Family Ties: Season 1
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Though it emerged during the Reagan era, Family Ties remains as relevant as ever. Most children find their parents a little embarrassing, but what sets this sitcom apart is that former hippies Steven (Michael Gross) and Elyse (Meredith Baxter-Birney) Keaton have three children, Alex (three-time Emmy winner Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman), and Jennifer (Tina Yothers), yet they haven't lost their youthful idealism. The ambitious Alex and materialistic Mallory, however, don't share it. Poster children for the go-go 1980s, they'd rather rake in the cash than change the world. As Alex quips in the pilot, "The '60s are over, Dad." If the writing were more cynical, it's unlikely the ABC show would've become a seven-season hit. It works because the Keatons obviously love each other--foibles and all.In their first year, the family faces a variety of challenges. Steven finds out his father has a fatal illness ("I Never Killed for My Father"), 15-year-old Mallory deals with unwelcome male attention ("Give Your Uncle a Kiss"), and 17-year-old Alex learns a lesson about responsibility when he loses nine-year-old Jennifer while babysitting ("The Fifth Wheel"). Guest stars include Bewitched's Dick Sargent as Elyse's father, Charlie ("No Nukes Is Good Nukes"), and a lanky Tom Hanks as her brother, Ned (two-part episode "The Fugitive"). Though Fox (Back to the Future, Spin City) was the breakout star of Family Ties, he was part of a strong ensemble. Some storylines are also surprisingly hard-hitting, particularly the script dealing with sexual harassment. On the downside, there are no extras and, like many Paramount boxed sets, most of the original music has been changed or eliminated. The theme song "Without Us," for instance, is sung by session players on several episodes rather than by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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The quality of the picture and sound is decent, though not extraordinary. There are no special features, nor is there any booklet or other episode guide accompanying the discs except for a short list of episodes on the inside flap of the dvd case.
The first disc has an incredibly irritating, loud advertisement for other Paramount/CBS television shows on DVD that plays automatically each time--pushing the menu button to bypass it does not work, but skipping the chapter does. Paramount/CBS would be advised it's better practice to put these adverts as a special feature--fans *will* check them out, but if you're buying the set you shouldn't have to sit through it each and every time you put the disc on.
The dvd case itself is compact and sturdy and the discs have a nice silvery finish on them which really suits the show.
The show that practically defined the reality of growing up in a loving, caring family that took the viewer through life's ups and downs - the way all of us would have wanted our own families to be!
The series had made Michael J. Fox a household name, and started careers of such modern-day luminaries as Tom Hanks, Courteney Cox, Tracy Pollan (who had later gotten married to M.Fox) and Justine Bateman, among others.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To add insult to injury, they still used the word "complete" on the cover! I've noticed in some upcoming Paramount releases that this word is suddenly missing. Check out the cover art for "Happy Days" Season Two and "Wings" Season Four. This leads us to wonder, are these shows truly complete, or will they suffer a fate similar to that of "Family Ties"?
As much as I've always despised music alterations, I've still bought DVD sets that used that tactic since the shows otherwise contained all of the original broadcast footage. But I will NOT buy a set that just hacks away at the episodes like this. If we do support these products, the studios will just keep getting lazier and lazier. Why should they care about putting work into their releases if the public will still gobble up whatever garbage they put out?
I really hate this, because I was looking SO forward to finally owning what I thought was going to be the complete and uncut version of each episode. I guess I should have known better than to count my chickens before they hatched.
Alex was an avid republican (a Regan devotee) who often wore business formal attire (i.e. shirt and tie) as he wandered across the house. Mallory (played by Justine Bateman), the second born, had a relaxed personality and preferred shopping over studying. Jennifer (played by Tina Yothers) was the cute youngster in the family. The majority of the show's humor is derived from the tension between Alex's traditional mindset, Mallory's uninhibited consumerism, and their parents' attitudes (who grew up as the care-free non-materialistic children in the 1960s).
The episodes for season 1 are:
Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: Not with My Sister You Don't
Episode 3: I Know Jennifer's Boyfriend
Episode 4: Summer of '82
Episode 5: I Never Killed for My Father
Episode 6: Give Your Uncle a Kiss
Episode 7: Big Brother Is Watching
Episode 8: No Nukes Is Good Nukes
Episode 9: Death of a Grocer
Episode 10: Have Gun, Will Unravel
Episode 11: A Christmas Story
Episode 12: Oops
Episode 13: Sherry Baby
Episode 14: The Fugitive: Part 1
Episode 15: The Fugitive: Part 2
Episode 16: Margin of Error
Episode 17: French Lessons
Episode 18: I Gotta Be Ming
Episode 19: Suzanne Takes You Down
Episode 20: The Fifth Wheel
Episode 21: Stage Fright
Episode 22: Elyse D'Arc
Highly recommended sitcom full of amusing political banter between the parents (liberal democrats) and the son (conservative republican).
Anybody remember Freaks And Geeks? They refused to release those DVD's until they had all of the original music that was in the episodes that aired. And every one of those episodes had music from 3-6 popular bands. If that show which had few fans can get all of the music right, you'd think they could do it for Family Ties.
Besides that, there's some video issues, like lines through the image on the left side of the screen.
The show is still a 5/5, but we're talking the DVD set here, and it's far from perfect, and actually nowhere near as good as it should be. Sad thing is, if they cut scenes and changed the music for season 1, they'll probably do it for all of the seasons.
And lastly, there's not ANY bonus features on this DVD set at all. Not even TV ads or anything. This is the first TV DVD set I'v ever boughten that didn't have any bonus features at all.
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- Movies & TV > TV Shows > TV Series > TV Series By Letter > F > Family Ties