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Hill Street Blues - Season 1

4.6 out of 5 stars 218 customer reviews

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(Jan 31, 2006)
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Today only, save 72% on "White Collar: The Con-Plete Series." This boxed set contains all 6 seasons and 81 episodes, along with loads of bonus content. This offer ends at 11:59 p.m. (PT) on Saturday, February 6th, 2016. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE." So ends each roll call session at the Hill Street station house. As the cops and detectives head out to the streets, Captain Frank Furillo begins the delicate balancing act of providing enough protection for the law-abiding citizens without inciting the neighborhood gangs and local criminal elements who are openly hostile towards any police presence. Yet as dangerous as his inner city precinct can be, Furillo's biggest battles often involve protecting his own cops from the Public Defender's office, self-serving bureaucrats, and even each other.

Created by Steven Bochco and one of television's most influential series, Hill Street Blues was not your father's cop show. The Emmy-winning pilot episode, "Hill Street Station," immediately established the series as less a police procedural than an up-close and personal "interface with the police experience." To establish gritty, documentary-like realism, the show featured sequences, such as the pre-credit roll call, that were filmed with a hand-held camera. There was chaotic, overlapping dialogue. There were sudden, shocking bursts of violence that claimed popular characters. Story lines were not wrapped up at the end of the hour, but instead, unfolded serially throughout the season. It's no wonder that Hill Street, while championed by most critics, was initially not embraced by viewers. It was, in the beginning, one of television's lowest rated shows, its case not helped by NBC's criminal practice of juggling it in its primetime schedule). But there is justice in Hollywood. Hill Street Blues won the Emmy for best drama in its first season. Also honored were several members of the ensemble, including Daniel J. Travanti as the compassionate and incorruptible Precinct Capt. Frank Furillo, Michael Conrad as the avuncular Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (whose cautionary, "Let's be careful out there," became the show's pop culture signature), and Barbara Babcock as the wildly sexual Grace Gardner, who rocks Esterhaus's world (particularly in the episode that earned her her statuette, "Fecund Hand Rose").

There were no big stars on Hill Street Blues (or, for that matter, no little stars, as one of the cast members jokes during a near-hour-long reunion featurette included as a bonus feature on this three double-sided disc set). Each was an indelible character, among them Charles Haid as cowboy cop Andy Renko, Veronica Hammel as sexy public defender Joyce Davenport, Bruce Weitz as the untamed, animalistic Belker, Keil Martin as LaRue, whose descent into alcoholism is one of the season's most compelling dramatic arcs, and James Sikking as the gung-ho Howard Hunter. Once daring, Hill Street Blues seems almost quaint today, with none of the graphic sex or language that scandalized NYPD Blue (in one episode, a captured cat burglar, portrayed by a pre-L.A. Law Michael Tucker, makes a reference to "wolf pee-pee"). The ethnic portrayals, too, are not exactly nuanced. But the human dramas at the heart of Hill Street still make for arresting television. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • 3 double-sided discs
  • Episode commentaries
  • Featurette "Roll Call"

Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Conrad, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, James Sikking
  • Directors: Arnold Laven, Corey Allen, Georg Stanford Brown, Gregory Hoblit, Jack Starrett
  • Writers: Alan Rachins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 850 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BOH8YG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,143 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hill Street Blues - Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I loved this show when it premiered and watched it eagerly every week. I was in the Air Force then and remember this show being one of the absolute best on television. To those who are quick to forget, Hill Street Blues set the precedent for cop shows to come. By killing off key characters occasionally the show had a sense of stark, gritty realism that made most of the cop shows of it's time seem like 'Car 54'. This show was in the forefront of bold, daring originality. True, when Michael Conrad died there WAS a decline in the show because he was such a well-loved character, but the show retained it's greatness nonetheless. In MY book Hill Street will always be remembered as the show that all other cop shows, and even non-cop shows, tip their hats to.
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Fans of this show wanted it so badly that the VHS release that was published a few years ago goes for as much as $200 in the amazon sellers (original price was around $30).

Anyway, it's been worth the wait, as this promises to be a real good DVD set: Not only the episodes are there (of course), but also commentary tracks, deleted scenes, a roll call featurette...

So...anyway, was this a good season? For starters, it was a short one: Only 17 episodes. But what episodes! Worth every minute! I won't spoil them for you though, whether you are an old fan who don't remember the show or someone who heard so much about it that are going to get the DVDs to watch the show for the first time.

Even if you aren't a Hill Street fan, you might want to pick this set just for the incredible guest star list... people that a few year later became real stars, with their own shows: Ken Olin (thirtysomething), David Caruso (NYPD Blue), Dwight Schultz (A-Team), Mimi Rogers (lots of things).
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When this series was first on in the '80's, it was pre-VCR for me. I loved it so much that I carried a portable TV with me in the car (ran off the cigarette lighter) to be able to catch each episode up until it's finish because I had to be in work at the hospital at 11:00p.m., which was when HSB finished for the evening. Also because I was such a fanatic for the show, I made little notes in a pad about dialogue snippets, plot elements, etc.

Time passed and because I never saw the show in reruns, I mostly forgot about it, except for a vague memory that I loved it dearly.

Then Season One comes out on DVD and my love affair starts all over again!!! I've seen very few dramas that combine such superb writing, acting and editing skills as HSB. The characters are immortal and stay with you long after. If you're a fan from the original broadcast run like I was, you'll have a great time having your memory rejogged by all the teriffic supporting characters and situations from the first time you saw them.

I just finished Seasons 1 & 2 and I couldn't be happier with the extras included, the transfer quality and the more-than-reasonable price for one of my TOP TEN TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME!!!

Can't wait for Season #3!
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Like so many of you who have written reviews, I too have waited nearly 20 years for this release. I was 12 when I first got hooked on HSB and I have to admit that I was worried that it would not live up to all the praise I have heaped upon it over the years. Boy, was I surprised -- the show is even better than I remember! Of course, it helps that I now understand some of the jokes and innuendo that went over my head then.

The characters, the writing, the direction and the actors are all superb. Dan Travanti is still so compelling as the moral center of the show -- Frank Furillo's humility and humanity are so real that you cannot help but be drawn into the never-ending saga of the Hill Street precinct. Of course, his scenes with Veronica Hamel are shockingly steamy given that this was filmed in the early '80s. It is hard to believe that some of this stuff got past censors -- but thank God for Bochco -- he must have given them some headaches. Joyce Davenport was my hero -- such a strong female character, who obviously had good looks but did not rely upon them for her success. The seven-year development and evolution of the love story between Furillo and Davenport makes the relationship one that continues to resound today.

I could go on and on about all the characters that you will come to love if you watch this dvd -- Esterhaus, Hill and Renko (can you say those names separately?), LaRue and Washington, Bates and Coffey, Belker, and the others. The incredible writing and depth of these characters puts every show that is currently on television to shame. But they all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to this ground-breaking show.
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I was in college when Hill Street Blues originally aired, and I remember life in the dorm coming to a halt on Thursday nights because everyone wanted to watch it. I had never seen the show, so I didn't bother getting all worked up about it and usually found something else to do. Now, 25 years later, this set fell into my lap and I am happy to say that I finally understand what all the fuss was about. The one thing that strikes me is that when the end credits roll after each episode, I always look up at the clock because I can't believe it's over already. This is one of the most engaging shows I've ever seen and I highly recommend it to those who never experienced it the first time around.
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Hill Street Blues-Season Three
Frank: We need a deluge of requests for release of all Hill Street Blues.- the very best of dramas-not just "Police stories".
Dec 6, 2006 by RamrodQQQQ |  See all 15 posts
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