Once or twice a decade, a television series advances the form a quantum leap. In the late 70's Family advanced the family drama by dealing with real issues of the day in a realistic and honest manner.
The title describes the show perfectly. Family deals with the trials and tribulations of an average middle class family in suburban America.
The Lawrences live in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena. The show primarily centered around housewife Kate Lawrence (Sada Thompson) (when being a housewife was becoming a taboo.) Her husband Douglas (James Broderick) was a successful lawyer with his own small practice. They have three children. Nancy (Meridith Baxter) married her high school sweetheart and had a baby. But the marriage hit the rocks when she caught him with another woman and she moved out into the family guest house and is trying to have it all. Willie (Gary Frank) just graduated high school and is trying to find himself. Willie usually is found with a woman with issues of her own. The youngest is Leticia (Kristie McNichol). Better known as Buddy, she is just entering adolescence and is a bit of a tomboy.
Between the parents and kids, most issues of the day could be addressed and usually was.
Season 3 contained the following 23 episodes:
Acts of Love (2 parts): Willie falls for a dying woman (Brooke Adams). Kate and Doug have their 25th wedding anniversary.
The First Time: Buddy decides to go steady with her boyfriend, TJ (Willie Ames). Kate starts to question her life.
Change of Heart: Nancy is jealous of her ex's (John Rubenstien) new girlfriend and Buddy is jealous of the attention TJ is paying a new girl.
Annie Laurie: Doug is tempted by another lawyer (Linda Lavin).
We Love You, Miss Jessup: One of Buddy's teachers (Blair Brown) is outed and the parents want her fired. Helen Hunt appears as a friend of Buddy.
Little Brother: Buddy uncovers a family skeleton while preparing a family tree for school.
Childhood's End: Buddy discovers an old friend has a drinking problem.
A Tale Out of Season: Doug finds out that a friend beats his children.
Labors of Love: Willie has an affair with an older woman (Samantha Eggar). Buddy tries to make TJ jealous by hanging out with a geek.
A Child is Given: There is not much to celebrate at Christmas as Timmy becomes very ill.
More Than Friends: Nancy has an affair with Willie's script writing teacher (David Selby).
Princess in a Tower: Kate's midlife crisis intensifies and she decides to check out a high rise condo. But she gets trapped in the condo with a young woman (Kim Darby)
Echoes of Love: Willie has become obessed over his dead girlfriend and has an affair with her roommate (Gretchen Corbet). Buddy is caught in the middle when her best friend's parents divorce and Doug represents the mother.
Seesaw: Kate works with a blind child. Buddy prepares to go on a ski weekend with TJ.
Lifeline: A suicidal friend calls Nancy.
And Baby Makes Three: Will Nancy and Jeff get back together?
Cross Over: Willie and Doug become friends with a stripper. Willie has a meeting with a movie producer (Richard Massur)
The Convenant: Nancy has a miscarriage. Doug and his father (David Wayne) attend to unfinished business.
A Friend of the Family: A friend of Willie's (Joseph Bottoms) comes to visit and make trouble. Kate and Doug think of taking seperate vacations.
Fear of Shadows: Kate is plagued by a reoccurring dream of running over a boy. Buddy adopts a raccoon.
Sleeping Gypsy: Buddy's friends have a problem with her new boheimian friend (Dinah Manoff). Kate gives Doug a jacket he hates.
Counterpoint: Doug contemplates retirement when a friend suddenly dies. Kate gets picked on by a teacher because of her age. (William Daniels guests as the family doctor.)
While some of the topics may seem out of date, they still have nuggets of truth that still apply.
