hill street blues
NBC's cop drama 'Hill Street Blues' debuted on Jan. 15, 1981. With a huge cast of character actors darting about Capt. Francis Xavier Furillo's Hill Street station, the hour-long drama with a documentary look was an evolutionary leap in broadcast television.
The show might've been a one-season wonder if not for a boatload of Emmy nominations and wins, right from the start (including one for the late, great actor Michael Conrad, whose "Let's be careful out there" became an 80's catchphrase). Cancellation staved off, NBC's Thursday night anchor went on to collect nearly 100 Emmy nods before it ended after 146 episodes on May 12, 1987
"Hill Street' gave perennial police procedural guest stars like Daniel J. Travanti (as Furillo) and James B. Sikking a chance to shine, and launched the careers of Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Lynn Whitfield and 'Thirtysomething's' Ken Olin.
Travanti will take on the role of Mr. Mullens, an Alzheimer's sufferer whose past hides a brutal secret: He was once a serial killer known as The Butcher. Mullens crosses paths with the Behavioral Analysis Unit after he comes out of retirement and tries to recapture his violent past despite not being able to remember much of it.
Although Travanti was most recently seen guest-starring in 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Prison Break,' he's still best-known as Captain Frank Furillo on the '80s smash hit drama, 'Hill Street Blues.'
For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.
Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.
But in TV land, the sisters were doin' it for themselves and finally getting respect as cops, war nurses and working moms; iconic shows like 'Hill Street Blues,' 'St. Elsewhere' and 'L.A. Law' would forever change (for the better) cop, medical and legal dramas; and no idea was too high concept to fill a primetime spot (time-travelling physicist? check; housewife-turned-CIA op? check; New York City beauty in love with a subterranean monster? check).
The bottom line: They all add up to 10 years of fine channel surfing -- and our awesome list of the 40 best series of the 1980s.
That's one of the questions to ponder as you read AOL's Top 50 Dramas Of All-Time list. The Sopranos comes in at number one.
It's not a bad list, actually. When you narrow down a TV show to a specific genre and go all the way up to 50, most of the shows we would all pick will show up on the list: The X-Files, Deadwood, The Rockford Files, Mad Men, St. Elsewhere, Columbo, The Wire. Those are all classic dramas (and good ones) that you would expect to see.
One thing I didn't expect to see? Friday Night Lights in the number 10 spot, ahead of all the shows I just mentioned above.
But AOL TV's picks of the top TV dramas include the most brilliant doctors and lawyers, the angst-iest teens, sci-fi series that transcend their genre molds, family dramas that both warm and break your heart, terrorist- and mobster-fighting heroes ... and a show that combined the best of family and gangster drama into one unforgettable series.
Click through to see all 50 of the best TV dramas of all time.
My favorite cop television shows over the years often reflect those characters and it's sometimes a bit surprising how close they come to actual police I know ... or how far they stray from the reality of police work.
Welcome to TV Squad Lists (formerly 'The Five'), a feature where each blogger has a chance to list his or her own rundown of things in television that stand out from the rest, both good and bad.
Even before "Must-See TV" networks made an attempt to capture a particular demographic with a killer lineup of TV shows. (Bob's done one of these lists in the past.) What follows is a list of the best TV lineups in history.
1. CBS Saturday, 1973: All in the Family, M*A*S*H*, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show. All classics. If this lineup were on today, it would still get huge ratings. It's hard for most folks to remember when these shows were originally on and it's even harder to believe that they were once all on in the same night. It makes me wonder what the other networks were showing or why they even bothered.
One of the saddest changes in the television landscape has been the disappearance of the theme song. They're really not that important to the people who create TV shows now (or the networks who want to get more commercials in). Lost has just a single note as their theme song, ER has changed and shortened their theme song, Jericho has static, and Heroes doesn't have a theme song or credits either.
Luckily, the shows that still have theme songs also have opening credits. Shows like The Office and Dexter all have theme songs and opening credits. They're classic TV openings. Of course, it's nothing like years gone by, where almost all shows had theme song and opening credits. The Onion has picked 22 that they feel fit their shows perfectly. I don't know if that is the same as "best opening sequences," but the choices are interesting, quirky, a little maddening, and they left out a few, as I'm sure you'll agree.
- Beat Club - Volume 1; Volume 2
- The Big Valley - Season 1
- Grounded for Life - Season 2
- Here Come the Brides - The Complete 1st Season
- Hill Street Blues - The Complete 2nd Season
- Home Movies - Season 4
- Monarch of the Glen - Series 4
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Collection: Volume 9
- Supernanny - Season 1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Volume 21: Hun On The Run
- That Girl - Season 1
- All-American Girl - Complete Series
- Archie Bunker's Place - The Complete 1st Season
- The A-Team - Season 3
- The Benny Hill Show - Benny Hill, Complete And Unadulterated: The Hill's Angels Years - Set 4
- Dark Shadows - DVD Collection 22
- Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete 2nd Season
- Gastineau Girls - The Complete 1st Season
- Here Comes the Grump - Here Comes The Grump
- Hetty Wainthropp Investigates - The Complete 3rd Series
- Hill Street Blues - The Complete 1st Season
- Inked - The Best of Season 1
- Knight Rider - Season 3
- Magnum, P.I. - The Complete 3rd Season
- MI-5 - Volume 3
- The Pink Panther Show - Classic Cartoon Collection
- The Rat Patrol - The Complete 1st Season
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Volume 20: Turtles Against H.A.T.E.
- Two's Company - Series 4
- The X-Files - Season 1 (New); Season 2 (New); Season 3 (New)
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- 'Glee' Season 6 Premiere Photos: Everyone Comes Back to McKinley
- 10 Unforgettable Moments from 'The Amazing Race' Season 25
- Steroline: 9 Pivotal Moments of Stefan and Caroline's Relationship on 'The Vampire Diaries'
- 'Revenge' Episode 4.11 Photos: Will Grief Unite Emily and Victoria?
- 'The Amazing Race' Season Finale Recap: Which Team Wins the Race?
- More From BuddyTV
- Ratings: Amazing Race Ticks Up With Finale, Splits 3-Way Demo Win
- TVLine's Performers of the Week: Laurie Metcalf and Stephen Colbert
- Mysteries of Laura Adds Boardwalk Alum Meg Steedle as Series Regular
- Darlene Love's Final Late Show Visit: Watch Her Full Performance
- Late Late Show: Craig Ferguson Says Goodbye With Incredible Twist Ending
- More From TVLine
- Surprise! Madonna Releases 6 New Songs
- Craig Ferguson's Final 'Late Late Show' Ends With a Twist
- Watch George Clooney Turn Heads in His 'Downton Abbey' Debut!
- Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Welcome Daughter No. 2!
- The Ultimate Binge-Watch Guide: Which TV Shows to Marathon Over the Holidays!
- More From ET