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Stu

"The Shield," of course. Vic Mackey and his group is the most interesting collection of flawed heroes I've seen wearing a badge on TV.

Rosy

My favorite cop show has to be The Streets of San Francisco starring Michael Douglas, Richard Hatch and Karl Malden. I don't remember much about the show. It might have been awful, but to a teenage girl, Michael Douglas and Richard Hatch made it worth watching.

Mike Schilling

Hill Street, the first two seasons of which can be Netflix'ed. With some minor exceptions (like the godawful 80's jazzy music they play during chase scenes), it holds up beautifully.

And I agree with you about Homicide: a great police procedural show that stumbled when it tried to be more. In a way, The Wire is Homicide done right.

Nancy Nall

I loved Homicide until the season where they brought in the female lieutenant, at which point I started really resenting it. It was so brave, those first few seasons -- staffing the squad with actors who actually looked like police officers, with a few who were over 40, with my TV boyfriend, John Munch. I loved this stuff. (John and I broke up when he went to "Law & Order.") The episode with the clock-obsessed serial killer was the shark-jumper for me, although I continued to watch for a few more years. Even past its prime, it was better than most stuff on TV.

"The Wire" is my new favorite. And it's not even a cop show anymore. It's an urban procedural.

I come to you from the suburbs of Detroit, by the way. On the front page today, a story about a 14-year-old kid being charged with murder, after he shot a 13-year-old trying to settle a score over graffiti. You can see why I like "The Wire."

Linkmeister

Er, CHiPS?

No, no. Hill Street, but for the characters, not the stories. I got tired of Frank and Joyce's never-ending drama after a while, but the others? Never. And it had the best TV theme music I've ever heard. That lonesome piano still gives me a thrill.

stinger

Hill Street Blues, though it was a show about middle management rather than a cop show. Its iconic image is Frank's brown vest and white sleeves, as we are behind him in his office, looking over his shoulder out into the chaos of the squad room. He bore the weight of the world on those shoulders - the struggles of the cops and detectives underneath him, the pressures from the mayor and chief of police above him, the competing demands of Joyce and Faye, the attempts to bring order and justice into a world wracked by gangs and violence.

And yeah, Best Theme Music Evah.

From Iowa.

Eric

This is unarguable: The Wire. The only excuse for not considering it the best Cop Show and possibly best dramatic TV series ever made is not having seen it. I'm serious about this, if someone has seen a few episodes of the Wire and doesn't consider it at least the best Cop show ever made then I will no longer bother listening to their opinion on TV and movies.

joanr16

I generally don't watch cop shows, but I still get weepy over Homicide. It wasn't a cop show, exactly; it was more like a theatre ensemble/carny show performing, on alternate weeks, Waiting for Godot, The Iceman Cometh, Saint Joan, and Playhouse 90-type stuff like Paddy Chayevsky's Marty (often involving Bolander, and yeah, on those weeks, boring).

Among the very first DVD sets I ever purchased was a season of Homicide. One of the episodes was written by Jane Smiley, the novelist. You sure don't see that on TV every day.

And the moment burned into my memory: Pembleton coming back to work after his stroke, entering the building with his now-lopsided gait, and gazing up that mountain of stairs that led to the squadroom. There was a Cowboy Junkies song playing on the soundtrack, as I recall. Andre Braugher could make me cry without even speaking a word.

Ken Houghton

I keep threatening to write a blog post asking "Which is the best commercial television show ever set in SF?" where the initial choices are Hill Street Blues, Charmed, and Full House, but somehow it ends with Laurie Partridge killing Gordon Gecko.

If you're asking favorite moments, there was some brilliance even in bloddy Adam-12 (a guy rants about how "lazy bums" are living off "the taxes he pays," followed immediately by a two-shot of Milner and McCord), but I don't feel a need to rewatch it.

Can we count Columbo?? To be multiply-watchable either something really spectacular has to happen (the guy who got caught in the subway car and is basically crushed below the waist, destined to die as soon as he's freed), or the plot has to be secondary to the atmosphere. (Delia Sherman once told me that she couldn't watch either Columbo or I Love Lucy, which is an apt and consistent comparison.)

