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October 10, 2015

Five Cop Shows That Should Never Be Remade

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 2nd 2010 6:24PM
Sgt. Esterhaus on 'Hill Street Blues'It's pilot time again and this season the networks have decided to turn back the clock, specifically on old cop and crime shows, to save their sinking ratings.

For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.

Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.

1. 'Hill Street Blues'

Perfection doesn't come in much frequency and this groundbreaking cop classic from the mind of Steven Bochco is about as close to perfect as a TV show in any genre can get. Its clever writing and intertwined story lines coupled with a documentary-style feel, a first for its time, made it one of the most celebrated dramas in critical circles and Emmy-voting cliques. Doing a remake of it would be like painting bulky sweaters over the naked people in Peter Paul Rubens' paintings.

2. 'Columbo'
Peter Falk as ColumboTV characters come and go, but none of them own their TV personas more than Peter Falk owned the bemused, trenchcoat-donning mystery solver that was Lt. Columbo. His "aww, shucks" attitude toward the rich and powerful citizens of California's elite made him an endearing and comical character, both to the audience and the suspects who thought they could get away with murder.

Falk was actually the third person to take on the character when he made the jump from the stage to television in 1968. His mannerisms and personality, however, are so ingrained in the character that it's impossible to imagine anyone else puffing on a cheap cigar behind the wheel of a gear grinding Peugeot.

Chances are if one of the networks tried a remake, they would replace Falk's 5-foot-nothing frame with a strapping 7-foot tall hunk in a trench coat that didn't look like it came from a thrift store, just because today's test audiences "didn't find a chain smoking detective with a glass eye attractive."

3. 'NYPD Blue'
Jimmy Smitts and Dennis Franz on 'NYPD Blue'Any show that tells the FCC to go take a long walk off a short pier by flaunting mild nudity and profane language in front of the audience deserves special recognition. 'NYPD Blue' set a new standard for the average cop show. Not only could the crimes walk the edge, but the foibles and follies of the main characters could be just as grim and dark. Our TVs would never have high caliber shows like 'The Shield,' 'CSI' and 'Justified' if not for the tenacity and raw emotion of shows like 'NYPD Blue.'

We also would never have experienced the brain-piercing pain that comes from seeing Dennis Franz's bulbous ass on camera, but that's another list for another day (e.g. Ten TV Images We Wish We Could Bleach from Our Minds).

4. 'Law & Order'
Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson and Milena Govich on 'Law and Order''Law & Order' hasn't just been on television for a long time, but it's also occupied more real estate than a guy who cheats at "Monopoly." The original show has reformed itself into so many spinoffs from the successful 'Special Victims Unit' to the dismal 'Trial By Jury' that some NBC dunderhead-in-chief in the distant future (trust me, they breed) is bound to get the bright idea to remake the one that started them all.

On behalf of all future generations, don't do it. The concept of remaking a show that has spawned more mutated offspring than a member of the British royal family is downright psychotic. It's as psychotic as doing a movie remake of 'M*A*S*H.' That includes a remake of the actual movie, and double the psychosis if it's a remake of the TV show.

Speaking of shows that are totally psychotic...

5. 'Cop Rock'
This short-lived (proof that God exists and he loves us very much) musical serial cop show took television down a few notches with its awesome badness by putting the criminal justice system to music. The show only lasted eleven miserable episodes but it went on to gain fame as one of the worst TV shows of all time.

Despite its infamous reputation, the scary part is that it could make a comeback. If these new cop remakes prove successful, a producer could pitch it by coupling it with 'Glee's' critical and ratings achievement to push it to the front of the 'green light' line. And if they pitch it to an NBC executive, it'll get a full season order and top primetime billing before anyone ever sees an episode.

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Studios and producers should just bag it and never try to duplicate "Classics"!!! Is it that bad that writers can't come up with something new for this day?? AND trying to re-make "Rockford" is a sin!! No one can ever replace James Garner, one of the greatest actors ever, in the roles that are only theirs! The whole success of these programs were the star, cast and writing that just clicked. Hill Street, Crime Story, Hunter, Magnum and my favorite comedy cop show is Barney Miller. Nothing ever better on TV! Those were the days when every show was good and we couldn't wait to get home to watch. Producers should be ashamed of what they have done to old shows and especially Hawaii Five 0. Didn't even watch for 10 minutes it was so terrible. I guess we that watched the classic shows, cannot even think of remakes. Studios are trying to appeal to the new generation, feel sorry for them. They can be watched and by comments made, they like the classic shows. I collect the classic TV series and watch them instead of TV today. I still laugh out loud at Barney, even though I've seen them over and over, that is a Great program. Thanks to Netflix and all the sites that carry these shows, you are the best!!

