What are your Top 5 LEAST favorite shows from the 70s?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Brock, May 18, 2014.

  1. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Maude - Unlike All in the Family, which at least tried to have characters on both sides of the political fence, Maude was just a one-sided liberal diatribe, with no formidible opposition. This was no doubt due to Norman Lear believing all of the claptrap that he had the main character spewing but it wound up making for a less interesting show. What would be referred to in wrestling parlance as a squash match.Storefront Lawyers aka Men At Law - CBS tries to out-ABC ABC with this typical early 70s relevant show. All poor people good, everyone else bad.Matt Lincoln - Vince Edwards as a caring, concerned psychiatrist. Ponderous series and you keep waiting and hoping for his inner Ben Casey to come out and let somebody have it! Never happens.The Man and The City - Another rotten idea. Take Anthony Quinn, another fiery, passionate actor and like with Edwards, totally neuter him to the point that his mayor character might as well be played by Wally Cox.Bronk - Once again, taking Jack Palance, who spent his career playing total badasses, and making him this contemplative, cerebral character. Like turning Clint Eastwood into Jim Rockford.
     
  2. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    I'll jump in.

    Columbo: I know everyone loves it. I'll be lynched for saying otherwise but Columbo just drives me nuts. I'm surpirsed that someone didn't try to kill him long before that episode in the late 80s early 90s revival of the series.

    Good Times: Two words: Jimmy Walker. Ugh! He was totally annoying. Then there was the building super Booker. Another useless character.

    Love Boat: The first couple of pilot movies and the first season were ok, but the show fell very quickly into the same thing over and over and over and over. Boring.

    Fantasy Island: Again, started off ok but then Rourke started to develope God like powers and I just couldn't believe in the series any longer.

    CHiPs: Quickly became all about Ponch and Disco. No wonder Larry Wilcox left.
     
  3. atfree

    atfree Cinematographer
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    1.- The Lear comedies (All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, et al): they were funny but so loud, obnoxious, making social commentary by beating it into the ground. 2.- Baretta- just didn't like Robert Blake's caricature of street-tough turned cop.3.- The Waltons- boring, treacly, blah4.- Little House on the Prairie- see Waltons, The5.- Any doctor show (Marcus Welby, Medical Center, et al)- disease of the week, anyone?
     
  4. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I avoided:

    One Day at a Time
    The Streets of San Francisco
    Baretta
    Starsky & Hutch
    Maude
     
  5. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    I've never watched much of Maude but that was the impression I got of it, too. Personally, though, I rather felt the same of All in the Family. The token conservative in Archie was presented as bigoted in every way possible though at the very least Mike was shown to be just as bad as Archie in some cases.

    I've never watched Store Front Lawyers but the Ventures did a song that was included as a bonus on a CD with that name. I always said it sounded like a 70's TV theme song and now I guess I know it is!
    I was forced to watch those two growing up and I despised them! I can handle Love Boat a little better than Fantasy Island but I still found them on the dumb side as a kid. The local ABC affiliate showed Hee Haw at 6 and then those two shows followed. Odd that I only like Hee Haw of the three.... :lol:
     
  6. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Oh, they always tried to kill him, that was the idea--But the show works better when you realize Columbo was secretly a genius and was DELIBERATELY annoying the heck out of his suspects. (To make them nervous enough to panic, blow their cover, and try to silence the last missing witness/clue, leading the Lt. straight to it. He planned it that way all along.) That was why all the suspects were rich, privileged jerks, you see, so they could be outwitted.
    He'd buddy up to them....Be annoyingly helpful....Drop another clue-bomb to see their reaction....Ease them down, go along with their alibi, pretending to be perfectly clueless and more annoyingly helpful...Drop the One More Thing on his way out the door....Let them bury themselves in a little more of their celebrity success...And then show up the next day, right at their successful celebrity place of work. It was so flawlessly and mercilessly sadistic, you rooted for him.
    And by the time the suspect thought he had all the evidence buried, the detective beat, his airline ticket out of town, and dropped the Smug Line ("I'd give up on this one, Lieutenant, it's clear the killer's too smart for you"), he KNEW he had them. :)


    Now, Kate Mulgrew in "Mrs. Columbo", OTOH, wasn't a super-aware genius, and "helpfully" annoyed her suspects into trying to kill her by accident. That's not how you do it.


