Hill Street Blues on line

Yep. Amid drivel like Charlie's Angels and Flipper, http://www.hulu.com has the first season of Hill Street Blues available for on line viewing. The claim of limited commercial
interruptions is accurate.
Winner of numerous awards, and bestowed with critical acclaim, it was, perhaps. too much for the average TV viewer. But, for the person looking for more than a typical drama where action was the main point, who could keep track of 13 major characters (14 after Ed Marinaro joined late in the season), multiple simultaneous story lines, and didn't expect a complete wrap in 30 or 60 minutes, it was ideal.
Careful listening was required. Unlike typical practice, actors often didn't speak their lines while perfectly framed in the picture, or with cutaways to follow the conversation. Instead, the camera followed the actors around, or the actors walked through the camera view, or sometimes just turned their backs on it. This was one of the first shows to use this technique, and I remember watching one of the early episodes and being struck by the feeling of being in the scene.
Roll call, with Sgt. Esterhaus trying to disseminate important information - along with information that wasn't important but which someone above him thought was - felt just like the pre-shift meeting at any blue collar job. Some people tried to catch a few extra winks, some were fighting off their hangover, and then there were the wretched bright eyed and joyful in the morning types, munching their carry out breakfasts between quips. America still had a lot of blue collar jobs back then, with meetings just like roll call, lacking only, erroneously, the admonition "be careful out there".
But the real tingle, for those who know what they're seeing means, is watching the Dodge Grand Monacos move in the title sequence. The blue door goes up, and out blasts a real full sized Dodge, a world away from the wimpy Tauruses or tippy Explorers chosen by today's police departments.
The big Dodge hits a bump, and settles down after one cycle. where a civilian Impala or LTD of the era would stagger and fall to its knees like a rat slapped by Hulk Hogan. At near 5000 pounds in police trim, the Dodges do power slides and stay almost flat, a move that would have had even the police versions of the Impala or LTD chunking their tires.
And watching real police cars blast through the streets of an aging rust belt city - where people did real work, not just push electrons around - somehow seems about as right as things can be. I think I'll buy one of those torsion barred road hog Mopars - I drove them as late as the 90s - if gas ever drops to $2.00 a gallon.
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edward snipped-for-privacy@nospam.yahoo.com.invalid says...

Yea, but... well, OK.

I like the square Impalas, 85 or so. Just the right size, and nice and soft and quiet. Just gotta drive like an old lady!

Ed, I never figured you for a romantic. (PS... moving electrons for a living isn't even the future anymore, its the now.)
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