The series was so successful that NBC used it to launch or boost two other shows: The Facts of Life, which sent Mrs. Garrett to run a girls' school (its pilot, "The Girls' School," is episode 24 on the third disc), and the McLean Stevenson program Hello, Larry, which followed Strokes on the network (the two-part cross-over episodes are featured on disc 3). Though perhaps best known to current audiences for the unfortunate luck suffered by several of its cast members after the show's cancellation in 1986, this first-season set offers a pleasant reminder of the show's charms. The set is rounded out by two featurettes featuring interviews with many of the show's stars and producers (though Coleman is notably absent), and commentaries by story editor Fred Rubin. --Paul Gaita
The first season was my favorite -- the Charlotte Rae episodes, where Mrs. Garrett took care of the home and boys -- and, in many cases, also Kimberly and Mr. Drummond -- before taking off to run girls' school and Peekskill.
This golden first season contained 24 episodes, and here's how they should appear on the greatly-anticipated DVD boxed set release:
1) Movin' In - When Mr. Drummond agrees to a deathbed wish to raise his housekeeper's two sons, he learns that showering the boys with gifts and wealth isn't going to keep them home ... when he hears them plotting to run away.
2) The Social Worker - Arnold's big ears misunderstand a comment he hears Mr. Drummond make to a social worker, and thinks he and Willis are not wanted at home.
3) Mother's Last Visit - A visit from Mr. Drummond's socialite mother stirs up trouble.
4) Prep School - Mr. Drummond learns a valuable lesson when he enrolls Willis and Arnold into a snobbish prep school.
5) The Spanking - Arnold ignores threats of a spanking when he's dropping water balloons off the balcony, but when the time comes Willis insists on spanking him ... until Arnold disappears!
6) Goodbye Dolly - EVERYONE in the house is going to be miserable until Arnold finds his lost doll.
7) The Trial - Mrs. Garrett holds court as judge when a trial decides if Arnold really put his goldfish into the hot tub.
8) Respective, Part 1 - A Christmas-themed show has the family recounting memories they've built since the boys moved in.Read more ›
The show aired on 22 nights during the first season, and twice the airing was a double-length hour-long story, bringing the total to 24 half-hour episode slots for the series' rookie year. One of those hour-long airings was "The Trip", which crossed-over Strokes with another series: Hello, Larry. That was also the year that ended in the episode "The Girls School" (a.k.a. "Garrett's Girls"), which was actually the pilot for a spin-off, The Facts of Life.
588 minutes of episodes are accompanied by several great extras:
All new interviews with Todd Bridges and Conrad Bain
Featurette about Gary Coleman
Audio commentary with writer Fred Rubin, whose credits during
this season include "Prep School", "The Trial", and "Willis' Privacy".
This was a fun little show that hasn't been on tv (in re-runs) in a very long time, so it will be nice to finally see it again...
Another notable character is Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) the Drumond's new housekeeper. Although she would quickly be spun off into the far more successfull The Facts of Life as dorm mother of Kimberly's (the late Dana Plato) elite boarding school, she provides the 'maternal influence' to this comedy ensemble. This critical transition occurs towards the end of the season, and although it does not do anything for the series itself---was very important for network ratings.
With the status of it's many associated child stars subsequently diminishing, this show has taken a beating in American pop culture. Since the first season is not half that bad, it is rather disappointing that the crude jokes abound.