5 reasons why you should watch Barney Miller.

Barney Miller, the classic cop sitcom of the mid 70’s to the early 80’s that was a unique type of show for the time in many ways from its racially diverse cast to its realistic depiction of life at a police station to the cast being all men over 30 and mostly plain looking. The show is a true classic and here are 5 reasons why you should watch it if you haven’t had the good fortune to have already.

One of the funkiest and memorable theme songs in television history. This alone could be the main reason why you should watch.

2. The casting and writing was pitch perfect.

It’s incredibly rare to score so perfectly with a cast and scripts like this show had. The low key dry humor acting style matched with the absurd and quirky humor is a winning combination.

3. It was racially diverse way before it became “trendy”.

Barney Miller was set in New York, Manhattan and as we all know New York is a giant melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities and every color of the rainbow. Barney just reflected that in an honest, genuine way unlike a lot shows now that do it to gain brownie points or cover their ass from social media riots. Police stations have cops in every color just like the world does so why not reflect that in a just matter of fact way?

4. It paved the way for police comedies on television.

For those who enjoy comedies like Brooklyn 99 and Reno 911, you have Barney Miller to thank because without it there wouldn’t have been any comedies about quirky law enforcement officers.

5. It’s the most realistic cop show ever made to this very day:

Barney Miller retains a devoted following among real-life police officers, who appreciate the show’s emphasis on dialog and believably quirky characters, and its low-key portrayal of cops going about their jobs. In a 2005 op-ed for the New York Times, real-life New York police detective Lucas Miller wrote:

Real cops are not usually fans of cop shows. […] Many police officers maintain that the most realistic police show in the history of television was the sitcom Barney Miller, […] The action was mostly off screen, the squad room the only set, and the guys were a motley bunch of character actors who were in no danger of being picked for the N.Y.P.D. pin-up calendar. But they worked hard, made jokes, got hurt and answered to their straight-man commander. For real detectives, most of the action does happen off screen, and we spend a lot of time back in the squad room writing reports about it. Like Barney Miller’s squad, we crack jokes at one another, at the cases that come in, and at the crazy suspect locked in the holding cell six feet from the new guy’s desk. Life really is more like Barney Miller than NYPD Blue, but our jokes aren’t nearly as funny.[17]

Similarly, during his appearance on Jon Favreau’s Independent Film Channel talk show Dinner for Five, Dennis Farina, who worked as a Chicago police officer before turning to acting, called Barney Miller the most realistic cop show ever seen on television.[18]



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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3