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Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police

New! The segments of "Art Police" are finally available on video! You can order your autographed copy from Amazon.com.

"Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police" is a series of short sketches featuring a team of three officers of the Art Police (played by Tim Russ, Dan Chase and Bruce A. Young). It is a spoof on cop shows with some serious comment on contemporary art - in its various forms. It is also an experiment with a new medium, since it was specifically made for the Internet. It premiered on galaxyonline-TV on June 23 2000. The series was originally planned to run for 24 episodes, but a change in ownership at galaxyonline (now galaxy.tv) brought it to a premature end after only 7 episodes. The first 6 episodes are currently available on tape through amazon.com, the last one, with Nichelle Nichols, was held back, since there is a chance, there might be more episodes coming after all! So keep your fingers crossed! 

In the press release you can learn a bit more about the show's concept, at least when the Galaxytv-page is up, which unfortunately it is not right now. I have therefore decided to paste it to the end of this page for your information (no copyright infringement is intended).

Tim and his two co-stars share credit on everything: "created by", "produced by", "directed by", "written by" and, of course, "starring". Tim's colleagues from another project, namely Neil Norman (lead guitar) and Bill Burchell (keyboard) from the Cosmic Orchestra, wrote and performed the music. Tim's girlfriend Jedda Roskilly is credited with Still Photography and has a small walk-on as a photographer in ep. # 5. Several Star Trek co-stars appear as guest stars. I enjoyed the series greatly, its humor is hilarious and the little sketches often contain some profound comment on art in general or a specific art form in particular. I reviewed the first episode for Tim's web page. This review can be found here

Episode guide:

1. Porn Player's Plea (that's the title Galaxy gave the episode. The opening credits clearly state that it's called "Starvixen's Revenge"). Anyway, that's the episode with Ethan Phillips as the major guest star. It's about movies in general, though the movie in question is a porn flick with SF-background.

2. Coffee House Clash (that's the episode with Robert Beltran in his underwear. It's about poetry and fashion)

3. Something Fishy (about sculpture and a fish tank)

4. Operation Drumstick (Tim's character Mike goes undercover in a band - wait till you see him, he looks hilarious! The main theme is music)

5. Gallery of Horrors (paintings)

6. Portrait of Pain (paintings again. That's the one with Garrett Wang as a painter of offensive pictures. The "torture"-scene is hilarious!)

7. Lord of the Dance (that one is obviously about dance and features a fantastic guest performance by Nichelle Nichols!)

The press release:

Don't Judge Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police...Just Enjoy It! 

Practically every cop show has a memorable catch-phrase. Hawaii Five-O aficionados assuredly remember hearing "Book him, Dan-O" on nearly every episode, while Hill Street Blues buffs couldn't start an adventure without an obligatory "Let's be careful out there" warning. But science fiction aficionados generally haven't had the pleasure of experiencing such law-enforcement axioms...until now. If Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police, a fresh "fantasy" debuting on GalaxyOnline.com this Friday, June 23, catches on, before long there could be a new and noteworthy slogan on the lips of SF fans: "We don't judge it. We simply remove it."

"Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police is a short, four-to-six- 
minute-per-episode comedy sketch program that is, more or less, Men in Black meets Cops," explains actor Tim Russ, the co-creator, producer, writer and star of the show. "Our characters are stone-faced, stoic, suit-and-tie guys that are very neutral and not at all colorful. We're not the least bit interested in undertaking any kind of artistic endeavor. Rather, we simply respond to artistic emergencies that have occurred."

Throughout the series, these aesthetic crises range from bad poetry readings and poorly performed Shakespeare monologues to horrid art gallery showings and offensive porn films. In every case, the Art Police are called to intervene and remove the questionable works of art and, if necessary, arrest the artist. Russ, who is best known as Lt. Cmdr. Tuvok from the popular TV program Star Trek: Voyager, stars as one of the law-enforcement officials, along with Bruce A. Young (The Sentinel) and Dan Chace (East of Hope Street). Young and Chace also serve as producers and writers on the show.

"What I enjoy most about it is the satire of using the police dramas that we've all been watching for the past 30-plus years on television and adapting them to the concept of art," notes Russ. "Not that long ago, we had stories in the news about the censorship of art, and the question keeps coming up regarding what types of things can be considered artistic and what things cannot. Well, those are subjective views about movies, plays, music, etc., and everybody has their own opinion. We wanted to keep The Art Police completely objective about the entire thing: They never make a decision about what is good or bad art -- They simply respond and remove it."

And while Russ and his colleagues never know what horrendous affront to good taste lurks around the next corner (or, in this case, on the next episode), they have been careful to set up fictitious rules and procedures by which the offending artist is "arrested."

"We're working to try to create the most unusual, strange
and weird sort of story lines that we can come up with," reveals Russ. "But they'll always be recognizable in terms of the police procedure that we use. We have different charges and violations, and our own version of the Miranda rights. It's going to be recognizable as a police drama, but definitely with a twist."

Star Trek: Voyager fans might also recognize some of the perpetrators of the odious art: over the course of the series, which is currently scheduled for 24 episodes, many of the artistic "criminals" will be portrayed by fellow Star Trek actors.

"Ethan Phillips [Neelix] is very excited about working with me on these," says Russ. "Robert Beltran [Chakotay], who has already taped one, would like to do a couple more, as would Robert Duncan McNeill [Lt. Paris]."

Regardless of the guest star, beginning Friday, June 23rd, Russ guarantees GalaxyOnline.com visitors will experience both remarkably bad art and incredibly humorous situations.

"It could be a ballet that's out of control, it could be the producer of a horrendous film, it could be a poet, it could be a musician, it could be a songwriter or it could be a painter," he laughs. "It doesn't matter what form of art it is, we respond accordingly to the crisis. We don't judge it. We simply remove it."