Monday, August 3, 2009

Death Week

I thought I'd be a ray of sunshine and talk about death in sitcoms, not "Henry Blake" type deaths but ones where the actor's unexpected death actually takes the wind out of a series.

The first one I can recall is actor Jack Soo who played Detective Nick Yemana on "Barney Miller" for 80 episodes before falling to Cancer in 1978. "Miller" had a truly great ensemble cast and Soo was a big part of that, his laid back style and incredibly wry wit were sorely missed. Without a doubt, Yemana was my favourite character on the series, watch the clips, the humour is actually timeless.

Perhaps because of the great ensemble and good writing, "Barney Miller" would run another 80 episodes and remain a quality program, this is one of the few examples of a show that survived a sudden cast member death as we'll explore the rest of the week.


Wings said...

I may be morbid, but a week like this is cool, to me.

I don't remember Soo from his original run (at 7, I wasn't watching Barney Miller) but I did like him in reruns.

Can't wait to see who's next!

wee67 said...

Good start! I can't say he was my favorite, but I always thought the ensemble had a great balance- each member adding something important. Maybe is was Soo's death or maybe it was just the natural course of running out of steam, but the show did seem to go down hill.

Jon K said...

That is a good start... I presume you'll be hitting Night Court during this review, as well?

rob! said...

Interesting, if kinda sad, idea for a theme week Brian.

A couple good examples: Night Court, Cheers, The West Wing, The Simpsons.