that there's not much room to explore that identity.
I'm certainly not arguing the origin is always the most interesting part (the Spidey origin being one of the clearest examples), but there are some cases where I happen to think it is.

The Robocop TV series might have done a few interesting things with the character (my memory of it frankly isn't that good anymore), but I hardly remember anything happening that was as powerful or compelling as what happened in the original movie.
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Old November 10 2013, 09:47 PM   #20
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

Blamo wrote: View Post
The TV series was actually surprisingly good. I mean yes the violence and language was really toned down...
As they should have been. Despite the violence of the original film, RoboCop was always a very popular character with children. This series was in syndication on commercial TV, so there was no way to prevent children from watching it. Given that, it would've been irresponsible not to make it suitable for young viewers.


, they added the obligatory annoying brat character
Who was toned down a lot after the first few episodes. She appeared less often and went from being a knowitall who saved the day to a more innocent and vulnerable character who needed guidance and protection. Really, a lot about the show got better after the first bunch of episodes, as is the case with many shows.

and the magic hologram was a tad ridiculous for the setting
Are you referring to the character of Diana or specifically to the way she manifested herself holographically? The latter was a bit fanciful, but the former worked very well within the setting, because she was basically a kindred spirit to RoboCop, a person who'd been killed so their brain could be merged with a cybernetic device and whose consciousness survived and gained control over the programming.


davejames wrote: View Post
The Robocop TV series might have done a few interesting things with the character (my memory of it frankly isn't that good anymore), but I hardly remember anything happening that was as powerful or compelling as what happened in the original movie.
Well, weekly TV episodes are rarely as big or epic as feature films, since they can't shake up the status quo too much -- especially back then when shows were less serialized. But there were some pretty moving episodes in the back half of the season. And a single intense experience with a character or world isn't necessarily as satisfying in the long run as the chance to get to know that character and their world in greater depth over an extended period.
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Old November 10 2013, 11:27 PM   #21
Blamo
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Are you referring to the character of Diana or specifically to the way she manifested herself holographically?
The latter. It's a very minor annoyance and it didn't detract from the show, other than feeling out of place in a relatively "realistic" sci-fi world. Diana herself was fine, probably my favourite addition they made.
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Old November 12 2013, 08:34 PM   #22
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The ideal viewing order is to watch RoboCop: The Series in the order presented on the DVDs, and then stop. R:TS is a lot of fun, albeit lighter in tone and more kid-friendly than the movies, and has a terrific cast. (Here are my blog posts discussing/reviewing it.) Prime Directives is dismal and stupid, and its RoboCop was completely miscast. It's not at all in continuity with R:TS, although it repurposes a bit of stock footage from the series as flashbacks, creating the misconception that they're connected.

What to keep in mind when watching R:TS is that it's a direct sequel to the original film but ignores and contradicts the theatrical sequels. This is because its pilot was rewritten from the rejected movie sequel script by the original film's writers. So it's basically an alternate reality branching off from the first movie, and in my view it's truer to the conception of RoboCop than the movie sequels were. The supporting characters start off being just renamed versions of the movie's characters, but they end up developing their own distinct personalities, and the series' continuity and the first movie's mesh pretty well (as I discuss in more detail in my blog posts).

That said, you don't need to rewatch the original movie before R:TS. You can if you want to, but the pilot does a good job recapping the backstory.

What to keep in mind when watching Prime Directives is, "What am I doing? They warned me not to watch this! I should really turn this off and go read a good book."
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply!

So Prime Directives really is that bad...?
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Old November 12 2013, 08:55 PM   #23
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

ReadyAndWilling wrote: View Post
So Prime Directives really is that bad...?

Not one person has vouched for it yet.
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Old November 13 2013, 01:22 AM   #24
Aldo
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

ReadyAndWilling wrote: View Post

So Prime Directives really is that bad...?
Nah, we're just pulling your leg. It's a really good mini-series. Worthy of the Robocop name...

Yes it's really that bad! The first reply telling you it was a piece of crap didn't clue you in?!
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Old November 13 2013, 03:12 AM   #25
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

No matter how many times you ask, the answer's not gonna change.
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Old November 13 2013, 03:51 AM   #26
Timby
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

Christopher wrote: View Post
No matter how many times you ask, the answer's not gonna change.
Pretty much. Prime Directives is beyond awful, water is wet, the sky is blue, etc.
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Old November 13 2013, 04:13 AM   #27
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

I did like the Cable character in Prime Directives, both as a human and a cyborg. But that's it.
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Old November 13 2013, 12:40 PM   #28
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Re: RoboCop: TV show + Prime Directives... Anyone seen it?

I think i have the Prime Directives DVDs somewhere on a shelf (actually bought them at a second hand store for ... 1 €) and never bored to watch them.
Yes, it's that bad.
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