Saturday, June 13, 2015

THE SEVENTIES: "Must-See" TV, Indeed!

"Must-See" TV, Indeed!

As a connoisseur of
all things '70s, this
is a shag-covered,
quadraphonic dream
come true — with
"Kung Fu Grip!"
Yo, Hanks — what
took ya so long?

At the risk of stepping up onto my old weather-beaten soapbox, I must confess that I had TV service disconnected from my home back in 2008. Not that I'm some raging right-wing wacko (necessarily), it simply became a medium in which I no longer had much interest. Especially after Hannah Montana  was cancelled, continuing service just seemed kinda pointless. However, I'm not out of the loop completely — I do still find myself hanging out occasionally at friends' homes who possesses boob tube capability. And from the cast of counterfeit Couric cuties in the morning to the procession of anger-driven afternoon "reality" shows to the slew of nighttime programming options that feature D-List dancers, crazy cougars, sleazy socialites and pretentious political pundits, I just can't see that I'm missing much — although the middle is pretty doggone funny and Julie Bowen is super-hot!

The 1970s - the "Platinum-Age" of television.
But something piqued my interest last week. In between commercials for a male enhancement pill and a feminine hygiene cream, I saw a trailer for what looked to be a truly spectacular upcoming documentary series  The Seventies.

Debuting June 11th, the eight-part, one-hour weekly CNN series airs on Thursdays at 9pm (EST). Produced by Gary Goetzman and Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks, The Seventies unpacks and delves into one of our nation's most fascinating and turbulent periods. From political unrest to social upheaval to most all aspects of pop culture, it offers a compelling and fast-paced "101" history lesson. 

(Richard Nixon - circa '72)
Entitled, "Television Gets Real," Episode 1 was riveting, indeed. For those who associate the decade merely with old-fashioned, squeaky-clean images of John-Boy or The Fonz, and such iconic catch phrases as "Dyn-O-Mite" and "Nanu Nanu," your recollections or perceptions would be less than on-point. This debut installment dares to "get real" and takes viewers back to the controversial "Platinum Era" of television when words like "nigger," "fag" and "spic" were actually spoken on network airwaves and in prime time, no less.

Yes, the 1970s was a decade of ground-breaking programming that truly revolutionized the medium. And The Seventies examines such game-changers as Monday Night Football and Saturday Night Live, as well the explosion of HBO, ESPN and the mini-series.

An engaging "photo album," Episode 1 also reunites viewers with an array of "old friends," from Edith and Archie to Mary and Rhoda to George and Weezy to Hawkeye, Sabrina and Maude,

Nothing sweeter than the sounds of the '70s!
Simply put, The Seventies is so well-done, that it could be expanded easily to two-hour episodes and still remain gripping. And for a groovy guy like myself who grew up during those glorious polyester-clad days of mood rings, Manilow and "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha," I'm impressed thoroughly with the series thus far and I recommend it highly. "Must-see" TV, indeed.

I sure hope that they get around to the super-awesome Nixon stuff — soon!

-Christopher Long
(June 2015)

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