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.
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