Eight Is Enough
Eight Is Enough
| 15 March 1977 (USA)

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  • Reviews

    Terrible acting, screenplay and direction.

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    Absolutely Fantastic

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    Although it has its amusing moments, in eneral the plot does not convince.

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    There are better movies of two hours length. I loved the actress'performance.

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    Cannot believe that the series "Eight Is Enough" is 40 years old! The series was based on Thomas Braden's 1975 New York Times best selling novel which was modeled on the syndicated newspaper columnist who was a real life parent who raised eight kids on which the television series was based. The show centers on a Sacramento, California, family with eight children(from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanne, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy and Nicholas). The father, Thomas Bradford, was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan(Diana Hyland)took care of the children. Hyland appeared in four episodes before she took gravely ill; she was written out of the show for the remainder of the first season and died after after the second season aired. The second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Thomas Bradford(Dick Van Patten)was a widower. Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott(Betty Buckley)a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy who had broken his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series TV Movie broadcast titled "Children of the Groom" which aired as a two hour event on November 9, 1977. In another television event two other Bradford children were married in Season four episode titled "I Do, I Do" that was originally broadcast on September 19, 1979. As the series progressed Abby got her doctorate in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school; Mary became a medical doctor,while second youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock and roll band.In the pilot episode, the role of David was played by Mark Hamill while the role of Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck and Tommy played Chris English. Beck and English only appeared in the pilot and was abruptly replaced by Dianne Kay and Willie Aames for the remainder of the series. Mark Hamill was replaced by Grant Goodeve for the rest of the series entire run. As far as the rest of the cast were only actors Dick Van Patten, Lani O' Grady, Connie Needham, Susan Richardson, along with Adam Rich and Laurie Walters were with the series throughout its entire five season run appearing in all 112 episodes. Dianne Kay and Grant Goodeve appeared in 111 episodes while Willie Aames appeared in 109 episodes of the series and Betty Buckley appeared in 102 episodes."Eight Is Enough" was the brainchild of creator-writer and executive producer William Blinn along with producers Philip Capice and Lee Rich who served as executive producers along with producers Gary Adelson, Greg Strangis, Robert L. Jacks, and Philip Fehrie for Lorimar Productions for ABC-TV airing for five seasons and 112 episodes from it's mid-season premiere(which replaced "The Bionic Woman")on March 15, 1977 until May 23,1981. Repeated episodes from it's fifth and final season aired as summer replacements from May 30,1981 until August 29,1981. The series aired on ABC's Wednesday night prime time schedule at the 8:00 eastern/7:00 central time slot which was a ratings winner. Regular writers for this series included Peter Lefcourt,and writing teams of Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov along with Greg Strangis, William Blinn, Thomas Braden, Gil Grant, Bruce Shelley, Norman Lessing, Martin Roth, Matt Robinson, Bruce Kalish,and Paul Schneider. The rotating team of seasonal directors including Irving J, Moore, Vincent McEveety, Phillip Leacock, Earl Bellamy, Hollingsworth Morse, Arnold Laven, David Swift, Leslie H. Martinson, Ralph Senensky, Barry Crane, Marc Daniels, Gerald Mayer, Jack Bender, William F. Claxton, Robert Friend to name a few.Big name guest stars ranging from seasoned veterans like Jack Elam, to Will Geer, Frank Cady, David Wayne, Noah Beery, Abe Vigoda and Barry Van Dyke to guest stars Ellen Travolta, Julia Duffy, Susan Dey, to Judy Strangis, Sherry Jackson, Don Johnson, Tricia O' Neal, Danny Bonaduce, Charlene Tilton, Robin Williams, Ike Eisenmann, Stephanie Kramer, Jonathan Frakes, Timothy Van Patten, Karen Valentine, Gregory Walcott, Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin Schultz, Beth Howland, Corey Feldman, Billie Bird just to name of the big name guest stars that appeared on this show. Eight Is Enough throughout it's run was nominated for an impressive six prime-time Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actor or Actress in a Prime Time Series, Best Supporting Actor in a Prime Time Series and Best Film Editing. It won the People's Choice Award in 1978 for Best New Dramatic Television Series and was nominated for 2 Golden Globes for Best Actor(Dick Van Patten),and Best Writing for a Prime Time Series. The best episodes that came from "Eight Is Enough" were "Turnabout", the two part "Yes, Nicholas There Is A Santa Claus", to "V is for Vivian", "Seven Days In February", "Long Night's Journey into Day","Here We Go Again", to the two part "You Won't Have Nicholas to Kick Around Anymore" to "Moving Out", "Mother's Rule", to "Marriage and Other Flights of Fancy", "And Baby Makes Nine", "The Idolbreaker", to "Father Knows Best" just to name a few of the great episodes of the "Eight Is Enough" television series. When it was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1981, ABC replaced it on it's Wednesday night schedule with "The Greatest American Hero" that starred William Katt and Robert Culp.

