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This was one of the first Fox hour-long dramas, and Fox definitely wore
heart on its sleeve. Like WB now, Fox wanted to lure in a teenage
with its good-looking young stars. Luckily for those stars, 21 Jump
was a rather good vehicle, and stood on its own merits.
Kind of like a Mod Squad for the 80s, the "teens" in 21 Jump Street were cops. Hip cops. They would infiltrate schools, drug rings, gangs, wherever teenagers were in trouble... unlike the Mod Squad, though, the storylines were always passable, and quite often excellent. Almost every episode touched upon subjects that were taboo for the big 3 networks (and still are)- AIDS, statutory rape, drug use, abortion, child abuse- and presented it in a moralistic way, but without being maudlin.
The show kind of faltered in its last few seasons; Johnny Depp was becoming a star, and execs started pushing other "stars" into the spotlight, hoping for cash rewards and spin-offs. Richard Greico was most heavily promoted, to an audience that didn't really care. He became a teen-age heartthrob for a while, but never achieved the momentum to carry his career skyward. With this pushing of the stars, the storylines took a back seat to character preening. The end result was faltering ratings, and cancellation.
Until it became an actors' showcase, though, 21 Jump Street was probably the best drama on TV.
This was definitely a quality show. This show was a far cry from what the Fox network eventually became. Many of the scripts dealt with what young people go through on a day to day basis and used a cop show to show it. Issues like date rape, drugs, teen suicide, school violence and incest were all covered in the first two years of this show. When Jump Street premiered, it was the shot heard round the world due to the fact that it was the very first show to air on the Fox network, which at the time was only being broadcast on Sunday nights and it ushered in a whole new era in television. Also, Johnny Depp wasn't the only good thing about this show. Peter DeLuise, Holly Robinson (Peete) and Dustin Nguyen all made this show one of the cult classics of the 1980's.
This television series held its own. I remember waiting patiently for the next episode to air when I was 13 and loving every second of it. Call it contrived and superficial, but I grew up with Judy Hoffs, Tom Hansen, Doug Penhall, Harry Ioki, Adam Fuller, and Dennis Booker....and I loved every second of it! Johnny Depp might renounce the fact that he was ever connected with this show, but it provided hours of entertainment for many individuals. For me, it is a reminder of a time in my youth where I was completely innocent.
It took another 20 years, another generation, before we were ready for
another cop show with young people as undercover cops dealing with
crime and other social issues, but where Mod Squad left off in the
Sixties, 21 Jump Street took the ball and ran with it in the Eighties.
Personally I think 21 Jump Street was a much better show. It certainly had at least one cast member who became a mega star in Johnny Depp. When Depp left the show, it sputtered on for a while, but ultimately died when other regulars left as well.
I might not agree with all of Johnny Depp's opinions, but I certainly have enormous respect for his artistic vision. He was good, he was very good as Officer Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street, but he left at what turned out the right time for him before he was trapped as a juvenile teen idol forever and created one fantastic body of work as one of the best players around. He knew what he was capable of back in the day and the rest of us know it now too.
I was surprised that Dustin Nguyen didn't break out from 21 Jump Street as well as a big star. He should have had a great career as an oriental leading man, he had the looks, talent and definitely the martial arts skill.
In a way the Sixties handed off to the Eighties in the person of original captain of the Jump Street program, Frederic Forrest. He was one weird dude as the hippie type captain, a real refugee of the tune in, turn on, drop out generation. The character didn't work, so he was quickly dispatched and Steven Williams came on board as the new captain and a more traditional police authority figure.
You can see a lot of future stars in 21 Jump Street, Jason Priestley and Brad Pitt did episodes back in the day. I liked the stories very much, the series regulars were as human and as flawed as some of the kids they were dealing with.
I wish it had lasted longer, but maybe if Johnny Depp had stuck with it longer we might never have seen Captain Jack Sparrow.
I recently bought the first season and this show is still as good as anything on television today if not better. Its been at least 10 years since I had seen an episode so it was like watching the show for the first time. Great theme song, great actors, and terrific scripts. If it wasn't for some of the 1980's hair and clothing, this show could be airing in prime time today without question. Its makes you want to go back to high school again and walk the halls with immunity because there's nothing that any gang or teacher can do to you. The only problem is even after watching the entire 1st season, I have no idea what town the show takes place in. Oh well, I truly hope that there are plans to release the rest of the seasons real soon.
