COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Hills Street Blues: The Complete Series DVD Review

Updated: 08/19/2014 10:57 AM
Created: 04/30/2014 3:33 PM
By: Aaron Chalich

I have been very busy this past month watching a review set of Shout Factory’s “Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series” on DVD.

I had never seen “Hill Street Blues” before, and I really enjoyed it a lot.  I really liked the characters and thought the show was very well written and produced.

“Hill Street Blues” premiered in 1981, ran for seven seasons and won 26 Emmy Awards.

It was written and produced by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll and has an all-star cast that includes, Daniel Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Michael Conrad, James B. Sikking, Joe Spano, Bruce Weitz, Charles Haid, and many others. 

“Hill Street Blues” is a police drama that has many story lines going on at the same time.  Most of the show takes place at a police station in an unnamed city. 

Each episode starts out with all of the officers being briefed by Sgt. Phil Esterhause (Michael Conrad) telling the officers what has been going on in the city, and the briefing usually gives viewers an idea of what the theme of the show is going to be about.  At the end of the briefing, Sgt. Esterhause, ends it by saying “Let’s be careful out there.”

I really thought the whole idea of “Hill Street Blues” is great.  It feels like a documentary, and all of the characters are unique and very likeable.  I felt that there were many interesting storylines, and I really got into the show.

The “Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series” is awesome.  You get all 144 episodes on 34 DVD’s.  The DVD’s come packaged in a nice box broken up into seasons.  The title and date of each episode is displayed very nicely on the back of each DVD case.

There is also a very nice 24-page commemorative book that is included.  The history of “Hill Street Blues” is briefly explained and there is a synopsis of each episode.  This book is very well written and nicely done.

There are a ton of bonus features that are very entertaining to watch that include:
 - “The History of Hill Street” – Steven Bochco and others talk about the creation of the show
- “Interviews with the Officers” – featuring cast members James B. Sikking, Dennis Frantz, Bruce Weitz, Charles Haid and Dennis Dugan
 - “Writers on the Hill” – A discussion with Steven Bochco, Robert Crais, Jeffery Lewis and Alan Rachins about writing for the show
 - “Roll Call: Looking back on Hill Street Blues”
 - Gag Reel
 - Four Episode Commentaries – including creator Steven Bochco, Actors James B. Sikking, Joe Spano, Bruce Weitz, Charles Haid and Dennis Dugan, Writer Jeffery Lewis and Story Consultant Robert Crais.

Overall, I thought Shout Factory’s “Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series” was awesome.  I really thought the show was very interesting, and I liked that it felt like a documentary.  The characters were fun and likeable.  It’s great that you get all 144 episodes in one collection.  This is how DVD collections should be done.  Shout Factory really knows how to put together a great collection of television shows, movies, etc., and they never disappoint.

If you are a fan of “Hill Street Blues” or police dramas, I would highly recommend that you check out “Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series.”

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Aaron Chalich is a entertainment columnist.

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