Television shows are supposed to take the edge off and allow you to relax after a long and stressful day. They’re not supposed to make you cringe because of the bad humor and questionable hosts. Although the 1970s were full of some critically-acclaimed shows, there are some that didn’t make it past one season, with some not even making it as far as five episodes!
Trust us when we say these shows are going to bring back memories you wish you kept buried. There’s a good reason you forgot about these 1970s television shows!
The Andros Target
The Andros Target is a 1977 drama series starring James Sutorius as Mike Andros. The story centers around the crusading newspaper reporter who uncovers corruption in New York City. The show only aired from January 31 to May 16, 1977, for a total of 13 episodes.
In addition to the plotline sounding weirdly like Peter Parker working at a paper and uncovering corruption, this show did not get great reviews. One reviewer said, “Andros seemed to be a humorless (or unfunny?) character. While it was a break away from the stuffy or stereotypical portrayals of press people of the 50s and 60s, it wasn’t enough.”
The American Girls
Commonly known as a Charlie’s Angels knockoff, The American Girls plot was centered around two female investigative reporters working for The American Report. The series ran from September 23 to November 11, 1978, only airing six episodes before it got canceled.
The main characters, Rebecca Tomkins and Amy Waddell, were young reporters who traveled the country in a souped-up van that was decked out with anything a reporter would need to do their job. Even though it sounds interesting, we can see where people thought that this show was Charlie’s Angels-esque. Maybe if they included some really cool fight scenes it would have run longer.
Bearcats! has the distinct privilege of being the western show that marked the decline of interest in the genre. The series starred Rob Taylor and Dennis Cole as troubleshooters in the period before America entered World War I in 1917. The show only ran for the fall of 1971 before getting canceled after 13 episodes.
Despite the promotional campaigns prior to the premiere and having a loyal fan base, Bearcats! lost Nielsen ratings to both The Flip Wilson Show and a more traditional Western, Alias Smith and Jones. This marked the last time two Westerns were broadcast and competed during the same time slot.
Another Day was an American sitcom starring David Groth and Joan Hackett. The plot revolved around Groth’s character, a typical middle-class man who is the sole provider for his family. That is, until the family realizes they’re broke and Hackett’s character, Ginny, gets a job. It’s not hard to believe that the show was canceled after four episodes.
The premise sounds like something out of the play “Death of a Salesman.” Which is saying something considering that play was set in the 1940s while this show is in the ’70s. The series, if we can call it that, drew very low ratings and CBS canceled it.
Chopper One was a response to the hit show Emergency! Networks were playing off of audience appeal to emergency service shows. Unfortunately, Chopper One fell flat and didn’t come close to the popularity of Emergency! The show about the California police helicopter team was not successful and it was canceled after 13 episodes.
The season followed two flying police officers and their adventures in a helicopter, a Bell 206 Jetranger. It starred Jim McMullan and Dirk Benedict. The latter went on to star in Battlestar Galactica and the TV show The A-Team. At least his career took off after the flop!
Firehouse is another show that came out of the success of Emergency! The show was loosely based on the then best-selling book Report From Engine Co. 82 by FDNY fireman Dennis Smith, but instead of being based in New York, the show decided to go to the other coast and make the setting in sunny Los Angeles.
Unfortunately for the cast, the five-man fire crew of Engine Company 23 didn’t make high ratings. The show was canceled after 13 episodes. Maybe it had something to do with airing back-to-back with another flop of a show, Chopper One.
David Cassidy: Man Undercover
In his first role since The Partridge Family, David Cassidy played the original 21 Jump Street cop, going undercover at a high school to investigate a high school drug ring. Devid Cassidy: A Man Undercover was spun off of a double episode of Police Story that Cassidy starred in, which served as the pilot for the show.
The entire plot was a bit weird, and the show went off the air after only ten episodes.
Doc Elliot was an American medical drama that aired from March 5, 1973, to May 1, 1974. Our first show that made it to a new year! The show was centered around James Franciscus’ character, Dr. Benjamin R. Elliot, a successful New York doctor who wanted to get out of the big city rat race.
