Cop Rock Is the Best Worst Show Of All Time

If you like gritty police procedurals, gripping courtroom drama, shoulder pads, and show tunes written by Randy Newman overperformed to within an inch of their lives, then Cop Rock is the only show you’ve ever liked. Frankly, it’s kind of amazing that Steven Bochco and his crew put together 22 hour-long musicals in a year, as just one is an insane amount of work. (I wrote one once – and I never will again.) But while the idea of a musical TV show is fine, a musical cop drama is not fine. Shagri-La Plaza, a an unsold pilot broadcast by CBS in summer 1990, beat Cop Rock to the air. It was incredibly bizarre in a good way, but a romantic comedy, which works as a musical. Cops shows, however, absolutely do not. Steven Bochco was such a proven producer of quality hits (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Doctor Teenager) that ABC agreed to air a full season of Cop Rock, no matter what. So after the critical lambastings rose and the ratings sank, the thing remained on the air. It’s not available on DVD, and is almost never aired. But here’s a taste.

“He’s Guilty!”

“I Hate Love”

And here’s a part of the only episode of Shangri-La Plaza co-starring Melora Hardin of The Office.

Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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2 thoughts on “Cop Rock Is the Best Worst Show Of All Time

  1. Melora Hardin says:

    I LOVED doing this pilot! Shangrila Plaza was ahead of it’s time and so full of great talent! Wish it had more courageous brass behind it! Too bad Cop Rock came out first and scared everyone at CBS so much they couldn’t get behind this fun, funny, sweet show with a fabulous situation comedy locale and characters. The set was so great that people kept driving into the mini mall in Burbank to shop and we had to turn them away. Good times and good TV!

  2. I knew I shouldn’t have been investing my time in Doogie Howser. I should have been watching Cop Rock. Mind you, I was 15 at the time and didn’t think that the idea of a singing cop show was very cool. What did I know? I was a dumb kid.

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