Barney Miller The Complete Second Season
Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, Maxwell Gail
Jack Soo, Ron Glass, Gregory Sierra
3 DVDs 22 Episodes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2008

The 3 DVD 22 episode Barney Miller The Complete Second Season set more than proves this seventies sitcom has easily survived the last 30 years. Few situation comedies can really say that. One of the reasons why this cop comedy is timeless aside from Harris’ fashion sense is the writing and cast are stellar. Also, stupid criminals are still a staple of our society as are the characters that make up the 12th Precinct. The second season of Barney Miller features two of my favorite detectives from the 12th, Fish (Abe Vigoda) and Nick (Jack Soo) who excelled at delivering one liners while Linda Lavin (of Alice fame) played the rather shrill Wentworth.

If you are wondering, the 22 Barney Miller The Complete Second Season episodes are complete and uncut with the opening trailer and the closer. None of this syndicated version you sometimes get. Season two features the usual solid acting and writing. Heat Wave, DVD1, is excellent: the title is self-explanatory and you also get to see the detectives in a dress for park pervert duty. Of course, thirty years later in these politically correct times the secondary story line of the wife being hit by her husband would not get such short shrift.

Then again, Discovery is a Barney Miller episode where a gay man complains to Barney about being shaken down by one of his men. The attitude of the captain and most of his men is rather avant-garde for late seventies television.

Personal favorites on DVD 2 are The Horse Thief and Rain -not just because they arrest a stand-up comic. All this is a matter of taste though as the majority of episodes in the second season of Barney Miller are very funny, original, and interesting. A favorite moment is in the episode titled The Sniper where Fish investigates a missing wife. There is a neat bit of physical comedy by the woman’s husband.

Also on this disc is Fish where Detective Dietrich is introduced and the Abe Vigoda series Fish gets proposed.

The one weak episode in this 3 DVD Barney Miller set is Ambush on DVD 1. What starts out as a serious premise has a rather banal ending. The story line seems to be there only to set up one of Barney’s reverse psychology tricks on a civilian.

Fans of the series will notice the actor playing The Mole in episode 22 DVD 3 of Barney Miller The Complete Second Season. Ron Carey would become a regular on this sitcom as brownnosing and never promoted officer Carl Levitt. Episode 1, Doomsday, features fake priest Steve Landesberg who would later play Detective Dietrich a few episodes later.

You can also play spot the celebrity. Look for Bosley from Charlie’s Angels, Robert Mandan from Soap, Mrs. Garrett from Facts of Life, and a very young Adam Arkin from Chicago Hope.

Extra features on Barney Miller The Complete Second Season are something called minisodes: A 6 minute Facts of Life and a 14 minute Charlie’s Angels. This may be the future of syndicated television but Facts of Life without Mrs. Garrett’s pithy comments or Charlie’s Angels without the jiggle caused by unnecessary running just ain’t the same.


Our other reviews of seventies situation comedy DVD sets

Our review I Dream of Jeannie The Complete Series

Our review Maude The Complete First Season

Our review Mash Season 8

Our review The Mary Tyler Moore Show Best of Season One

Our review Welcome Back Kotter Season One

Our review Bewitched Season Two

Our review  Good Times Season Four

Our review Gilligan’s Island Season Three

Our review One Day at a Time Season One

Our review Sandord and Son Season 6


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