SERIES index

[Info provided by:Tom Brunt]
Ten series scripts were ready for production when principal photography ended on the pilot. This gave other departments, such as the designers and futurists, time to do their best work. Robocop:the Series was the culmination of a multitude of people and departments.

Large matte paintings created by John Fraser generate the illusion of Delta City’s daylight and nighttime settings. A huge blue screen hangs from the rafters outside the window of the set for the office boardroom of The Chairman. These paintings represent a merging of skylines of the present and future Detroit with the existing skyline of Toronto. For some of the buildings, they took the set designs and built miniature skyscrapers around the individual set. The entire city exists in computer files. Inputting specific lens and location creates and enhances any point of view.

Line Producer Bob Wertheimer:
“The series was shot on 35mm film and conformed to tape. The production utilized blue screen and special effects, matte paintings, traditional and computer animation, and stunt performances."

Entire cottage industries have sprung up in Toronto to meet the demand for tooling and production of the props and accessories that represent the future. The TV ROBOCOP emphasizes science fantasy more than the films did. The series introduced Diana Powers as the dead woman resurrected inside a super-computer. Other examples include villains such as Pudface Morgan, portrayed by James Kidnie. Unfortunately this character is completely over the top. His make-up makes Pudface look like Freddy Krueger.

Production Designer Perri Gorrara:
“The design of the series is not totally futuristic - rather a blend of very old and the newest techno-chrome, that can be designed and delivered to our near future world.”

ROBOCOP takes place in the 21st Century. No specific date is given in the series but it could easily be near 2018, the same year in which seaQuest DSV takes place. Confederations run the world of seaQuest, while information networks run industrial blocs and global political institutions in the world of ROBOCOP. The corporations are all powerful. Society comes in a distant second.

The first ROBOCOP film hurls satirical barbs at corporations and the drones who control them. This element also appears in the TV series. Alex Murphy is a victim of the corporate system since the thugs who kill him secretly work for OmniCorp. He is also its spokesman. Omni-Consumer Products (OCP) resurrects Murphy and turns him into RoboCop, prototype of a line hailed as “The future of law enforcement.”

Stephen Downing:
"The beginning of each episode says the stories take place in the “Near Future”. The near-future genre is always dark by necessity, because it’s always an extrapolation of the worst of today.”

Production designer Perri Gorrara:
“I see RoboCop as a modern medieval knight. His augmentation is equivalent to armour; his home in the basement of Metro South, is like a dungeon or Keep. His chair, a throne for a noble man. He rides out into the surrounding countryside to do battle with the forces of evil. I think it is all rather romantic!”

Delta City was still on the drawing boards in the original ROBOCOP motion picture. It now towers over the decaying husk of Old Detroit. Delta city is just what OCP wants it to be. After its construction, OCP turned their backs on Old Detroit, allowing rogue elements to run wild. The police department is underfunded and undermanned. OCP focuses on the future, represented by Delta City. The decaying metropolis of Old Detroit represents failed experiments of the past. Poverty exists in the shadows of opulence, just as it does in many modern cities of the 1990’s.

The police headquaters of Old Detroit, Metro South, represents a crossover between old and new, past and future. Alex Murphy, RoboCop, works at Old South, as does Sgt. Stan Parks. Old desks and filing cabinets crammed with papers stand side by side with modern computer equipment. The basement contains a state-of-the-art lab where scientist maintenance man Charlie Lippencott services RoboCop.

Production designer Perri Gorrara: “In life we tend to drag what is functional along with us instead of creating a totally new environment. The wide-angle look of the series cinematography moves beyond the limitations of normal sets and stages. Our sets must be complete, functioning rooms with ceilings in place and dresses for reality. The ceilings break away for over-head shots, yet often we will drop the camera to accentuate the stature of RoboCop in a scene. We have the flexibility to accommodate every camera angle.”

The series nine standing sets are large and detailed. They include a wall of video monitors inside the offices of OCP and a blues screen offices windows to simulate day and night scenes on the set. Three other sets stand in for warehouses and other locales in old Detroit and Delta City.

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