Ken Muldrew

I loved the era of handicapped detectives: Barnaby Jones (old and decrepit), Cannon (fat), Ironsides (crippled), Longstreet (blind). Of course Barney Miller filled a station with regular Joes. Rockfish, living in his trailer, was great.

Do you really think of Canada as exotic? Maybe you just had one of those school maps that show a kind of ocean North of the 49th parallel, with Alaska floating over on the left side.

Jim Tourtelott

I'll have to go with Law & Order, the Lennie Brisco years. Jerry Orbach exuded New York. Dennis Franz's Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue is a more profoundly disturbed character, and his redemption a longer and more improbable arc. But Orbach had the ease and fluency of the greatest artists, while you could hear Franz reaching; Orbach was Louis Armstrong to Franz's Miles Davis.

And besides, in almost a dozen years, Franz could never figure out that you can't be a Manhattan cop with a Chicago accent.

Campaspe

Barney Miller. Accept no substitutes.

Legend has it that police recruits in NY are told to forget about every cop show they've ever seen, *except* Barney Miller. I hope that's true.

Jennifer

The mention of Longstreet, etc, made me think of 70's cop shows. The Rookies was a classic. And then there were cheesy classics, Get Christie Love, Starsky and Hutch and Police Woman!

apocalipstick

Rockford Files.

Nothing else close. I love Homicide, got the DVDs, enjoy putting together marathons (which is a great way to watch this show, IMO), but it ain't Rockford. The Wire is fantastic, but Rockford did an episode about personal information and surveillance thirty years ago. "Never Send a Boy King To Do a Man's Job" is a better caper movie than The Sting. A character's homosexuality was a key plot point, in the mid-70s, when no other show would even admit that gays existed. An episode in 1976 driven by a prosecutor's abuse of the grand jury system. Talk about being ahead of your time.

So, Rockford Files. If it meets the criteria.

Chris the cop

I really enjoyed Homicide but Lance, I have to disagree with your characterisation of Baltimore. Parts of it are precisely other-worldly. It IS The Wild West and as scary a city as I've ever been in. The book it's based on is on my Top Three of best cop books ever. There are neighborhoods described that sound like a cross between The Land That Time Forgot and Mad Max.

Interestingly, in the book the cop who gets obssessed with the Adena Watson homicide is the one Bayliss's character is based on.

My favorite character:Meldrick, who seemed much more believeable as a cop character than Pembleton but Braugher played him so well it didn't matter. I can remember watching the show early on thinking this is about as good as TV gets. A lot of that is because the author David Simon played such a large role in the early years. No cop show ever used music better-the opening theme (with radio squawk) sounded like Hill Street could have if those writers had actually seen a few dead bodies. The scene where Beau comes home to an empty house (his wife has left him suddenly) and a cut from Nine Inch Nails' 'The Downward Spiral' cues in is among the most poignant moments I can remember on TV. The show did eventually jump the shark when the detectives were introduced at a Colts football game, but that's the way it goes.


I agree with joanr16' comment that Homicide wasn't really about the police but something akin to a freak show study oif the human condition

The Wire is on HBO and I don't get HBO but I've heard it's very good. Barney Miller is of course the gold standard. The Shield is the wildest thing I've ever seen on TV and I wouldn't miss a second of it, although the past season's finale really, really REALLY pissed me off.

Worst cop show: TJ Hooker. How many dozens of times does William Shatner have to say "the scum who killed my partner" before you shoot anyone who had anything to do with that show?

Sorry about the length.

AnonE.Mouse

I never liked Homicide as much as my wife did.The best part of it for me was the music-it was the first TV show I can remember introducing legitimate songs in it's soundtrack.
As great as Rockford Files was(and it was great),it wasn't a cop show.Another cool PI from that era was Harry O,played by David Jansen.One of the funniest things I remember ever watching was him riding a city bus when a guy was tailing him.
It doesn't seem fair to compare premium cable shows like The Wire(excellent)to cable shows like The Shield(great)or to network shows like NYPD Blue or Law and Order(merely good).
Barney Miller was funny as hell,but it was a sit-com,not a cop show.
The Untouchables was pretty cool(the original,not the remake)and lately I've been catching re-runs of DaVinci's Inquest on WGN.It's set in Vancouver(you have to pretend there's a lot of murders there)and it looks and sounds great.

