As YouTube continues to grow and expand with quality content, it’s sometimes hard to finds the gems and breakouts that make for great browsing and entertainment. At Leaky we’ve covered some of our favorite content, from the ongoing rants of Vlogbrothers Hank and John to the feels-generating contemporization of Pride and Prejudice in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Squad 85 might be for a different audience altogether, but it matches its contemporaries in production and pizzazz.
What is this Squad 85 and what’s it about? Well, in their own words:
In 1985, the Los Angeles Police Department experimented with a secret Time-Travel Division, catapulting four of LA’s finest 25 years into the future. That future…is now!
Featured on YOMYOMF (“You Offend Me You Offend My Family,” a YouTube channel founded by Fast & Furious and Fast Five director Justin Lin), the series stars Parvesh Cheena (“Outsourced”) and Travis Van Winkle (“Transformers”) along with a multi-ethnic cast of characters. The series also features guest stars and cameos by Diedrich Bader (“Outsourced”), Danny Pudi (“Community”), RJ Mitte (“Breaking Bad”), Janina Gavankar (“True Blood”), Rizwan Manji (“Outsourced”) and Kevin Wu aka KEVJUMBA of YOMYOMF.
In Series One, The Squad is hot on the trail of RICKMAN (Parvesh Cheena), as he tries to run a new lethal designer drug through Dukakis High School. I’ll be the first to admit that – at best – the show would nab a Teen+ rating on television, but it has an undeniable Adult Swim feel about it that would certainly suit that program’s short-burst-of-humor paradigm when it comes to its live-action offerings. In short, if Children’s Hospital is your brand of funny, Squad 85 will be right up your alley. Imagine if the original 21 Jump Street were actually meant to be funny, and only 15 minutes long. That’s what you have here, and it’s pretty amazing.
Creator/Director Gregory Bonsignore is happy with that assessment, and that’s more or less what he sought to put out. “I know how much I loved the brashness of the 80′s cop show,” he says, “but just recreating one like a museum piece seemed almost pastiche… So, it was this idea that the four cops from 1985 were sent to the present, to in a way save the world (and television) from the mediocrity and slow death of procedural crime scene spin-off cops.”
Bonsignore’s writing credits include “Lie to Me”, “Three Rivers”, and “Million Dollar Mind Game”. Fox optioned his TV Pilot “Yearbook” and Philip Seymour Hoffman & Emily Ziff’s Academy Award Winning Cooperstown Productions developed his pilot “Rare” for their HBO first-look deal. Bonsignore also stars in the series as the character Bronx. Milauna Jemai, Ceci Fernandez, Jeff Biehl, Armand Vasquez, and Christopher Larkin also star.
He goes on to say, “Squad 85 also lives in this bygone era of yesteryear… these shows used to literally launch you out of a cannon with narration ‘Hey, Audience, so here’s the gigantic conceit of the show you’re about to watch. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s what we’re asking you to buy. You in? Good. Let’s rock and roll!’ And there’s something really honest and interesting about that, and it’s followed by explosions and women in heels running with guns. What more do you want?”
What more, indeed! We’re a little late to the game when it comes to Squad 85; the final episode of Series One airs tonight. Will there be another series? It may be too early to tell, but positive reception means potential return. “We’ve been approached about a number of different possibilities, but that’s up to Justin really,” Bonsignore says. “He hasn’t explicitly mentioned ‘Fast Eighty-Five’ as a blockbuster motion picture release, but it’s obviously a natural extension for the franchise. The critical response has been surprisingly amazing for Squad 85, which can only mean we’ll be immediately cancelled and die in a white hot fireball. But we didn’t time-travel all the way from 1985 to go back so soon.”
And what’s Justin Lin have to say? “Squad 85, it is definitely something that can live in other mediums as well as having more adventures with the characters.”
Well, hell. Here’s my fingers crossed to series two actually making it to Adult Swim! The good news is you can check all their back episodes on YouTube, as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and you can check out Squad85.com for more information. Be advised – some content may be best for a mature audience.
If you do go watch it (and you should, if you’re a responsible adult-type person), let us know what you think int the comments!