Daniel J. Travanti

'Hill Street Blues' defined TV sophistication

'Hill Street Blues' defined TV sophistication

Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series

Shout! Factory, $199.99

For seven seasons between 1981 and 1987, "Hill Street Blues" helped define how sophisticated TV drama could be, telling fast-paced, blackly comic stories about jaded lawmen and vicious criminals while exploring what broadcast censors and the FCC would allow. With Daniel J. Travanti starring as a tough-but-sensitive police captain leading a band of eccentric, multi-ethnic old pros — some cocky, some jittery — "Hill Street Blues" played like a more serious version of then-popular movies like "Stripes" and "Animal House." And creator Steven Bochco's decision...

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