DaveMB

I was a big Homicide fan since a friend of mine (now a Unitarian Universalist minister) told me that she appeared in it as an extra. It was the first Luther Mahoney episode, where there was a batch of immediately-fatal heroin and my friend was one of the extra coroners standing in the background of the overburdened morgue. It was a great episode, centered on Meldrick, featuring the incredibly charismatic Erik Dellums as Mahoney, and with (IIRC) a Tom Waits montage. (It also introduced Stivers as a potential love interest for Meldrick -- they added her in as a regular after the great purge.

I was a faithful watcher to the end of the show and a regular reader of alt.tv.homicide or whatever it was called on Usenet. Yeah, the show more or less sucked the last year or two, with far too much Jon Seda and Callie Thorne (apparently brought in to be younger and prettier). I did sort of like the entire episode based on a famous law-school hypothetical, though (with the frame story of Ensign Ro at a coroner's convention).

Alan Sepinwall, then an undergrad proto-blogger and now a TV writer for the Newark Star-Ledger, said that Law & Order was the brain of cop shows, NYPD Blue the heart, and Homicide the soul. I loved the people on NYPD Blue more than anyone on Homicide, but Homicide at least in the first few years was trying to live up to the very serious book that spawned it -- to really address urban crime, drugs, and anomie in a way that Simon apparently has gotten right with The Wire.

Great point about Rockford -- I remember both the identity-theft and runaway-grand-jury episodes though I must have been in high school when they were on. (And his theme music was even better than Hill Street's.) Actually it's Hill Street that I remember more like Lance remembers Homicide -- I was incredibly interested in it when it was on but have never felt inclined to look up the DVD. (Question for Hill Street fans -- was the profanity-free nature of Mick Belker's incredibly filthy mouth (a) a TV convention for actual swearing, like German accents to represent German in war movies, or (b) a deliberate quirk of the character, who after all was extremely devoted to his mother?) That brings back my favorite Hill Street scene:

[Belker keeps a low-life collar waiting while he talks on the phone to his mother, who is without power in a heat wave. He puts down the phone.]

Belker [to Collar]: You got something to say, dogbreath?
Collar: She still got cold water. She can run a cold bath and sit in it.
Belker: [mentally prepares amazingly insulting retort] [pauses] [picks up phone]
[immediate cut to opening titles]

BTW, I'm in Gill MA, though in some sense I'm nearer Lance because I'm now listening to WFUV in the Bronx on an Internet stream.

Mackie

I LOVED Homicide when it first ran, but like Lance, I have no desire to see it again. Meldrick didn't do much for me at first, but his character really grew on me. It was dark and gritty (loved the opening sequence) but I thought it lost steam after they tried to cover up when the cop murdered that criminal in cold blood.

Favorite cop ever? A tie between Lenny Briscoe and Columbo.

tdraicer

I loved Homicide-more I think than Lance-but I too have found myself not buying the dvds, or thinking about it much. Hill Street remains my favorite cop show (just as St. Elsewhere remains my favorite doc show).

My favorite tv series in general otoh is unquestionably Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon is simply a brilliant writer, and the fantasy element of the show allowed him to push the envelope in multiple directions: a silent show, a musical, a tv version of Rosencratnz and Guildenstern Are Dead, an all-dream episode, and the best single hour on the impact of the death of a loved one to be found in film or tv (the episode The Body).

My favorite series currently on the air: Battlestar Galactica (amazingly good, especially considering how bad the original was) and The Office (as funny as the English version, but oddly touching in a way the original wasn't).

Then there is the genre of great shows cut off in their youth: Firefly (Whedon again), Wonderfalls, Freaks and Geeks...

Howard Chaykin

I couldn't agree more, or more specifically, in regard to your comments about HOMICIDE. I loved it in its time, watched it religiously--on videotape, because a weekly commitment kept me out on the nights it aired--but I'd be hard pressed to recall anything but moments and bits of business from the run. Further, I have no desire to see it again on the recently released complete (?) DVD package.

