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