If you’re old enough to remember the joys of 70’s and 80’s TV, I bet you spent some time at the 12th Precinct.
It was home to Wojo, Fish, Harris, Chano, Yemana, Deitrich, Levitt, Barney, and a host of quirky, funny, and at times heart tugging characters from around the neighborhood. I’m speaking of course, of the critically acclaimed and brilliant “Barney Miller”, the ABC sitcom that ran from 1975 until 1982. Set in a NYPD police station, there was nothing quite like it and there will probably never be. Although it was billed as a sitcom and was one of the funniest television shows in the history of TV, it had the feel of a live program from the 1950’s. Not unlike “The Honeymooners”, “Barney Miller” took place in one room, which in this case was the Squad Room. Barney’s office was attached, but only rarely did we see the world outside. In its 8 year run less than a dozen episodes featured locations outside the precinct. Yet it still worked, and worked in a way that was nothing short of legendary. As funny as the show was, it also had its share of dramatic, thought provoking moments and scenes that will bring a tear to your eye. More on that in a future post!
The writing was as close to perfection as TV writing will ever get, and the actors had a chemistry that I don’t think any other series has ever matched. The series creator, Danny Arnold worked magic. The fact it had some of the most talented actors on TV, including the iconic Abe Vigoda (who by the way is still going strong at age 90), Firefly’s Ron Glass, the wonderful James Gregory, the late great Jack Soo, and Steve Landesberg, and more. This set is a must have!
Not old enough to remember it? Get it anyway. The show stands the test of time and is as funny and relevant as ever. If you want to experience true must see TV, check out Barney Miller.
For the show’s loyal fans, this box set was a long time coming. Sony,who owns the series, managed to anger them by releasing Season 1, waiting 5 years to release Season 2 and 3, and then turning its back on the series. However this set was well worth the wait and frustration. You get all 8 seasons, plus the first season of the spin-off series “Fish”. Extras include commentary from the writers, the rarely seen pilot “The Life and Times of Barney Miller”, two hour long documentaries featuring interviews with Hal Linden, Max Gail, Abe Vigoda, and the late Steve Landesberg, a 40 page commemorative booklet, and a sneak peek of the upcoming Jack Soo documentary, “You Don’t Know Jack”.
This set is a joy for fans and lovers of 70s TV. It’s available on Amazon for $87.99 and worth every penny!