    So, which show OFFICIALLY killed off Overbearingly Hostile-Leftwing 70's Lear Sitcoms? - Maude, or One Day At a Time? The debate continues.

    I'm also having a hard time remembering why I liked Laverne & Shirley so much:
    Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams had comic timing, and Michael McKean went on to Spinal Tap, but the show celebrated squalid stupidity in a way Lucy never did, and this was the age when the good-natured comfort-food of Gary Marshall was segueing into the cheesy commercialized rib-nudging of Miller & Milkis. (Who gave us the half of Mork & Mindy that Robin Williams wasn't in.)
    Although I remember TV Guide describing Williams' Shirley as "Delivering all her lines as if she was falling off the top of a tall building."
     
  7. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    1-MASH. As time went on, it gave no pretense of being authentic to the time period it was taking place in, and it became a soapbox show of the worst kind. I went through the rerun cycles many times growing up and now the show is unwatchable for me.

    2-Soap. In a word, tasteless. Not even the presence of Barbara Rhoades in the last season can make me sample it.

    3-Supertrain. In a word, DUMB! Maybe the dumbest most mind-numbingly awful series ever. "Love Boat" at least had a harmless, fluff format that you could accept in the relaxing confines of a leisurely cruise. But there was no way you could transfer that credibly to a cross-country train without having the amenities dwarf everything and render storytelling impossible. I remember being totally slack-jawed with disbelief when I watched its "Prisoner of Zenda" episode with Roy Thinnes as a presidential candidate kidnapped by a gang of midgets and his long-lost twin substituted in place of him and candidate's wife Loretta Swit falls in love with the replacement. The ultimate comment on how they had no idea how to write stories for this show.

    4-Mrs. Columbo. In a word, insulting. Fred Silverman was only interested in trying to make Kate Mulgrew a star and he put her in a show that was offensive to all fans of Columbo (I have never watched the "bonus" episodes of that show they included in certain season releases of "Columbo") and then the offensiveness was compounded when they tried to adjust the format and say she was divorced from Columbo!! (before then dropping the Columbo association altogether).

    5-One Day At A Time/Maude. The two Lear sitcom hits of the decade that have aged badly. AITF I give points to for a funny ensemble and some funny scripts when not being offensive (the "Draft Dodger" episode ties for the most reviled individual episode of the decade for me, along with a "Police Woman" episode that has her bonding with an Angela Davis clone spouting love letters to Karl Marx and the Soviet Union).
     
  8. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    1. Scooby Doo (any incarnation) - I mostly watched the earlier versions, Scooby Doo Where Are You? and The New Scooby Doo Movies as a kid, mostly because they were what was on at the time, and we only got a few local channels, but I never really liked them. Here you had a cartoon world, but all the ghosts and monsters were revealed as fakes, the "mysteries" weren't mysteries, the plot was exactly the same each episode and the comedy wasn't funny. They brought in real monsters later, but it was too late, plus you had Scrappy (and Dynomutt), which made something that was already fairly mediocre-to-poor, intolerably worse. And then, onward came the legion of rip-off shows, though I have a slight soft spot for Josie & the Pussycats, since you had basically three Daphnes, and actual monsters, supervillains and mad scientists running around. Truth be told, I could probably pile nearly every 1970s cartoon series in this spot, especially Hanna-Barbara's output, other than maybe a couple Filmation hero shows (Flash Gordon, most notably), as this era was the cheapjack,, cookie-cutter nadir of made-for-TV cartoons (not counting isolated, earlier offenders, like Clutch Cargo). This was due to a combination of lower budgets, creative fatigue and meddling by do-gooder watchdogs like Peggy Charren's Action for Children's Television. I know there are a lot of fans of 1970s Saturday morning cartoons, but I'm not one of them (even though I'm generally a cartoon/animation fan). Some things are best left to naive childhood memories. The continued, multi-generational popularity of Scooby Doo is very disappointing to me, and makes me weep for the future (if any) of the human race. This is why we can't have nice things. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch that Lost in Space episode where Dr. Smith becomes a space hippie....

