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


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#1 of 51 Neil Brock

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Posted May 27 2013 - 07:10 AM

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 of 51 Gary16

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Posted May 27 2013 - 07:17 AM

May I ask where/how you are seeing all these programs?

#3 of 51 Frank Soyke

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Posted May 27 2013 - 04:47 PM

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 of 51 BobO'Link

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Posted May 27 2013 - 05:43 PM

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.


Edited by BobO'Link, May 27 2013 - 05:54 PM.


#5 of 51 Neil Brock

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Posted May 27 2013 - 06:56 PM

 

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.

 

  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 of 51 Mark-P

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Posted May 27 2013 - 07:11 PM

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.


Edited by Mark-P, May 27 2013 - 07:21 PM.


#7 of 51 Peter M Fitzgerald

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Posted May 27 2013 - 07:11 PM

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.


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#8 of 51 Frank Soyke

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Posted May 27 2013 - 07:40 PM

  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.

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 of 51 Ron1973

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Posted May 27 2013 - 08:19 PM

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.

http://www.tvobscuri...es/thegoodlife/


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#10 of 51 jimmyjet

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Posted May 27 2013 - 08:45 PM

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.

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 of 51 JoeDoakes

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Posted May 27 2013 - 09:17 PM

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 of 51 DaveHof2

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Posted May 27 2013 - 09:19 PM

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 of 51 Ejanss

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Posted May 27 2013 - 10:00 PM

 I won't discuss my political leanings, but the Lear shows are ridiculous, particularly Maude.

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.)

 

  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.

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.)

 

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.

 

"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.


Edited by Ejanss, May 27 2013 - 10:10 PM.

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#14 of 51 JMFabianoRPL

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:30 AM

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. 


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#15 of 51 Rob_Ray

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:56 AM

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. 

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 of 51 Mr. Handley

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Posted May 28 2013 - 09:50 AM

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 of 51 Richard V

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Posted May 28 2013 - 10:44 AM

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!

 

 

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


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#18 of 51 Neil Brock

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Posted May 28 2013 - 11:21 AM

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!

 

  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 of 51 Neil Brock

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Posted May 28 2013 - 11:23 AM

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.

 

   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 of 51 Neil Brock

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Posted May 28 2013 - 11:27 AM

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.

 

   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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