I believe THE WIRE is certainly the best crime show ever, and likely the best filmed dramatic series ever on television. A pal of mine and I have tried to convert the ignorant to it by selling it as what HOMICIDE might have been had it been cablecast, but your point of HOMICIDE'S frequent surreality indicates how off that is.

Those trips into that realm would seem to be Tom Fontana's, whose OZ went there as well.

The reason THE WIRE hasn't achieved any true general success is its inaccessibility to a viewer who arrives expecting conventionally structured television. Is it a cop show? A character drama? Who's the hero? What did he just say? What just happened?

The occasional narrative ambiguity, coupled with jargon and accents that are frequently barely intelligible, make THE WIRE a series that I find impossible to watch except on tape, TIVO, or DVD--so that through rewinding a scene, moment or snatch of dialogue can be reheard.

THE WIRE is the closest television has come to a novel--and in four seasons, it's done this consistently. The awards crowd can't see it because no single episode can be viewed as a whole--rather it's a chapter in an extended narrative.

SV

For me the problem with Homicide was that it got to be too real, but in a bad way. I loved the original cast, but there was a kind of sourness that ran underneath the character back-stories that was never really matched by a balancing sweetness. (Except with Pembleton and Meldrick. But one left and the other was ignored.)

In everyone's life (with an exception I'll get to), there is the sour AND the sweet - you have things that upset, frustrate and enrage you, but you also have things that bring you amusement, satisfaction, or if you're lucky, joy. As the series Homicide wore on, the characters were more and more overburdened with the negative side of life.

This isn't to say that everyone has a perfectly balanced psyche or that people don't have crappy lives. (Being a BSG and SN fan, I'm all about the Dark.) But even in the face of poverty, corruption, personal tragedy, sickness, whatever - it's possible to find some balancing in minor moments, pride in personal ethics, the energy to continue in the face of disappointment, whatever.

I got that less and less with Homicide. The energy wasn't there. The reaction to setbacks was more and more often almost resigned. When an individual (as opposed to a TV series) reacts that way, then they can't find reasons to defy setbacks, they can't recognize any of the hidden positives mixed in with the negatives, and they just coast - once the residual energy dissipates, their life shuts down.

The reason I stopped watching Homicide is that it made me Depressed.

mrgumby2u

I wish I'd come across Homicide sooner, not having discovered it until about season 3, but it soon became about the only show I had to watch in the nineties. Pembleton was probably the most exasperatingly endearing (?) characters ever and I couldn't resist Michelle Forbes, who seemed to embody for me that underlying kinkiness you sense in the series.

I've recently come across the show, post-Braugher episodes, on Sleuth, and even without Forbes and Braugher there's enough charm with Esposito, Terry, Belzer, et al, to keep me coming back.

joanr16

Great Homicide memories coming back from all the comments above, especially the incredibly charismatic Erik Dellums as [Luther] Mahoney ("Oh my yes," as Professor Farnsworth would say), Michelle Forbes' too-short stay, the essay in cool that was Clark Johnson's Detective Meldrick Lewis. Sigh.

And like tdraicer, I'm another Homicide fan who worships at the shrine of Joss Whedon. I really, really wish he'd bring another series to television. I understand he directed an episode of The Office this season. I'm sorry I missed it.

Kevin O'Hayden

For humor, Barney Miller. For a sense of the real/surreal, Hill Street Blues. For hardboiled cops, don't forget Broderick Crawford in the Highway Patrol.

For detectives, sure, Rockford and Columbo always held my interest. But I'd say Moonlighting was much more fun.

Step down from video to audio and I'd include Firesign Theatre's Nick Danger to that mix. He was such a tool.

OutOfContext

I never had the slightest desire to watch Homicide, Hill Street Blues or anything that was sold as more real than anything else on TV. Television and any art or entertainment form can only suggest reality. I just get bored and irritated by serious attempts at reality. I like shows and when I feel like a cop show, Hawaii Five-0 fills the bill. I especially love the creepy Jack Lord as an earthbound Captain Kirk. BTW, is that the Star Reach, Marvel Star Wars, Black Kiss Howard Chaykin commenting above? If so, thanks for enriching my youth.

