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21 Jump Street - Season 1 Review

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Video:   6/10
Audio:   6/10
Extras:   2/10

by Gord Lacey (All reviews)

21 Jump Street was one of the first shows picked up by fledgling network Fox in 1987. The series focused on young cops that could be integrated into high schools and work cases. They wanted to bust small criminals before they committed serious crimes, or they'd use the kids to get to the adults. We're introduced to the squad through Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp), a cop who isn't taken seriously because of his young look. He's assigned to the Jump Street Chapel where he meets the other members of the team; Penhall (Peter DeLuise), Ioki (Dustin Nguyen), Hoffs (Holly Robinson), and Captain Jenko, who was later replaced by Captain Fuller.

The show was actually conceived by Mike Post, the noted TV composer, who had his house robbed and noticed a young officer in the station. He was told the cop was a "buy officer" who worked at a local high school. He mentioned this to Stephen Cannell, and Cannell turned it into a series.

I hadn't seen this show before the DVDs were released, but I knew of it, and the stars that came from it. Johnny Depp, while unknown at the time, has become a mega-star in recent years, and Peter DeLuise is a noted TV director and producer.

This 4 disc set contains all 12 episodes, including the double-length pilot, from the first season of the series, as well as an 8 page booklet with liner notes.


Ewww....the video on this looks pretty nasty. The Cannell titles seem to suffer from various problems, and this one is no different. It appears to be taken from a tape source, and a poor one at that. There's some noise in the image, as though you're looking at it through a film. The picture is also soft; another problem probably caused by the tape source. There are chapters in each episode, but not one set right after the opening credits. Each disc contains a "play all" feature.


The stereo tracks on this release sound dated, and show their age. There's a noticeable hiss in many scenes, and it features an altered musical selection. Yup, add 21 Jump Street to the long list of Cannell titles that contained swapped music, but there's no mention of it on the packaging. There are few directional effects, and it's an uneventful track. There aren't any subtitles, but the episodes are captioned.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary on "Gotta Finish the Riff"
Peter DeLuise provides a very informative commentary for Gotta Finish the Riff ". He gives us tons of behind-the-scenes trivia, making this a commentary track you have to listen to.

Interviews (1:05:55)
Standard Cannell release interviews; how the show began, and how everyone became involved. There's a huge audio pop in Cannell's interview.
Stephen J. Cannell (17:19)
Dustin Nguyen (16:56)
Steven Williams (13:45)
Holly Robinson Peete (17:55)


Fans were upset that this release contained replaced music, but that's standard for a Cannell title, as well as having poor quality video. I've come to expect these things so I'm not disappointed when they turn out to be true, but the packaging really needs to reflect the replaced music.

I found the show to be okay, but I prefer adult cop shows. I guess I didn't get caught up in the show like I usually do with other police dramas.

Look closely, and you can catch some interesting guest stars in these episodes, including Blair Underwood (L.A. Law), Josh Brolin (The Young Riders), Don S. Davis (Stargate SG-1), Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show), William B. Davis (The X-Files) and Jason Priestly (Beverly Hills, 90210).

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