34. Police Squad!
Air Dates: March 4, 1982–July 8, 1982
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Peter Lupus, Ed Williams, William Duell
The filmmaking collective of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker (ZAZ) came together in the '70s at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where they were originally a theater group. From there, the trio made sketch film The Kentukcy Fried Movie in 1977 and Airplane! in 1980. They specialized in spoofs of pop culture juggernauts, and in 1982 they had the opportunity to take on classic cop TV shows. The result was Police Squad!, a send-up of Felony Squad, M Squad, and other procedurals.
Only six episodes were produced, despite critical acclaim and a burgeoning cult following—fans of Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, and other classics, how painfully familiar is that situation? Even in the '80s, nothing was sacred. Though the show was cancelled prematurely, ZAZ had the opportunity to bring the show to the big screen. You know it as the Naked Gun. —RS