RogerBW's Blog

Moonbeam City 13 September 2016

2015 science fiction comedy, 10 episodes. In a corrupt neon future, the Moonbeam City Police Department tries to keep the peace. More or less.

This is a parody of shows like Miami Vice which I never actually saw, but got some idea of from the cultural zeitgeist. Its humour is generally broad, and its characters are entirely stereotyped: Dazzle Novak, the protagonist, only fails to be a walking ego because his libido is almost as large, and impulse control is something that happens to other people. His rival Rad Cunningham makes Dazzle look like a model of competent policing. And so on.

I think the reason this appealed to me where much humour doesn't is the combination of silliness with artwork that matches it: characters are in the Patrick Nagel style (link is mildly NSFW), with expanses of flat white flesh, black hair, and heavy eye shadow, all set against a pastel neon background.

This show was accused of being a ripoff of Archer; but I couldn't watch more than a few minutes of Archer without hating it, while this managed to be silly vaguely science-fictional fun for ten episodes. The jokes are weaker than the voice acting and the art, which is an odd way for a cartoon to fail; but for me, every slump in pacing was compensated for by a fresh visual nonsense (like the constant collisions and breaking glass in the upmarket restaurant Trapezio's, where all the staff are swinging by on trapezes) or another excellent line delivery.

"Police are baffled as the Moonbeam Maniac murders Officer Flash Delaney and nine others with a wrecking ball - an incident that's sure to reopen the heated debate for wrecking ball control. I for one say wrecking balls don't kill people - the cranes swinging them do."

Not for every taste, but good retro fun.

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