Written by / 4/28/2012 / No comments / , , , , ,

EIGHT IS ENOUGH PILOT WITH MARK HAMILL

1977 cast: Dick Van Patten, Mark Hamill rating: ****
The tragic death of actress Diana Hyland aside, her character Joan Bradford’s departure from EIGHT IS ENOUGH worked for the best. The iconic 1970’s hour-long "dramedy" begins with a bland pilot centering primarily on Tom Bradford, played by everyman Dick Van Patten, and wife Joan struggling to raise eight kids that remain peripheral during the show's kickoff.

Tommy and Nancy are played by different actors, and Mark Hamill, the same year he’d become Luke Skywalker in the blockbuster STAR WARS, is the eldest son, David, who, fed up with the full house, moves out into a bachelor pad. Willie Aames becomes the troubled teenager Tommy in the episodes that follow, and we all remember the cute shaggy-haired youngest, Nicholas (Adam Rich), who's there from the start.
Diana Hyland, Mark Hamill and a Doobie Brothers album
Daughters include the tall gorgeous shallow blond Nancy; lovely young Elizabeth; wannabe actress Joanie; spontaneous tomboy Susan; and the oldest and wisest, Mary.

Mark Hamill seemed too distant (perhaps he was set on fighting the Empire) and Grant Goodeve was the perfect replacement as the "alternate guardian" whenever dad dropped the ball. Which happened quite a bit.
Perhaps this wasn't Mark Hamill, more suited for space movies, type of film
Tom Bradford, whose character became more overwhelmed and important without a wife around, made the kind of errors and misjudgments of an overwhelmed single father (mom's departure's not even regarded) up to his neck in precocious boys and spirited daughters.

After four episodes dealing with “important progressive” topics like teenage pregnancy and women’s rights, we get down home with involving domestic situations: From being stood up to getting high to shoplifting to breaking windows to chasing dreams, EIGHT IS ENOUGH doesn't feel like watching a family but being part of their daily (and nightly) routine.
"Son, you should be out fighting the Empire... As for David, there will be another."
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