An animated series based loosely on the TV show "Happy Days". Richie, Ralph, The Fonz and Mr. Cool (The Fonz's dog) meet a time traveler named Cupcake and accidentally get stuck in her time... See full summary »
As a teenager has difficulty coping with his mother's remarriage, he finds and nurses back to health a German Shepherd, but keeps him a secret for fear that his stepfather would return him to his original owner.
Black teacher Pete Dixon tries to teach the students at Walt Whitman High to be tolerant. He is assisted by girlfriend and school counselor Liz and student teacher (later teacher) Alice. The students love him.
Widower Steve Douglas raises three sons with the help of his father-in-law, and is later aided by the boys' great-uncle. An adopted son, a stepdaughter, wives, and another generation of sons join the loving family in later seasons.
Widower Sheriff Andy and his son Opie live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry NC. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney.
Another popular 1950's sitcom about a close family. The Stones consist of loving homemaker Donna, her pediatrician husband Alex, and their children Mary and Jeff. Many situations arise like... See full summary »
When a widower with 10 children marries a widow with 8, can the 20 of them ever come together as one big happy family? From finding a house big enough for all of them and learning to make ... See full summary »
Pointing the finger at "aimlessness" as the culprit for this excellent show's early demise is, in a sense, as misleading as describing "The Smith Family" as "lighthearted." Neither term is fully adequate when discussing this series. It's more accurate to say that this is a show that deserved an audience, yet failed to find one. Quite likely, such an audience simply didn't exist; sadly, I doubt even more that one would readily materialize today.
Picture "Dragnet's" Joe Friday as a family man, happily married and determined to keep his job and his homelife separate. There you have the challenge faced by Henry Fonda's Detective Sgt. Chad Smith, and the focal point around which each episode revolved. His determination to safeguard his family's normality is illustrated by their picket fence-enclosed house on Primrose Lane (an image further reinforced by the use of Jerry Wallace's hit "Primrose Lane" as the show's theme song, sung by Mike Minor with special lyrics). Unfortunately, this normality too often translated in the series as "mundane," partially due to excellent performances by a standout cast (which included a post-Opie Ron Howard as teenage son Bob), all of whom never stepped out of character.
The show did have some solid moments to it, including the episode in which a mild-mannered middle-aged gentleman inveigles his way into the Smith household as "an old friend of Chet's" shortly before Chet is due home. The suspense builds, as we're aware that this charming, innocuous individual is actually quite mad, and determined to kill Sgt. Smith for having sent him to prison several years earlier. How Chet manages to save himself and, afterward, keep his family from learning the truth (Chet: "He had an appointment and couldn't stay for supper." Betty: "Oh, what a shame.") is handled without an excess of drama or violence, highly realistically, and delivers a superb payoff. Again unfortunately, however, such quiet heroism is rarely the fare of network TV success.
Had the show delivered a touch either of the "bells and whistles and sirens" of most contemporary police dramas, or else the alcoholism and stress-related angst which several Wambaugh-inspired series would soon introduce into cops' off-duty lives, "The Smith Family" might have stuck around significantly longer. Unfortunately, Chet Smith was simply a decent man fighting the good fight, both on the job and at home; the series' doom came as a result of his winning both fights so handily.
What a shame!
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