June 24 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with all of the shows listed here as to being never remade. The first four, as stated, because of their quality, especially "Hill Street Blues." NBC ran an ad near the end of the series that said it all -- "Face it America... you'll never be over The Hill."

As for "Cop Rock," it shouldn't be touched with a 10-foot camera lens because of how truly awful it was. The only way I could see ABC execs approving it for broadcast was that they either had service pistols at their heads or were recovering from a monumental bender when they saw the pilot. And the truly amazing thing about "Cop Rock"? It came from the same person, Stephen Bochko, who created both "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue."

I also agree with Tom that "Barney Miller" should not be re-made. It was perfectly cast (especially the late Jack Soo as Nick Yamana - nobody could do Mr. Soo's portrayal justice).

Someone commented that "Columbo" had been redone -- as "Monk" with Tony Shalhoub. I disagree. Yes it was redone, but it was Vincent D'Onofrio's character on "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" except for being manicured and in a good suit versus the rumpled trench coat.

"Miami Vice" was done as a big-screen movie this last year, but it didn't do well. Frankly, the time for that show was when it aired in the mid to late '80s. People want different things now.

Having grown up watching the original "Hawaii Five-O," I am curious as to how this new version will turn out. It seems strange to me to bring back the characters of Chin Ho Kelly (who was killed at the end of the 10th season in the original series) and Kono Kalakawa undergoing a gender switch. The actors they have brought in for these roles are talented -- though it will be strange seeing the husky, broad-shouldered Zulu replaced by the lithe, very attractive Grace Park. (Ironically, this will be the second time she's played a gender-switched a role, having first done so as "Boomer" in the SyFy Channel's version of "Battlestar Galactica" after first being played by Herbert Jefferson, Jr. in 1979.) Not to mention that Daniel Dae Kim of "Lost" fame is a striking difference from the late Kam Fong as Chin Ho. It will also be intersting to see how Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan do in replacing Jack Lord and James MacArthur, respectively, as Steve McGarrett and Danny "Danno" Williams. I ahd always thought that "Hawaii Five-O" would never be remade. Now, we'll have to see if the remake is a good idea. At least it will be on CBS, where the original show aired for it's 12-season run.

June 24 2010 at 7:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, I would LOVE to see Homicide, Life on the Street brought back. Andre (my beloved, revered Andre) Braugher and Munch (ooops, Richard Belzer) are around. Grab Ice-T and Belzer away from L&O and ressurect Homicide. One of the best cop shows, ever. Right up there with NYPD Blue, and I loved Dennis Franz's bulbous ass. I also loved Jimmy Smits' ass, and David Caruso's behind ain't bad neither. Where the hell is Sipowicz these days, anyhow??? (you can see I've completely blurred the actors' names with their characters, so well-drawn were they). I'd love to see at least one of these 2 shows come back. I bet there are alot of people like me out there who would watch. I'll watch anything with Jimmy Smits anyway. It would certainly be an improvement over these lame medical shows they keep trying to foist on us. ER is gone and is no more. Get over it, networks.

April 05 2010 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually they re-made Cop Rock, but instead of cops, they decided to focus on a casino and instead of calling it Cop Rock, they called it Viva Laughlin

April 03 2010 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would add Homicide: Life on the Street to this list. Quite possibly, along with the top 3 on this list, the best cop shows ever made. Not only can you never duplicate how great these shows were, you can never duplicate how great the casts were either.


April 03 2010 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually Alex O'Loughlin will be the star of Hawaii 5-0...IF CBS decides to pick it up.

April 03 2010 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There was a movie version of Car 54: Where Are You that came out in the early 90's. If memory serves me correctly, it sat on the shelf for a couple of year before it was released. Another cop show that should not be re-made is Barney Miller. There is no way that any actor would replicate those characters and do it justice. I watched the show off and on in its first run and in syndication in the 80's. I've been watching the re-runs on WGN for the last few months and it still holds up. There are no cell phones, no computers no DNA matching, just stories about the cops of the 12th precinct and the people they encounter. It's worth checking out.

April 03 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They already remade Columbo. It's called Monk.

April 03 2010 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dennis Franz' bulbous ass?

"Ipso 'dis, you pissy little bitch!"

April 03 2010 at 6:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree on the whole,
But if they did want to do a remake of columbo, Nick Nolte could easily portray the disheveled, wisecracking,fumbling ,crime solving mastermind. I think you forgot one show on your list though, "Miami Vice". (or have they already tried that?)

April 03 2010 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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