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Old 01-19-2021, 12:55 AM   #1
OceanBlue OceanBlue is offline
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Sep 2013
Midlands, UK
USA Hill Street Blues

Have done a thread search in this sub-forum for the long-running TV series Hill Street Blues (no existing thread).

In the past couple of days, checked Deep Discount for this series. A complete series DVD set was released in the States, as well as all seven seasons separately.

How are the transfers in Shout's release(s) of this series? I've seen bits of it, but never watched a full episode. Have checked Amazon.com, and it appears there are some faults with Shout's complete series DVD set.
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AnamorphicWidescreen (01-19-2021)
Old 01-19-2021, 02:39 AM   #2
AnamorphicWidescreen AnamorphicWidescreen is offline
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I saw the entire HSB series on the Shout! Region 1 DVD sets back in 2018. The Picture Quality (PQ) was OK; I've seen worse, but I've also seen better. Here are some comments on the series that I posted in the "Wish List" thread a while back:

HSB (1981-1987) is an excellent, solid crime drama, and reminds me of a documentary. The earlier seasons are more reminiscent of a late '70's urban crime drama than an '80's one.

Excellent casting as well. Though I've seen some of these actors/actresses in later TV shows/movies, it seems like many of them got their "start" on this show. Standouts include (but are not limited to):

-Frank Furillo (D. Travanti). Excellent acting here, especially when he has to play office politics. He's very believable as the competent, capable captain @ the Hill Street station.

-Joyce Davenport (V. Hamel). Amazing actress. She successfully blends a hard/tough, no nonsense attitude & is also very feminine/sexy. Tough dichotomy to pull off, but she does this well.

The themes/storylines are also very mature for an '80' network TV series:

- Teen runaways who are forced into prostitution.

- Veterans with severe PTSD.

- Extreme poverty, resulting in crime, evictions, etc.

- Guilt that an LE officer has over accidentally killing an innocent civilian.

- Aging parents who are dying or needing to be put into nursing homes; this is touched on at various times on the series - very realistic.

Other comments:

-I find Phil Esterhaus very entertaining. He's the character who briefs everyone in the episode openers in the first three seasons, ending with the iconic "Let's be careful out there". Phil is well into his 50's, and in the early season(s) ends up dating a high school senior. Who does this guy think he is, Woody Allen?! - LOL. In any case, somehow, I don't think a storyline like that would fly today on a network TV series...but maybe I'm wrong

-With several of the characters that work together also sleeping with each other (notably Furilllo & Joyce Davenport) and/or airing their personal business/dirty laundry @ the station, it's surprising that anyone ever gets any work done - LOL.

Though the series is iconic & well-done, I don't find it to be quite as good as later crime dramas like Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, The Wire, etc. However, it's notable that HSB came first, and almost certainly paved the way for many of these later series.

Here's a great version of the iconic theme song. I suspect even those who have never seen the series still recognize this song. I know that in my case, I had heard the song before I started watching the series:


Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-20-2021 at 03:34 AM.
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OceanBlue (01-19-2021)
Old 01-19-2021, 02:54 AM   #3
BluConniseur BluConniseur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnamorphicWidescreen View Post
I saw the entire HSB series on the Shout! Region 1 DVD sets back in 2018. The Picture Quality (PQ) was OK; I've seen worse, but I've also seen better. Here are some comments on the series that I posted in the "Wish List" thread a while back:

HSB (1981-1987) is an excellent, solid crime drama, and reminds me of a documentary. The earlier seasons are more reminiscent of a late '70's urban crime drama than an '80's one.

Excellent casting as well. Though I've seen some of these actors/actresses in later TV shows/movies, it seems like many of them got their "start" on this show. Standouts include (but are not limited to):

-Frank Furillo (D. Travanti). Excellent acting here, especially when he has to play office politics. He's very believable as the competent, capable captain @ the Hill Street station.

-Joyce Davenport (V. Hamel). Amazing actress. She successfully blends a hard/tough, no nonsense attitude & is also very feminine/sexy. Tough dichotomy to pull off, but she does this well.

