Flops, Failures and Funny Moments: The 70s Shows That We’d Rather Forget

By: Mark Smith | Published: Sep 30, 2023

The 1970s was a golden era of television, delivering classics like MAS*H, Charlie’s Angels, and Happy Days. However, not every show from this groovy decade was a unanimous hit. We are about to take a fun trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the most forgettable shows of the ’70s that didn’t make the cut.

The series that fizzled instead of sizzled, leaving some of us wondering, “What was that all about?”. Well, we will fill you in, they may not have made the TV cut but they sure as hell made it on this list, although we don’t think it’s something they’ll readily brag about.

The Immortal (1970-1971)

Even though they scored the handsome Christopher George starring as the spunky race car driver Ben Richards, this 1970s ABC drama couldn’t last the distance.


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The sci-fi series about an eternally ageless man who couldn’t die turned bounty hunter didn’t survive past the first 15 episodes.

The Brady Variety Hour (1976-1977)

The Brady Bunch was a worldwide phenomenon—we loved them. However, The “Variety Hour” was a strange and awkward attempt to capitalize on the family’s popularity and success by transforming them into a bizarre singing and dancing act. Witnessing your favorite Brady’s become disco dancers was like seeing your grandmother attempt to breakdance during Sunday dinner.


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These storylines made no sense, even if they gave you a laugh for all the wrong reasons, and were a little cringy. With only nine episodes filmed, the only award this show received was a spot in the Top 5 of TV Guides “Worst Shows Ever Created.”

Supertrain (1979)

Backed as the next big thing, this futuristic show was one of the costliest American TV shows ever produced and one of the worst. Despite the talented cast, including:


SUPERTRAIN -- Pictured: (l-r) Joey Aresco as Wayne Randall, Ilene Graff as Social Director Penny Whitaker, Harrison Page as Porter George Boone -- Photo by: Ron Tom/NBCU Photo Bank

Robert Alda, Michael Delano, Aarika Wells, Nita Talbot, and Edward Andrews, this nuclear-powered bullet train show crashed and burned after just nine episodes

Me and The Chimp (1972)

Why an aspiring lawyer had a chimpanzee named Buttons is still as bewildering as in 1972. The pair’s wacky escapades were as entertaining as watching the washing dry; therefore, after 13 episodes, the show folded.


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Although they will always have those 13 episodes to look back on, that is if they must.

Big Hawaii (1977)

Hawaiian shirts, cocktails in coconuts, and bikini-clad girls—Hawaii was the IT destination of the 70s. Paradise was lost in this NBC show that barely lasted two months.

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 The drama unfolding on the lavish Paradise Ranch on the tropical Island sunk faster than a lead anchor, with the show canceled after 12 episodes.


Lucan (1977-1978)

A man raised by wolves who returns to civilization only to be accused of a crime runs away and is relentlessly hunted by the cops. This modern-day Mowgli didn’t quite gain the wild applause it was after.

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Despite being based on a successful TV movie of the same name and starring the handsome Kevin Brophy, who did have some rather fun masterful wolf-like skills, this show was dropped after a year.


Dusty's Trail (1973 -1974)

The Old-school Wild West meets “Gilligan Island” in this comedic disaster. Casting issues, weak plots, and scripts led to bad reviews. Perhaps the talented actors, slightly helped.

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These great actors such as Lori Saunders, Bob Denver, and Jeannine Riley, helped the show last for 26 episodes, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.


The San Pedro Beach Bums (1977)

California was the surfing dream and mecca in the 70s. However, this surf and shenanigans-themed show didn’t ride the waves of success the ABC had hoped for.

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Following five young, carefree surfer dudes sharing a houseboat in San Pedro, the show didn’t have enough motion in the ocean to keep audiences captivated, leading to its cancellation in under three months.


Who's Watching The Kids? (1978- 1979)

Despite its famous producer, Gary Marshall, this Vegas Showgirl drama didn’t quite make an impression on the TV stage.

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Showgirls juggling work and family responsibilities didn’t capture the audience as NBC had hoped, even with the spotlight of comedy shone from co-stars Jim Belushi and the cute Scott Baio.


The Man From Atlantis (1977-1978)

In an attempt to cash in on the success of the films with the same name—this NBC story of Mark Harris, the last survivor of the doomed city of Atlantis who is recruited by a government oceanic research division, sunk miserably.

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Even with the superpowers of the famous Patrick Duffy, the show was canceled after 13 episodes to lay forever buried in the deep ocean sands with the famed lost city itself.


David Cassidy: Man Undercover (1978-1979)

David Cassidy, from the much-loved Partridge family, was a famous man. So, why not offer him his own TV show? It sounds great in theory, but it wasn’t on the screen.

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Cassidy, a police officer investigating a high school drug ring, was panned by critics and seen as a weak attempt to kick start Cassidy’s career again. Perhaps he should have stuck to singing…


The American Girls (1978)

Lasting only six days, this wanna-be Charlie’s Angels copy show did not make the cut. Priscilla Barns and Debra Clinger played sexy, beautiful journalists for the fictional show “The American Report”.

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Despite being entertaining, the show was aired at the same time slot as the top-rated ABC show “The Love Boat”. So these American girls never really had a chance… not a real one anyway.


Co-ed Fever (1979)

College dorms always make for fun times, but not in this show. It was more flop than fever! The CBS sitcom was such a disaster that only one out of six episodes aired.

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Following actresses Alexa Kenin, Heather Thomas, Tracy Philips, Cathryn O’Neill, and Jillian Kesner as they lived the frivolous college life at Baxter College—this show unfortunately flunked. It received an F for an all-out failed “frat-house” comedy.


Young Dan’l Boone (1977)

“Daniel Boone” was an all-American classic. However, this show’s attempt to follow the life of the famous frontiersman before he was married barely left any footprints in the wild wilderness of TV land. For all his handsomeness, Rick Moses, who plays the young Boone, couldn’t save the show.

CBS pulled the series after producing only eight episodes, from which only four were aired due to poor ratings and bad reviews. We may need to rephrase the famous Daniel Boone quote, “All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife“, to perhaps add “and a good storyline” at the end! 

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The 70s were a time of experimentation, even in the world of television. Whilst some shows went on to become timeless classics, others became forgettable flops. The above shows may not have hit the mark. Still, they represent a unique chapter in television history, highlighting the eccentricity, audacity, and creative minds of this iconic era. They may not have enthralled us with captivating storylines, but they did give us a giggle or two…just maybe.