- Format: DVD Region 2 for the UK
- Number of Disc: 25
- Genre: Comedy
- Starring: Hal Linden, Max Gail, Ron Glass
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Release Date: 2011
What’s it about
The sprawling, 25-disc presentation of Barney Miller: The Complete Series pays proper and long-overdue tribute to what is arguably one of the best sitcoms ever produced on television. All 168 episodes of the groundbreaking series, which ran between 1974 and 1982, are included in the set, as are a respectable, if not abundant, number of extras. But bells and whistles cannot improve upon Miller’s chief attribute–the humor and humanity inherent in each episode, which detailed the life of a police captain (Hal Linden) at New York’s dreary 12th Precinct, which was populated by a squad of offbeat but hardworking detectives. Time has not dampened the show’s smart, honest writing by series creators Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker, among many others, or the theater-quality acting of Linden and the talented cast, which began with Abe Vigoda, Ron Glass, Max Gail, and Jack Soo before adding Steve Landesberg and Ron Carey in season four. As with other blue-collar “workplace” shows like M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere, viewers came to care about the characters (real-life police, in particular, applauded the show’s portrayal of working law officers) because they accurately reflected the steady, unyielding stream of joys and heartbreak that made up every day in a job where people’s lives were at stake, and how that experience affected the personalities that worked there. Barney Miller was a rare series, one that has not been duplicated (though emulated by shows like Rescue Me and Homicide: Life on the Street) or, thankfully, remade, and this impressive set from Shout Factory serves as its best and most complete presentation to date.