If HILL STREET BLUES were remade today....

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Foxhot, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    ............it'd better be good.

    So, restricting the choices
    to the series' regular opening-credits characters from its seven years, plus Jesus Martinez, Robin Tataglia, Erwin Bernstein and the Chief, which actors today could do justice to the roles and pull it off? No original actors may return, please, except for the awesome James B. Sikking.

    The cast is fairly large, so feel free to select just one role, or if you like, all of them. I can't decide myself. But since they're updating NYPD BLUE, let's try something better. Proceed.
     
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It'd be interesting to see what they'd have to update to do a Hill St Blues. They have a character who bites people and stories where cops make deals with local gangs not to disrupt parades. Lots of stuff that wouldn't fly in 2019.
     
  3. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Lt. Hunter (James B. Sikking) coined the phrase "your basic brown types" back on the original. I doubt that would make it onscreen today.

    I doubt it would stand out or even last with all the cop/procedural shows on today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  4. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles ZARDU HASSELFRAU Premium Member

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    Certainly the recurring gag of male officers and detectives being forced to dress up in drag and pose as prostitutes in various undercover operations wouldn't fly today. When I did my first ever watch-through of HSB a year or two ago, it was a big "yikes" moment for me.

    Also, Foxhot, in case you missed it, the NYPD Blue pilot was rejected, though ABC said they're looking at the possibility of a total reboot. I'm not sure which would be worse — a series built around the premise that Andy Sipowicz was murdered offscreen, or a series where someone who's not Dennis Franz and not reading the words of David Milch tries to replay one of the most iconic characters in TV.
     
  5. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You create a character who spills bad ideas, so that the audience can see a person full of good ideas to tell him or her (with bad ideas) to shut the fuck up, and eventually the person with bad ideas to realize that they are on the wrong side of history, after their bad ideas are explained to be bad.

    I suspect that that was the intent of the Hunter character back then too.
     
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  6. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    The same with Archie Bunker maybe?
     
  7. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but there has to be a more modern reference on hand.
     
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  8. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    The more "modern" we get, the less likely they'd let a character like that on TV, I would imagine. Even if the idea is to use it as a learning experience. We're too PC now.
     
  9. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Brooklyn 99 is already a good temake Hill Street Blues, and Blue Bloods is a bad remake of Hill Street Blues.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

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    Is TV today really devoid of characters like Hunter?

    Was HSB a procedural? More like a character driven drama with a large cast of characters.
     
  11. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, not really a procedural then, but if it was remade? Bochco passed last year, so who knows what we'd end up with.
     
  12. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sam Witwer as Ben Lockwood on Supergirl? Alienism as an alegory for nationalism and raceism.

    Of course Ben did not figure out that bigotry is wrong, instead his obsession got him killed.
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

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    Shows like HSB aren't uncommon. Large casts. Multiple storylines. Though a lot a seem to be SFF. HSB and St. Elswhere set the standard.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  14. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    Hill Street Blues was such a radical departure from old-school cop shows like Adam-12, that’s what made it so compelling at the time. I don’t think a remake would work now, it just wouldn’t stand out like it did in 1981. Hill Street had flawed, angsty characters that the audience could relate to and identify with, but every modern show has those now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  15. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yes but it was also more specific than that. Think back to 1981: The first year of Reagan and the new wave of government conservatism. The '60s and '70s had been the era of White Flight, with big city "urban cores" becoming majority minority populated. The popular depiction of big cities had become one of crime-ridden hellscapes. Movies like Dirty Harry and Deathwish presented the idea that the only way to deal with the situation was with more violence than the bad guys. There was a segment of the country that wasn't afraid to voice the opinion that the people who lived in those places weren't capable of governing themselves. Howard was a representation of that school of thought, with a paternalistic, almost colonialist attitude.

    He also represented the oblivious WASP establishment type, with casual race, class and religion prejudices he never thought to question. One great scene with Howard was when he was in the hospital and hit it off with a nurse. He makes a date with her and asks her name. After she has left the room he's happy and smiling for a second, then he gets a puzzled look and says "Wolfowitz?" Another favorite is when Howard asks Henry what it's like "being a Hebrew?" "I don't know Howard. What's it like being a human being?" is the classic response.

    Another deft character touch about Howard which I noticed at some point: Howard on duty never does anything himself, he always gives an order to Ballantine or some other subordinate to do it.

    And yet Sikking made him sympathetic and the character grew greatly over the years.

    Or comedy-drama.

    I don't watch much currently-produced tv, but what I do see doesn't have near the HSB or Elsewhere numbers. Early in S5 HSB had 17 cast in the opening credits! St. Elsewhere had 16 in S6, I think. And the audience didn't just know the characters' names, they knew about their home and family life, their likes and wants, who they liked at work and who got on their nerves.

    Part of the reason I think this worked was because they were never afraid to do scenes where characters just talk to each other for a minute or two, not plot-related. You can do a lot of character development if you take scenes here and there that don't have to strictly relate to the plot.

    Yes and the characters' histories developed over time and were remembered, never just reset. St. Elsewhere was particularly good at that, they were always calling back to things that had happened seasons ago. I don't think they ever made a mistake like forgetting a character had a sister or something, and recurring parts, even years later, always used the same actors.
     
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  16. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I remember him being loathed, a last resort that no one wants to resort to, which is why it took me so long to trust James on Doogie Howser. Carrying that Stylis around on the Excelsior didn't help much either.

    I loved how dirty the city used to be, that's why Fame is one of my favorite movies.

    Turning down a pretty nurse becuase she has "impure" blood? How is that not a reverse guide book? Do the opposite of what this idiot does, and you will be happy.
     
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  17. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lockwood ended up in the slammer, watching his kid disavow everything he stood for, not dead.

    I believe Hill Street Blues stands as the single greatest television series ever created, and part of that was time and place. You couldn't recreate it with the same impact today, any more than the Beatles could've happened outside of their own unique era and milieu.
     
  18. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's a bit where Raiin Wilson was accused of being Racist, and his little ginger partner defended him by saying "That's not true! Backstrom hates all races equally!"

    Decades earlier a black coworker defended Drew Carey on the Drew Carey Show after he was accused of being a racist "That's not true! Drew Carey has hit on and been rejected by women of every race, faith, creed and colour!"
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  19. Seeyoumorell

    Seeyoumorell Ensign Newbie

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    It's a great television series, hard to beat.
     
  20. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    A what? It's a 24th century "swagger stick" or somesuch affectation.
     
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