Monday, October 31, 2011

A Look Back At Barney Miller, A TV Comedy Series That Captured the Gritty Essence Of Police Work

I was a huge fan of Barney Miller, the clever cop comedy series that appeared on TV from 1975 to 1982, so I look forward to watching the old shows on a new DVD (Shout!Factory).

Thomas Vinciguerra at the New York Times wrote an interesting piece about the great old show.

“Barney Miller” rewrote the rules of cop shows and sitcoms alike. Its principals weren’t heroes; they were jaded lifers contending with assorted wackos, like the beggar who earned enough to pay for a maid. Or the messianic who thought a new Ice Age was upon us. Or the nut job who threatened to turn into a werewolf.

And every week the show, which won three Emmy Awards, kicked off with a theme that sported the baddest, funkiest bass line this side of Isaac Hayes.

An early fan of “Barney Miller” was Joseph Wambaugh, the author of novels like “The New Centurions” and nonfiction works like “The Onion Field.” He began tuning in shortly after stepping down as a Los Angeles Police Department detective sergeant, to write full time.

“I was uncertain if I could make it without the badge,” he said. “But I could turn on ‘Barney Miller.’ It filled a void for me. I could have gone onto that set, sat down and gone to work.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Below is a link to a video of the Barney Miller theme song and opening credits:

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