Some Things Never Change

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Thanks to Hulu, it is possible to watch old teevee shows and sometimes even get a sense of what bothered previous generations. The pilot and the first season of Barney Miller, for example, were full of terrorism jokes (“Japanese terrorists today hijacked an Italian jetliner, and in response, Italian terrorists blew up a Japanese restaurant” kind of thing), a nod to the anxiety of the terrorism of the mid-1970s — hijackings, bombings, the kidnapping of heiresses — in addition to the crime and decay of 1970s New York. It’s a brilliantly written and acted show, and worth watching.

One of the shows posted there is the late 1960s version of Dragnet. I confess to really enjoying the show, especially the radio version (Joe lives with his mother and actually dates girls). In the second series, Webb gets way too preachy and moralistic for my tastes — long, earnest lectures on the evils of drug abuse, for example.

But just when I thought Joe Friday had it out only for hippies and other young deviants, I came across this Dragnet episode. It seems Joe Friday spend some of his days pursuing right wing militia members. Didn’t know there was such a thing in the late 1960s. He even works with ATF agents. No jackboots, just bad suits and a little scotch.

There is nothing new under the sun, the Qoholeth said. Nothing new under the sun.

2:38 pm on July 13, 2009