    2. The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams - I actually loved this in first-run as a kid, but then saw it later and seriously questioned where my pre-teen head was at. Schmaltzy, contrived drek... Jeremiah Johnson as Mary Poppins.

    3. The Dukes of Hazzard - I saw bits of it, rather than full episodes, but it held no appeal. I wasn't a teen yet, back then, so Daisy Duke wasn't even a draw. But it was super-popular, being a weekly Smokey & the Bandit clone, so was on all the time... you were well-aware of it, even if you didn't avidly watch it, similar to something like Jersey Shore in recent years, in terms of visibility (rather than content). And then the spin-offs... Enos, Sheriff Lobo, B.J. and the Bear... I just couldn't take it.

    4. Maude - I never really watched it, in terms of actually sitting through more than an entire episode or two (probably more like my seeing the Maude character introduced first on All in the Family), but I saw enough of it at the time to know it was something worth avoiding.

    5. MASH - Watched it with the family at the time, all the way through to the highly-rated final episode. Sort of enjoyed it then, but the later seasons got so sanctimonious and preachy, and the earlier comedy episodes weren't all that great, imo, especially after watching the Robert Altman movie version, later on. Also, the endless repeats in the 1980s burned-out and killed whatever appeal remained, so now I hold the show with a heavy degree of contempt, even though Larry Linville's Frank Burns could be funny at times.
     
  9. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    This one is hard for me as I consider most of the programs of the 70s to be horrible. In spite of that I watched a *LOT* of TV in the 70s. This was pre-VCR days and I'd find *something* to watch every night I was home. Because of that I've seen entire runs of many shows I'd have not watched beyond a episode or two had they run in the 50s or 60s.

    I'm going to cheat, like atfree, and lump the Norman Lear comedy series as a whole as most were repeats of the same formula.

    1. What's Happening - Fred "Rerun" Berry. 'Nuf said. A few episodes I've seen that seemingly do *not* feature him are somewhat watchable.

    2. Norman Lear sitcoms (All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Hot L Baltimore, One Day at a Time, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, All's Fair, All that Glitters, Fernwood 2 Night, America 2-Night, Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, Archie Bunker's Place). Part of my general dislike of his programs are that many look like a filmed play. I'm not a fan of "the stage" and filming a play won't do it for me. I *do* like films/shows based on stage plays, it's the presentation of staged material that disagrees with me. Other than that it was the generally *loud* and abrasive nature of most of his main characters. Even the acting and timing on many of his shows seems off to me. Yeah, they could be histerical at times but those times were few and far between for me.

    3. The Happy Days spinoff group: Lavern and Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi (OK... JLC was in the 80s but it's still horrible). I liked Happy Days until right before it defined "Jump the Shark" but the spinoffs I found horrible. I've *never* been a fan of Robin Williams and his style of comedy (he's too much like Jonathan Winters, another comedian I do not care for) so a dislike of Mork & Mindy was built-in.

    4. Three's Company (the British original, Man about the House, is far superior) and its spinoffs, The Ropers and Three's a Crowd

    5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoffs: Rhoda and Phyllis. MTM is a true classic and a favorite. But I *never* cared for either of the characters of Rhoda and Phyllis so not liking their spinoffs was just natural.

    Honorable mentions:

    Chico and the Man - Supposedly this is based on a couple of routines by Cheech and Chong and they were initially asked to star in the series. Maybe it would have been better with them but who knows? It felt like a Sanford and Son rip-off in a different ethnic neighborhood.
    The Love Boat and Fantasy Island - Grouped because together they gave a *very* good reason to *not* stay home on Saturday nights!
    The Dukes of Hazzard - I never got into this one. It was a bit too "redneck" for me. Some of my friends watched but only for Daisy Duke.
    Galactica 1980 - Seemingly took the worst of the original series and expanded upon it. Why did no one think of using their time travel devices to just go back and stop the Cylons? At least that might have been of some interest.
     
