Question: While on vacation in Utah we found a show in syndication called Cop Rock. It was a wonderful police drama but a musical! They sang really well and it had drama, romance, and humor. At the end of our vacation they announced they had been canceled but wouldn't go off the air until "the fat lady sings." Of course the next morning a rather heavy set woman with the crazy horned hat came onto the show and sang away! We would not leave the resort each morning until we saw this amazing show. How do we get our hands on the episodes of this entertaining show that we never knew existed when it was live? We'd love to see all of them. Thanks.
Televisionary: Cop Rock? Now that is a vacation, friend.
The bad news is you can't, as far as I know, aside from looking for illegal copies on eBay. I, being a responsible citizen and firm believer in copyright law, would never suggest you do that. On a more frustrating note, you missed out on an opportunity to see the whole strange series when VH1 had a Cop Rock marathon some time ago. (I'll be honest — I don't remember exactly when that was.)
That said, if I'm wrong here and anyone can point me toward a credible source for legal versions of the show on tape, I'll run it in a future column.
Cop Rock was, to me, one of network TV's most fascinating and spectacular bombs. Why on earth the very talented Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue) thought a musical police series would catch on I'll never know. An even tougher puzzle is how he then persuaded the suits at ABC. Perhaps they were hoping for something like the legendary Dennis Potter's brilliant Brit hit The Singing Detective. I don't know.
Whatever the process, the audience (or the lack of one) quickly convinced all involved how wrong they were. Cop Rock debuted in September of 1990 with Barbara Bosson, Ronny Cox and company staging the usual police drama stories, regularly interrupting them to burst into song. Two months later it was gone. Case closed — and the series remains a television oddity.
However, I'm not mocking anyone for producing and airing it, nor you for taking an interest in it. Frankly, a failure on the scale of Cop Rock illustrates a daring spirit that network TV could use more of. Sure, it sounded like an absolutely lousy idea. And it turned out that way. But it was an effort to do something truly different and all involved brought a tremendous amount of creativity and ability to the table. Big risks often mean big thuds when they bite the dust. But I give them credit for trying.
Besides, the concepts behind a couple of recent history's more notable series sound equally unwatchable when stated plainly: A show about nothing (Seinfeld). A drama about a mobster who sees a shrink (The Sopranos).
It's all in the execution.