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Hill Street Blues: The Final Season

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    Scyther
    Senior Member

  • Hill Street Blues: The Final Season



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: January 12th, 2016
    Director: Gregory Hoblit
    Cast: Dennis Franz, Daniel J. Travanti, Joe Spano, Betty Thomas, Charles Haid
    Year: 1981
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie

    Hill Street Blues arrived at a time after the 70s cop show boom first introduced audiences to quirky, smart-alecky and effective detectives who usually had a gimmick, a la a Kojak or a Starsky and Hutch, and brought with it a far more serious minded and realistic take on the police procedural.

    The series was created by Steven Bochco, who would go on to achieve even more cop show success years later with N.Y.P.D. Blue, and represented a definite turning point for the genre, bringing with it smart writing, dynamic characters and a frenetic sense of cinematography which brought the audience right alongside the Hill Street police force from their morning cup of coffee to their final dreams at night.

    This is readily apparent even here in the series' final season, which admittedly arrived after much of the show's fanbase was beginning to lose interest. Yours truly is actually not well versed in the back log of Hill Street Blues, but I was quickly engrossed in the continuing stories presented as this last season rolled out its respective plot threads. This was another important aspect of Bochco's series, as Hill Street Blues made sure that continuity was followed between characters and the events which would affect them from episode to episode.

    Highlights include a public defenders strike where many recently arrested criminals are put back on the street and a case of sexual indiscretion on the part of an arresting officer, while the series finale puts a satisfying cap onto what was essentially a groundbreaking moment for cop shows on the small tube.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    The picture quality of episodes vary from disc to disc, but the lion's share of Hill Street Blues looks quite nice, considering the fact that this season is almost thirty years old. There are episodes which do look a bit dark, although Shout Factory themselves offer a disclaimer, stating that they used the best possible elements for the transfer. As stated, however, this disc looks just fine, particularly for those rewatching this show again after growing up with it in the 80s.

    The audio, Dolby Digital in English, is similarly strong, with no noticeable drop outs or errors. There are no extras to be had here on the disc, but this doesn't really matter much when considering Shout packs in five discs here for a relatively affordable price.

    The Final Word

    Hill Street Blues rocks, even thirty years later, and shouldn't be slept on by those seeking to find out just what sort of programming was breaking down doors and innovating the cop show genre back in the 1980s.




















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