Hollywood! Adapt This: C.O.P.S.

     June 2, 2013

Occasionally on “Hollywood! Adapt This” I feel like I’ve picked something too obscure or goofy to ever be considered for an adaptation.  And then we get news about a troll doll movie about the origin of their colorful hair, a family comedy built around Grumpy Cat and an adaptation based on a restaurant.  So today’s wacky suggestion doesn’t sound too far out of the realm of possibility by comparison.  This late 80s animated series featured an elite team of cybernetically-enhanced special agents brought to the future-set Empire City in order to take down the criminals of mob leader Big Boss.  Hit the jump to find out more.  Hollywood!  Adapt this: C.O.P.S.

cops-bulletproofWhat It’s About:

Let’s start off by saying that C.O.P.S. the animated series was not related to the primetime reality series that started playing around the same time.  In fact, the cartoon had its title changed to CyberCOPS when it re-aired in the early 90s in order to separate it from the reality show.  Like many of the animated series of the 80s and 90s, C.O.P.S. was based on a Hasbro line of toys called C.O.P.S. ‘N’ Crooks.

The crooks in question have taken control of Empire City in the year 2020 and answer only to Brandon “Big Boss” Babel.  Mayor Davis calls in assistance from federal law enforcement by way of Special Agent Baldwin P. Vess, aka “Bulletproof.”  Vess puts together a team of elite crime fighters under the code name C.O.P.S. for Central Organization of Police Specialists.  The team includes such colorful names as P.J. O’Malley (Codename: LongArm), Donny Brooks (Codename: HardTop), Hy “Taser” Watts, Rex “Bowser” Pointer and his robot dog, Blitz.  Each of them possessed some sort of cybernetic enhancement or cutting edge weaponry in order to take down the equally-advanced criminals.

The series was set up in a “Case of the Week” format that featured a different villain or villains attempting to pull off a heist with the cops putting a stop to it, usually with the battle cry of, “It’s crime-fighting time!”  While the code names for the cops were punny enough, the villains were just as bad if not worse.  Some of Big Boss’s subordinates include Berserko, Turbo Tu-Tone, Rock Krusher, Ms. Demeanor, Dr. BadVibes, Nightshade and Buttons McBoomBoom.

doctor-badvibesHow Could / Why Should It Be Adapted?

A live-action adaptation of C.O.P.S. could work equally well as a movie or a TV series.  As for movies, C.O.P.S. is kind of a weird mash up of Dick Tracy characters in a RoboCop-like sci-fi setting.  The closest comparisons I can think of would be something along the lines of the Men in Black franchise or the upcoming comic adaptation R.I.P.D.  For C.O.P.S. however, it’d be nice to see the cybernetic enhancement angle played up a lot more and it would be more of a team effort than a simple buddy cop comedy.

As far as TV goes, the upcoming J.J. Abrams-produced series Almost Human takes place in a near-future setting and partners human cops and androids in order to take down criminals.  The sci-fi series Continuum also features future technology and biotech enhancements in a similar “Case of the Week” style show.  However, neither of these shows is quite as zany as C.O.P.S. was and both take themselves too seriously, probably due to the nature of “gritty and realistic” movies and TV lately.

The Final Word:

cops-buttons-mcboomboom-nightshadeC.O.P.S. would be a lot of fun on either the big or small screen and would offer up a lot of creative freedom in the writers room.  Rather than be constrained by the limitations of modern technology on both sides of the law, “fighting crime in a future time” has few restrictions.  You want super jacked-up criminals with the strength to pick up and throw cars at will?  Fine.  You want cops with built-in infrared vision and bomb-sniffing android dogs?  You got it!  I’m a fan of “Case of the Week” shows and would love to see one with some really “out there” sci-fi aspects; C.O.P.S. could be just that!

Check out the intro from the series which highlights a few of the cops ‘n’ crooks and features one of the best theme songs/intros of the era:

Be sure to tune in next weekend for our newest installment of “Hollywood! Adapt This.”  We’ll be talking about a refresh of a series that many of you have wanted to see get a breath of new life.  This long-running 90s and 00s series centered on the citizens of the fictional city of Mainframe – a micro-sized metropolis set inside a computer – and a guardian named Bob who helps to defend the people from viruses and User games.  Shouldn’t be too hard to guess this one!


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