Since the launch of Star on Disney Plus in 2021 in the UK, the streaming service has been home to a number of huge television hit series from the last thirty years. Everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Modern Family, The Simpsons, and Family Guy to Raising Hope, Glee, 24 and Lost are included. Much of this content originates from the film and TV assets of Twentieth Century Fox (21st Century Fox), which Disney purchased in 2019. While the selection available makes the most of fairly modern productions, much of the Fox assets from before 1990 remain untouched. This needn’t be the case, as there are many groundbreaking series from before this period that is available on Hulu in the US and should be on Disney Plus;
In this piece, I want to make the case for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom which aired on CBS for one hundred and sixty-eight episodes over seven seasons. Here are five reasons why the show should be streaming on Disney Plus in the UK.
- It was created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns and starred Tyler Moore alongside an ensemble cast including Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, Betty White and Cloris Leachman.
- It won several awards including twenty-nine Emmys, a record which remained unbroken for decades.
- It is regularly included in lists of the greatest TV shows ever. It landed at number 10 on Rolling Stone’s The 100 Greatest TV Shows of all time list in 2022, beating huge sitcoms and comedies including Friends (49), Bojack Horseman (41), I Love Lucy (36), The Office US (34), Monty Python (33) and 30 Rock (20)
- The theme tune, Love Is All Around, was written and sung by Sonny Curtis. Curtis is known for his collaborations with Buddy Holly.
- It was made by Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker’s production company MTM Enterprises. The MTM Enterprises’ library, including Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele, St Elsewhere and The Bob Newhart Show, is owned by Disney through 20th Television.
A Groundbreaking Show…
As part of our Old Time Review podcast in 2019, I spoke to podcaster Cynthia Bemis Abrams (Advanced TV Herstory) about 5 woman lead shows that she would recommend. One of these was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Here is a condensed transcribed version explaining why she picked the show. Check out the full episode here!
Cynthia: I have to say that the most influential woman lead TV show, is the Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran from 1970 to 1977. It was a breakthrough for two reasons:
- She was a single working woman with no attachment to any man, there was no man who was her focal point in any more than maybe one or two episodes.
- There were more women on the backside of that show than had ever been; there were women writers, women managing the wardrobe, women doing the casting. It was very woman-centric on the back side, and that led to its success and its appeal to a very rapidly changing audience of women.
Jamie: Compared to Mary’s previous role on the Dick Van Dyke show, it was a complete change, wasn’t it?
Cynthia: It was a huge change, she really was able to be independent. The men on the back side as they were creating the series, they kinda wanted her to be divorced but that was far too controversial. She really managed to make it very realistic, even though she was actually on the older side than her character was supposed to be; it was fresh.
The other great thing about the Mary Tyler Moore Show is that it spun off shows such as Rhoda, Phyllis and the hour-long drama Lou Grant
Jamie: I’ve watched episodes of this show and they kept building on the success of it didn’t they? They added new characters, such as Betty White, and it’s quite interesting, how do you think it kind of builds up over its run?
Cynthia: Her wardrobe is definitely the best of the 70s; she became much more sophisticated. In that character of Mary Richards, she took on more responsibilities and some of the subject matters got a little bit more serious. It was a little bit more provocative of the times, then it sort of petered out. She was at the point where they needed her to rise to something higher, because they were running out of storylines, and they were running out of fresh people to bring in and create something new; which often happens with technically what was a workplace comedy; Which has been replicated time and again over the decades.