My new revelation - 70s TV wasn't that bad!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Brock, May 27, 2013.

  1. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Just the shows that were popular and that did well stunk. All of the Aaron Spelling and Garry Marshall simplistic crap dominated the ratings. The Norman Lear shows were funny but so angry and so one-sided politically. Other than some very fine MTM produced shows which did well, there were actually quite a number of very good shows from the decade. Unfortunately very few lasted more than a season. But among the short-run shows that were really good: James at 15, Paper Chase, What Really Happened to the Class of '65, Doctors Hospital, Medical Story, Love Story, The Andros Targets, The Young Lawyers, Longstreet, Dan August, The Immortal, Most Wanted, Toma, Sons and Daughters, Sara, Lucas Tanner, Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected and Kaz. I've gotten into watching these shows lately as I never saw most of them when they aired and I have to say, my opinions have changes. Even some of the short-run sitcoms that I've watched, like The Nancy Walker Show, Adam's Rib, A Touch of Grace, The Good Life, Here We Go Again, The Don Rickles Show, The Paul Lynde Show and Calucci's Department were pretty good. And of course, Bridget Loves Bernie is a classic. I'm so glad that I gave the decade another chance, even if it is 30+ years after the fact. Next up, I'm going to try Mulligan's Stew, Westside Medical, MacKenzies of Paradise Cove, Kingston Confidential, Rafferty and Cade's County. Who knew they could actually make this many good shows in color!
     
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  2. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    May I ask where/how you are seeing all these programs?
     
  3. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    I agee with you completely, The most popular shows were complete crap. As dicated by the board rules, I won't discuss my political leanings, but the Lear shows are ridiculous, particularly Maude. A lot of the short lived stuff was great. You mentioned Kaz, which is incredible. Gemini Man is a great and Executive Suite was a good forerunner to the 80's primetime soaps. Among longer runners, the crime shows of the era (Cannon, Streets, Baretta, Mannix cont., Ironside, Switch, Columbo, Barnaby Jones) are the best in TV history IMO.
     
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  4. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    I looked up the series that *debuted* in that decade as my recollections are it was one where I as "waiting for *good* TV shows to return". I spent the first half in HS/college and really didn't watch that much TV as I had too many activities that took up lots of time. I *hated* the Lear "comedies" in spite of being smack in the middle of the desired demographic for those series and didn't care for many of the "popular" series. I have very vague recollections of *some* of those listed by Neil and most I don't recall at all.

    After looking over the series that had their debut during the 70s I came up with these that I would make attempts to watch regularly.

    The Odd Couple
    Bridget Loves Bernie
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    The Bob Newhart Show
    Soap
    WKRP
    M*A*S*H
    Kung Fu
    The Rockford Files
    Barnaby Jones
    Petrocelli
    The Paper Chase

    I'd still say it was a pretty lackluster decade for TV in spite of having a few true standouts. You have to understand that I remember watching TV programs from 1959 on and spent the 60s trying to decide *which* series I wanted to watch the most on any given night as typically there were several *good* series in conflict almost every night. I went from a surplus of quality programs from which to choose to spending the 70s trying to decide if there was anything on good enough to watch. In spite of that I'd probably now give most of the single season programs a chance simply because I didn't have time when they first aired.

    The Good Life, while a *very* good program, is British and didn't air on US network TV although it *did* air on some local PBS stations as Good Neighbors. I didn't see this one until about 12 years ago.
     
  5. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    The Good Life was a funny AMERICAN sitcom starring Larry Hagman and Donna Mills which lasted for a half season. Don't know what show you are thinking of.
     
  6. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Interesting fact about Bridget Loves Bernie, is that for its single season, it was #5 in the ratings and got cancelled which was an extremely rare occurrence for a top-ten show. Why was it cancelled? Because CBS was intimidated by all the hate mail it received from people who were offended by the interfaith romance.
     
  7. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Neil,

    Speaking of short-lived '70s shows, have you seen any of DIANA (1973)? If so, was it any good at all? From what I've read, it was a MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW wannabe, but I wonder if it had any merit on its own terms (apart from starring a talented actress), or if it was just blandsville, in its failed efforts to duplicate TMTMS's success.
     
  8. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    It was a long running British sitcom starring Richard Bryers and Felicity Kendell. it was often used as the butt of jokes on eps of The Young Ones.
     
