Barney Miller: The Complete Series
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Like the show itself, the extras on The Complete Series are heartfelt and often hilarious. Series writer-producers Tony Sheehan, Jeff Stein, and Frank Dungan, all of whom continued to collaborate on series like Mr. Belvedere and King of Queens, are featured on commentary tracks for the show's final three-part episode, "Landmark," which concerned the closing of the 12th Precinct. The commentaries are informal but informative--the show's notorious late shoots and last-minute rewrites are discussed--and often very funny. Stein and Dungan also appear on a trio of overlapping making-of featurettes that additionally include new interviews with Linden, Gail, and Vigoda. More important to Miller completists will be the entire original pilot, "The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller," which aired on an ABC comedy anthology series in 1974. Linden and Vigoda are featured in a cast that includes Charles Haid (Hill Street Blues) among the One-Two's detectives. The complete version of the series pilot, "Ramon," which essentially tells the same story as "Life and Times," is also included in an uncut version that adds two minutes of footage. In addition, there's an excerpt from You Don't Know Jack, a 2009 documentary about Jack Soo that includes interviews with Landesberg and Gail about their well-loved fellow actor whom the entire cast feted in a special 1979 episode (included in the set). For many, the set's curiosity piece is the first season of Fish, the short-lived spinoff series that featured Vigoda's character riding herd on a quintet of foster children (including Todd Bridges of Diff'rent Strokes). The 13 episodes included here are largely laugh-free affairs and the complete antithesis to the intelligent comedy of Barney Miller. Image quality on many episodes remains as murky as they appeared on the three stand-alone DVD releases from Sony, though this is the case with shows created on videotape rather than film. Such issues, however, should not prevent fans and newcomers alike from spending quality time with the men of the 12th Precinct. --Paul Gaita
New interviews with cast (Linden, Gail, Vigoda)
First season of the spin-off show, Fish, starring Abe Vigoda
Original unaired pilot
Writers commentary on select episodes
Top Customer Reviews
Got an early Christmas gift this month. Essentially raised on Barney Miller, I had a couple of lost weekends after the complete series landed on my porch. Here's what I got on Shout's treatment of my favorite series....
The First Three Seasons--Unfortunately, Shout! Factory used what Sony created for their season sets; other than the packaging, they're the exact same discs, menus and all. That means the first season still looks woeful and that two of its episodes (Ramon and The Bureaucrat) are the syndicated cuts. However, Shout has included a complete version of Ramon with the extras (Harris in drag!). The video quality of that version is pretty bad, which should indicate the kind of job Shout faced in getting complete episodes. Which brings me to....
Completeness of Episodes--I wish I could say that Seasons 4 to 8 are complete, but one episode--Season 7's Rachel, the one in which Harris is sued for libel for Blood on the Badge--is about 2 minutes short, indicating a syndication cut. Given that Shout managed to find a complete Ramon, it's entirely possible that no complete version of Rachel (or The Bureaucrat) currently exists. The last episode of the series, in fact, comes with a warning because it was taken from the last surviving complete version. But it's still watchable, and while the other episodes do show varying video quality, sometimes even within the same episode, most look as good as or better than you can hope for with a three-decades-old videotaped series. Shout also has avoided the excessive edge enhancement that plagues Seasons 2 and 3.Read more ›
So much has been said about the series itself I won't repeat any of it here. Just be assured that Barney Miller is one of the best written, best acted sitcoms (or any TV series for that matter) ever. I've seen every episode multiple times and have been collecting recordings of this show on commercially available VHS tapes, broadcast sources, and DVDs for many years. So I was very glad to see Shout Factory pick up the baton where Sony left off and release the show as it should have been from the beginning, as a complete series set.
I have not seen all the episodes in this set yet, but the ones I have seen run about 25 minutes instead of the 22-minute syndicated versions most often seen on TV since the show's original run. The picture quality is great for a TV series shot on video in the 1970s. About as good as it possibly can look, I'm sure. Sound quality is excellent. The packaging is very well done, tasteful, and discs are NOT stacked on top of each other on a single spindle as many of these mega-sets have been packaged recently. The 40-page book has a nice few pages of intro but the rest is essentially an episode guide for each season and disc.
The extras and supplements are great. There are about an hour and a half worth of shorts featuring Hal Linden, Max Gail, Abe Vigoda, and two of the writers. These are well worth watching. For me the real treat in the extras was the unaired pilot episode of "The Life and Times of Barney Miller" which is quite different from the show we know as Barney Miller. The pilot was shot on film, first of all, and looks very different from the "real" show for that one reason alone.Read more ›
This set, beyond the creative packaging contains:
* All eight seasons on 25 discs
* Newly-produced and never-before-seen bonus features
* 32 page commemorative book
* New interviews with the cast (Linden, Gail, Vigoda)
* Original unaired pilot
* Writers' commentary on select episodes
* Entire first season of Fish (the Abe Vigoda spin-off).
The original news is here: [...]
Amazon is offering this at 30% off! This is an incredible deal, and beyond the best news fans of Barney Miller could have hoped for. Emmy- and Gold Globe-winning, hilarious, and still one of the best comedies ever produced, Barney Miller is finally getting the DVD treatment it deserves.
Looked at another way, the pre-order price of $111.99 is roughly $22/season for the five "new" years in the box. Seems like a fair price to me, and definitely not deserving of the petulant one-star reviews. I, for one, had almost given up hope of ever seeing the rest of this show on DVD and am grateful that Shout! Factory is making it happen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best shoes that every came to life on my TV screen. Not only is if fun to watch, but it glues you to the screen, so you won't go to the fridge to dig out some snacks... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jack R.
I love many 70's sitcoms and Barney Miller was one of the best. It's great to have the entire series!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Anybody who watched this when it ran will absolutely love this. It brings back so many memories and the humor is great. Read morePublished 3 months ago by BudBren
Good ol' Barney Miller. Timeless humor by excellent writers and actors.Published 3 months ago by MLS
It's good to be entertained and not mentally brutalized in my living room.Published 3 months ago by Mary C. Fulcher
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|English Subtitles Or Closed Captioned Only?||
Closed captioning only.
Jan 1, 2013 by John LaMantia | See all 10 posts
Jan 1, 2013 by John LaMantia | See all 2 posts
|Nobody born gay --mygenes.co.nz (Harvard supports this webpage info)||
Bob Forapples:Hilarious name!-And I'm sure this book won't be used to prove being gay is a choice and therefore punishable by death-Of course,places like Uganda aren't waiting on any darned book,anyway-Thanks,''Harvard people''!
Apr 17, 2014 by SATURN2 | See all 5 posts
|Harvard and UCLA tests (BOTH!) support notion that homosexuality is from...||Be the first to reply|
|laugh track||Be the first to reply|