Moving to rural Colorado, the doctor’s life is now answering calls via plane or off-road vehicle. What should have been a fun and exciting show fell flat for the viewers. Doc Elliot only ran for one season of 14 episodes.
Dog And Cat
Dog and Cat is noted as the first lead role Kim Basinger had after her modeling career. She played the character of J.Z Kane, a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department who winds up partnering with Sargent Jack Ramsey, played by Lou Antonio.
The show is widely remembered for the car Basinger’s character drove, a souped-up Volkswagon Bettle with a Porsche engine. If a car is the best thing a TV show is known for, then it’s kind of obvious why it went off the air in 1977. Dog and Cat, a slang term for a male and female cop partnership, ran for a total of six episodes.
The American sitcom Flatbush, only ran for three weeks because the ethnic stereotypes in the show were so offensive. Six episodes were produced for the initial season but only three aired before it was pulled. The series followed five recent high school graduates living in Flatbush, a section of Brooklyn, NY, figuring out their new positions in the workforce.
Joseph Cali, Adrian Zmed, Vincent Bufano, Randy Stumpf, and Sandy Helberg starred in the show. Their characters called themselves the “Fungos” as they roamed around their neighborhood in search of fun and excitement.
Another show trying to play off of the success fo Charlies Angels fell flat. Flying High was meant to “follow the lives of three sexy flight attendants who work for Sun West Airlines in Low Angeles.” The show starred Kathyrn Witt, Connie Sellecca, and Pat Klous, three women who were recruited from a New York Modeling agency.
Poor reviews and stereotypical writing for female characters doomed this show from the very first episode. The comedy-drama aired on CBS from August 28, 1978, to January 23, 1979, showcasing 18 episodes and one TV movie.
Gemini Man was an action-adventure drama that aired on NBC in 1976. The premise of the show was based on H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel, The Invisible Man, and it was supposed to replace the previous season of a show with that same title. What’s sad, is that the plot of the show is actually quite interesting.
It follows secret agent Sam Casey who was exposed to radiation in an underwater explosion, making him invisible. It was not well received by audience viewers. And even though they had produced 11 episodes, only five aired before the show was ultimately canceled.
Get Christie Love!
Even though people think the show received major backlash primarily due to the portrayal of an African-American heroine detective, the show did not get good reviews overall. One reviewer said, “Despite some fight scenes and car chases that attract some attention, the pace seemed mostly dreary and I almost fell asleep before the end.”
The show was based on Dorothy Uhnak’s crime-thriller novel The Ledger, starring Teresa Graves as detective Christie Love. Unfortunately, even with a killer catchphrase like “You’re under arrest, sugha,” the show was canceled after one season of 23 episodes.
Gibbsville is a drama that starred John Savage and Gig Young. It takes place in fictional Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, where Savage and Youngs’ characters work as reporters at the Courier, the town’s newspaper. The show transports viewers back to the 1940s, even though it could be anytime in the world of soap operas, as the opening narrator talks about “a small but growing town.”
Unfortunately, the writers tried to throw too much information into 50-minute segments, making it hard for audiences to follow the storyline of the show. Gibbsville ran for 13 episodes, even though 20 were produced.
It’s said that Highcliffe Manor took its inspiration from the acclaimed 1960s-’70s show Dark Shadows. Unfortunately, unlike its inspiration, Highcliffe Manor‘s Gothic horror/comedic premise didn’t grab audiences’ attention. The plot centered around a creepy mansion located on a desolate island off of New England and the crazy scientists and figures that live within its walls.
What could have been a pretty cool horror show fell flat. They only ended up airing six out of the seven produced episodes.
Holmes And Yoyo
It might have been a bad idea to name a show Holmes and Yoyo and not have Holmes’ first name be Sherlock. Calling him Alexander was just setting up for failure from the get-go. The show follows the detective and his android partner, Yoyo, on their adventures as Holmes teaches Yoyo what it’s like to be human, all while keeping Yoyo’s true nature a secret.
