That is, this series started out in 1972 to capitalize on the antipathy people had towards the Vietnam War, plus it blended well with the anti-establishment theme of the CBS prime time lineup as well. Then something horrible happened - that is for those financially backing the show - four months into production the Vietnam War effectively ended. Also, it was announced the draft would end. Poof. There goes the show's reason for existence. This is where the show "rolled with the punches". Rather than just dry up and blow away as an artifact of a time that had come and gone, it explored new avenues and ways to stay relevant. It explored friendship, maintaining family ties when far from home, and the shock of sudden death. At the end of eleven years, when the show called it a day, you had two characters that loathed each other in the beginning of the series practically declaring their love for one another, although they knew in peacetime it could never be.If you ever decide to go whole hog and buy the complete series, have patience with it. The first three episodes are not that good - the humor is very forced and were it not for the laugh track you might not get that a joke had just been told. But it does get much better rather quickly. Back in 1972 network shows were allowed time to get better. Now some network bean counter just pulls the plug and drags out some reality show replacement.
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