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Funkadelic! TV goes back to '70s

Jason O'Mara stars in Life on Mars. Dig the wide collar. The show also stars Harvey Keitel, Gretchen Mol and Lisa Bonet.


Jason O'Mara stars in Life on Mars. Dig the wide collar. The show also stars Harvey Keitel, Gretchen Mol and Lisa Bonet.

Growing long sideburns and 'staches, belittling female coworkers, sleeping with the next-door neighbor, smoking cigarettes and pounding scotch on the job. Can you dig this? The '70s are back -- at least on television.

ABC's new Life On Mars show, which follows a New York City detective on the trail of a serial killer only to find himself suddenly transported back to 1973, premieres Thursday at 10. Meanwhile, CBS's Swingtown -- celebrating the open marriages and other sexual hijinks of the decade -- just finished up its first season and is headed to cable's Bravo network for reruns later this fall (with a DVD release coming in early December.)


If the classic retro-rock songs from each TV show don't get your heart pumping -- Life on Mars even borrows its title from a 1971 David Bowie song -- we're betting this list of far-out '70s pop culture phenoms will have your brain racing:

Do you fondue?

Nothing says "groovy" like stabbing some meat and soaking it in a tableside pot of boiling oil. A cardiologist's nightmare but a true '70s delicacy. (Just remember to wash it down with some 7-Up or Tab.)

That's catchy

Once upon a time, commercials were actually clever and fun. "Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is." Or "Hey, how 'bout a nice Hawaiian Punch? ... Sure!" Blammo!

How low-tech can you go?

Ah, dude, we love the bean-bag chair, shag carpet and avocado-green frig! It blends in so well with the reel-to-reel tape player. But ditch that lame turntable! Don't you know eight-track tapes are all the rage now?

If it's brown, drink it down

Scotch, Irish coffee, bourbon. ... Prefer something a little less scorching on the liver? Order up a Harvey Wallbanger, a Tequila Sunrise or just sample some lovely Cold Duck. Deee-lish!

My pet, Rocky

Tired of running home to let the pooch out? Sick of scooping cat litter? For a mere $3.95 in the '70s, you be the proud owner of a Pet Rock, the only fad more intellectually barren than the Macarena.

Hey, Meathead

Acid-tongued Archie Bunker and All the Family ruled the TV world back in the first half of the '70s. So did Sanford and Son ("You big dummy!"), Hawaii Five-O ("Book 'em Danno!), The Waltons (Goodnight, John-boy!) and ... Maude? It's just proof that you can never underestimate the timeless appeal of Bea Arthur.

Funky fashion

Some '70s fashion keeps coming back whether we treasure them or not (like reruns of The Rockford Files). Baby doll tank tops, running suits and even afros are back in vogue today. But are you ready to break out the maxi dresses, polyester double-knitted slacks, rabbit-fur jackets, bell-bottom jeans and earth shoes? Oh we have more. Try a leisure suit complete with butterfly-collar shirt and patent white loafers. Okay, maybe some trends are meant to be left buried in time.

1970s playlist

Creating a killer soundtrack is the key to any good TV show. Get ready to boogie down to the No. 1 hit from each year during the '70s:

1970: Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon And Garfunkel

1971: Joy To The World - Three Dog Night

1972: American Pie - Don McLean

1973: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree - Dawn featuring Tony Orlando

1974: The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand

1975: Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain & Tennille

1976: Disco Lady - Johnnie Taylor

1977: You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone

1978: Night Fever - Bee Gees

1979: My Sharona - The Knack


Want to rock out more?

Both official Web sites for Life on Mars ( and Swingtown ( have "radio stations" where fans can listen online to songs played during each episode and the decade in general. Sing along: "She's got electric boots, a mohair suit. You know I read it in a magazine, ohh-whoa! ... ba-ba-ba Benny and the Jets!

Funkadelic! TV goes back to '70s 10/08/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 6:03pm]
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