I adored "Cheers" on its original release in the early 80's and have lately been revisiting my adoration in catching re-runs right back to the first series. Like the best series, it makes you stay with it, through series after series, cast changes or not, like other American favourites of mine "The Mary Tyler-Moore Show", "Rhoda" "M.A.S.H." "Taxi" "Newhart" and more recently "Friends". Indeed it's easy to see "Cheers" influence on the latter, both fixing much of the action on a popular drinking hole. This was back in the days when writers wrote laugh-out-loud jokes and characters you could empathise with unlike today's post modern ironic shows where the odd line might make you smile at best. "Cheers" always kept you watching for the next line, which more often than not brought forth a laugh. Set-bound as it was, like, say, the bridge on the Starship Enterprise, familiarity bred content as you got to know the characters and their surroundings. The characters were great from the start, Sam "Mayday" Malone, pseudo-intellectual barmaid Diane, the feral barmaid Carla, permanent bar-stool residents Cliff and Norm and best of all the dotty bar manager Coach, with a heart of pure gold. Newer characters entered as the series progressed, especially oddballs Frazier and Lilith Crane, Carla's combative husband Nick and later, the dim young barman Woody Harrelson's "Woody"(a great replacement for Coach) and Kirsty Alley's "Backseat Becky" (ditto for Diane). Great as the smart direction and comedic delivery were, it was all about the writing. Great writers like Heidi Perlman, the Charles brothers, David Lloyd and Earl Pomerantz kept the quality high, season after season as I'm sure my end-to-end re-viewing will testify. 7 down, 244 to go!