|Index||2 reviews in total|
"Ramon" was the beginning of BARNEY MILLER, running for eight seasons on ABC, quite an achievement for a midseason replacement. A videotaped remake of the original pilot (THE LIFE AND TIME OF CAPTAIN BARNEY MILLER), shot on film with a mostly different cast, this version introduces Barney's family straight off: wife Elizabeth (Barbara Barrie, replacing Abby Dalton, seen in only ten further episodes), daughter Rachel (Anne Wyndham, seen only twice more), son Davey (Michael Tessier, never seen again), and Rachel's lawyer boyfriend (Mike Moore), who also was never seen again. Both pilots give us a glimpse of Barney's home life (seen again in "Graft"), which does detract from the everyday activities at the 12th Precinct. Already in place are detectives Philip Fish, the 'tired old cop' (the unforgettable Abe Vigoda), Vietnam vet Stanley Wojciehowicz (Max Gail, already chewing gum), prissy Ron Harris (Ron Glass), Chano Amenguale (Gregory Sierra, who left after two seasons), and Nick Yemana (the incomparable Jack Soo). When Fish has his gun stolen by a suspect (Chu Chu Malave, also retained from the pilot, two further episodes), Barney has to reason with the teenage addict so nobody gets shot; the remainder takes place back at the Miller home, giving the wife another round of ammunition to grouse about the dangers involved with Barney's job. The new casting of Chano provides a telling confrontation between Puerto Rican cop and Puerto Rican hood, not possible in the filmed pilot. Our first look at Fish has him complaining that he needs a vacation (taking only one aspirin), while Yemana is quickly established as a gambler who usually picks the wrong horse (no coffee gags yet). The finale is at least back in the squad room, with the sight of Harris in drag doing vice, complete with moustache (in the original this was Rod Perry's Det. Wilson, who does appear in the next episode "Experience"). One other character retained from the filmed pilot is Harry the Bookie, again played by Buddy Lester, who repeated the role in 1975's "Graft" and 1977's "Abduction" (renamed Sidney in this one).
Having heard so much about this show my wife and I sat down 22 minutes
ago to give it a chance. Here's my instant reaction
I see potential here depending on how the creative team decides to expound on the characters introduced in the first episode. Almost every show struggles through the first season, and the tone, characters, overall mood can change as the writers become more comfortable with the world that they have created.
The wife shows potential. She had some of the best lines from the first episode and her cynicism is a nice counter balance to a seemingly optimistic police officer. Speaking of her husband, the character of Barney Miller is great and Hal Linden seems to balance strength, wisdom, and empathy well as an actor. The cast of misfits at the police station haven't shown anything yet, but I'm withholding saying too much until later on in the show. Can't wait to see how it goes from here!
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