This was one of my favourite comedy shows because it was smart as well as funny. Not smart in a particularly intellectual way, but smart in an extremely clever way.
And unlike today's "comedies", this story of several intertwined fictional lives did not rely on lowest common denominator content or character bashing to get a laugh. It was the every day stuff that was viewed in a lighthearted way.
On the other hand, it could also be quite poignant and even heart breaking, and all of this allowed the audience to get into the stories as well as the characters behind them.
I miss real comedy on TV. I wish there were still people around who could create this level of comedy, and a network with the intestinal fortitude to actually air it!
This was a very funny program indeed. Without any doubt the wise cracking Detective Nick Yemana is one of the best detectives in Barney miller's Precint. Jack Soo was talented, creative, and very funny. To be honest with you I have had a dream with Jack Soo in it. He was a doctor at the VA Hospital, and I asked him, "Aren't you that guy from Barney Miller?" He answered, "Yes, but that was a long time ago." I also remember Soo on an episode of Hawaii Five-O. Yes, his life was cut short but his credits shall never be forgotten.
...but this was virtually an all-male enclave (as Linda Lavin and Barbara Barrie were the only females ever credited in the opening titles).
Still, the ensemble, revolving around Hal Linden's title character, had plenty to do, and plenty of opportunity to shine. Yes, the stories were sometimes offbeat (werewolves in Greenwich Village? deaf prostitutes? a sanitation officer shooting at someone for dropping a candy wrapper?), but this demonstrated the real secret of the show - the various characters that passed through the 12th Precinct that interacted with the detectives there.
The sardonic humor that permeated the show (as the fog did in one very classic episode) didn't hurt either. Sure, there was no Judi Dench caliber performances - but Barney Miller didn't need any, as its ensemble was a bit deeper.
This show was something I rarely ever missed a episode of - a fantastic cast, silly stuff galore, always a laugh a minute! Wojo was one of my favorite characters - stereotypical big dumb guy. You just had to feel sorry for him! Yes, I do have many happy memories of watching this show, & then discussing it with my friends the next day - we ALL watched it as young teens! Any show that can pull in the teens as well as the adults, is a show worth it's salt! A reunion show would be great!
This is a show for all ages, they had humor and they had serious moments, situations, it was really an interesting show to watch. You had Barney Wojo, Fish, the Asian guy, they were all good. The people in jail usually had a good line or two as well. Sometimes it was someone famous sometimes it wasn't. The writing and the acting on this show were pretty good from what I remember. This show was pretty funny most of the time. I really should get the DVD and watch it again. This show was definitely one of the early 80's sitcom classics.
The mid-seventies was a time when preachy, diverse and public minded sit-coms ruled the air waves. Over the top in the way they presented previously "taboo" topics, these sitcoms played on the social and racial tensions that were very much a part of that era. Barney Miller wasn't really like that. Although it featured a very diverse cast and dealt with such topical subjects as drugs, death and even the intergration of women into the police force, the show was very sedate in its pacing and often quite subtle in the way it made its audience laugh.
Originally based on the character of Barney both in the office and at home, the show's producers quickly realized that the real charm of the show was in the way the office functioned. Once the formula was set, the audience never left either of the two rooms, the dectective's squad bay and the Captain's office, on the upper floor of the 12th Precinct. The characters would come and go, often returning with arestees (many of whom became recurring characters) and the comedy unfolded in the way the officers related their expereinces while out of the office and in how they conducted their interviews.
In those Pre-Dilbert days, the true drudgery of office work was seldom seen in a clearer light than the one that Barney Miller shone upon it. Anyone who works as a public servant today can instantly identify with the show and the poor men who struggle every day to Protect and Serve the public while attempting to preserve their own humor and sanity. This is a great show, sorry if not everyone gets it.
for the life of me i will never understand why this show lasted as long as it did. it was never funny. it was just another 70's sitcom. the same old formula played out at a police station. i remember one episode they had some kid build a nuclear bomb. how retarded.
It was OK. Not good but just OK. At times, Barney Miller really bores the hell out of me but there were many savoring moments that made me watch it til the very end. Recommended only if you have time to kill.The story of this show is ok, but no way to say "This is nice".
Barney Miller is a show that has a great ensemble cast. It took a few episodes for everyone to find their characters. The early episodes are a bit formulaic. But then Barney, Wojo, Yemana, Harris and Fish all began to work together like a well-oiled machine. Then, in the second season Dietrich joined the precinct and it was perfect. One of my favorite moments was when Yemana ate brownies laced with hashish. There are many great quotes. I haven't seen an episode in several years, but some quotes come to my mind from time to time.
Barney Miller was voted by PD’s around North America as the most realistic cop show on TV. Odd considering that it is very much primarily a hilarious comedy. But that’s just the case. Cops see a lot of nasty stuff, but that’s only the law of large numbers working. Most of their days are spent dealing with the nutbars, kooks and general mundane characters and their stories.
This was never meant to be a CSI, Hillstreet or Miami Vice. It is simple and that’s where the show gets it’s charm and comedy.
It’s nuts but more realistic. The show does occasionally show a serious side, dealing with divorce, shootings, murder, bank robbers and all that, but it is never gratuitous or flashy. Lots of times the problems are solved with words and laughs.