Matt T.

"Homicide" was the last tv show I made a point not to miss and, for quite a while, it was the only network show I watched at all. I jumped ship fairly early into the season wherein the producers brought in all the pretty people, but it had dropped off in quality before then. Unlike Lance, I've gone back and watched the DVDs of the earlier seasons and they hold up for me. I don't mind the bleakness of the job and hopelessness of the characters, because from what I understand, being a cop - especially a homicide cop - is a miserable goddamn job. I'll second praises for the book it was based on, as well.

Still, the show's charm starts drifting after Reed Diamond joins the cast. I don't blame him, though; I just think most television shows really shouldn't go longer than three or four seasons, because even the best writers start to go dry on a concept. But like "Barney Miller", "Homicide" drew me in because it portrayed cops as real people with real problems and real failings. Everyone was flawed in a very human, very familiar way. "Rockford Files" was another favorite - and who doesn't love a PI that'd rather you left him the hell alone so's he could fish - but I just dig James Garner in general. Anyway, the show really wasn't much different as another childhood Garner favorite "Maverick". I still wanna be Bret Maverick when I grow up.

Sidenote: I grew up (well, 10 years behind, but it was a small town) with two brothers named Bret and Bart after the Maverick boys. I can't laugh, cause I was named after Marshall Matt Dillon.

My brother and I split an apartment, and as of late, our Netflix choices have been old shows, and it's surprising how many hold up, particularly the older seasons. We watched the first season of "Cheers" a few weeks back, and damn, that's some good stuff. "Taxi", too, though I'm afraid I'll wind up as either Alex Rieger (bitter soi-intellectual in a dead-end job) or Rev. Jim (annoying burn out that hasn't been caught by the men with the little white jackets yet) within the next 10 years.

As for shows that stick with me, my all-time favorite show as a kid was, and still is, "Doctor Who". Tom Baker years, of course. I love that show, and despite the cringe-inducing special effects and mountains of padding that took place, it still holds up, for me, better than most sci-fi shows, past or present. And I'm fascinated by the whole concept of time, both as a physical question and an ontological one. Loved "Hee Haw" and "Soul Train" as a kid, too, because those shows were the only places I could, in my small Mississippi world, see country singers or hear soul/R&B. That was my Saturday nights as a kid until I hit puberty: Doctor Who, Hee Haw and Soul Train.

God alone knows what that explains.

Brian C.B.

You need to read the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Bayliss's character is a cop who dreams of being a detective and gets there the only way he can: he volunteers for Mayor Donald Schaefer's security detail. For two years, he does the shittiest job you could have on the force. But, when Schaefer is elected governor, then he doles out patronage to his staff before he leaves: Bayliss's perk is a gold shield. The Adena Watson case is really his first case. How did it get assigned to him? He picked up the phone. Cases go to the detectives who answer the call. He was primary because he wasn't busy enough to let it ring. Murder of a 12-year-old girl. A Red Ball, a Red Ball being the kind of case that generates pink "While You Were Out" messages on your desk from the governor, the mayor, the police commissioner, and Deputy Commissioner "Great White" Mullin, the highest-ranking white administrator in a city run-justifiably so, given their proportion of the population-by African-Americans. He's been stuck there so long that no one breathes in the Department without his knowing and he's already metaphorically gripping your balls. All those pink messages appear before you get back from your first visit to the crime scene. And Simon divides up the city into the precincts and the different character the policing takes in each one. And, Wild West? Read Simon's The Corner, too.

The show's weakness was, after the first season, it drifted from the book.

Brian Broadus

Sorry about the open tag.

Suffering Bruin

The very first episode of Homicide remains the best single thing I've seen on television. I thought the series went downhill from there though "Three Men and Adena" featured the best performance every by an actor on a television show--Moses Gunn.

Just my humble opinion...

Lisa

The Canadian series "DaVinci's Inquest" is actually very good. It has a "Homicide"-like feel to it.

The Wire is amazing.

I loved Hill Street Blues for many years.

