The decade that just passed by witnessed many great changes on the television screen. People saw a major shift from the conventional TV platform to web providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. As a result, a great multitude of people started watching their favourite shows as and when they wanted, often also exploring programs that they would have never discovered otherwise.
On the whole, everyone concerned had a better idea about the television ratings, and those ratings in turn influenced the efforts of producers. Today, we see a refreshing variety of TV shows, ranging from alien conspiracies, crime thrillers to even children animations being aired on these platforms.
However, things were a lot different 50 years ago. We are talking about the 70s era! People who were in their youth back then, and have lived long enough to see this day, would gladly tell you how the TV shows of the 70s contributed to their happiness quotient, and thus their longevity! Let’s tell you about couple of them below.
All in the Family
This show surrounds the life of Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O’Connor), a self-admitted prejudiced blue-collar worker. He would yearn for the days gone by when people would openly share his prejudices too. However, it is his decency which always shines through, regardless of his unabashed bigotry. The show also positions him in a way that his arguments get turned over quite easily and assertively. ‘All in the Family’ broke fresh grounds in America, and portrayed important societal issues like racism, rape, Vietnam war, miscarriages, religion, infidelity, abortion, breast cancer and more.
Connor gets fantastic support from Sally Struthers, Rob Reiner and Jean Stapleton throughout. In fact, his character Archie Bunker was voted as the best TV character of all time by ‘Bravo’, and is considered relevant even today. The show set new trends and made sitcoms that followed contemplate more, and showcase more dramatic clashes rather than easy and thoughtless humour. It’s not without reason that ‘All in the Family’ is widely counted amongst the best TV shows to have emerged from America.
MASH ran from 1972 to 83 and was focused on a bunch of Army doctors who, along with their support staff, were a part of 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. This hospital served the country in South Korea, during the Korean War from 1950 to 53. MASH had multiple influences, including the 1970 movie with the same name and a 1968 book titled ‘MASH - A Novel about Three Army Doctors’.
While it got categorised as comedy drama, its tone almost always bordered on dark comedy. The episodes used to be heavily driven by character and plot. There was ample versatility ranging from comical to serious in each one of its episodes. As MASH aired primarily during the Vietnam War, it had to toe the government’s line, and support their stance. It won’t be wrong to state that this 70s show went on to become one of the most popular shows in the history of American television.