Had anyone here seen much of Hill Street Blues? I don't have the time to watch an entire 80's cop series, but I know it was an epic show that was years ahead of it's time, and I hear Frost had a lot to do with that. If anyone can suggest some of the best episodes, and certainly any that showcase Frost's exceptional writing, I would be most appreciative.
I've watched the first three episodes he wrote, which are all online. Sadly, the rest are not on Netflix, YouTube, or anywhere else that I can find (well, other than one late-season episode). He wrote almost every episode of the fourth season (I think) but the only way to see it is shell out $130 for the box set. Surprisingly I'm actually kind of tempted to do so, at least eventually: I really
liked the episodes I saw, and would love to watch the whole show. It's got great characters and a wonderful sensibility, gritty and humanist - very much of a 70s film milieu (though it ran in the 80s). Highly recommended.
I was surprised to discover that domestic abuse is a pretty constant theme in the episodes I saw (something I will be discussing in the Twin Peaks video series I'm working on), which certainly could have been a hallmark of the show as well. The very first episode he wrote is actually dedicated to Dominique Dunne, an actress who appears as an abuse victim in the episode and was tragically killed a few days later by her ex-boyfriend (apparently, her bruises in that scene were real). The next episode Frost wrote has a similar plot to Dunne's real life situation (a young woman being stalked and eventually murdered with authorities doing little about it), but I'm not sure how far ahead they worked or how much control Frost himself had over storylines. All of this is certainly noteworthy given the direction he and Lynch took Twin Peaks in with the revelation of the killer and Laura Palmer's backstory.
Another interesting connection is more comedic - there's actually a scene in (I think) the third episode he wrote in which an elderly room service waiter keeps interrupting a cop trying to make love to his girlfriend in a hotel room. He won't go away - even collapsing at the door - and it reminded me a lot of the room service waiter in the season two premiere. It's fascinating to parse out what he and Lynch brought to the series; I feel like his role is still vastly underrated.
Martha Nochimson, while obviously more sympathetic to Lynch's point of view, has a great analysis of the differences in their work in her book The Passion of David Lynch. It's really the only work I've seen that attempts to parse out what they brought to the creative process as equals rather than Frost simply bringing the structural component to order Lynch's craziness. They both seem to have very strong (and subtly divergent) worldviews and it will be fascinating to watch them collaborate on the new series.