I thought Homicide was very good for about five years.

Lisa

Also, if you haven't seen Homicide on DVD, you've never seen it in the order it was meant to be shown. NBC really screwed with the flow of the show.

Mike Schilling

The occasional narrative ambiguity, coupled with jargon and accents that are frequently barely intelligible, make THE WIRE a series that I find impossible to watch except on tape, TIVO, or DVD--so that through rewinding a scene, moment or snatch of dialogue can be reheard.

I can't watch it without having the captions turned on.

thatlldopig

Lurker from upstate NY-- If we're talking cops, strictly cops, the gold standard is "Prime Suspect". The Holy Grail for real cops everywhere is the confession. Tennyson's ability to interrogate is unsurpassed. It's how she prospers in a hostile environment. Caruso and Franz run a strong second. But "Prime Suspect" is brilliant.
Now, if you wanna throw PI's into the mix, "Rockford" is great, but before "Magnum" there was "Harry O". Great, great PI.

burritoboy

second the motion on Prime Suspect, but Crime Story is a strong second (OK, Crime Story's first season). Faaarinaaa!

I tried to get excited by Homicide, but somehow it failed to keep me hooked.

The only shows that won't leave my imagination alone are Crime Story, Sandbaggers and American Gothic.

Tom


I loved HOMICIDE up until maybe season 4. Seasons 5 and 6 had a handful of good episodes, and seasons 7 is painful to even think about, a horrible illustration of the phrase "jump the shark."

Looking back now, it seems kind of like a dry-run for the WIRE, and I wonder how much better HOMICIDE might have been with the same cast/writers/directors, but on HBO and less-bound by network TV.

HairlessMonkeyDK

All this?
Jus' fer lil' ol' me?
Color me flattered!
(Unless Flattered-Dye#2 is some sort of beige-y pukey nuance...in which case I'd rather retain my own unhealthy pallor).
These last couple of weeks I've been rewatching Homicide,
the whole series, from start to finish.
(Saw it first when it aired here in Denmark years ago)
Haven't completed it yet.
I've reached the last (7th) season, and, yeah,
it does suck Cthulhu-cock compared to even the 6th season,
which was flawed as well...
And one of the major problems is the Falsone/Ballard romance.
It makes shitting out chunks of clotted blood sound like a pleasant diversion.
Callie Thorne (Ballard), isn't really the problem.
It's Seda (Falsone).
His character is one-note.
No, scratch that... because it -isn't-.
Seda's ACTING is.
Another problem was/is, oddly enough... or perhaps not so oddly, the redecorating of the set.
As the 7th season opens, the squadroom is repainted and redone, due to the shooting which occured in the second to last episode of season 6.
And it looks... vomit-inducing.
It looks like the interior of a cheap-ass bar... and I usually LIKE cheap-ass bars... but with -pretensions-.
It's like you'd expect to hear inane muzak warbling from wall-mounted speakers strategically hidden by plastic ferns.
In case you think I'm oddly obsessed with something as supposedly trivial as set-decor, all I can say is:
Watch and compare how The Box looks -before- the "make-over"
and how it looks -after-.
(As a stray thought and side-note which has nothing to do with Homicide per se, I think that the importance of setting and atmosphere are too often overlooked in fiction of any sort... and when NOT overlooked, tending towards the cliché).

Okay, this comment is already getting long
and I, the greatest Homicide: Life On The Streets fan ever spawned,
have only complained about the things I -didn't- like.

So why do I love it so much?
If you've got a year or two I'l go into detail.

But let me just give a few reasons:

The cast.

Andre Braugher as Frank Pembleton.

If you claim to have witnessed more arresting (no pun intended) acting from any actor on any show, EVER,
I'll call you a lying whore not worthy to even claim the mantle of whoredom. Because at least whores peddle something that is worth the money.


Melissa Leo as Kay Howard.
I don't know.
I just don't.
She wasn't sexy or glamorous... except... she was.
She was sexy because she was competent and intelligent,
she was glamorous because she was interesting and driven.

Aghh... I give up.
I'll better cut it short before I end up with an essay.
There's a thought... I think I might write one.


