The two shows that I compared are Barney Miller and Memphis Beat. Barney Miller is a half hour sitcom that ran from 1975-1982. It is about a group of cops at the 12th precinct in New York. The show portrays six to eight people in various situations, with the majority of the shows set in the precinct. Each show seems to focus on one major problem that a character may have either that as it relates to work or their personal life. The Captain is a character that seems more like a father figure to these men.
Memphis Beat is a new hour-long show. This is also set at a precinct, although in Memphis. The main character in this show is a detective. He feels that he is the heart and soul of Memphis and that it is his personal crusade to clean Memphis of its criminals. You see al lot more of these characters portrayed in their personal lives with their spouses, parents, and children. There are about seven to eight characters and even though it is mostly a serious show, it does have its comedic moments.
Some of the cultural differences in the two shows are that there are no women working in Barney Miller; in Barney Miller, it is blatantly obvious that the precinct was integrated. There was a Hispanic, an African American, a Polish American, a Japanese American, and a Jewish American. It seems that they made an effort to show the different races while Memphis Beat seems to have natural integration. There are still the different ethnic backgrounds in Memphis Beat; you just do not notice it so much.
The similarities between the two shows are that they are both police shows. The both deal with the public and issues that arise due to a crime being committed. Unbelievably, both shows have the diverse ethnic background. The characters that are in charge seem to both be of the “therapist” type. They both seem to want to help their co-workers with the problems that they are facing.
The cultural changes that you see as you watch Memphis Beat is apparent in the way that people are treated and how they treat other people. The “more formal” approach when dealing with women is not evident. More women seem to be in charge and the storylines portray them as strong individuals. I also notice that the men on Memphis Beat are more in tune with their emotions. They are not as manly and do not seem to be the one that has to be in charge.