Few people have had the impact of Steven Bochco, whose long-game storylines and gritty characters redefined TV dramas. Take our quiz to learn more about this famous small-screen writer and producer.
Question of 10
What was Steven Bochco's first big TV hit?
"Hill Street Blues"
Bochco helped create, produce, and write 'Hill Street Blues', which ran until 1987. When it premiered in 1981, it ranked 87th out of 96 shows. But winning eight Emmys made it a hit in its second season.
Which of these "Hill Street" actresses was Bochco's real-life wife?
Barbara Bosson, who played the ex-wife of police captain Frank Furillo, was married to Bochco in real life. The couple divorced in 1997.
How was "Hill Street Blues" different from other TV shows of the early 1980s?
It had continuing story arcs.
These days, continuing story arcs, where the storylines strech over multiple episodes, are common. But "Hill Street Blues" was the first cop drama to try it. Other show innovations included large ensemble casts and use of handheld cameras.
All the episodes were taken from real-life cases.
Each episode ran for 90 minutes.
From 1986 to 1994, Bochco produced and co-created which exceedingly popular legal show?
Bochco was also the driving force behind "L.A. Law." In terms of ratings, this one actually did better than "Hill Street Blues."
What's another TV drama innovation that Bochco came up with?
breaking the invisible "fourth wall"
moving the same characters from one TV show to another
When the legal drama "Civil Wars" was cancelled, one of the lawyers (Alan Rosenberg) and a legal secretary (Debi Mazar) joined the cast of "L.A. Law." It was the first time that primetime characters had moved from one drama series to another on a different network.
dispensing with the TV theme song
How did "NYPD Blue" change primetime TV?
It was the first "dramedy" on television.
It was for mature audiences only.
Bochco wanted to bring more realism to his police dramas, and that's exactly what he did with "NYPD Blues," which started its run in 1993. The show employed sexual content and blunt adult language not previously shown on network TV.
Characters talked to the camera.
Before the pilot episode of "NYPD Blue," ABC splashed a warning screen for parents regarding nude scenes. What did those scenes expose?
flashes of buttocks
ABC leveraged the raw nature "NYPD Blue" by displaying a (rather titillating) warning message to parents before the pilot episode. The episode merely displayed very brief flashes of buttocks.
full frontal nudity
In 1989, Bochco launched a show starring Neil Patrick Harris as a teenager who becomes a _______.
Neil Patrick Harris became "Doogie Howser, M.D.," a 1989 comedy about an exceptionally intelligent teenage boy becoming a doctor. The show launched Harris into worldwide fame and greatly added to Bochco's legend.
In 1990, Bochco unveiled "Cop Rock," a show that blended cop drama with ______.
singing and dancing
"Cop Rock" actually combined police drama with singing and dancing, and it was a cringe-inducing headscratcher from start to (merciful) finish. It lasted for 11 episodes, about 11 more than necessary.
gratuitous violence and sex
As you've seen, not every show Bochco produced was a big hit. Which of these other shows was a flop?
"Bay City Blues"
"Bay City Blues," about a minor league baseball team in Bay City, Michigan, lasted just four episodes.
"Bay City Rollers"
"Roller Derby Queen"