Monday, April 2, 2018

Godspeed Steven Bochco

Steven Bochco, the creator of such television shows as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD. Blue, died yesterday, April 1 2018, at the age of 74. The cause was complications from leukaemia.

Steven Bochco was born on December 16 1943 in New York City. His father was a concert violinist. His mother was a painter. He attended Manhattan High School of Music and Art and then the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After graduating from college he went to work for Universal Television. He was a story editor on the show The Name of the Game. He co-wrote the screenplay for the movie The Counterfeit Killer (1968).  He created the show The New Doctors, which was part of the umbrella show The Bold Ones.

The Seventies would find Mr. Bochco very busy. He was a story editor on Columbo and wrote several episodes of the show, including the very first episode, "Murder by the Book".  He also wrote episodes of such shows as The New Doctors, The Invisible Man, The Gemini Man, Delvecchio, MacMillan & Wife, and Turnabout. He created the shows Richie Brockelman, Private Eye; and Paris. He served as an executive story consultant on MacMillan & Wife. He co-wrote the screenplay for the motion picture Silent Running (1972).  It was in 1978 that Steven Bochco moved to MTM Enterprises, for whom he created the TV show Paris.

It was in 1981 that one of Steven Bochco's most lasting successes debuted, the TV show Hill Street Blues. Co-created by Michael Kozoll, the show initially suffered from low ratings, but received positive notices from critics as well as Emmy Awards. Although never a hit in the ratings, Hill Street Blues ranked in the top thirty for several years and developed a loyal following. In the Eighties Mr. Bochco also created such shows as L. A. Law, Hooperman, and Doogie Howser M.D. He wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone and Columbo.

In the Nineties Steven Bochco would have another major success with the TV show NYPD. Blue. Controversial for its time, it proved to be a hit and ran for twelve seasons. He also created such shows as Public Morals, Murder One, Brooklyn South, and City of Angels. In the Naughts he created such shows as Philly, Blind Justice, Over There, and Raising the Bar. In the Teens he co-created the show Murder in the First.

Steven Bochco was a truly revolutionary television producer and he was quite possibly one of the greatest creators of television shows of all time. His shows would have a lasting impact on television to this day. Hill Street Blues revolutionised the police drama, with an ensemble cast, serialised storylines, and a more realistic view of police work than had been seen before. NYPD Blue pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on network television. Although it would not see the success of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, in some respects Murder One was Steven Bochco's most revolutionary show. Each of the show's seasons centred on a single murder case, taking the serialised storylines and ensemble casts of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue to new levels. Steven Bochco would have the occasional misfire (Cop Rock was not only a ratings failure, but is sometimes also counted among the worst shows of all time), but even when he did, his shows were different from anything else that was on. Of course, Steven Bochco was not simply a successful producer or even simply a revolutionary one. He was a producer whose shows would have such an impact that American television would never be the same. From The Sopranos to Mad Men, many shows aired in the past three decades were influenced by the work of Steven Bochco.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

This loss gets us where we live.