Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 reasons why "The White Shadow" is the best show of the '70's

1. It ran only 3 seasons, which means it had a beginning, middle and end. They didn't follow the players to college, or have any one-off reunion specials.

2. Great lineage. Kevin Hooks, who played Morris Thorpe, went on to direct movies and TV, including the series "Prison Break". And the actor who played 'Salami", Tim Van Patten went on to direct many of "The Sopranos" episodes. He even co-wrote the fan-fave "Pine Barrens".

3. No hugs or happy endings. Even though they tackled some serious subjects like murder, drugs, S.T.D.'s, teacher-student affairs, the end of the episode didn't sink into dripping sentimentality. They just ended.

4. The characters in the show actually grew up and didn't spend 8 years in high school.

5. They had the "Harlem Globetrotters" on an episode. The real Globetrotters featuring Curley Neal, Marques Haynes, and Geese. And they played!

6. Basketball. The show was about a basketball team, and they actually showed them playing. Pick and rolls, lay-ups, ally-oops, they showed it all. The writers did their homework on this.

7. The show took place in 79-81, and they dressed as such. None of the cheesy mid-70's fashions like flares, disco suits et al, but actual clothes from that period. Jeans, flannel shirts, tee shirts. So cool, it made a comeback in the early 90's.

8. They sang their own songs. At the end of season one, some of the team, having sung in the shower, decided to form a singing group. And no lip syncing.

9. Real dialog. Not every line had to be a sarcastic comic or put-down, like nowadays. Not everyone was a comedian, they had real conversations. And stayed away from stereotypical 70's jargon. So the show never really "dated".

10. The theme song, one of the best in the business. And now my ring tone.