I'm always surprised when I talk to people my age (or thereabouts) and they say they never watched M*A*S*H. It was so good and I wonder what they had to do that was better on a Wednesday night. Maybe they had rocking social lives.
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was a black comedy set in the Korean war. The film was a proper black comedy (if you've not seen the film, stop reading and go and watch it now). However the TV show was a little sweeter and more sentimental. The early seasons were sensational with the original cast of Frank, Trapper, Henry and Radar. It was truly hilarious. I was too young to watch those early seasons when they aired and so I probably came to it when they brought in BJ Hunnicutt and Charles Winchester. I've since watched them all of course and the early episodes are the best. The show lost a little something when Radar went home. As for killing Henry Blake, I still well up thinking about it.
In my research to bring you this post (mainly, looking up how to spell Hunnicutt), I read that the finale of the show had 106 million viewers. Extraordinary. It was one of the best finales to a tv show ever. When Hotlips and Hawkeye finally kiss! When Hunnicutt spells out Goodbye. It was fantastic.
My criticisms of it are I always found Klinger very unfunny and Alan Alda's sentimentality made the later shows a bit harder to enjoy. Minor points in the grand scale of things though and Hotlips atoned for all that - she was one of the best TV characters ever.
It also had great opening credits that captured the show perfectly. Here they are if a little fuzzy.