A Station Eight Fan Web Site


The Phoenix Gate

Search Ask Greg

Search type:

Displaying 1 record.

Bookmark Link

Alex (aka Aldrius) writes...

So I've fairly recently watched all of Hill Street Blues. Loved it. And it did really get me thinking a lot about the show, police justice and how Gargoyles was influenced by it.

Firstly, while searching for interviews and info on the series on YouTube, I found an old commercial for HSB which described Frank as "the Man in Charge". It made me laugh because it was so blatantly antithetical to who Frank is.

Frank is not in charge of anything. He's got a boss who is constantly on his case pushes him to keep up appearances all the while torpedoing him at basically every opportunity if it makes his job easier. Two lieutenants, one who wants to revolutionize the police force and change the way the whole city is run (i.e. "the bleeding heart liberal") -- the other a neo-fascist who wants to buy tanks and start wars on the street. (Incidentally I LOVE Howard Hunter, he is *hilarious* and super sympathetic despite this.) He has a girlfriend who is a public defender, so not only are her attitudes and sympathies just deeply anti-cop in pretty much every possible way, it's literally her *job* to oppose him to the best of her ability.

So in my mind, Frank is less the man in charge, and more so the great appeaser or compromiser. He has to balance all these forces in his life, while maintaining his authority and making sure it all doesn't implode in on itself. And he does it very well, largely because he is so extremely compassionate and *not* the "Man in Charge".

Which is largely, especially in the first season, how I think of Goliath. I rewatched the first season not *too* long ago, and one thing that struck me is how much I enjoyed one of Goliath and Elisa's first meetings where they discuss human justice. Something to the effect of Goliath questioning who decides what's just and Elisa tells him "[The people]" and Goliath says "the humans decide" and the conversation is never REALLY followed up on. Goliath's decision to become a modern-day superhero of sorts ends up being more based on just his search for a purpose, and just doing what *feels* right. But I suppose in my head I can pretend that Elisa and Goliath continued to have conversations about modern judicial practices off screen and Goliath liked what he was hearing (or I imagine he WOULD like it).

What interests me, though, is that this is *largely* what HSB is about. Both explicitly and implicitly. There are stories that discuss these issues and sometimes the characters just blatantly talk about them. And what's cool about HSB to me is how *highly* critical it is of the police, primarily as an institution. And how critical it is of the justice system.

This isn't *really* present in Gargoyles as much. The cops in the show are generally extremely fair people, and though there are the occasional token mention of the system being "flawed" this isn't really demonstrated. Which is totally fine, but it is sort of interesting to me.

Incidentally I think that element was somewhat lost after Steven Bochco left the show, and Dennis Franz became a lead. The show was still a great show, but man did it get silly.

Anyway, I don't know if I really came to a cohesive point there but I did wanna share my thoughts on the show and wanted to thank you again for (indirectly) recommending it.

Just a few questions:

1) I know Goliath is based on Frank Furillo but I got the vibe that there was a bit of Howard Hunter in Matt Bluestone? Particularly in the episode Legion, I think the RECAP robot might almost be straight out of that episode where Hunter brought a bomb disposal robot into the precinct.
I think Hudson might have a bit of Robert Prosky's physicality, Morgan a bit of Neal Washington's Zen mentality, Elisa has a bit of Lucy's street smart attitude but that's really about it.
2) Young Justice has those briefing scenes once in a while in it's first season, where Batman will sort of outline what the episode is going to be about. It reminds me a lot of the briefings in HSB. Honestly? I think it's SUPER smart. It's just a great way to outline the A, B and sometimes C plots of an episode without having to have awkward "Here we are at Brad Goodman's self-help seminar" dialogue. Was that perhaps an influence there?