‘Hill Street Blues’ is back on the beat

Decades runs marathon of acclaimed police drama

Daniel John Travanti in “Hill Street Blues”

One of the shows that truly changed television, “Hill Street Blues” cemented the late Steven Bochco as one of the medium’s most prominent producers. Decades continues a “Weekend Binge” of the police drama Sunday, June 19, into the early hours of Monday, June 20.

The remaining “Binge” episodes are drawn from the show’s last two of its seven seasons, by which time Bochco had been dismissed from the series, but much of what he established still remained … including a solid cast led by Daniel J. Travanti as Lt. Frank Furillo. Also highly memorable: Dennis Franz (who would work for Bochco again, very memorably, on “NYPD Blue”) as the ethically questionable Lt. Norman Buntz, and Bruce Weitz as the biting-inclined Detective Mick Belker.

More Retro Rewinds

“Perry Mason” (MeTV, Monday, June 20): While the channel also has been showing some of the later “Mason” TV-movie sequels Raymond Burr made, it’s also going back to very early episodes of the original series that made the actor a television icon. In “The Case of the Drowning Duck,” first shown in 1957, the attorney goes to check out an alleged blackmailer … only to find the man dead from poisoning.

“Giant” (Turner Classic Movies, Tuesday, June 21): Now upgraded to a 4K print that recently debuted at the TCM Classic Film Festival and is getting a home-video release, director George Stevens’ enduring 1956 epic based on Edna Ferber’s novel offers massive star quality with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and (in his final film) James Dean in the saga of love and power in the cattle and oil businesses.

“Jumanji” (Freeform, Tuesday, June 21, and Friday, June 24): Robin Williams had one of his biggest movie hits with this 1995 fantasy-comedy-adventure that turned out to launch a franchise continued by Dwayne Johnson. Based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg, the original movie casts Williams as a man long trapped inside a very special, jungle-themed game that two youngsters (Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce) find their way into … and may never get out of. This is the definition (or one of them, anyway) of fun viewing for the whole family.

“Galaxy Quest” (EPIX, Friday, June 24): Science fiction gets a major send-up, and a very clever one, in this entertaining 1999 comedy-fantasy that transports the cast of a now-finished series into the world of aliens who believe the show was for real. The actors — played by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Daryl Mitchell — are wanted by the extraterrestrials to help resolve an intergalactic crisis, and it comes as a huge and potentially dangerous letdown to discover that the performers are just mere mortals. Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell also star.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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