Holmes and Yoyo is considered to be one of the worst television series ever made, ranked number 33 on TV Guides “List of 50 Worst TV Shows Of All Time.” It ran for 13 episodes before canceling altogether.
Considering Adam’s Rib is based on the 1949 film with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, you’d think it would have had better reception. The film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, after all! Unfortunately, the TV adaptation did not follow suit, and the conflicting husband and wife lawyers were only on screen for 13 episodes.
The show loosely follows the film, setting Adam and Amanda Bonner as a defense attorney and a junior partner in a law firm, respectively. Their jobs often put them in conflicts in the courtroom and therefore also at home, due to Amanda’s women’s rights crusade.
In The Beginning
This show sounds like the beginning of a bad “so a priest walked into a bar” joke. In the Beginning featured conservative priest Father Cleary and liberal, streetwise nun Sister Agnes running a ghetto mission together in Baltimore. While the Sister enjoys the assignment, Father has difficulty dealing with her and the various people he meets on the streets.
The show starred McLean Stevenson and Priscilla Lopez and was created by famed producer Norman Lear. Even though it had a pretty interesting plotline, the show was canceled in 1978 after a nine-episode run. Four episodes were never aired.
All That Glitters
Even though All That Glitters has good ratings now, one has to think that the plot of the show in the 1970s climate had something to do with its initial reception. The sitcom produced by Norman Lear is actually a spoof on the sitcom format, airing five times a week, and following the lives of a group of executives.
The plot twist in this show is that it features a gender role-reverse where all of the women are executives and breadwinners while the men are secretaries and stay-at-home husbands. The show ran for a whopping 65 episodes before it was canceled and taken off the air.
Lanigan’s Rabbi is a crime drama series that aired on NBC as part of their Sunday Murder Mystery Movie series. Based on the novels by Harry Kemelman, the show’s plot features Art Carney as Police Chief Paul Lanigan and Bruce Solomon as Rabbi David Small. Together, they fight crime in a small town in California. The rabbi has to juggle crime-solving with the Chief and synagogue politics.
After a successful pilot film aired in 1976, Lanigan’s Rabbi was produced as a 90-minute teleseries that would begin in January 1977. The show never made it past four episodes and was soon canceled.
Me And The Chimp
Producers Garry Marshall and Thomas Miller would later have successful careers from Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, but one of their first television series attempts was a bust. Me and the Chimp is a sitcom about a family who takes in a Chimp named Buttons after he fails out of the space program, a premise that could potentially be funny if done correctly.
One reviewer said, “The show just wasn’t funny. I remember feeling uncomfortable just watching it.” The 3.4/10 IMDb rated chimpanzee show was canceled after, somehow, airing thirteen episodes.
The Brady Bunch Hour
Honestly, The Brady Bunch Hour was a smart idea, especially with the rise of improv popularity that came from SNL. The variety show featured skits and songs and starred the original cast of the much loved Brady Bunch, with the exception of Eve Plumb who was replaced by Geri Reischl — a.k.a “Fake Jan.”
The show was actually well-received when it first aired in 1976. Unfortunately, due to sporadic scheduling throughout the first season, the ratings were inconsistent. Instead, they would air a promo with Reed and Henderson saying, “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour won’t be seen this week, but we will be back again soon.” Only nine episodes aired.
Hee Haw Honeys
Hee Haw Honeys was a short-lived spin-off series of Hee Haw, a variety show featuring country music and humor. The spin-off was a musical sitcom featuring Kathie Lee Johnson and some of the original show’s regulars, such as Misty Rowe, Gailard Sartain, Lulu Roman, and Kenny Price, all of whom made up the Honey family.
The characters owned a family truck stop restaurant which included a bandstand, where guest country artists would perform a couple of hit songs. The show only ran for one season, as it was not nearly as popular as the original Hee Haw.
Supertrain was, at the time, the most expensive series that ever aired in the United States. NBC paid $10 million for three sets of trains, all different sizes. Which makes sense, considering the premise of the show was based around a nuclear-powered bullet train that was equipped with all of the luxuries that bare a closer resemblance to a cruise ship.
