A monster they cannot control

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
The original RoboCop was an inspired conceit: Frankenstein set in the near future and recast as a gruesome satire on rabid capitalism. The comic-book plot and manic acting made it the sci-fi ride of the Eighties.

But for all that, it was a one-joke film. The first sequel sailed dangerously close to conscious self-parody (viz the sequence where Robo's potential successors commit suicide) to keep up the momentum. As for the third instalment... well I didn't even bother.

Which brings us to RoboCop: the Series (8pm Sky One) a show which has run out of steam before it even gets going, with little evidence in the first episode of any effort to infuse new life. The only real innovation is a supercomputer with a young woman's consciousness trapped inside; and even this is merely a variation on the Robo theme.

The economics of television inevitably force the production values downwards, and with none of the original stars we are left with a lazy ersatz version of the real thing. And whether people want this in-yer-face style pantomime when they're curling up in front of the box after work is another matter altogether.

Finally, Peter Weller's successor, Richard Eden, doesn't pass muster. Not that it's his fault. Weller's Robo was the ultimate avenging angel with personality problems. And he had something that Eden, for all his efforts, can't emulate. The new bloke just doesn't have (and this is the clincher for me) the lips for the job.