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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2003
This show really surprised me. It's funny, sad, heartbreaking, hip, beautiful, but always very powerful and never something that shoves you away or keeps you at a distance. The show is immediately endearing and you fall in love with the characters. It hardly seemed like TV to me as much as it seemed like another one of PBS' experiments in television, which, ultimately, it turned out to be (had a very short hiatus, came back for a short second season and finished off. Leaving me wondering if it was even a real "series"). Something akin to film, but with more storytelling power, a lot of confidence in it's purpose, and a sometimes subtle, sometimes strong poli-social message, sometimes a satirical and humerous look at family and/or Mexican-American life, but always celebrating the culture and ties of this family, the Gonzales', and always entertaining.
The show boasted a powerful cast of actors: Sonia Braga as Berta, who dies in the first episode but is a crucial part of the series and comes back in flashbacks and memories and influences the physical and emotional journeys of her family (all of whom go through a revelation and transformation in the course of the show). Edward James Olmos as Jess, who is a dysfunctional yet loving father. Esai Morales as the long suffering son Esteban; Raquel Welch as the always humerous Diva of an aunt; and the list goes on and on and on (this show has a LARGE cast) with cameos and a solid plethora of extremely talented character actors.
The atmosphere of the show is incredibly colorful. Filmed in East LA on High definition digital, the show has a very energetic and passionate feel to it, and the art design helps along.
But best of all is the incredibly powerful and very creative writing and execution. Lucky for buyers of this DVD, in my opinion at least, the first season contains the best episodes (the second season was very short, though it included some zingers of episodes).
This show has enormous potential as a college classroom tool for social studies; as entertainment, as a urgent social message, as deep powerful art, as what TV can and should be.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2003
I haven't watched every episode of this Hispanic family drama that takes place in Los Angeles, California, but every episode i have watched has me wondering why CBS passed on this show. Then again CBS would have probably cancelled and basically I thank PBS for making this into a series. The show stars Edward James Olmos as the head of the Hispanic family. In an early episode, his wife dies. The drama focuses on many characters including the two sons and two daughters and the grandson and the eccentric aunt played by Raquel Welch. one of the sons (Esai Morales who is most known as teh captain on NYPD Blue)is an ex-con trying to put his life back together by being a firefighter and one episode focuses on him teaching gang members how to be firefighters. One of the daughters is played by Rachel Tichton who is married and with children while the other daughter is a lawyer working for a non-profit group. The youngest is a teenage boy and he is always videotaping the family and putting the video up on a family website which leads to one episode where the family members aren't happy at what he done and also it is shown many people visit the website. The grandson is in the care of Edward HJames Olmos (and the woman who plays his wife). The kid is the son of the ex-con and the mom is a junkie. Anyway, the head of the family (Olmos) is a local barber. One episode focuses on his experiences in the Korean War while a couple of episodes tell the tale of how his wife came to the USA. The episodes in this series cover many different stories including the housekeeper who gets deported and can't get back to her son to the lawyer daughter going into a Latin America country searching for a friend only to discover what the military is doing to the women there (and it isn't pretty and that is why there are rebels).
American Family is one of the best and most complex and well written family dramas I have seen in a long time. It tells about the Hispanic community in LA for one and it is refreshing to see a drama with Hispanic characters instead of your usual white family and black family dramas. It is shame that network TV didn't pick this series up, but I'm glad PBS saw how great a show this would be. If you want a series that is worth getting on DVD, this is the one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This series is one I bought some time ago. As I am not latino, I bought it because Sonja Braga and Edward James Olmos are two actors that I love.

Once into the series, the word "latino" disappeared and just became "All American Family" to me. Anyone, anywhere in the USA with a growing family can identify with the problems and joys of raising a family in a "working class" world. Iregardless of anyone's cultural or racial background, families all have many of the same problems anywhere! I love this series!

I can't recommend it enough and wish there were more series to buy of AMERICAN FAMILY.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2004
A wonderful show for anyone who appreciates, good stories, excellent acting and heartfelt family shows. Truly a landmark in Latino television. I highly recommend this show, I can assure you that you will not be dissapointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2004
If you haven't seen "American Family" you are missing a wonderful display of incredibly talented people at their best. Greg Nava's direction is masterful. The actors give so much depth to their roles. Oh, Mr. Olmos, please make them bring you back again. This is a great series, and I fear that DVD is the only way to keep it around.
The characters are sturdy and heroic, and so humanly flawed. The world is not a simple place for them. How rare to see this kind of television. Now, alas, it appears that American Family will only be available on DVD in the future. Do not pass go. Do not miss this event.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2006
I truely love "American Family"!!!! I've already watched all of these episodes and i can't get enough of it!! So there's nothing else to do but watch it over n over... why hasn't the second season come out on dvd yet?????
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2010
I love love this series - I especially loved the second season - does anyone know anything about the second season release?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
I received this DVD randomly from NetFlix, and once I played the first episode I was hooked. This reminded me so much of what it is like growing up in Los Angeles as a Mexican American in the 60"s and 70's. It was hysterically funny and moving at the same time. Coming from a large family with many cousins, Tias and Tios in Los Angeles...this was a fabulous series I recommend highly to any Californian, or person of Hispanic Heritage.
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on September 17, 2007
as a big fan of hispanic director gregory nava (i too am latino), i saw this series from beginning to end and i wanted more shows. edward james olmos is excellent as the family patriarch as is esai morales as the ex-con/firefighter son. the rest of the cast is outstanding. great writing and directing make this series top notch. it IS unfortunate that this show did not air on network television.
after watching this, not only will latino people identify with the characters, so will asians, caucasions and african american. as each family has the same types of people as is portrayed in the show--ex-cons, junkies, loving moms, feisty teenage sons who are driven.
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on September 13, 2008
I remeember watching this series and thought how great it was to be able to see my life on tv. The families are all the same for most Mexican-Americans and other ethnic, color and so on.
Its the first season and I am just down to 2 disks, I saved it to watch on the weekends so I can relax without being disturbed. But I have looked, searched for the 2nd season, the final season apparently. I had hoped to order before I finished the 1st. Can someone tell me how to find this?
This is something I can leave my grandkids to watch someday and know who they are and where we came from.
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