Eight Is Enough—Season 1

eight is enough season 1 dvd episode guide
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Cheesy nostalgic fun

So-so acting, cliche storylines, odd balance between humor/drama

eight is enough season 1 title card credits episode guide

No catchy theme song yet!

Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten) has a very full life.  He and his wife Joan (Dian Hyland) have eight children.  Their oldest son David (Grant Goodeve) has just moved out, their oldest daughter Mary (Lani O’Grady) always has an opinion, Joanie (Laurie Walters) wants to be an actress, Susan (Susan Richardson) likes sports, Nancy (Dianne Kay) dreams of being a model, Elizabeth (Connie Needham) is adjusting to being a teen, Tommy (Willie Aames) is starting to date girls, and Nicholas (Adam Rich) struggles with being the youngest.  There is always action at the Bradford home and things are never quiet.

Eight Is Enough—Season 1 is an hour long family drama-comedy.  The show originally aired on ABC.  The series was a mid-season premiere and only had a half-season.

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Nicholas isn’t good enough for football…you’re my favorite kids

Eight Is Enough was family watching when I was a kid.  I grew up with the Nicholas haircut (and had it for years) so I have a bit of a special tie to the series.  Rewatching the series is a fun, nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Eight Is Enough was kind of a weird, unbalanced show.  The show dipped from melodrama to cheesy cliché sitcom plots (like multiple dates set for prom).  The pilot almost had an entirely different (and edgier) tone with a fifteen-year-old caught with narcotics and the son of a developer dying from leukemia (but at least it taught Tom a lesson to appreciate what he had).  It does seem to lighten up a bit as the season progresses, but there is almost always a lesson at the end of each episode.

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Whatever happened to that Hamill kid?

This season is interesting in its casting simply because of the changes from the pilot to the end of the season.  The series originally cast featured Kimberly Beck as Nancy, Chris English as Tommy, and Mark Hamill as David.  Dianne Kay and Willie Aames replaced Beck and English but Hamill opted out of his contract to make Star Wars (I guess that worked out for him).  The series recast Grant Goodeve for the second episode.  The other casting aspect of the series that changed was Diana Hyland who only appears in part of the first season as the mother.  She was battling breast cancer and lost her fight on March 27, 1977.  The character just disappears this season but the second season writes her death into the storyline (and Betty Buckley is moved in as Tom’s second wife).

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Nicholas hair ruled my childhood…

The show is very ’70s and looks it at points (mostly in the styles).  The series was set in Sacramento but shot in Los Angeles (where the house existed until it was torn down).  Everything from the cars to the outfits scream mid-’70s and that is part of the fun of rewatching it.

Eight Is Enough was a smart show in that it knew how to appeal to people.  It has a hot, young cast that appealed to teens of all ages due to the range of ages of the kids, and it was wholesome enough for families to gather around and watch it.  It was kind of a flipside to the period family series of The Waltons or Little House of the Prairie.  It had topical episodes (but probably could have done with more), but it also didn’t get too preachy…ok it gets pretty preachy, but not in the same way Little House or The Waltons did…the Bradfords were their own type of family.

Eight Is Enough—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

eight is enough season 1 episode 1 never try eating nectarines since juice may dispense pilot mark hamill dick van patten

“Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense”

1.1       Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense Airdate:  03/15/77

Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten) and his wife Joan (Dian Hyland) are dealing with life with eight children.  With his daughter Elizabeth (Connie Needham) arrested for drug possession, Tom finds himself strapped for cash while Nicolas (Adam Rich) undergoes a tonsillectomy and David (Mark Hamill) planning on moving out on his own.  With a bill for a bedroom expansion due, Tom realizes that mending differences with David might be more important than he ever though.

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1.2       Schussboomer Airdate:  03/22/77

Mary (Lani O’Grady) brings home a girlfriend named Matilda (Lane Binkley) who is single and pregnant by choice.  Tom and Joan are at odds with Susan (Susan Richardson) who wants to go spend a ski weekend with her boyfriend Rick Henderson (Jeffrey Byron).

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“Pieces of Eight”

1.3       Pieces of Eight Airdate:  03/29/77

Nancy (Dianne Kay) want to be a model but finds that she needs money for a portfolio…but Joan could be the one who benefits.  Tom is in charge at the paper while upper management is away but learns that the printers are going on strike.  Mary comes out in support of the editors while Tom worries about the paper folding, but a problem at home could be bigger.

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“Women, Ducks, and the Domino Theory”

1.4       Women, Ducks, and the Domino Theory Airdate:  04/05/77

Tom and David (Grant Goodeve) have their annual father-and-son duck hunting trip.  Tommy (Willie Aames) debates going on his first date.  Nicholas worries about always being in the way and being the youngest.

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1.5       Turnabout Airdate:  04/12/77

David turns heads when he starts dating an older woman named Jennifer Linden (Adrienne Barbeau), but the relationship causes more problems when the Bradfords plan an anniversary party for Dr. Maxwell (Michael Thoma) who is in political opposition to Jennifer.

eight is enough season 1 episode 6 quarantine african disease


1.6       Quarantine Airdate:  04/19/77

Mary’s boyfriend potentially contracts a rare disease in Africa leaving to quarantine with the Bradfords.  Nancy finds herself trapped with a blind date named Chris (Dennis Kort) who she doesn’t like.  Tommy and Joanie (Laurie Walters) find that Nicholas has stolen toys and try to find out why.

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“V Is for Vivian”

1.7       V Is for Vivian Airdate:  04/26/77

Tom’s sister Vivian (Janis Paige) is in town for a visit and turning the house upside down…and it could result in Joanie leaving.

eight is enough season 1 episode 8 hit and run joanie laurie walters

“Hit and Run”

1.8       Hit and Run Airdate:  05/3/77

Tommy accidentally breaks a church window with his slingshot and finds himself in servitude to the nuns.  Joanie has a hit-and-run with Charles Blair (Peter Coffield) who wants a favor from Tom.  Elizabeth prepares for the prom and accidentally books three dates.

eight is enough season 1 episode 9 the gipper capter tom bradford football gregory walcott dick van patten

“The Gipper Caper”

1.9       The Gipper Caper Airdate:  08/10/77

Doctor Hammer (Gregory Walcott) has moved to Sacramento, and Tom realizes it is old school rival.  Tom finds himself at odds with Hammer and ends up in a family football game against Hammer with a big bet on the line.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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