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THE '80s A Special Report : TASTE MAKERS : Presenting the big players and major ideas that--for better or worse--shaped the 1980s. This is Calendar's fifth annual Taste Makers report, expanded this time to cover the last 10 years in the following categories: Show Business Execs, Film Producers, Film Directors and Writers, Stage, TV, Music, Dance, Pop Music, Jazz, Comedy, Radio, Art and Restaurants. : TELEVISION : STEVEN BOCHCO

December 24, 1989|RICK DU BROW

With two groundbreaking series, "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law," producer Steven Bochco took TV drama in new directions in the 1980s, broke taboos, liberated the storytelling form and had a major impact on film making.

"Hill Street Blues" had the most influence. Created by Bochco and Michael Kozoll, it came about when Fred Silverman, then president of hard-pressed NBC, approached them to create a different kind of cop show.

In 1981, "Hill Street Blues" exploded into the public consciousness and became the rock on which NBC built its climb to the top.

"Hill Street Blues" was a fast-moving, ensemble show that mixed drama with comedy touches as it interwove multiple stories of the personal and professional lives of big-city cops with blunt, gritty, often shocking realism.

The writing was often superb--a trademark of Bochco shows, most notably later with "L.A. Law," another fast-paced, gripping ensemble series, which he co-created with Terry Louise Fisher.

Bochco's ensemble, multiple-story style influenced the making of other series, including the distinguished hospital drama "St. Elsewhere."

And the sense of freedom brought to TV by "Hill Street Blues" may well have created the climate for other new-style series like the cop show "Miami Vice."

The Taste Makers project was edited by David Fox, assistant Sunday Calendar editor.

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