Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 16

Happy Birthday to Steven Bochco, a man who I've never met but who played a very important role in my life. When it was time for me to graduate and move on to college, I was at an impasse. I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter; I wanted to go to NYU, and study where Scorsese and Spike Lee honed their craft. My parents, still reeling from not raising a future doctor, wanted something more practical. Our compromise was Carnegie Mellon University, which was on the forefront of pre-WWW technology. They could tell their friends I was going to one of the best computer schools on the planet, while I could try to follow in the footsteps of Steven Bochco, class of '66, BFA in Theater, and the most influencial TV writer of the 80's.
So I enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University in the fall of '91. That was a hell of a year. (More on that, another time...)
Bochco made his mark in the 80's, when he created "Hill Street Blues", which would last 6 years and get nominated for 98 Emmy Awards. Once he had "L.A. Law" under his belt, he was offered an unprecedented 10-series deal by ABC-TV. That deal had its highs (Doogie Howser, M.D., NYPD Blue) and lows (Cop Rock- imagine if Glee were a cop show...) He's still in the game, but taking his blows (earlier this week, his TNT series Raising the Bar was denied a third season.)
So, here's a few themes of some of his greatest hits:

Okay, call the last one a tribute.

And finally, before Hulu charges us to show it, here's the Emmy-winning episode "Freedom's Last Stand," from his greatest achievement, "Hill Street Blues":

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