10 Worst TV shows of the 1970s

Generation X, represent! Did you grow up with a house key on a shoelace around your neck? Was your daily babysitting handled by Carol Brady, Shirley Partridge, or Samantha Stevens? Did you know how to program a VCR before your parents did?

If so, you’re a 70s kid. You probably had a crush on Daisy Duke or Jaime Sommers, and you hated when perfectly good holiday specials were ruined by The Sid and Marty Krofft dancers. Does this sound like you?

If you think you know everything about ’70s TV, check out this list of ten worst 1970s TV shows.

How times have changed

According to the article, some of those shows were so bad “they only ran for two seasons!” Compare that to today, when shows often don’t make it past four episodes if they aren’t a hit with viewers. Of course I am willing to be that even Hello Larry got better ratings in its day than even the top rated shows of today. It was common in those days for a hit show to have a rating of 30 or more, while a flop only managed 10. Today’s top rated shows barely scratch a 4 rating, because internet viewing and DVRs have given people a lot more to watch.

And were they really that bad?

A quick look at the list actually gives the impression that these are some shows you’d like to watch. The basic ideas of many of them made their way into other projects. Don’t believe me?

A regular cop and his AI partner. Was that Holmes and Yoyo, or the entire idea for the Robocop franchise?

A high-tech train full of stories. The plot of Supertrain, or Snowpiercer?

A man gets divorced and starts an advice-oriented radio show in the Pacific Northwest. When it was called Hello Larry, it flopped. Call it Frasier and it’s one of the most awarded shows in history.

Interestingly enough…

It seems like the writers at Frasier paid close attention to Larry. The show even featured a brown-haired, sassy female producer, although in this case it was Joanna Cassidy not Peri Gilpin who did the sassing. It also featured young Kim Richards, who you might know better from her Real Housewives days.

Well at least one of them was that bad.

I actually remember a lot of these shows. As a young person in the 70s a lot of these shows were really pretty fun for me. I guess that says a lot about how badly they were written. While I liked Holmes and Yoyo and Supertrain for their sci-fi-meets-reality themes, even I can’t justify The Brady Bunch Hour. Even Maureen McCormick in fancy outfits couldn’t save this cheesefest. I give you the following example:

which features not only The Sid and Marty Krofft dancers but a visit from a disco duck, the cast of What’s Happening (because, I guess, what’s TV without a little implied racism) and a disco version of the I Love Lucy theme. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

And yet, I bet it still got better ratings than anything on the networks in 2018. Go figure.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.