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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Crime > Police > Urban > Barney Miller – The Complete Second Season (Sony DVD)

Barney Miller – The Complete Second Season (Sony DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: B



Along with the Norman Lear comedies, Mary Tyler Moore comedies, Soap, Alice and Welcome Back Kotter, Danny Arnold (That Girl) delivered one of the all-time classic U.S. TV sitcoms with Barney Miller, a long-enduring hit TV show that ran eight seasons and made more realistic series (Hill Street Blues) possible beginning with simply bringing a new dimension to the idea of tell stories of police officers and their lives with new depth in a world of Quinn Martin productions and other serious drama hits.


Hal Linden is the title character, the Captain of the 12th Precinct in New York dealing with urban decay, wacky people and their own dysfunctions.  At first, we saw Miller’s home life with his wife Liz (Barbara Barrie) which was sadly starting to fadeout by this season, but the show lasted eight seasons and was one of the first racially integrated casts in TV history on a major TV network.  The cast including Abe Vigoda, Ron Glass, Maxwell Gail, Jack Soo and Gregory Sierra, a point the likes of Mad Magazine would poke fun at.


However, they had great chemistry and that resulted in a smart energy that kept the show good for its entire run, with little falloff by the time the show was cancelled.  All 22 episodes are here on 3 DVDs and fans will note that it has been a while since the first season was issued on DVD.  What took so long?  Who knows.  Glad this season has finally arrived.


As for the outstanding writing on the show, its mix of comedy, wit, multi-layered storylines, great timing, social issues and panache made it one of as kind.  As much as any U.S. sitcom ever, it managed to successfully construct its own world while still being very true to ours.  It’s nice to see it back again, especially on DVD.


The 1.33 X 1 image is the weak link in this set, looking like second generation digital copies of the shows instead of direct transfers from the original 2-inch analog NTSC tape masters.  Color is not as bad, but detail is a problem with aliasing and digititis that should not be there.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is better, good for its age and cleaner than you have heard it on TV.  Extras are shady, with nothing about the show, but chopped up episodes of other shows (dubbed webisodes) of Charlie’s Angels and Facts Of Life that are insulting, no matter how much you like those shows or not.


A show as important as Barney Miller deserves more and with many of the cast members still with us, it is not too late for new audio commentary tracks and featurettes.  Hope we get them in the next set.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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