Ah the 70s; Bell bottoms, The dirty hippy version of The Beatles, Disco, Cars so big you could live in them and have privacy for a family of four and a total lack of respect for comic books and comic book heroes.
See back in the days before superhero films were making BILLIONS at the box office with state of the art CGI effects the options for a fan to see their favorite characters come to life in live action were sparse indeed.
The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman were probably the two biggest successes of live action adaptions on the small screen. SUPERMAN THE MOVIE would be a box office smash in mid December 1978 but on the screen we got to see Lou Ferrigno running around in a green fright wig and Linda Carter spinning around to transform into her star spangled outfit before she would fight some criminals hiding on a cruise ship or a disco.
At the time I read comic books; like most young men I gave them up when I discovered girls and cars but I ended up coming back to them in art classes in high school but that's another story. In 1977 I was a full on fan and this was in the day that when you walked into your local 7-11 in Portland Oregon and walked back to your bike with a small stack of comic books there was a really good chance some older kids were going to make fun of you (true story) as you rode off.
During this heyday of my fandom Spider-Man was my top favorite-- even overtaking Batman although Ironically when I got back into comics around 1982 it was a back issue of Batman's Detective Comics from 1978 that really hooked me, but Spider-Man had something that Batman didn't-- engaging stories that were both soap opera-ish and a pretty good dose of humor which made for a fun read.
Look at this storyline that ran over the course of about ten years;
Spider-Man's arch nemesis The Green Goblin turns out to be someone in his outer inner circle of friends, someone who is important to one of his best friends but this person is sick and often can't remember that they're the Green Goblin or that they've discovered Peter Parker is actually Spider-Man. This puts Spider-Man in a classic situation; does he destroy the life of his best friend by revealing who the Goblin is or does he try to handle the situation himself? We all know we'd likely make the same mistake ourselves.
During one of the Goblin's more formidable attacks he goes after Peter where it hurts, taking the woman he loves and holding her hostage on top of the Brooklyn Bridge. This was cliched even in 1973 when it first ran, after all how many times had Superman saved Lois Lane in a similar situation? So readers expected the same result.
Only they didn't get it.
The woman is killed during the fight-- which sends Spider-Man into a rage that nearly kills The Goblin, coming to his senses just seconds from finishing him off, but through an ironic twist The Goblin launches one final attack which backfires and he ends up killing himself. Not wanting his body found in The Goblin suit and have his identity revealed, thus causing grief to his friend, he changes him back into his street clothes so no one will ever know he was the criminal fiend.
But Spider-Man is nothing if not the Murphy's Law Poster Boy and despite his good effort, he's wrongly accused of murdering the civilian version of the Goblin causing his best friend to hate Spider-Man and adding a new level of risk towards the chance that he might discover Peter's secret identity.
And it doesn't stop there. In these days of Marvel Comics when a character died they were dead. So the girl was dead and so was the Goblin, so it was a huge shock when the Goblin suddenly reappeared several years later, leading to another pretty amazing storyline.
All right-- so the TV Show. They missed the mark all across the board. The costume was pretty good but for some reason they thought it was a good idea to put his webshooter on the outside of his costume and to give him a utility belt.
The Stunts were exceptional. It turns out stuntman Fred Waugh was the guy in the Spider-Man suit in almost every shot and some of the stunts he did including climbing skyscrapers were actually done, no CGI here.
The problem with the show was it lost ALL the human interaction, all the subplots, all the story drama replacing it with really generic 70s TV drama characters. By having a lack of respect for the book's writing they completely lost the magic that made Spider-Man work because they thought audiences wouldn't accept crazy villains and storylines like what I've described. Boy were they wrong-- judging by the success of the multiple box office blockbusters.
I wish I could say I loved the show, I didn't-- but I watched it because any chance to see Spider-Man running around the streets of a poorly disguised Los Angeles (it was supposed to be New York) was worth tuning in for.
I even made my own Spider-Man mask complete with a set of white eyes that I'd made out of a fairly thin T-Shirt-- not thin enough to see through as I ended up running into a parking meter one Saturday night goofing around with my friends.