Let's hope that the studio gets their act together and releases the remaining seasons.
on April 2, 2010
I am absolutely ecstatic to see that Season 3 of Family is finally going to be released. I watched this show occasionally in the 1970s, but I was so young then and a lot of the content of the show was not understood. A few years ago I purchased season 1 and 2 on DVD. Some episodes left me in tears, and others left me feeling that I wanted to be a part of that loving family. I understand what's going on in the show now and I realize that it was a show for adults. The acting is the best there is and ever will be. All of the actors' performances are top notch. I especially love Sada Thompson. I've never seen a person convey so much meaning with a mere look. I can't wait for season 3, and I will be watching them slowly to prolong the enjoyment of this show. There's hope now that the other season may become available.
I think this TV show is suitable to a large audience. It was well written, well produced, and shows a family with values that I wish the entire world shared. You will be hooked after a couple of episodes.
on January 23, 2010
I really would like to advise the Sony Corporation to release season three of "Family". I purchased the first/second seasons two years ago. I am so tired of waiting for Sony to get around to releasing subsequent seasons. However, leaving fans hanging seems to be their modus operandi. I don't know why they think that they must hold out on people. They have left TV fans hanging for the second release of just about every series for which they own the rights (e.g. season two of Maude or season three of "Knots Landing"). It only goes to show that the Sony Corp. really doesn't care about the loyal fans. They must be only looking for a sales total equal to "Star Wars" or the like. They don't realize that they are alienating so many DVD purchasers. If they don't change their ways I will never buy another Sony DVD set. Besides, there are so many bootleg sets to be had. I want the complete DVD series within a reasonable amount of time (i.e. one season released every three months, like the release schedule of so many of their competitors).I want Sony to be less greedy and to follow through with their commitment to release the series that they own. I'll probably find the police at my door for mentioning the bootleg copies, but I really do not care. I am sick and tired of dealing with the Sony Corporation.
on August 13, 2009
Indeed one of the best series to have ever graced television, FAMILY stands up there as a dramatic classic. The acting was superb, the cast amazing and the stories as poignant and real as you could get, not to mention ahead of their time. For most of us who grew up in the 70's, whether in the US or abroad, FAMILY represents comfort watching. Sada Thompson shines in every episode as the superb, strict yet nurturing mother alongside James Broderick (Matthew's late father), the sometimes not so perfect father of the Lawrence clan. Meredith Baxter Birney (before she went on to head another TV family) as the older child trying to find herself in the world as a single mom. Willie (Gary Frank), the middle child and school drop out trying to adjust, and Kristy McNichol (Leticia 'Buddy') experiencing one growing pain after another....until Quinn Cummings comes in on the later seasons as the adopted 'gifted' orphan child.
Considering that Family seasons 1 & 2 have been released, there are only 3, 4 and the half 5th season. SONY could release season three and then seasons 4 & 5 together and be done with it, and thousands of us would be thrilled beyond words. But then again, Buena Vista never bothered releasing the last season of 'Once and Again' (by the same directors and producers of FAMILY, by the way) amidst pleas from thousands of fans, Paramount/CBS has begun taking advantage of customers by releasing seasons in volumes... so why would SONY bother with our pleas? Clearly, we the customers are at the bottom of the barrel for the major studios who, ironically, survive partially because of us.
on March 21, 2009
I started to watch this show as a young mother in the 70's and absolutely fell in love with "Family".....especially Sada Thompson "Kate" and Gary Frank "Willy".....please, please release the rest of the remaining season's for all of us to enjoy and learn from....the issues that were raised on this show still pertain to many of our issues today....it has a wonderful, believable cast....Hooray for "Family" !!
on August 1, 2010
how is it that so many useless, forgotten things have been released on dvd, and this series has gone almost unnoticed? it was a really great show, with great writing, perfect actors/characters, and compelling stories. i can't believe only the first season plus the few beginning episodes, have been released. i don't know who you contact, or who has the power for releasing the rest of the series, but it certainly deserves a new following. if this generation watched one or two episodes they would be hooked. it just needs a little advertising and a chance to be seen.
on August 16, 2009
This tv-series is of really high quality,everywhere[production,direction,scripts,actors etc.], please produce the rest of the series.