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    I loved Eight is Enough growing up. Age wise, I was in between Tommy and Nicholas, so I enjoyed those two the most. Plus, I think they had more story lines given to them than the others. I think there were just too many girls for any of them to stand out to me and David was way too old for me to relate to. I liked the balance of drama and comedy. I could be laughing about one part of the show and crying about another part. I believe the death of the mother (Joan) set this show apart from the other big family shows (The Waltons, The Brady Bunch). They dealt with it pretty realistically. And when Abby joined the family, the kids continued to call her Abby instead of mom, which was much more believable. Ironically, Abby became my favorite character and I think Betty Buckley was the best actor in the bunch. But I enjoyed pretty much every Bradford and loved their big family scenes the most.Eight is Enough was an excellent family show that still stands the test of time.

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    Brian Washington

    This show pretty much picks up where the "Brady Bunch" left off, but on a more serious tone. This show was definitely one of the first "dramadies", but it still managed to have its lighter moments. Most of them were provided by Willie Aames as the entrepreneur Tommy and Adam Rich as the cute Nicholas. These two young actors helped make this show one of the most loved of the 1970's. I do think that the major flaw in shows of this type though is the conflict of whether or not it was to be a serious drama or whether it was to be a cute domestic comedy along the lines of the aforementioned "Brady Bunch" and another show of that era "The Partridge Family".

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    I remember very fondly the Friday evenings of the late 70s and early 80s, when I sat down in front of the TV set and watched "Eight Is Enough". (It was a glorious season: on Saturday evenings they used to broadcast "Charlie´s Angels" and, posteriorly, "The Love Boat"!). The Bradford family won my heart in so little time: they were sympathetic and cheerful and they loved one another -and, of course, they weren´t flawless, which gave them an additional appeal. All five girls in the show had something attractive to me: Mary (Lani O´Grady) was sort of an "ugly duckling" among her sisters and a tempestuous and bespectacled rebel, but pretty soon you could find that she had a tender heart; her temper appeased increasingly after a while and you could discover that she was really a very attractive woman; Joannie (Laurie Walters) was a funny "screwball" lady with a head full of crazy ideas and a special sensitivity; Susan (Susan Richardson) was a chubby red-head (too bad that she dyed her hair later!) whom love turned into a mature person very quickly; Nancy (Dianne Kay) was an ingenue-with-a-doll-face that could sometimes be a little tricky, and Elizabeth (Connie Needham) was a long-haired and petite but very well-built beauty who danced as if she were made of rubber. The boys too were nice: David (Grant Goodeve, who took over from Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill) was a somewhat insecure and independent character (the male reply to Mary) but he loved his family and was always ready to help; Tommy (Willie Aames) was a typical product of his age: the long-haired curly boy with the ambition of becoming a rock star and a special ability to make money in any kind of "business", but with all the heartaches and doubts that come from the fact of becoming an adult, and Nicholas (Adam Rich) was the kid who said the darndest things (what a source for his father´s articles!) and showed naïvety when he had to be naïve and was smart when he had to be smart. As for the adults, I must begin by saying that Diana Hyland´s death (and subsequently Joan´s) affected me when I learned of it; I have nothing against Abby or Betty Buckley, but I wonder: since only four or five episodes of the series had been made when Hyland died, couldn´t they have replaced her by another actress in the same character (as it has been done in many other TV series) instead of "killing" the mother so mysteriously? (We never get to know when, where or how she died.) Maybe the producers and writers of the show were tempted by the idea of how a young stepmother would fit into this big family and how she was initially rejected by some. Anyway, Hyland was a very attractive woman and she seemed a loving mother. And we get to Abby: she was charming, clever and understanding, and Buckley (don´t you find that she has a certain resemblance to Julie Andrews?) grabbed the character to perfection. (I was only annoyed by the fact that the "first name" she was known as was actually a diminutive of her late first husband´s surname; it´s a habit I loathe.) Dick Van Patten was simply a delight as Tom, the lovable, caring, generous and somewhat old-fashioned father of the brood. He really has the face of a good person and his phrases were usually gems. The recurring characters (Dr. Maxwell and his wife Daisy, Susan´s husband Merle [why did he sometimes call his father-in-law "Mr.B.", for God´s sake?], David´s wife Janet, Tom´s boss Eliot Randolph, Donna the secretary, Tommy´s friend Ernie, aunt Vivian, officer Bernstein, etc.) were also a treat to watch. Fortunately, a different TV channel made once a re-run of many of the episodes of the series (though, alas, not all of them) and I could record them on video. (I´m seeing them again at this time.) One of the few things I regret about the show is that Ralph Macchio didn´t have more time to develop his character of Abby´s orphaned, neglected and tormented nephew, Jeremy, and the family didn´t get to be so understanding to him as they were to one another. (Ironically, Macchio became a star a little bit later and the other boys and girls didn´t!). The series should have been lenghtier. Anyway, it´s a pity that programmes like this are no longer made on TV and are even subjected to quips from some young and not-so-young viewers and some new TV series. This makes me feel terribly nostalgic. Thank God it ever was Friday!

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