Short-lived Accidental Family celebrates its 50th anniversary today. The NBC sitcom ran for 16 episodes during the 1967-1968 season. Jerry Van Dyke starred as a nightclub performer with a young son alongside Lois Nettleton as a divorcee with a young daughter. The two wind up living on the same farm, trying to learn how to get along with one another while raising their kids together.
If you’ve never heard of Accidental Family, take a few minutes to read my in-depth article about the series.
Some critics were positive in their initial reviews of Accidental Family, focusing on its warmth and heart. But viewers never gave it a chance due to heavy competition from The CBS Friday Night Movie. Executive producer Sheldon Leonard hoped to have time to build an audience. But the abysmal ratings led NBC to cancel the series less than two months after it premiered.
I’ve seen four of the 16 episodes of Accidental Family and enjoyed them quite a bit. I would love the opportunity to watch more. It’s a good show that rises above its cliched premise. I’m a huge fan of Lois Nettleton and she’s wonderful in the series. So is Jerry Van Dyke. The two do a fine job making their characters feel grounded and real.
Do you remember watching Accidental Family on NBC? Did you see the premiere fifty years ago or was your TV set tuned to The CBS Friday Night Movie? Would you buy the series on DVD, given the opportunity?