The Precinct came from a fairly stupid idea I had about making a live-action cop series that was supposed to be from Europe and “dubbed” into English. It would be unclear as to whether the cops were actually cops or just weird guys who liked dressing like them and running down alleyways. And they would all share the first name “Ben”.
At some point I decided I’d try to make it an animated series idea. Now it was about a bunch of local (Aussie) cops in a specialised unit called The Precinct. Having watched and enjoyed many types of crime drama, from good (The Shield) to cheesy (Action Jackson) to low-budget idiocy (Crime Lords), I felt qualified to make potentially THE GREATEST COP SHOW EVER, one with all the yelling, suspensions, coffee mugs and et cetera one requires, but crammed into a tiny little (3-5 mins) program. Kind of like the Roger Ramjet of cop shows.
I first designed the characters in a “humanoid” style:
… but it wasn’t long before I changed this, almost certainly for the better.
A different idea I’d been thinking about was a children’s series about a pair of government agents forced to team up when their divisions are merged — so, yes, a wacky buddy action comedy. When I started writing a script it quickly became clear that this was not an idea for a children’s TV network, involving, as it did, a fat, wheezing map of the USA lumbering down a filthy alleyway and tripping over its own feet in imitation of a perceived lack of focus and vision on the part of its intelligence community.
But I’d tried to come up with character design that would look “cute” so it would be palatable to children’s programming types. I made all the characters look like little boxes, or cylinders. Then I realised that The Precinct would be funnier if its dangerous, brooding cop cliche characters looked like little toilet-roll people. So I nicked the design.
Having spent a year drawing and redrawing the characters, they’ve changed a bit (and my drawing has gotten better, hopefully). In the case of the character Ackersley (The Precinct’s roughest, toughest most on-the-edge-and-in-your-face officer), his hair’s gotten pointier and he’s shed his standard shirt and tie for a more rebellious police issue t-shirt.
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