21 Jump Street is the best cop show ever. Here it is, 2002, and still I've never enjoyed a police TV program better. The A-Team will always be my favorite TV show, but 21 Jump Street is a VERY close second. I believe they were produced by the same person (Stephen J. Cannell) I wonder why the A-Team actors never made cameos? Steven Williams and Dustin Nguyen made appearances on The A-team? Oh,well. 21 Jump Street has never had an equal in police drama, it should have been brought back to regular TV? I guess I'll just have to live with the few episodes I have on tape, from when I was a child.
This was Fox's first serious drama. It was aimed at a young audience. 21 Jump Street had a great cast including a young Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, and Holly Robinson among the cast members, good writing, and innovative plot about young cops posing as high school students to capture a wide variety of criminals in the school system. The show lasted a few seasons on Fox without network infiltration like other major networks. It lasted long enough to leave its mark on the baby network. Now there are a dozen shows like 21 Jump Street without the cleverness and the strive to be better than just the average shows on TV. In fact, the show was probably the first American drama on Fox to be filmed on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to cut costs. In the beginning of the Fox network lineup, 21 Jump Street launched a unique way of looking at secondary schools with a great cast. It was never awarded an Emmy which it should have been even nominated for Best Drama.
Great to see that the show has hit the DVD format. Watched a few episodes so far from Season 1. Great show and don't know why it was not on reruns anywhere here in Canada. Noticed some over dubs on some dialogue, not sure if that was done back when the show was on FOX or if it has been done when putting it on DVD. Looks like some words are overdubbed, could swear that ass was said originally but you get a different word said. Watch the actor's mouth when the dialogue seems a bit louder briefly. What a gem though this show was and always will be. Holly Robinson is so sexy and still is today. I wonder what Johnny Depp thinks of this being out now on DVD. He never liked doing the show after the 3rd season but stuck it out for his contract duration. Would be nice to hear his comments and have him on the extra features. Too bad.
I remember this as on of the shows that helped launch Fox as a network.
Between this, Adventures of Beans Baxter, Werewolf, Traci Ullman and
I really enjoyed this show for most of it's run. The last season with Grieco did not leave me with too many fond memories. But for the first several seasons, I definitely made room in my Sunday lineup to see this show. For the most part, the stories were good. I just wish there was someplace that showed re-runs of 21JS. With the deluge of cop shows nowadays, i still think I could make time to see 21JS
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
21 Jump Street is a police procedural crime drama television series
that focuses on a squad of youthful-looking undercover police officers
investigating crimes in high schools, colleges, and other teenage
venues that was created to attract a younger audience.It stars Johnny
Depp,Holly Robinson,Peter DeLuise,Dustin Nguyen and Richard Grieco.The
show ran from 1987 to 1991. The landmark television series which
catapulted the success of the FOX TV network and the career of movie
The TV series focuses on a group of police officers headquartered at the titular address. Officer Tom Hanson (Depp) leads his band of agents in the special Jump Street division by going undercover to infiltrate local schools to put a stop to crime and keep students safe from corrupt influences. The 21 Jump Street team is a mixed group including the wise cracking Officer HT Ioki (Nguyen), the brilliant Officer Judy Hoffs (Robinson), the streetwise Officer Doug Penhall (DeLuise) and, in latter episodes, the renegade Officer Dennis Booker (Grieco).These officers are all young and have especially youthful appearances, which allows them to pass for teenagers. Their assignments generally consist of undercover work in high schools or, less commonly, colleges, where they generally investigate drug trafficking and abuse.
The plot lines cover issues such as alcoholism, hate crimes, drug abuse, homophobia, AIDS, child abuse, and sexual promiscuity. Similarly, each problem is often solved by the end of the hour-long episode, giving an implicit moral about the impact of a particular activity.
This is definitely one of the best cop shows TV series back in the 1980's.Although it faltered in the last season after Johnny Depp left the series,I could still say that it really presented something refreshing and original back then.Aside from Depp,other stars of the show were also great like Dustin Nguyen,Richard Grieco and Holly Robinson.They all were able to portray interesting characters.And the themes it presented offered is evidently helpful to its target audience - the youth.
Overall,it was one show that will definitely be missed and that defined the 1980's.
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