1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 8 (USA)
One of television’s more serious attempts to explore the problems of adolescents, James at 15 starred Lance Kerwin as James Hunter, an intelligent, sensitive boy growing up in the 1970s.
When James’s college professor father, Paul Hunter (Linden Chiles), moved from Oregon to Boston after accepting another teaching job, James’s life was thrown into turmoil as he was forced to accept new friends and a new environment.
James’s sympathetic mother, Joan (Lynn Carlin), did what she could to make the move less problematic for James, but in spite of his family’s support, James ran away from home. After returning home he slowly began to adjust to life in his new home.
Other characters regularly seen in the series were James’s sisters, Sandy (Kim Richards) and Kathy (Deidre Berthrong), his new African-American friend Sly Hazeltine (David Hubbard) who always had a little sage advice – or “Slychology” as he called it – when James needed it, his plain but very intelligent female friend Marlene Mahoney (Susan Myers) and his teacher Mr Shamley (Jack Knight).
James was an avid photographer and also a daydreamer, One of the novel elements of the series was his periodic lapses into daydreaming of himself as he would like to be (heroic, suave, etc) portrayed in special dreamlike sequences.
The title of the show changed to James at 16 when one of the most controversial episodes was aired involving James’s loss of virginity with attractive Swedish exchange student, Christina Killberg (Kirsten Baker). Many viewers were outraged that pre-marital sex was portrayed as something acceptable, and thousands of letters of protest were sent to NBC by disgruntled viewers.
The publicity the episode generated did not stop NBC from cancelling the series at the end of its first and only season.