THE EVERYBODY KNOWS & LOVES! JOIN THE LAWRENCE FAMILY AS THEY DEAL WITH LIFE, LOVE, HEALTH & MORE IN THE '70S.28 EPISODES FROM THE 1ST & 2ND SEASONS.
In the mid-'70s, Family
was sort of the anti-All in the Family
--dealing with the issues of the day, but far more sincerely and earnestly than Archie Bunker & tribe. In fact, the landmark series, which debuted in 1976 on ABC, quickly gained a following for its willingness to integrate controversy with a fairly typical upper-middle-class family. The Lawrences--headed by Sada Thompson as Kate and James Broderick (father of Matthew Broderick) as Doug--were close-knit but willing to face issues like infidelity, gay friends, alcoholism, divorce, and more--making it ground-breaking for primetime TV. The kids (divorcee Nancy, played in season 1 by Elayne Heilveil and replaced in season 2 by Meredith Baxter Birney; Willie, played by Gary Frank; and the heartbreakingly adorable Buddy, played by Kristy McNichol) knew they had mom and dad's support, even when the going got tough, and were there for each other when crises arose. And happily, the show's producers, which included Mike Nichols and Aaron Spelling, realized all this earnestness needed leavening with some humor. When Buddy is needling Willie for dance lessons so she can go to the Junior Jump with the babelicious Carl ("Hey, the Strawberry Shakes are playing!"), Willie balks. Then Buddy looks him square in the eye and says, "I need a personal triumph, Willie." She shoots, she scores. The show, which won Emmys for both Thompson and McNichol, boasts stellar writing and believable situations, and is still compulsive watchable years later. The boxed set includes all 28 episodes of the first two seasons. --A.T. Hurley