Although it was highly promoted, the show received poor reviews and ratings. It probably didn’t help that its two-hour premiere was around the same time as Charlie’s Angels two-hour special. The show was just too popular! Supertrain only lasted nine episodes.
Just another ’70s show trying to capitalize off of a movie idea, CBS’s Co-Ed Fever tried to take the ideas of National Lampoon’s Animal House and throw them into a tv series. Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones, with ABC and NBC whipping up their own shows revolving around college co-eds.
Only one episode of the show aired in the US, “Pepperoni Passion,” right after the airing of the critically acclaimed movie Rocky. The series was canceled during the first airing, even though they had filmed six episodes, as a result of low ratings and viewer complaints about censorship issues.
Struck By Lightning
This is the type of show that Mary Shelley never asked for. Struck by Lightning is a sitcom about Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, Frank. The show follows a science teacher, Ted Stein, to a spooky old New England inn that he inherits. The inn also happens to be inhabited by Frank, who is the good-natured homicidal caretaker of the place.
Turns out, Ted is a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein and Frank needs a special serum every 50 years to stay alive. Ted agrees to try and recreate the serum. As you probably assume, the show only lasted 11 episodes before going off the air.
The Sword of Justice
The plot of The Sword of Justice might sound a bit familiar. Jack Martin Cole had just emerged from an unjust prison sentence to start his life as a rich playboy by day and a troubleshooting mercenary by night, “The Saint.” Does that sound a bit like a weird Batman to anyone else?
Unlike The Bat, The Saint would place a three-card somewhere as a warning to his enemies. Each suite relayed a different warning, with the three symbolizing how many years he was behind bars. Confusing? Yea, the audience didn’t really like it either and the show only ran for nine episodes.
Three For The Road
If done correctly, Three for the Road could have turned into a heartfelt TV series. The CBS drama follows two brothers and their recently widowed father as they travel the United States in a recreational vehicle. Oh, and this is after the father sells all of their stuff, including the house, to buy the RV.
You can’t really blame him for the rash decision though — the man is a freelance photographer and writer. What better way to get inspiration than traveling throughout the rural US? The show ran from September 14 to November 30, 1975, airing a total of 12 episodes in the one season before it was canceled.
The Texas Wheelers
The Texas Wheelers was a sitcom that aired from 1975 to 1975. The show follows long-lost father, Zack Wheeler, who returns to rural Texas to raise his sons, Truckie, Doobie, Boo, and T.J. after their mother dies.
The show was not successful, namely due to being broadcast against the second half of NBC’s hit show The Rockford Files. The show is remembered for its cast of well-known actors, including Jack Elam, Gary Busey, Mark Hamill, and Tony Becker. The network produced eight episodes but the show was canceled after four, airing the final four the following year.
A Year at the Top
An American sitcom with a “deal with the devil” premise, A Year at the Top follows two struggling musicians, Greg and Paul, as they find success for a year. The two rock musicians uproot their lives from Boise, Idaho, and set their sights on Hollywood. There, they meet Fredrick J. Hanover, a promoter who has found a lot of famous rock musicians.
Plot twist, Mr. Hanover is the son of the devil so the musicians will have to sign away their souls for success. The series only aired five episodes before CBS canceled the show in September 1977.
Who’s Watching The Kids?
Gaining custody of your younger sibling and then moving to Las Vegas to become a showgirl is just asking for a disaster. Who’s Watching the Kids? follows the story of two showgirls, Stacy Turner and Angie Vitola, who have dreams of making it big in Las Vegas. In the meantime, they’re juggling work at Club Sand Pile and taking care of/raising their respective younger siblings, Melissa and Scott.
You’d think that producer Garry Marshall would stop with the “Vegas showgirl” storyline after a few failed attempts, but alas, he didn’t, and Who’s Watching the Kids was canceled after 15 episodes.
