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I recently saw this line from an interview with Steven Bochco in the early 80's, talking about Hill Street Blues (which currently has its first two-and-a-half seasons on Hulu Plus, by the way):
"Maybe the biggest problem with Hill Street, in terms of popular success, is that it is a show that demands to be watched. And most people do not watch television. They simply are in its presence."
I love that quote. What an insightful way to encapsulate about what was essential and great about Hill Street Blues, without going into all the details of what made it so outstanding. Just leave at this: unlike nearly anything before it, in many ways it was a show that demanded to be watched. I think that characteristic also applies to Gargoyles as well, no doubt due to the major influence Hill Street Blues had on the show (as you've often mentioned).
Nowadays, that quality, of being a show that "demands to be watched," is characteristic of so many excellent shows that appear on HBO, Showtime or AMC (before hitting DVD boxsets and iTunes), places where popular success isn't the one and only yardstick. And again and again, we've seen how this kind of series can flourish in the atmosphere of creative freedom offered by these outlets.
Can viewers hope that someday soon, that kind of environment will produce an animated serial drama that has the same level of quality, complexity and acclaim as these channels' current headline series? If so, what might it take for that to happen?
Hey, Zach. Long time no see. I'd heard that quotation about Hill Street before, and couldn't agree more.
I appreciate you think Gargoyles falls in the same category. It's flattering and certainly what we strived for. I don't pretend that we were as good as Hill Street Blues, but no one can accuse us of not going for it.
As to your question, I like to think that W.I.T.C.H., Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice and Young Justice: Invasion also qualify. At least at Gargoyles' level. So I think it's already possible. But that's just my - apparently not so - humble opinion.