One of the telly shows that I watched religiously when it was broadcast in the early 80s was HILL STREET BLUES.
HILL STREET was a cop show that diverted from most of the 1970s cop shows in that it wasn't about only one main character like Kojak or Columbo but it revolved around a whole police precinct. I don't know if HILL STREET BLUES was the first of its kind but I'm sure that at least due to its popularity it paved the way for the many shows of that kind. All the stuff that we see today should get down on their knees and kiss HILL STREET BLUES' dirty feet.
I haven't actually re-watched HILL STREET since it aired here in the 80s. It's was rerun on a different channel in the early 90s but I didn't watch it cos, well, I guess I was watching something else, LOL (probably some splatter movie as it was about the time when I first got into reviewing gore flicks for fanzines).
Anyhoo, the other day I caught an episode of the show on a local channel which I don't usually watch, and you know how it goes I immediately figured "Oh man I gotta get the entire series right now and watch again... right now", haha. I found two different releases on Amazon UK; a local UK five disc release containing the complete season 1, and a reg. 1 set also containing the complete first season but all squeezed down on only three discs.
Needless to say, I figured the five disc release would be better than the three disc one. Well, bad assumption, cabron!! Fortunately, I took some time and read the user comments on Amazon UK and it appears the video company is royally fucking the British HILL STREET fans up the ass cos the episodes are edited editions (i.e. censored!!!) for day time broadcast before the watershed!!! (i.e. 9pm in the UK). Can you believe that!!
And when you investigate a little further it becomes even more surreal as you learn these censored DVD aren't even the result of the evil deeds committed by the BBFC; It's simply the TV station Channel 4 who is to blame. Oh, and you think it can't get any more obscure? Think again! One of the Amazon customers commented that he wrote to C4 and complained about it but they replied it wasn't their fault! [insert sound file of hysteric, insane laughter] So who is to blame? The video company? No can do! C4 put out the DVD set themselves.
And a few customers mentioned they bought previous VHS editions that were uncut. My guess is this is a fucken slip up that C4 just won't face up to. C4 probably thought it would be easier to release their own broadcast versions on DVD than to get the new versions from the US. Too bad for PAL buyers.
I was so pleased to be able to get it on DVD, however, I was disappointed to find out it is the Hill Street for Babies censored version. Series 2 is even worse. The editing looks like a complete hatchet job - extremely obvious with interrupted flow of action.
"But NOW it can't get any worse... right? Wrong! The SAME applies for the UK edition of the second season:
Mr. T Slader:
I gave season two a chance but it was as badly cut as season one. I have old video copies of several season 1 & 2 episodes that are uncut so I know that they have been butchered.
After settling down for a serious couch-fest of memories with these DVD's it was quickly apparent something was missing. Scenes weren't making sense. Edits were skipping around. Events were being referenced that the viewer hadn't seen.
I checked the info on the reg. 1 sets and, lo and behold, they're not only fully uncut but the Americans actually put the series on double sided DVDs which means you get the episodes on six sides, not three (but I have no idea if three double sided DVDs are better than five single sided DVDs or not?). And the reg. 1 sets are even a couple pounds cheaper than the UK discs! I ordered them both right away.
Unfortunately, those two season are the only ones that got released. It seems they didn't sell very well (they came out in 2006) and the remaining five seasons were most likely scrapped. As I said, they're being broadcast on a local channel here but, uhhh, trying to tape full seasons is something I left behind with the video days - I taped most of The X-Files and every Millennium episode and Married... With Children, and, and, and... so many TV series! In the end I just gave it all op when video labels began to release all this stuff on DVD. Haha.