Tuesday, May 30, 2006
'Be careful out there'
Yesterday I picked up the first season of Hill Street Blues on DVD, so last night we watched the first couple of episodes. I think my boys are hooked. They're too young to remember when it was on the first time (in fact it may have been over before a couple of them were born), so it's all new to them.
It's been a long time since I've seen it (I don't think it's been in syndication much), so I was seeing it with fairly fresh eyes. It's held up pretty well, and I was reminded how innovative this show was. The look of the show (I think it was filmed, not taped), the multiple storylines in each episode, the continuing story lines between episodes -- these were not common elements of primetime television drama before Hill Street Blues. And the acting -- everyone was good. It's hard for characters in a large ensemble cast to stand out, but Hill Street station was loaded with distinctive characters. Some of that, of course, is the writing, but it's also a tribute to the actors.
What Steven Bochco started with Hill Street Blues has become standard with television drama. But I don't think anyone has done it any better.