Aired during the Summer of 2008, Swingtown is nearly a perfect Summer show: sexy and breezy with a soundtrack full of Seventies music selected by Gary Calamar, the show's music supervisor. Gary also worked as music supervisor for Weeds and currently holds that position on both True Blood and Dexter so you might be a fan of his work and not even know it.
As with most retro shows there are anachronisms both big and small but this isn't a history lesson; it's a fond look back at five couples (three married and two teen aged) as they navigate the changing social and moral codes of the Seventies. While the title would lead some to believe it's Boogie Nights on the small tube, the tone of Swingtown does start out more titillating before settling into a more Wonder Years-ish innocence lost vibe over the course of the thirteen episodes which are available on shiny discs and at least one streaming service.
The characters are well cast although it is odd to watch Swingtown in 2013 after seeing later shows like Cougar Town, GCB and Smash, all of which feature Swingtown actors in differing roles although a case could be made that Miram Shor's role on GCB was nearly identical to her role on Swingtown. The lovely and observant Mrs. HERC says one of the ladies from Swingtown is on Once Upon a Time as "the wicked witch" and another was featured on the series based on the book and film, The Firm.
As for the music, there aren't any surprises. The tunes are from 1976 and before, with a few Sixties songs in the mix. It is an accurate representation of what was being played on the radio at the time; a wide variety of pop, rock and soul. Since the show is set in suburban Chicago, it is safe to say that any or all of the songs could be heard on WLS-AM, the station HERC used to listen to when he lived in the area. Indeed, a quick glance at WLS's Big 89 year-end countdowns from 1973-1976 showed a couple dozen songs near the top of the rankings featured on Swingtown. [Click on the The Big 89 Countdown image above to visit site.]