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Old March 30 2014, 06:00 PM   #46
J.T.B.'s Avatar
Re: Best TV Show Ever Comes to DVD End of April

Brolan wrote: View Post
I was a huge fan of HSB when it came out. It seemed gritty and more realistic than other police shows. Problem is police shows have advanced pretty far in the past decade and it just doesn't hold up against The Shield and The Wire.
Personally, I disagree. HSB was never intended to be a "cop show" as much as a more broadly-focused show about the lives of people who happened to be cops. As much as I love it, even The Wire didn't reach the breadth and depth HSB did with exploring its large cast of characters. As I plow through the later seasons, I have been pretty impressed at how well the stories and writing do hold up. It should be understood, though, that it often functions as drama, satire or even comedy more than "crime genre." My wife, who never saw the show back in the day, has been completely riveted.

Star Wolf wrote: View Post
It has been decades since I have seen the end of the run but as I remember it it seems to stand up, except for the gang summits which seemed like something out of West Side Story even during the original run.
Agreed. Those scenes always feel like they should end with one of the gang leaders standing up and repeating "Can you dig it?!"

the G-man wrote: View Post
Whoa. It's available already. I thought it didn't come out for another month?
Shout!Factory had a deal for advance orders direct from them to ship early.
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Old March 30 2014, 07:09 PM   #47
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Re: Best TV Show Ever Comes to DVD End of April

Shout! is still shipping the set early (since it doesn't street until 4/29 elsewhere).

I'm looking forward to finally getting a chance to see this series. I saw sequences from the pilot episode in grad school and again at a career tribute for director Bob Butler a few months ago. The relevant parts are below, for those interested:

Bob Butler wrote:
It was a great collision of a number of elements. Timing, of course, had a lot to do with everything. I was at a point where I could act on some of my hatreds, namely, cleanliness. I hated cleanliness. Star Trek was so cleanly [sic]. I tried to get the scenery butchered up as though it had been in use, and I couldn’t do it. The production designer was already working, and I lost that argument. It’s largely as many arguments as you can win. The more arguments you win, the more singularity the yarn has. It’s not rocket surgery, it’s singularity, recognition of people at work and at play consistently and clearly and understandably. That’s what we’re trying to do, so we win as many arguments as we can.

I took Remington Steele to Grant Tinker, who was a friend of mine on The Dick Van Dyke Show. We’d known each other a long time. And he said, before I give you an answer on Remington Steele, let me give you a script, and he sent Hill Street Blues to me. And, immediately, the directorial disdain surfaced.

Do we really need another cop show? So that kind of cleared my head and I knew I had to go to work again. And, I had the boss’s ear. Grant Tinker was the boss. I had the certainty, which was that cleanliness was hideous and messiness was appropriate, and more real and more recognizable also, so I was able to shake that execution of that story up, overlap the dialogue, [and] make the lighting look kind of routine and hideous and improper in places. Truly, the cinematographer, a very knowledgeable Hollywood guy, knew when I said, “Look, let’s make this thing look awful. I want it to look awful.” He knew I was talking about Hollywood awful.

I mean, we were going to be able to see everybody, it was going to work fine, but it just was going to be less shiny, glossy, perfect, surface-y, clean. So he would come up to me, I think just to assure himself, and he would say, “Listen, man, it’s looking pretty bad.” And I would always say, “Good. Make it look worse.”

And that’s really the truth of the way we worked. You know, the show had legs. Let’s face it, it had legs. I remember the fourth act in the hour form having not much action. There’s a tie-down situation around a liquor store where there’s some hostages inside. That’s not a very big opportunity for a chase with people tied down and movies finish with some form of action, chase, gunfight, whatever, and I remember mentioning to the guys, “Guys, we’ve got a talky fourth act.” I mean, sure, the EATers, Emergency Action Team that Howard Hunter, Jim Sikking, he’s here tonight with us, were active and they blew up the back door and then shot up the liquor bottles, etc., but it was clever and it was wordy and it was somewhat action-less. I expressed this as humbly, secretly, arrogantly, as I possibly could, and blank faces. You try to win an argument three times and if you don’t you forget it and move on because the clock is ticking, the sun’s going down, the teacher is going to take the kids away from you, and you have to get the damned thing shot. So, I gave in, and your friendly director was wrong, man, because the fourth act played great. So bet on me less than a hundred percent of the time.
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

My blog: Star Trek Fact Check.
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Old March 30 2014, 08:21 PM   #48
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Re: Best TV Show Ever Comes to DVD End of April

Harvey wrote: View Post
I saw sequences from the pilot episode in grad school and again at a career tribute for director Bob Butler a few months ago
Yeah, that was great to read, thanks again. Bochco gives Butler a big share of the credit for setting the feel of the entire show with the early episodes he directed. It was cool that James Sikking was there, he always seems like an amiable gent and ready to talk about HSB. In his interview on the new disc he says he was asked on a later job whether he'd ever done comedy. He replied "Have you ever seen Hill Street Blues?"
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