With his work on shows like "Hill Street Blues", "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue", Steven Bochco has really ushered in the idea of modern TV drama, and he has rightfully earned scores of awards and acclaim. Bochco introduced the ideas of multiple-episode story arcs in prime time; he made shows with large ensemble casts successful (rare is the show today that focuses on only one character); and he brought new levels of content to prime-time. Where would TV be today if he had not pushed the envelope in 1993 with "NYPD Blue" and language and nudity? It's almost hard to imagine the brouhaha that erupted when "Blue" premiered, since it seems like every show under the sun carries a "Viewer Discretion Advised" tag at the outset. Getting his sea legs in the era of big prime-time mysteries (Bochco cut his teeth on "Columbo"), he brought that sensibility of character and plot to his own work and he broke new ground in series television.
Of course, Steven Bochco did more than just change TV standards: he also created some great shows and characters. Arnie Becker, Andy Sipowicz, and many others. Not everything he's touched has been a hit ("Cop Rock," "Blind Justice") but he never plays it safe and delivers something tired and stale. Bochco's shows feature real people with faults and foibles...gimmicks aren't his bag. Even with all of the excitement over naked butts on "Blue," what kept viewers around was the drama of the characters. In an age where comic-book concepts and cheap ploys are filling the networks, it's unfortunate that Steven Bochco seems to be done with TV. We could use a show with his voice again.