I have found this series, first from A&E reruns and now with Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD, and it has become one of my new favorites. I love to watch an episode or two every night before bed.
As a fan of mysteries and private detective stories, "Rockford" is great for me, because it reminds me so much of the spirit of Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. Jim Rockford is the epitome of a private eye; on the case, but not without his own interests and self-preservation. He's a hero who doesn't carry a gun, would prefer not to fight, and gets grief from his dad. He's an everyman caught up in things that may seem over his head, but he wins out in the end with his brains and his charm.
And like an everyman, he's surrounded by friends and colleagues who are some of the most "real" people on TV. The exasperated Dennis Becker, who wants only to get a window office and his pension; Beth Davenport (who wouldn't want a friend with benefits like Beth, who could also bail you out of legal trouble?); and of course, ex-con and scam artist extraordinare Angel Martin.
"Rockford" wins because of the strength of James Garner and the cast, combined with some of the best mystery writing for TV other than the 1970s "Columbo" episodes. It's telling that the 1990s reunion movies are just as strong as the series. "Rockford" rules whenever you see it. How many other 1970s cop shows can you say hold up just as well today?