For eight years, ABC’s classic cop comedy Barney Miller entertained thousands of audiences across the country every week. But as with anything else, all good things must come to an end. On May 20th, 1982, Barney Miller finally came to an end after eight successful seasons on the air. Even years after its end, it has remained a fan favorite among audiences of all ages. It is even currently airing daily on the classic TV network Antenna TV. While this is a great thing for many audiences, not everybody gets Antenna TV. Thankfully Shout! Factory, the leading name in home entertainment, has given fans the next best thing—or perhaps the best thing—with the release of the series in its entirety and its fourth through seventh seasons in their own standalone season sets. The first three seasons were originally released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. With any luck Shout! Factory will eventually release those three seasons somewhere down the line in their own standalone season sets being that it has been able to release the series in whole in its own complete set alongside the series’ current standalone sets. While fans wait to see if that happens, they will be happy to know that the series’ eighth and final season has officially been released in stores and online. It was released earlier this month in a three-disc standalone set. Barney Miller: The Complete Eighth Season is one last wonderfully entertaining collection of episodes for any classic TV buff and especially for any long-time fan of the classic series. It proves this primarily through its writing. Just as with the series’ previous seasons, Season Eight presents plenty of humor and heart throughout the course of its twenty-two total episodes. The writing in question is yet another example of everything that once made television great. It’s just part of what makes this collection so enjoyable. The bonus material that is included with Season Eight adds even more enjoyment to the set. Among the extras included in this set are: the series’ original pilot, a behind-the-scenes retrospective of the series and fittingly, a look inside “the writer’s room” where the series came to life on paper before going before the cameras. Last but not least worth noting is the set’s overall packaging. One again, the set’s discs have been wisely packaged. Along with that, there is a comprehensive episode guide printed inside the front and back of the box. The guide offers short, concise descriptions of each episode as well as a guide outlining which episodes are featured on each of the set’s discs. The clarity offered by the episode guide and the smart packaging of the discs works hand in hand with the set’s bonus features and its writing to make Barney Miller: The Complete Eighth Season a completely enjoyable experience whether one is a classic TV buff or more specifically a fan of Barney Miller. Regardless, it is a set that will be welcome in either fan’s home DVD library.
Regardless of whether one is a casual fan of Barney Miller or a true, dedicated fan of the classic cop comedy series, viewers on both sides of the aisle (bad political joke fully intended) will agree that the newly released eighth and final season is yet another welcome addition to either fan’s home DVD library. They will agree in watching its twenty-two total episodes that it is in fact yet another example of everything that once made television great; everything that television has lost since its golden era. That is proves primarily through its writing. The writing presented throughout this season’s episodes present just as much humor and heart as those in any of the series’ previous seasons. That is evident early on in episodes such as “Possession” and “The Tontine.” The prior of the pair presents a man who claims that he is possessed coming to the squad room and subsequently being placed in the jail cell there in the room. His actions are at times hilarious (it’s obvious at times in this episode how hard the cast fought to not break down laughing as a result) and at times pretty convincing. Obviously, neither Barney nor the rest of the squad believe the man is truly possessed. Their reactions in themselves will have audiences laughing boisterously as will the priest who is brought in to “exorcise” the man’s demon. The fact that the writers could take what is typically such a serious topic and give such a light-hearted twist just goes to show their continued talents. The same applies in “The Tontine.” “The Tontine” sees Barney and company having to keep a man from committing suicide. The man wants to die because of a deal made between himself and his cousin. Yet again here audiences get a serious topic that has incredibly been turned into fodder for so many laughs. Later as the season progresses, the writers tackle the issue of prison overcrowding in “The Clown” after a group of inmates is released from prison well before they should have been released. The sharp commentary goes after the issue of how quick certain parties were to just wash their hands of the situation and brush it under the rug in the meantime. The way that the writers handled this matter will both get audiences thinking and laughing all at once. It’s yet one more example of how the writing incorporated into the series kept it so fresh and entertaining even eight seasons in. They are hardly the only examples of how the show’s writing made it so entertaining for so long. There are nineteen other episodes from this season that proves it just as much. All twenty-two episodes together show clearly the impact of the writing this far into the show’s run. The writing alone is just part of what makes this box set so enjoyable for fans. The bonus material included with the set enhances its overall viewing experience even more.
The writing that went into Season Eight’s episodes shows clearly shows its importance in the overall enjoyment of the viewing experience here. Of course it is just one aspect of the set that makes it so enjoyable for audiences and fans of the show alike. The extras included in this set add even more enjoyment to it. And along with the writing both elements together make for quite a bit of enjoyment. Among the most standout of the set’s bonuses is the inclusion of the series’ original pilot episode “The Life and Times of Barney Miller.” This full-length episode paints an entirely different picture from the Barney Miller that fans and audiences have come to know. And thank goodness that it didn’t work out. The home life aspect of that episode just changed the show’s whole dynamic. The version that everybody knows shows it doesn’t need that extra element. It works just fine on its own. In regards to the other bonuses included in this set, collectively those bonuses give audiences a truly in-depth look at the history and significance of Barney Miller in whole. It also gives an equally in-depth look at the show’s cast from the mouths of the cast itself. Whether for the bonus history lessons on the series or the bonus full-length pilot episode, audiences will agree that the material included in Season Eight’s set is in fact collectively a true bonus for fans and audiences alike. Along with the work of the show’s writers both elements together strengthen the argument even more that this final collection of episodes is a welcome addition to the home DVD library of audiences and any of the show’s fans alike.
Both the writing behind each of the season’s episodes and the bonus material included in the set are key to audiences’ enjoyment in their overall viewing experience. Together they make for a wonderful viewing experience. However, they still are not all that should be noted here. The overall packaging used in this set is just as key in its viewing experience. Yet again, the packaging of the discs themselves has been given the utmost attention as all three discs have been placed on their own spindle inside the case. This separates the discs from one another and in turn protects them from scratching. That is just the norm for Shout! Factory. Even better in regards to the packaging is that audiences once again get a complete episode listing with short but concise outlines of each episode’s plot. The listing is printed inside the case on the front and back of the artwork covering the case. This means that audiences have a full guide as to which episodes are on which disc as well as the story behind each episode. It rounds out the whole experience in Season Eight’s box set. All three elements together show in full exactly why the eighth and final season of Barney Miller is yet another win for both audiences and fans of the series alike just as much as it is another win for Shout! Factory.
The eighth and final season of Barney Miller is yet another welcome addition to the home DVD library of any classic TV buff and of any fan of this classic cop comedy. That is thanks once again to the work of the series writers by and large. The inclusion of the set’s bonus material–especially the inclusion of the series’ original pilot episode–make the overall viewing experience here all the more enjoyable. The packaging, including both the packaging of the discs themselves and the included episode guide rounds out the whole thing. All things considered, Barney Miller: The Complete Eighth Season is another great addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library and that of any of the show’s fans. It is yet more proof of why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/barney-miller-the-final-season. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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