I picked up the DVD set of 21 Jump Street at the library on a whim (no, I don't intend to pay money for it!). I was intrigued by the fact that I haven't seen it in so many years. Also, by the guest stars listed on the back (Christina Applegate, Brad Pitt!), and wanting to see Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise as they looked 20+ years ago.
21 Jump Street was an early FOX TV drama about baby-faced police officers who infiltrated high schools to stop various crimes. It was the break-out role for Depp, provided an income to Dom DeLuise's sons, introduced us to Holly Robinson (who also sang the theme song), and probably put FOX on the map for successful scripted drama.
I'm not intending to dive too deeply into the set, but I'm already noticing a few things. First, I'll bet the season of episodes is chock-full of period character actors. In only the first episode, we have Ray Walston, Barney Martin (Seinfeld's dad) and Kurtwood Smith (Red of That 70s Show) all of whom were apparently always old. Also, it's interesting to see how this show seems to bridge the gap between airy, stilted 70s dramas, and today's grittier, more densely written and plotted dramas. As it was in the 70s, the teen aged kids in the show actually look like they're school-aged (14-18). As it is now, the regular cast all look like they could more believably infiltrate colleges or even post-graduate schools, even though they are supposed to be passing for high schoolers.
The acting is so-so for guest stars, but pretty solid for the regulars. The look and feel of the show is low-to-mid budget, reminding me a lot of the early Nightmare on Elm Street movies (maybe because of Depp) or the Freddy's Nightmares and the Friday the 13th: The Series TV series. Not in genre, but in the harsh colors, big hair, acid-washed denim, mullets, and other 80s artifacts. Oh, and Johnny Depp in housewife drag? Hilarious.