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  10. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    Well said. Sums up my feeling about Scooby Doo and the cartoon climate of that decade very well! My grandkids *love* Scooby Doo much to my chagrin. :( I picked up a copy of Josie & the Pussycats as a blind buy at BL a few years back ($3 during the WB TV series dumping incident) and finally opened it for them last year. They enjoyed it and I thought it was superior to Scooby Doo, although not by much. I kept noticing the sameness in the voices (which I noticed, and was annoyed by, in cartoons even as a kid) which I found distracting.

    Even though I was of college age early in the decade I *still* enjoyed my Saturday morning cartoons until they got castrated by do-gooder organizations in the 70s. I think the last thing I even attempted to watch on Saturday mornings was The Secrets of Isis but that was mainly due to the presence of JoAnna Cameron as I was somewhat turned off by its "soapbox" approach to story telling. I felt like I was watching a truncated ABC Afterschool Special (I never liked those either) most of the time.
     
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  11. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Uh, no not nuff said because Jimmie Walker was "Good Times". Are you thinking of Fred "Rerun" Berry if it's "What's Happening?" you meant to diss?
     
  12. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]Yep... all of those kind of run together in my head... Fixed! Thanks! :D
     
  13. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I have to admit, I share "Raj's" incredulity when he shouts at Rerun, "YOU WORSHIP A HEAD OF LETTUCE????" :D
     
  14. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    It's easy to fall into the Cartoon Network trap of punishing the Scooby Doo franchise--even the first series!--for all the sins committed by 70's network Saturday-morning by other mystery-teens.
    Too easy, and you're just giving aid and comfort to that dopey/hostile live-action movie. (Just because CN's school-bullying of Hanna-Barbera also obsessively hounded "Jabberjaw" to punish the Scooby-clone years doesn't make it right.)
    Although, to be fair, that was a concession to the networks, after H-B spent years trying to placate ABC kids-programming about how a show about ghosts and haunted houses wouldn't actually be "scary"--Ah, they weren't really ghosts and monsters, you see!
    As for the comedy, the first few seasons of the show were still directed by Hanna and Barbera, before the more assembly-line Iwao Takamoto and Charles A. Nichols Superfriends years set in.
    Sunn Classic Pictures, which sent us in search of Noah's Ark and Historic Jesus, was, like the Osmonds, another Salt Lake City company trying to establish a family-values Mormonwood, and Grizzly (and half a dozen other mountain-family movies) was their other big moneymaking franchise.

    Even the In Search Of's were just lame excuses to recycle pilot footage they'd shot for biblical and historical epics, and they didn't get their big Old Testament series until that one in the 80's with Donny Most as Daniel.
     
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  15. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Ah, but you see, to my mind, that's damning the original Scooby show with faint praise. Sure, it's probably a degree or two better than the later, even-more-assembly-line Takamoto/Nichols efforts, but that's not saying much. H-B was, for the most part, pretty "assembly-line" (creatively-speaking) as it was, to begin with. I never thought H-B's own directed stuff was all that funny... even their Tom & Jerry theatrical shorts, comedy-wise, were pretty weak tea. Beautiful to look at, fast, with fluid, expressive animation by some of the best in the business (including Joe Barbera, who was a pretty incredible artist, to the end of his days) but other than a few exceptions, rather bland. Tex Avery's rival MGM unit (and the WB cartoon powerhouse of the 1940s/50s) forced them to up their game a bit, otherwise they'd be making essentially 2nd generation cutesy Harmon-Ising cartoons (which is where they came from) for the duration of their theatrical careers.

    I watched most of their 1960s cartoon shows, in 1970s reruns, but never really liked the majority of them, beyond filling time, apart from Jonny Quest (and to a lesser extent, some other adventure cartoons like Space Ghost, Fantastic Four and The Herculoids, plus the bizarro The New Adventures of Huck Finn, which was an early-prime Sunday series, originally), which I loved... but, creatively-speaking, JQ was pretty much Doug Wildey's baby, and also a prime-time show meant to appeal to older audiences as well as the kiddies, and there's no way that type of stuff was going into a new Saturday-am show in 1969-70. Their other shows in the 1950s/1960s were uniformly good-looking, with excellent design, and other attractive surface details (good voice casts, music, etc), but the stories and characters were rote, dumbed-down and (again) bland. I don't even think the first season or so of The Flintstones are all that much to write home about, beyond the visuals. :eek:

    Getting back to Scooby... par for the times, the background paintings in it were nice, the character designs were solid, and the Hoyt Curtain music was good, as usual. Yes, they were under network constraints, as far as content (not that they were ever going to go into dangerous or excessive territory, if left to their own devices)... but I think the show was still pretty lousy, entertainment-wise, from the outset. I don't care about the live-action Scooby movies, or whatever snarky treatment Cartoon Network gave Scooby later (which didn't stop CN from filling the hours with lots of Scooby, one of the many things that drove me from the network, years ago). My disdain for the series predated both by decades.
     
