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Family - The Complete First and Second Seasons

202 customer reviews

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(Sep 05, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Family is the hit dramatic series that explores the lives, loves, and hardships of a contemporary 1970s American family, told with heart and humor. Originally given a six-episode run, the show became a surprise hit in the fall of 1976, and won two Emmy® Awards for the second season. This groundbreaking series is a Mike Nichols production (Academy Award® winner 1967, Best Director, The Graduate), created by Jay Presson Allen (Cabaret) and executive produced by the powerhouse producing team of Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg (TV’s Charlie’s Angels and Starsky & Hutch).

Family follows the saga of the Lawrence family of Pasadena, California - parents Kate (Sada Thompson) and Doug (James Broderick), and their three children: young divorced mother Nancy (played by Elayne Heilveil in the first season, and by Meredith Baxter Birney in the second season), high school dropout Willie (Gary Frank), and young teenage daughter Buddy (Kristy McNichol). Notable guest stars include Willie Aames, Helen Hunt, James Woods, and Tommy Lee Jones.

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: James Broderick, Sada Thompson, Meredith Baxter, Kristy McNichol
  • Directors: Gerold S. O'Loughlin, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick, Randal Kleiser, Ralph Senensky
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 1382 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GFRI68
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,259 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Family - The Complete First and Second Seasons" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 175 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Who would have thought that this quality show would ever be released on DVD? Thankfully someone realized that there's still an audience craving intelligent, heartfelt, humanistic drama!

What strikes me upon watching these episodes again after so many years is the superb writing & acting. These are smart, articulate people, living in a more civilized culture than exists in America today. They're also flawed in very human ways, capable of deeply wounding & being wounded, but always ready to take the path of reconciliation & understanding. It's a family that expects more from itself than the lowest common denominator ... and the show is wise enough to acknowledge that such a laudable & worthwhile goal may sometimes have its drawbacks.

Kate was warm but a touch aristocratic, obviously the driving force in the family dynamic. She could be infuriating at times, heartbreaking at others, both in her relationship with Doug & with her children. Nancy could be spoiled, Doug stubborn, Willie a little too carefree in his approach to life, Buddy simply struggling to grow up -- but all were basically admirable, striving to grow & embrace life, rather than hide from it. They took chances, for all the comforts of their cozy home; they were hurt at times, made foolish choices, found unexpected rewards. Not an idealized family, but a very desirable one!

This was very much a writer's show -- the dialogue is sharp, witty, poignant, laced with warmth & humor when needed, often summing up a complex situation with a pithy phrase. Some younger viewers might complain that people don't really talk like that. Perhaps they don't, at least not these days. But again, the writing aspired to more than the barely sufficient. It makes you appreciate language & how it can be used.
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118 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Chloe on July 31, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With so much crap out there, getting a quick DVD release, it's amazing a quality series such as Family hasn't been out sooner. I watched this duriing its first run & it was one of the few shows that I was allowed to see at such a late hour (10 PM). It shifted throughout its run to earlier formats, but due to some of its controversial themes, the series was initially put in a later time slot than the typical family viewing hour.

There's so much to love about Family. Sada Thompson was always elegant & graceful as Kate, the matriarch. James Broderick was so down-to-earth & good natured, he was warming as the Lawrence patriarch. Kristy McNichol was lovable as Buddy & made you wish you had a friend like her in real-life. Gary Frank as Willie was carefree & made you wish you had Willie as a brother or even as a boyfriend. He had all of the fine qualities a grounded woman seeks in a man. Was really cute as well.

I implore anyone who has never seen this show to buy this set, as well as longtime fans, such as myself who watched it as a child.

Family was critically acclaimed as a result of its frank depiction of love & relationships. It also garnered an emmy for Kristy & Sada, due to their poignant performances.

I'll buy every season as its released & have many Family marathons to relive the good ol' days of this fine & stellar tv series. Can't wait to get my copy.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 17, 2006
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I would give this show 10 stars, if I could. It truly was one of the best dramas ever to air on TV. I have wonderful memories of the show and would be thrilled if it were to be released on DVD. The plots were very realistic, the scripts were intelligent and moving, and the acting was subtle but powerful.

Since it was quite a forward-looking show, I think many people today would find the plots and the issues they dealt with to feel very contemporary in our modern world. I can't believe this hasn't been released on DVD yet.

If you were a fan of this great show, voice your opinion and let Amazon and the studio know that you want this show on DVD!!
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David Von Pein on September 10, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just finished watching the Pilot episode of "Family" via this nice-looking 6-Disc DVD set containing Seasons 1 and 2 of the series. I've seen many of these episodes previously, but I don't recall ever having seen the Pilot program, which co-stars Elayne Heilveil in the part of "Nancy" (she was later replaced by Meredith Baxter-Birney). You may recall Heilveil co-starring opposite David Janssen in a pretty good 1973 TV-Movie called "Birds Of Prey" (which is also available on DVD).

The Pilot episode for "Family" is simply wonderful, perfectly introducing us to the Lawrence "family". I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this Pilot. Everybody in the cast, from Sada Thompson right on down the line, is just perfect. I'd recommend this Pilot (and this DVD set) to anyone who enjoys family-type dramas. The Pilot episode was filmed in late 1975, and was originally telecast on March 9th, 1976.

There are a few very funny moments in the Pilot show too, especially when an angry Doug (James Broderick) screams at Willie (Gary Frank) after the family learns that 13-year-old Buddy (Kristy McNichol) has taken the car out for a spin -- "Willie, you stay here and try to figure out how you can possibly have an I.Q. of 140 and not use ANY of it!!" ~LOL~ (You see, Willie has secretly been giving Buddy driving lessons. And the fact that Willie has recently dropped out of school doesn't exactly help to make dad any happier with young William either.)

The "Family" Pilot features the burgeoning acting talent of an extremely young-looking (and future Emmy-winning) Miss McNichol, who gives a spot-on performance in the series' premiere as "Buddy", a girl who has her own set of problems to deal with -- e.g.
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Sign PETITION for more releases!
Dec 10, 2008 by Mary Moore |  See all 98 posts
How wonderful! I have always loved her work and wondered where she was now. And to think she is in my New England back yard! Thank you for sharing this, it really made me smile!
Jan 28, 2009 by Cosmic-Surf |  See all 22 posts
Rest of the series?
You can go to and tell them you want it. They seem to hold sway with the studios are are a great bunch of guys.
Oct 20, 2006 by David Alan Hall |  See all 16 posts
Still trying to find out about the whole "Family" series being release...
I bought "Family" Seasons 1&2 two years ago for my then- 14-year-old daughter, so we could have something good and wholesome to watch together. It was always one of my favorite TV shows; I was in my late teens when it was on. My daughter loves it, and has watched each episode numerous... Read More
Dec 2, 2012 by Whistler's Mom |  See all 2 posts
Big studios are cheap and greedy this is all BS!
No, shame on YOU! How DARE you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 25, 2012 by April Goodwin |  See all 4 posts shows parental neglect causes homosexuality Be the first to reply
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