While I've been retro-watching the 80s shows of my youth, my memory does in fact extend into the 70s as well. Sad to say, the few attempts I've made to go re-watch old programming did not go well. Hulu had M*A*S*H on about a year ago and I could not get into it. It was painful to sit through. Maybe one of the later seasons would be better, but neither my wife nor I could stomach it.
However, The Rockford Files has aged reasonably well. It's got the usual detective tropes and comically unsafe firearms use that is emblematic of the period and as I'm closing in on the halfway mark of the first season I can see why it was successful.
James Garner is perfect for the role of Jim Rockford and he has the easy charm and charisma that is sorely lacking in today's stars. He's genuinely interesting to watch. Such qualities made often made the difference between schlock and decent programming.
The setting is of course iconic - a guy who lives in a battered trailer set up in a ocean side parking lot. The interior is nice, but it's constantly the target of various break-ins. While perpetually broke, Rockford nevertheless boasts a sweet ride - a gold Pontiac Firebird. This of course anticipates the 80s tropes where private investigators have sweet rides and/or helicopters (or speedboats, or whatnot).
Rockford therefore walks the line between being plausible and relatable (perpetually broke, often beat up) but also admirable (handsome, has cool car, total ladies' man). There is not a trace of the Mary Sue in this show, which demonstrates how far Hollywood has fallen.
I'm not sure how long I will stick with it, but for now it's a welcome diversion while I finish publishing Walls of Men and recharge my batteries for my next creative venture.