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'Pacific Heat' is the Aussie 'Archer' -- and That's Ace!
December 2, 2016  | By David Hinckley

If you love FX’s Archer – and who, to be honest, cannot love Archer? – you need to check out Netflix’s new Pacific Heat.

The creators of Pacific Heat, which drops Friday on the streaming service, doubtless would prefer not to have their show described in terms of someone else’s.

But doggone it, it’s pretty much impossible not to. Besides, it’s a compliment.

Pacific Heat, a half-hour animated show from Australia, focuses on a four-person undercover police squad known as, yup, Pacific Heat. That includes nominal field leader Todd, musclehead Zac, sensible Maggie and slightly flakier Veronica.

They can get sent on almost any kind of assignment, which leaves plenty of latitude for adventure and jokes.

This cop team is never more than a sentence or two away from saying something droll or absurd.

When they’re sent out to bust a crystal meth distributor, someone asks what’s crystal meth. Todd says she sang “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” which of course was Crystal Gayle.

When Todd declares the squad will take on a particularly tough assignment, he aims to cement their solidarity by intoning to Maggie, “Remember what I told you when you joined the team.”

Someone then remembers what he told her, which was “Don’t take my parking spot.”

When Veronica is packing for a mission on which the team must be airdropped into a danger zone, she doesn’t leave room in her suitcase for the parachute.

You get the idea.

The team loosely works under the command of The Chief (right), who has an office staff that includes a ditsy secretary and the requisite computer genius.

Pacific Heat employs a few mild ethnic and gender jokes. When a Chinese character becomes hard to understand, subtitles appear on the screen and the character complains about them.

Maggie and Veronica are periodically told by Todd that they have to wear skimpy outfits as part of some particular undercover operation.  

By current standards of adult animation on TV, Pacific Heat falls on the mild side. It employs no four-letter words and almost no sex jokes. In that sense, it’s an Archer-like show the whole family can enjoy. Or groan about.

The violence is cartoonishly exaggerated and not especially graphic. After a volley of what feels like several hundred shots, a victim looks like he has just finished a paintball game.

Or, alternatively, a victim may be nailed at close range with foam rubber, leading Zac to say that’s what happened to his Nerf gun.

Pacific Heat naturally incorporates a continuing stream of scenes that satirize police show clichés, like the exotic dancer that the squad promises to protect if she will rat out her boss.

The animation on Pacific Heat is a little rougher than it is on Archer, but that just doesn’t make it any less watchable. It just looks different, a smart move considering the similarities in content and tone.

Mainly, Pacific Heat provides plenty of laughs all by itself. It’s a good popcorn binge.

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