The Heat is On

It’s been a long time coming, but that Working Dog animated series announced back in 2014 is finally within sight – especially if you’re the kind of person who’s okay with illegal downloads (and we don’t mean the Get This CD):

Netflix is amping up its animated slate with a new comedy, “Pacific Heat,” hailing from award-winning Australian company Working Dog ProductionsVariety has learned exclusively.

The series, which landed a 13-episode order for its initial season, will debut on Netflix Dec. 2 in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. In Australia, the television partner is Foxtel and the series will premiere in late 2016.

“Pacific Heat” follows the exploits of a dynamic unit of undercover police investigators working on the glitzy Gold Coast of Australia. The glamorous, sophisticated and sun-drenched paradise masks a hot-bed of crime — everyone from drug smugglers and biker gangs to eco-terrorists and the person who invented frozen yogurt — and in order to tackle this seedy underbelly, police established a covert squad of highly-trained operatives, known as Pacific Heat. When criminals strike, the squad will be there in an unconventional and uncompromising manner, and not afraid to operate outside the law — provided at least one of them is wearing a fluorescent safety vest.

The good news is, this sounds a lot like an animated version of their numerous very funny 80s-and-90s era radio “dramas” like Johnny Swank and the adapted-for-TV Funky Squad.

Sitch says that “Pacific Heat,” at its heart, is a satire on cop shows. He jokes the idea came about because “two decades ago, we laughed that we didn’t think they could think of another cop show…We sat down one day and we almost got down to 100 with the number of shows we’ve drawn from.”

In terms of tone, Sitch says, “You could throw in ‘The A-Team,’ ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels.’” And in terms of viewership, though the series is animated, like “South Park” and “Family Guy,” the show is made for adults. But Sitch believes it will have a mass appeal.

“We, in a way, made this for adults, but we know that if you make something for adults, a 12-year-old boy will get it,” he says with a laugh. “If you make it for adults, one of the groups that will enjoy it is teenagers.”

The bad news is, Archer has been mining this kind of turf for what, eight years now? And while no doubt it’ll be a different show – if you can dig up copies of Working Dog’s old radio serials it’s well worth your time and they make it pretty clear that their silly rapid-fire approach is more about straight-up jokes than Archer‘s character comedy – the fact that to the casual viewer it looks similar is going to be a problem. Then again, who even thought Archer would still be going now? Two years ago it looked like it was on its last legs and yet here we are, worried it’s going to cut the lunch of a silly Working Dog cop parody.

It’ll also be interesting to see just how big a gap there is between December 2nd and “late 2016”. You’d have to think Foxtel wouldn’t want to sit on their hands for long – it’s not like Australians don’t know their way around a torrent site and at least some of the audience for this is going to be hard core comedy nerds *cough* who aren’t going to wait around to check out a new Working Dog product. It’s not like those guys are going to still have Foxtel a year after Open Slather died.

But you know, maybe taking out a subscription might be worth it this time. Rob Sitch doing his “pompous guy” voice? That’s got to be worth $50 a month.

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