  9. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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  10. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    gosh, i can recall doing the same thing, as a kid. i think what most of us tried to do was watch the re-runs in summer of the shows that we did not watch during the regular season.
     
  11. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    By the Don Rickles Show do you mean CPO Sharkey? I recall watching and liking it until it was unjustly cancelled. I also like the show Nancy Walker had.
     
  12. DaveHof2

    DaveHof2 Second Unit

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    I'd add "Family" to the list of qualiy '70s shows, even it was overly earnest on occasion. I also wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the frothier Spelling shows, which represented a niche that TV viewers have found appealing since Milton Berle - carefree escapist entertainment. You can't grade Charlie's Angels by the same criteria as Columbo, or compare The Love Boat to The Paper Chase. Their goals were less sophisticated, but in what they were trying to accomplish they were successful.
     
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  13. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    I remember when Norman Lear tried to make his "comeback" in the 90's with Sunday Dinner, and then, to remind us that he was NORMAN LEAR, CBS filled out the hour slot with vintage classic 70's reruns of All in the Family. Guess which stayed on the air longer.
    (in fact, the reruns were appearing right around the time that syndicated reruns were disappearing off onto cable, and may have helped spark the renaissance interest in classic DVD boxset reruns in the 90's. I recall AitF was the most hotly requested classic DVD rerun when studios started announcing them.)
    Like he said, "Good Neighbors" (North American title), with Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and a pre-"Yes Minister" Paul Eddington, and arguably part of the great 70's Golden Age of imported Britoms in the US.
    (And which had to change its title for the US because of the half-season show.)
    "They're so bloody NICE!!!" (And they were, too. :) )


    As for my take, I was there in the 70's (mid-late 70's, anyway), and I still get more entertainment value out of Netflixing Columbo, Mission: Impossible and Mary Tyler Moore/Bob Newhart (on Hulu) than any reality show cable can scrape up to avoid using union actors.
    Or even more than the hyper-cinematic network series that try to convince us "TV should be like the movies!", unlike the days when TV was TV, and movies were on Sunday nights or local stations.
     
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  14. JMFabianoRPL

    JMFabianoRPL Stunt Coordinator

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    I think '70s TV was good in general, even the fluff. I have a soft spot, for instance, for the Marshall shows...well, by the time they got into the '80s they got mostly inexcusable. But yes, MTM and Lear carried most of the load for innovation.
     
  15. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    And the MTM shows did it without all the political baggage which dates the Norman Lear shows. Thank goodness Mary Richards and Emily Hartley never insisted that they be addressed as "Ms" like Ann Romano did.
     
  16. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    I think the 1970s was one of the BEST decades for TV. As a child of the 1970s, I admit I'm biased, but here's just a sample of my favorites:

    Alice
    All In The Family
    Baretta
    Barnaby Jones
    Barney Miller
    Bill Cosby Show
    Bob Newhart Show
    Cannon
    Carol Burnett Show
    Eight Is Enough
    Family
    Good Times
    Hawaii Five-O
    Ironside
    Jeffersons
    Kojak
    Little House On The Prairie
    Lou Grant
    Mannix
    Marcus Welby, M.D.
    Mary Tyler Moore Show
    MASH
    Maude
    Odd Couple
    Police Story
    Rhoda
    Rockford Files
    Room 222
    Sanford And Son
    Soap
    Starsky And Hutch
    Streets Of San Francisco
    Taxi
    Three's Company
    Waltons

    And those are just some of the prime-time shows!
     
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  17. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Rafferty and Cade's County are both very good shows.
     
  18. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Every single show on your list was popular and ran for a long time. You mean to tell me that you didn't like one show in the entire decade that didn't last long?
     
  19. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    I've seen a few and for whatever reason, it didn't really work. Bad writing I would guess. It's been a few years since I watched them.
     
  20. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    No, by the Don Rickles Show, I mean The Don Rickles Show. Louise Sorel played his wife, Erin Moran played his daughter. It was a funny show but when Fred Silverman took over CBS, it wasn't his show so he buried it at 10:30 on Friday night. If ever there was a timeslot that a show was guaranteed to fail, this was it. I loved Rickles and even I never saw the show in its original airings.
     

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