Investigating the strange noises coming from her garage, widow Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) discovers her five children -- Keith (David Cassidy), Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Chris (Jeremy Gelbwaks), and Tracy (Suzanne Crough) -- performing an impromptu rock concert, complete with instruments. Spontaneously joining her kids' makeshift band as lead vocalist, Shirley has a lot of fun, but never imagines that this little performance could lead anywhere. But thanks to the machinations of agent Reuben Kinkaid (Dave Madden) -- whose love of money supersedes his hatred of children -- the Patridges' recording of "I Think I Love You" is soon topping the charts, leading to the "official" formation of that celebrated traveling singing aggregation, the Partridge Family. Thus begins season one of the ABC sitcom bearing the name of that selfsame singing group. Piling into the family's dilapidated, brightly painted bus, the Partridges embark on a steady progression of adventures in a variety of locales, never failing to deliver at least one tune per episode.
Several guest stars grace The Partridge Family during its inaugural season, beginning with a young Farrah Fawcett in the second episode. In subsequent weeks, Ray Bolger and Rosemary DeCamp make their first joint appearance as Shirley's lively parents; Pat Harrington Jr. plays a gangster who puts the muscle on wheeler-dealer Danny Partridge when the ten-year-old starts giving stock tips to the gangster's fiancée; Morey Amsterdam is cast to type as a gag writer brought in to "juice up" the Partridge's act; Dick Clark shows up as himself in another episode, while in a story centering around Keith Partridge, Keith's prom date is played by Annette O'Toole. Other first-season highlights include the classic episode in which Danny is mistakenly drafted, and the one in which Keith arranges for his family to perform in front of a controversial feminist group, just so he can score points with his latest sweetheart. On two separate occasions, episodes of The Partridge Family did double duty as the pilot episodes for potential spin-off series. The first, starring no less than Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett Jr. as a pair of Detroit nightclub owners, failed to yield a series of its own; the second, in which teen idols David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman meet face to face, had better luck, resulting in the weekly half-hour sitcom Getting Together. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi