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James, a daydreamer and photographer, must learn to cope with life as his father moves the family from Oregon to Boston MA. Though there is much humor here, the series dealt with many serious problems (teenage alcoholism, virginity, pregnancy, venereal disease). Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
James At 15: Do I remember this show from the mid-1970's
"James At 15"....Do I remember this show.
For one,it was the replacement for the short-lived action/adventure-science fiction series "Man From Atlantis" starring Patrick Duffy on NBC's Thursday Night Schedule during the mid-to-late 1970's. Secondly,the show was placed at the 9:00 hour,where it was opposite two top-rated shows......CBS' long-running crime drama "Hawaii Five-O",and the situation police comedy show "Barney Miller",which was on ABC. "James at 15" was critically praised for it handling of realism and sensitivity when other networks wouldn't dare touch. Premiering on NBC-TV on October 27, 1977, the series lasted no more than a season and a half on the air producing 21 episodes.
For the two seasons that it was on the air,"James at 15" was one of TV's most honest attempts to portray the pains and joys of growing up during the 1970's. The main character,fifteen year-old James Hunter(Lance Kerwin)was a bright,sensitive lad who found his world completely disrupted when his father,a college professor,moved the family from Oregon to Boston,Mass.,in order to accept a new teaching position. At first James tried to run away,and then began to learn how to cope with life in a new city environment(which was totally different from Oregon).
Among his friends at Bunker Hill High School were a hip black male named "Sly" who was always giving James advice on anything,and whenever James needed it or to what Sly called his "slychology". Marlene was plain and intelligent who had a point of view on just about anything. Sandy(Kim Richards)was James' teen sister. Kathy(Deirdre Berthrong)was the older sister. One thing that this show had that really caught everyone's attention were the subject matters for each episode which were sometimes serious and controversial in some of them. Subjects like teen pregnancy,teenage alcoholism,venereal diseases,and relationships were the topics of the day. The acting were believable from Lance Kerwin and from some of the cast including Linden Chiles as James' loving and understanding father. David Hubbard gives a good performance as James' close friend. Susan Myers was very good in the role Marlene.
The controversial episode,and the one that became the nail in the coffin for this brilliant series is the one were James actually sleeps with an exchanged student and loses his virginity. NBC had high hopes for this series,and since the controversial episode was tastefully handled,it did not attract a large audience,and was gone after a single season. Even the title change "James at 16"(premiered February 9, 1978) didn't help things neither,since NBC placed the show opposite "Hawaii Five-O",and "Barney Miller" which clobbered it in the ratings. After two seasons,the series was canceled on May 6, 1978. Repeated episodes lasted until July 27, 1978(the last time this series was ever seen on network television). Repeated episodes of this series surfaced again during the early-to-mid 1980's when The Christian Broadcasting Network(CBN,which is nowadays ABC Family)brought this show back in re-runs. And since its airing,it hasn't been seen since.
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