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October 6, 2015

Short-Lived Shows: Cop Rock

by Richard Keller, posted Nov 6th 2006 9:32AM

Cop RockAll right, let's get into this Cop Rock thing that the A.V. Club has just mentioned as one of the top "lamentably lost" television shows. Trust me folks, the show was not something to lament about. In fact, I'm sure there are people out there who wish the show would just be lost and buried deep into the ground.

I guess you could say that the concept of the show was unique. Created by Steven Bochco, who was known as the driving force behind the police drama Hill Street Blues, Cop Rock combined said police drama with musical theater. Each episode of the short-lived series, which ran on ABC from September to December of 1990, began with a music-video style credit sequence with theme music by Randy Newman. Then, throughout each week's program, characters would break out in song and dance during the middle of a scene. For example, a jury would sing out "He's Guilty" in Gospel format, or a lineup of Hispanic suspects would proclaim racial discrimination in a pithy little ditty.

The critics and viewers hated it. Despite the fact that it had stars such as Ronny Cox (Beverly Hills Cop) and Barbara Bosson (who had appeared on Hill Street Blues). Bochco even featured cameo appearances of characters from his other shows, such as L.A. Law's Jimmy Smits and Michele Greene.

Still, the viewers weren't there. So, after only 11 episodes the show was canceled. The last episode featured cast members talking about the cancellation and ended with a big cast sing-along. It was eventually sold into syndication to air on such cable networks as VH1 and Trio.

You would think that this would have been the end of Bochco's career at ABC and on television in general. Not so. Shortly after the dismal performance of Cop Rock, ABC greenlighted another of Bochco's creations; a little crime-drama named NYPD Blue. This time around Bochco hit gold and would remain with the network for nearly a decade.

Oh, by the way, Cop Rock wasn't all gloom and doom. In fact, one star from that show went on to greater glory on NYPD Blue. I'm talking about James McDaniel, who portrayed Officer Franklin Rose on Rock. Two years later he would be promoted to Lieutenant Arthur Fancy in Blue.

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Charles Eggen

Here's another who was a fan of this very short lived
series. I have been hoping that it would be put on dvd.
Yes, I would buy it and I don't buy TV shows. I thought
it was never given a real chance to smooth out the rough spots. But then I was expecting too much from the suits
and typical cop show fans, who no doubt hated it.

November 18 2006 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Worst logo...evar!

(And they probably paid thousands for its design)

November 06 2006 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
michael kay

Cop Rock WAS flawed, but I give Bochco and ABC credit for trying something different and daring as opposed to the typical formulaic and redundant programming that dominates the tube.

Hey, does anyone know where I can find the Randy Newman opening sequence song or video. I think it was titled "Living Under the Gun". I'm a big Newman fan, but have been unable to locate.
Thanks !

November 06 2006 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved that show. Please don't ask me what is wrong with me - I don't know. My whole family hated the show and all my friends hated it too. But I was really sad when it was cancelled.

November 06 2006 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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