26. Hill Street Blues
Air Dates: January 15, 1981 – May 12, 1987
Stars: Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Michael Conrad, Bruce Weitz, Joe Spano, Charles Haid, Michael Warren, James B. Sikking, Ed Marinaro, Betty Thomas, Robert Prosky, Ken Olin, Dennis Franz, Barbara Bosson, Kiel Martin, Taurean Blacque, Rene Enriquez
The longstanding excellence of ABC's NYPD Blue is owed to the earlier, trendsetting work done on NBC's Hill Street Blues. Both shows were co-created by Mr. Steven Bochco, who broke tons of ground with the latter series by injecting a certain grittiness and documentary feel (i.e., the groundbreaking use of hand-held camerawork) to the previously hammy police drama conceit.
Hill Street Blues, respected for its honest depiction of low-income crime and antiheroic lawmen, brought viewers directly into its unnamed city's darkest recesses without ever losing sight of each character's humanity. —MB