Mr. T and Tina
Mr. T and Tina was a sitcom and spin-off from a character, Taro Takahashi, who appeared in one episode of Welcome Back, Kotter. The show follows the widowed Japanese inventor who, with his uncle and sister-in-law, moves from Tokyo to Chicago to set up a branch of his employer, Moyati Industries. Takahashi’s most notable inventions include underpants with a built-in transistor radio and the “flash in a can,” a coin-operated sunlamp in a restroom.
What was supposed to be a sitcom came off as stereotypical and bigoted, even for the ’70s. The show was canceled after five episodes.
Unfortunately for Hello, Larry, the expectations were very high at the get-go. With the star being McLean Stevenson, viewers thought the show was going to be a hit. Stevenson was a huge star in their eyes because of his role in the hit series M*A*S*H. It didn’t work out that way.
Hello, Larry features McLean as a radio host who fled Los Angeles after being divorced, finding himself settling down in Portland, Oregon with his two teenage daughters. Apparently, this premise was enough for viewers because the series amounted to two seasons of 38 episodes total. That’s more than we can say about the other shows on this list!
Mrs. Columbo was another attempt to make a spin-off of a successful series. The show was a crime drama that followed Kate Columbo, the wife of Lieutenant Columbo, the main character of the successful show, Columbo. Unlike her husband, Kate is a news reporter who helps solve crimes while raising their daughter.
After poor ratings and audience reception, both the series and the character name were changed in an attempt to salvage the show. It didn’t help, and the series was ultimately canceled in March of 1980 after 13 episodes had aired.
The Ropers was a spin-off of the show Three’s Company and is loosely based on the British sitcom George and Michael. The series focused on a middle-aged couple, Stanley and Helen Roper, who now lives in the upscale community of Cheviot Hills. As Helen tries to climb the social ladder of the community Stanley couldn’t care less, ultimately embarrassing his wife.
Unfortunately, due to a bad time slot with the network, the show dipped in ratings. It was ranked number two on Time magazine’s “Top 10 Worst TV Spin-Offs,” canceling in February 1980 after two seasons of 28 episodes.
Grady was a spin-off of Sanford and Son, with Whitman Mayo reprising his role as the widower Grady. Audience members watched as Grady moved from Watts to Westwood in order to move in with his daughter and her family.
Due to an underdeveloped character, viewers quickly lost interest in the show. The show never really found a solid audience. It ran for 10 episodes but was canceled in March 1976
Unfortunately, with a western premise, Dusty’s Trail was doomed from the start. Especially when the series was trying to rework the popular TV series Gilligan’s Island. This show was set in the latter part of the 19th century and follows a diverse group of travelers who get separated from their wagon trail on their way to California. It stars Bob Denver and Forrest Tucker as two coachmen.
Even though Denver proclaimed that Dusty’s Trail was his favorite show that he worked on, the show was canceled after one lone season.
Three’s a Crowd
Not to be mistaken with Three’s Company or the 1980s show Three’s a Crowd, the 1970s Three’s a Crowd was a sleazy game show hosted by Jim Peck. The premise of the show was to see who knew a man better, his secretary or his wife. As many game shows bring people together, this one was destined to tear families and marriages apart.
In his book, What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, David Hofstede said that the show “offered the chance to watch a marriage dissolve on camera years before Jerry Springer.” Three’s a Crowd ran from 1979-1980, getting rebooted in 1999.
Ernest Angley Hour
The Ernest Angley Hour featured none other than Ernest Angley. He is a televangelist who started never claimed to be a faith leader, even though his trademark was to put his palm on someone’s forehead and yell “be healed!”
The Christian evangelist is known for being against homosexuality, viewing it as a sin. Most recently, he was accused of inappropriate touching by former Grace Cathedral pastor, Reverend Brock Miller. The show is still broadcast internationally via the internet.
The P.T.L. Club
Also known as The Jim and Tammy Show and Heritage Today, The P.T.L Club was a Christian television program hosted by evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. P.T.L standing for “Praise The Lord” or “People That Love.” Due to his involvement in some highly publicized financial and adulterous scandals, Jim Bakker resigned from the show in 1987.
Jim was indicted for directing millions of dollars of church funds to his personal funds. The Bakkers’ show ran for 13 seasons.