Animated series aimed at adults can be pretty hit or miss. Netflix can't complain too much in this area, with most of its animated fiction series achieving some kind of success. Whereas some are a huge hit, amassing devoted fanbases, such as BoJack Horseman, other more obscure series have received excellent critical reviews, including F is for Family and Castlevania. What role will Paradise PD, the latest recruit to the platform, play in all of this? It's among the pick of the bunch, and we're choosing our words carefully here.
The title gives us a good idea what the series is about. Paradise PD focuses on the trials and tribulations of a squad of cops who aren't exactly the most effective. Kevin, a new recruit, is overjoyed when he joins this team of thugs, featuring a set of very colorful characters. There's Gina, a policewoman who spends her days harassing Dusty, an obese employee with a high-pitched voice. And then there's Fitz, an African-American suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But we can't forget Kevin's dad, the police chief, who won't let any of his blunders go unnoticed.
It all looks great on paper: Paradise PD could be the animated response to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Luckily, the two series have very little in common, with the latest Netflix-made production opting for a much cruder, more provocative humor. A bit like last year's Big Mouth, it doesn't skimp on salacious plays on words, uncomfortable situations and constantly recurring sexual themes. Think South Park but less gratuitous and with just as many obscenities thrown in to shock viewers.
We can find tons of examples to demonstrate the no holds barred approach of the series. There's the episode where all the district mutts come together for a truly repulsive orgy scene before dropping dead of an overdose. Or there's the episode, perhaps even more disturbing depending on your sensitivities, in which one of the cops develops a passionate relationship with a networked car and ends up having sex with his vehicle extreme bondage-style. While the series can be truly disturbing, it always brings out a smile (although this might be more down to discomfort than to anything else) or a grimace of disgust.
But the most thrilling aspect of Paradise PD is its natural ability to slip in some real burns aimed at pop culture figures. Kevin Spacey, Johnny Depp, Donald Trump… these men, embroiled in numerous public scandals, must be on the radar of the screenwriters of the animated series, and we can tell. The humor used to criticize them is very well-executed. Behind its graphic jokes and its abundance of swear words, Paradise PD doesn't shy away from asserting its progressive stance on several occasions.
Without reinventing the wheel in the world of animated series, unlike Rick and Morty for example, Paradise PD holds its own with a style of humor which has been proven to work over the years, both in South Park and the excellent Big Mouth. With just 10 half-hour episodes, viewers can watch the whole series at an incredible speed, with nervous laughter and shouts of disgust whenever a character throws his guts up. And be warned, that happens all the time.
The first season of Paradise PD is now available on Netflix around the world.