The themes/storylines are also very mature for an '80' network TV series:

- Teen runaways who are forced into prostitution.

- Veterans with severe PTSD.

- Extreme poverty, resulting in crime, evictions, etc.

- Guilt that an LE officer has over accidentally killing an innocent civilian.

- Aging parents who are dying or needing to be put into nursing homes; this is touched on at various times on the series - very realistic.

Other comments:

-I find Phil Esterhaus very entertaining. He's the character who briefs everyone in the episode openers in the first three seasons, ending with the iconic "Let's be careful out there". Phil is well into his 50's, and in the early season(s) ends up dating a year old high school senior. Who does this guy think he is, Woody Allen?! - LOL. In any case, somehow, I don't think a storyline like that would fly today on a network TV series...but maybe I'm wrong

-With several of the characters sleeping with each other (notably Furilllo & Joyce Davenport) and/or airing their personal business/dirty laundry @ the station, it's surprising that anyone ever gets any work done

Though the series is iconic & well-done, I don't find it to be quite as good as later crime dramas like Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, The Wire, etc. However, it's notable that HSB came first, and almost certainly paved the way for many of these later series.
My favorite episode is Gung Ho from season 3 where the cops try battle an terrorist group in the city. Elayne Heilveil (the original Nancy on Spelling-Goldberg's Family) is great as the fidgety female leader, who is forced to testify in court and rat out her fellow mates in order to avoid a lengthy prison term, likewise with custody of her 5-year old daughter.

Last edited by BluConniseur; 01-19-2021 at 02:59 AM.
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OceanBlue (01-19-2021)
Old 01-19-2021, 04:36 AM   #4
AnamorphicWidescreen AnamorphicWidescreen is offline
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Feb 2014
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It's interesting that the city that HSB takes place in is never named, and the cars have "Metro Police" on the side - which could be any major metropolitan U.S. city. You can see that it has a decent train/rail system (which is seen in the background of some shots), and not many cities in the U.S. have train systems this good. Also, the winters are cold, with snow/ice - this winter weather is not found everywhere, just in certain areas (typically Northern U.S. cities). So, when I initially started watching the show I felt it was supposed to be either Chicago or NYC.

And, I'm somewhat familiar with Chicago, since I used to visit there 2-3 times a year some time ago; also been to NYC numerous times over the years. And, the HSB urban area definitely has more of a Chicago vibe than a NYC vibe.

And, after doing some research on Wikipedia re: the show, here are some interesting excerpts re: the vague setting of the series:

The series' introduction shows exterior shots entirely of Chicago. Many scenes of the series were filmed in Los Angeles (on location and at CBS Studio Center in Studio City).[10] Cutaway shots from Chicago were used in production, with Metro Police cars made up to look like Chicago police cars used in film and television in the 1980s.[11]

The exact city the series was set in was never specified, and the producers left this detail deliberately vague.

Show writer Steven Bochco attended college at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. The run-down, shabby, drug-ridden impression of Pittsburgh's Hill District that Bochco acquired was apparently part of the inspiration for the show.[12] He intended the setting to resemble several cities, including Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.[13]

Although the city is never named, the state flag for Illinois is visible over the judge's left shoulder in the courtroom scenes in Season 2, Episode 5 "Fruits of the Poisonous Tree", suggesting the location is Chicago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BluConniseur View Post
My favorite episode is Gung Ho from season 3 where the cops try battle an terrorist group in the city. Elayne Heilveil (the original Nancy on Spelling-Goldberg's Family) is great as the fidgety female leader, who is forced to testify in court and rat out her fellow mates in order to avoid a lengthy prison term, likewise with custody of her 5-year old daughter.
I remember this from S03. It was episodes like this that really added to the gritty vibe/tone of the show.

Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-19-2021 at 04:43 AM.
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OceanBlue (01-19-2021)
Old 01-19-2021, 11:05 PM   #5
OceanBlue OceanBlue is offline
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Didn't know until a few days ago (when I checked EpGuides' episode guide list for Hill Street Blues) that there was a short-lived spin-off which originally aired in the States the season after Hill Street Blues' seven season run ended. It was called Beverly Hills Buntz, and starred Dennis Franz and Peter Jurasik (reprising their characters).

When Shout released the first season of Hill Street Blues on DVD, were the last two episodes (originally shown as feature-length episodes) presented as four separate episodes?
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:19 PM   #6
AnamorphicWidescreen AnamorphicWidescreen is offline
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Some other comments/reviews re: the great HSB series:

-There is a very funny running "joke" (through S04) involving the vicious Belker & a non-violent thief that he keeps bringing in for booking.
[Show spoiler]This particular thief always gives a different name when asked (obviously all are fake), despite the fact that he knows Belker has brought him in numerous times before and would be able to tell he was lying about at least one of the names...However, what make this even funnier is that Belker never even calls him out on this, but just ignores it and goes on with the questioning. Hilarious

To add to the humor here, it seems that every time Belker brings in this particular thief, Belker's mother calls. The thief (sitting right there) can't help but overhear the conversation, and after Belker gets off the phone he usually offers him some "sage" advice on how to deal with the given situation - LOL


-The idea that this show takes place in an unnamed city/metropolitan area (rather than a specific place) is emphasized
[Show spoiler]in the episode when Joyce Davenport & Frank Furillo get married in a very small ceremony. The priest says something like, "By the power vested in me by this state, I now pronounce you man & wife" - without mentioning the particular state they're in.


- After the actor who played Phil Esterhaus
[Show spoiler]passed away in a previous season (first IRL & then on the series), they replaced him with the somewhat serious but also witty Stan Jablonski (aka "Stash") who took Phil's place in briefing everyone at the beginning of each episode. And, the iconic ending statement "Let's be careful out there!" was replaced with the much more cynical "Let's do it to them, before they do it to us!" - ha ha


[Show spoiler]- Jablonski opened his first briefing by bringing up that he had been previously attacked by Vera Horvath, a female LE officer he worked with at a previous station house. As it turned out, Horvath had a fixation on Jablonski, and stalked/phoned him for some time afterwards. Though this was initially presented in a humorous manner, it culminated in tragedy when Horvath confronted Jablonski at the Hill Street precinct, wouldn't take no for an answer, and then pulled a weapon on him before being shot dead by another officer. Horrific.


- A sequence involving a hazing of a new Rookie
[Show spoiler](by another Rookie) ended up in the Rookie ending his own life - out of shame.
The short-lived roles here were well-played by Tim Robbins & Michael Biehn, both of whom went on to much bigger & more well-known roles - Shawshank Redemption; Jacob's Ladder; The Player, etc. for Robbins, and Terminator I, Aliens, and The Abyss for Biehn.

This show definitely touched on issues that other network TV shows at the time would never have even considered addressing. Again, very ground-breaking series.

Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-26-2021 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:24 PM   #7
AnamorphicWidescreen AnamorphicWidescreen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanBlue View Post
Didn't know until a few days ago (when I checked EpGuides' episode guide list for Hill Street Blues) that there was a short-lived spin-off which originally aired in the States the season after Hill Street Blues' seven season run ended. It was called Beverly Hills Buntz, and starred Dennis Franz and Peter Jurasik (reprising their characters).
After I finished watching HSB a couple of years ago, I looked up Beverly Hills Buntz. The show has never hit physical media, even back in the VHS/LD days. However, some episodes are available online via streaming on Youtube, etc. I've never watched the show due the inferior PQ re: these streams. Here's the pilot:


Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-26-2021 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:52 PM   #8
moscone_bail_bonds moscone_bail_bonds is offline
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To anyone who already owns this set, is the artwork on yours on the spine like the pictures attached?

I ordered and received this from Amazon USA, apart from arriving with the standard broken cases and busted corners, the spine artwork has tears along the bottom, looks real shoddy and would not surprise me if this was a resealed previous customer return.


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