LASTLY,
a P.S. to LANCE:

Even though I don't agree with you completely about Homicide, I agree with your idea that there's some sort of, ill-defined, "kinkiness" about it.
Our differences, it seems, stem from just how compelling that is.
And just how Catholic one was brought up, perhaps.

And I'm not being snide, here, I mean it.

And P.P.S:

Humble thanks, once again,
for such a blog-welcome.

Oh,
and P.P.P.S:
joanr16... Yes, that scene when Pembleton gets
out of the car on the first day back after his stroke...
Tears. My tears ambush my fake macho facade every time.


Yours,
- Michael Søndberg Olsen A.K.A. HairlessMonkeyDK

Susan

Lennie Briscoe - Jerry Orbach as the quintessential TV cop, God bless him. Best cop show, probably Crime Story until NBC or whoever it was decided that they had to go to Las Vegas RIGHT NOW instead of letting the story arc develop as Michael Mann had planned.

The people who snark and sneer at "how bad" the original Battlestar Galactica was evidently have forgotten that you couldn't get away with a whole hell of a lot at 8pm in the 1970s. And why is the new show better? A lot of the stories would drop almost seamlessly into the original. The "new" facets are just a turnoff - the disgusting characters, not a single one of which is permitted five seconds to be remotely "normal," the ridiculous Cylons who "have a plan" (do they?!!!), the second rate cast (with the exception of Olmos and Richard Hatch, who can out-act them all in his sleep), and, until this season, the kissing up to the far righties who were falling in love with the show until the Colonials starting turning themselves into suicide bombers.

For all its obvious flaws, the original had definite moments. The new one is like watching a train wreck.

denise

I agree with Tom, up-thread, that Homicide was the warm-up for the Wire. And I agree with Lance, that he remembers an awful lot about a show he doesn't want to dwell on. I kind of feel the same way. But I still rank Homicide as one of the great all-time cop shows -- and it's because of the weirdness, the unexpected connections, the raw quality it had, not in spite of those things. I don't think there could be The Wire (the best serious drama on TV, cop or otherwise) without there having been Homicide; it's where they tested out the themes and structures that make The Wire so rich.
Oh, and as for the Brits, along with Prime Suspect, I have to recommend Cracker. There was a palid American version that didn't last very long; but the real thing is as good as Prime Suspect, with an equally fascinating protagonist.

scott

Ohmygod! You like Smallville too, huh? You can't believe the heaping amounts of scorn I take from my wife for liking that show - too corny, Lana is lame, etc. To which I have one simple reply - it's about Superman. Duh. You either get that little-kid fascination with immense power coupled with a sense of responsibility for everybody, or you don't. Glad to see I have some respectable company. Thanks!

gambz

The funniest line of all time, from Hill Street: Washington, speaking to LaRue, says of a severed arm with a ticking watch attached, "Eight o'four. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

Jaclyn

Homicide is my favorite TV show...the characters alone for the first 5 seasons were enough for it to be my favorite of all time. Pembleton, Bayliss, Lewis? No other characters on any other TV show can be what they were to me. It just sucks that in season 6, Falsone, Ballard, and Gharty had to come in and ruin the show from the bottom up.

David C

You are wrong about the episode in which the NY detective Mike Logan, played by Chis Noth. Logan, from New York, delivered the prisoner to Pembleton at the train station not John Munch. You got the rest right and I agree that was a great episode.

Sumit Jain

I never had the slightest desire to watch Homicide, Hill Street Blues or anything that was sold as more real than anything else on TV. Television and any art or entertainment form can only suggest reality. I just get bored and irritated by serious attempts at reality. I like shows and when I feel like a cop show, Hawaii Five-0 fills the bill. I especially love the creepy Jack Lord as an earthbound Captain Kirk. BTW, is that the Star Reach, Marvel Star Wars, Black Kiss Howard Chaykin commenting above? If so, thanks for enriching my youth.


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773SleepyHollow

I tear up at the end of the "Crosetti" episode of Homicide, when we see Pembleton, every single time.

arnold ochoa

Homicide; great drama, excelant cast , my favorite was the funeral home owner that took his work home.

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