Those Other '70s Shows

Was the Me decade a creative Golden Age or 10 years of cheese? It depends on which channel you watch

Which represents the true 1970s: Peter Bogdanovich or Peter Brady? Chinatown or Hong Kong Phooey? Was the decade a wacky jag of smiley faces and bell-bottoms or a daring heyday of nonconformism and creativity? You can decide this month when the two 1970s duke it out in two weirdly complementary cable specials.

The Independent Film Channel's three-part documentary A Decade Under the Influence (Aug. 20-22, 8 p.m. E.T.) sees the 1970s in movies as an interregnum between the old studio system and today's blockbuster machine, when idiosyncratic directors were able to persuade the moneymen to bankroll dark, even cynical, movies like...

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