Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What Were They Thinking?: "Cop Rock"

Steven Bochco was seen as a television genius. Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, MD, LA Law.... It seemed like he could do no wrong. Then came the Fall 1990 season and the immortal poster boy for bad network decisions- Cop Rock.

Cop Rock was to be the first musical procedural cop show. Stake outs, shootouts and investigations were interrupted by elaborate musical production numbers. It was a ridiculous idea that allegedly made sense if one actually sat down and watched the show.

(Or maybe not.)

This one at least has a believable reason why ABC would greenlight it. Steven Bochco was a producing powerhouse. Despite its ridiculous premise of being a cop related musical, any network in 1990 would have greenlit this one. If ABC had turned it down, NBC or CBS would have picked it up in a heartbeat. The cast thought it had hit a goldmine of multiple seasons, syndication residuals and awards.

Since this is "What Were They Thinking?" however, you probably guessed that none of those things happened. The show became a laughingstock, shorthand for a ridiculous television show. Steven Bochco quickly recovered with NYPD Blue and many of the show's defenders claimed it was merely ahead of its time. Seeing as how musical cop dramas are still virtually unknown, we still haven't reached that "time" just yet.