Some very great people put their hearts into this and it shows!
Very droll and strangely heart warming. An instant entry into any Television Hall of Fame.
I think the 80s had many great cop shows, and this was one of them. Back in the 80s (on WPIX, Channel 11, New York) use to have Barney Miller, Cheers, Hill Street Blues, and CHiPs (another good cop show). But all in all, I believe that the 80s had may good cop shows, and this was another fine cop show
"Barney Miller" is an example of a show that started off as a very good show, was given time to grow and find its rhythms, and became one of the best sitcoms that television has ever seen. At first the show brought us Barney at work and at home, dealing with his wife and kids as well as his duties as a N.Y.P.D. captain. But by the time the second season has begun, the show was focusing almost exclusively on two rooms at the Twelfth Precinct: the detective's holding room and Barney's office. The show rarely left those two rooms for the rest of its run, and it didn't need to; the goings-on in those two rooms among Barney, the detectives, and an assortment of citizens of the Twelfth Precinct, both upstanding and nefarious.
"Barney Miller" had the benefit of sharp writing and an ensemble cast that worked together like a well-oiled machine. Each detective was a well-defined character who over the course of the series' run we came to know intimately, and we got to know a lot of the citizens who regularly showed up at the precinct house, including a gay couple at a time when gay characters were very rare on network television.
It is fortunate that ABC allowed "Barney Miller" to find its feet and become the critically-acclaimed show that it became. It's too bad that few networks are willing to let that happen any more. But "Barney Miller" is evidence of how such patience can eventually pay off.
"Beverly is Busy!" - Gregory Peck ala Det. Dietrich. Just these three words had me hooked. When Beverly Fish's would-be-suitor entered the apartment and asked "Where's Gregory Peck?" I was laughing myself sick. This was a classic that never got the prop
The character balance of this show is why I rate it so high. To me, it had the same good mix of talent that "Hogan's Heroes" had. That is with the exception of certain actors presence in the show (ie, Gregory Sierra, Steve Landesburg) you would not really know in syndication which season an episode was in. They nailed it right off the top, and the result was a hilariously funny montage of the angst that we all can probably relate to. (Unless we are living in the 7 digit income bracket, and thus hire people to feel for us.)
I rarely got to see this during it's broadcast run, but I enjoyed it very munch on an independent channel in Seattle as it competed with the news at 11:00pm. (That's not really fair, is it?)
A lot of people forget that it produced the spinoff of "Fish," following Abe Vigoda in his off hours. (Abe Vigoda is a treat to watch in anything.) And while it certainly wasn't close to it's parent show's success, it was much better than "Happy Days" spinoff "Joanie Loves Chachi." or an even more successful "M*A*S*H's" "After M*A*S*H."
Hal Linden never let his title role status detract from the other actors, and thus it just felt "very comfortable" to watch.
Barney Miller is one of the best comedies in television history. First, the characters are first rate. The show contained a multi ethnic cast and dealt with issues inherent to such a group with grace and maturity. The writers effectively poked playful fun at stereotypes and how different groups respond to them. Second, the story lines were interesting. This show was on at a time when writers could still be innovative and not rely solely on the lowest common denominator. Third, the actors were perfact for their roles. Hal Lindon had a career on Broadway both before and after the show. Abe Vigoda has become a cultural running gag. Otherwise the actors were all character actors who had done little before or since the shows original airing. Yet they were all wonderfully cast for what they were called upon to do. Ron Glass played against the type at the time as an african american man with solidly middleclass leanings. Steve Landesburg was particularly entertaining as the know it all fish out of water. If you have never seen this show, watch it - you will see how the situation comedy should be done.
Such a varied group of people all caught in one police station. All the characters are so real so human, that you feel like you know them. The set is realisticly drab so that all you notice is what is being said. It was funny, with a quiet dry sense of humour, and serious, when called for. and even the theme music was different but perfect for this show. In a decade when Dirty Harry was everyone's favorite movie cop, it was nice to see someone like Barney Miller was on duty too.
I wish there was something like this still on tv. Good thing its still seen in re-runs, and on dvd.
Recently, thee first season of "Barney Miller" was released on DVD. For those of you who enjoy all the bells and whistles, dozens of commentaries, deleted scenes and out-takes, and all the other extras... This is the first time that you'll NEVER notice their absence. The thirteen episodes of season one are, without fail, perfect. From Abe Vigoda's incredible portrayal of a man who's worked far too many years, to Hal Linden's acting of public confidence and private fear that he can't bear his responsibility, every actors work is the best you'll ever see. There is not a single moment that you will consider them merely "actors" in a role; each character is as real as any person that you have ever met.
Amidst all of these stellar performances, I must recommend Max Gail's Wojciehowicz's hapless infatuation with a prostitute in the episode "The Courtesans". Anyone who's felt the pang of an impossible crush will feel for him.
Whether your fan of "Star Trek", "Dead Like Me" or "Gilligan's Island", this is the series that you'll be proudest to own.
A word of warning: DON'T loan this set out. For some reason, people can't seem to give it back. I've bought this dang set this three times now!
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