  16. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    Love a lot of the series mentioned here but that is not the topic right now. While I do not like the following series, I am not saying they are bad, just not my cup of tea. Some of these have been mentioned before though: Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Chips, An American Family (reality TV should never exist) and a cartoon The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo. People seem to put down Scooby, I found him fun, this cartoon about Nemo is the worse I have ever seen.
     
  17. Brian Himes

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    Actually, not one of the killers from the entire 70s run of the series ever tried to kill Columbo. I don't know which episode it was, but someone didn't try to kill Columbo until the series was revived in the late 80s.

    Not all of the suspects were rich, priviledged jerks. Quite a few of them Columbo actually liked and admired. I didn't find Columbo to be a genius. He was just annoying. I loved the Leonard Nimoy episode from 1973. He almost got away with the murder. I loved watching Columbo run into one dead end after another and get really, really angry that he just couldn't pin the murder on Nimoy. Of course, Columbo got him in the end, but I was so hoping that someone, anyone would just once get away with the crime. I so wanted to see Columbo with egg on his face. Just once.
     
  18. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Actually in the final two seasons, there were two instances where the murderer tries to kill Columbo. First Louis Jourdan and then Nicol Williamson (by trying to get his dogs that he's programmed to commit murder before to attack Columbo).

    And Columbo as established originally by Levinson and Link is indeed a genius who as Gene Barry (the first Columbo killer) observes "plays the clown" and that he hides his intelligence by pretending to be something he's not. As time went by though, and Columbo became more of a phenomenon they began to weigh the character down with too many gimmicks that were not part of the character originally (the dog and Falk's constant humming of "This Old Man") and Falk began to play the character with a more comedic and less restrained element like in the first season. Come the 90s, Falk was playing Columbo no differently than if he were doing a variety show sketch and combined with very inferior scripts compared to the brilliant ones of the 70s, and the result was a pale echo of one of the best shows on TV in the 70s and of all time IMO.
     
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  19. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    You can even see him purposefully switching to the "Bumbling" act when he's trying to coax shy bystander witnesses into giving up evidence--
    It's all a conscious act, and when he just happens to keep showing up at the suspect's studio or office, just goading the suspect into going blood-simple and losing his cool, you know he's doing it on purpose.
    Oo, owie. The "This Old Man" gimmick in the fifth season came from the two episodes that Patrick McGoohan directed ("Identity Crisis" and "Last Salute to the Commodore")...Where, like all his other "artsy" touches for his directed Prisoner episodes, McGoohan thought that having simple children's-tunes show up would have strange symbolic artistic meaning in the show.
    In addition to playing Columbo as a tougher "American-cop detective"--which went completely against his style that was the premise of the show--McGoohan thought it would show the lieutenant's internal thought wheels if he kept whistling "This Old Man". Unfortunately, later director James Frawley hadn't seen many Prisoner episodes, thought it was funny, and let it be his "funny" catch-gimmick tune. (Aside from the McGoohans, it only turns up in the Frawley episodes.) Uh, no, Jim, that's...not really why. :rolleyes:
     
  20. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    In fairness to Mr. McGoohan, the tune first appears in the Leo Penn-directed Any Old Port in a Storm and is used in its orchestral glory in Jonathan Demme's Murder Under Glass. (Columbo goes out of his way to torture Robert Vaughn with it in Ben Gazzara's Troubled Waters also.) Using This Old Man had been Falk's idea and he really liked it. McGoohan clearly liked it also, and maybe for reasons of his own, but it was in the show before either McGoohan or Frawley directed any episodes.
     
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