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Family Ties: Season 3

4.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Steve and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney), once 1960s radicals, now find themselves in Reagan-Era American trying to raise a traditional suburban family. Son Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) is an ambitious Young Republican and his sister Mallory (Justine Bateman) is a shallow victim of the corporate culture, obsessed with music, clothes and boys. Their only normal kid is young Jennifer (Tina Yothers), a bit of a tomboy.


With a title like Family Ties, the Keaton clan was bound to add to their number. After Meredith Baxter Birney became pregnant during the third season, Elyse follows suit, and little Andy evens out the household's gender balance (he makes his debut in two-part episode "Birth of a Keaton"). While Elyse and Steven (Michael Gross) prepare for the new arrival, 19-year-old Alex (Michael J. Fox) starts college, 17-year-old Mallory (Justine Bateman) gets a job, and 11-year-old Jennifer (Tina Yothers) discovers boys. To Alex's surprise, college proves more difficult than expected. In "Little Man on Campus," he learns it isn't just about memorizing facts and figures, but about thinking for yourself (thirtysomething's Timothy Busfield begins a recurring run as suspender-sporting classmate Doug). Fox also shines in "Hotline Fever," in which the usually over-confident freshman admits to fears of failure, and "Best Man," in which he puts aside personal misgivings to support a friend (The 4400's Billy Campbell and The O.C.'s Tate Donovan play his poker buddies). Year three also provides Bateman with opportunities to reveal her range, as in "Auntie Up," in which Mallory mourns a beloved relative, and "Cold Storage," in which she and Skippy (Marc Price) get locked in the basement.

The show's knack for welcoming Oscar contenders continues with The Accidental Tourist's Geena Davis as an incompetent nanny ("Help Wanted," "Karen II, Alex 0"), Mr. Saturday Night's David Paymer as an obnoxious father-to-be ("Oh, Donna," "Cold Storage"), and Babe's James Cromwell as John Hancock in Alex's re-imagining of the signing of the Declaration of Independence ("Philadelphia Story"). This more introspective season, which concludes with Steven reminiscing about his late father (two-parter "Remembrances of Things Past"), comes complete with episode promos and a gag reel. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • All 24 episodes from the 1984-85 season on four discs
  • Gag reel
  • Episodic promos
  • *Some episodes may be edited from their original network v ersions
  • *Music has been changed for this home entertainment version

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael J. Fox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 573 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Y7U9AK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Family Ties: Season 3" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Family Ties is an American television sitcom which aired on NBC for seven seasons, from 1982 to 1989. At the height of its popularity, Family Ties was #2 in the yearly Nielsen ratings, as it aired in the prized time-slot right after the top-rated Cosby Show on Thursday nights.

It starred Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, the conservative, business-oriented son of liberal parents Elyse and Steven (Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross). Elyse was a successful architect, while Steven ran a public television station. They lived in suburban Columbus, Ohio with their children: Alex, Mallory ("Mal") (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer ("Jen") (Tina Yothers). Another child, Andrew ("Andy") (Brian Bonsall), was added later.

Saeson three includes the following 24 episodes:

"The Gambler" September 20, 1984
"Here We Go Again" September 27, 1984
"Little Man on Campus" October 4, 1984
"Love Thy Neighbor" October 11, 1984
"Keaton and Son" October 18, 1984
"Fabric Smarts" October 25, 1984
"Hotline Fever" November 1, 1984
"4 Rms Ocn Vu" November 8, 1984
"Best Man" November 15, 1984
"Lost Weekend" November 22, 1984
"Don't Kiss Me, I'm Only the Messenger" November 29, 1984
"Help Wanted" December 6, 1984
"Karen II, Alex 0" December 23, 1984
"Oh Donna" January 3, 1985
"Auntie Up" January 10, 1985
"Philadelphia Story" January 17, 1985
"Birth of a Keaton, Part I" January 24, 1985
"Birth of a Keaton, Part II" January 31, 1985
"Cry Baby" February 7, 1985
"Don't Know Much About History..." February 14, 1985
"Bringing Up Baby" February 21, 1985
"Cold Storage" March 7, 1985
"Remembrances of Things Past, Part I" March 28, 1985
"Remembrances of Things Past, Part II" March 28, 1985
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It would be really hard for me to pick a favorite season of Family Ties, but #3 is tough to beat. In addition to a major change (the birth of baby Andrew in the classic 2-parter in which Elyse goes into labor during a public t.v. telethon), there are so many favorite episodes/moments: Geena Davis shakes things up as a housekeeper on whom Alex develops a crush; jealous Jennifer dressing up to crash Mallory's date; Steven & Elyse regret leaving the kids alone for the weekend; Alex taking calls on a crisis hotline. . .those are just a few off the top of my head.

True, we have to wait one more season for Nick, as well as Alex's great love (and Michael J. Fox's real-life wife) Tracey Pollan. But season 3 is definitely Family Ties at the top of its game.
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Format: DVD
I forgot how good this series was.

This is not just a series of loosely connected jokes. There is a story being told.

The Keaton family all love each other, in spite of Alex always insulting his sister. There is a lot of subtle, excellent, acting. The sister Mallory is a poor student, though she tries. Alex is a quicker wit. When Alex insults his sister, Mallory, and the script does not give the actress another line, most actresses would do nothing. However, Justine Bateman is great in this roll, because she does not just do nothing, she responds with a blank look that also says, "I am trying to think of a comeback, thinking, I cannot come up with one, I am a bit hurt, I am exasperated", at which point Mallory storms out of the room. These great responses really embellished Alex's insults.

Little sister, Jennifer, always has a clever line. Such as when Alex gets in trouble and brings his little sister along for sympathy. Jennifer realizes this, and asks Alex, "Do you want me to limp?"

The parents are former hippies, but their son Alex, in sharp contrast, is a preppie, businessman. Skippy is the neighbor boy, who loves Mallory, but Mallory is not interested. All the actors are excellent. Clever scripts. All the seasons are good.
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Format: DVD

The third season of "Family Ties" manages a simple trick which has spelled the downfall of many other family sitcoms: Adding a new family member to the existing onscreen family. But, the birth of Andrew Keaton is only one of the highlights of this exceptional season.

"Here We Go Again" finds Elyse home with only Skippy Handleman around with which to share the news of a surprise pregnancy. Much of the humor and poignancy of this episode comes as Steven and the other family members eventually discover the news. Gary David Goldberg and his creative staff wisely make this storyline a season-long arc. In one episode called "Oh, Donna," Alex trips into a sticky situation, developing feelings in an emotionally complicated anticipatory crush on a young unwed Lamaze classmate of his parents. The birth of Andrew 'Andy' Keaton happens in the two-part classic "Birth of A Keaton," especially noteworthy for the humor of Elyse's off-key singing as she goes into labor on public television.

Other shows display creative confidence and versatility. One of my favorites among this lot is "Philadelphia Story," in which a sick and exhausted Alex falls asleep doing a history assignment and dreams he is in 1776, as the American Declaration of Independence from England is being written. A great comedic episode from Season Three is "Help Wanted," co-starring Geena Davis as an inept but likable housekeeper.

The two-part season finale "Remembrance of Things Past" is a series classic. It is decidedly dramatic, as Steven's father dies and the Keaton Family goes to Buffalo, New York to settle affairs. It successfully captures a realistic family generational tone, and is the first show to feature Steven's brother Robert 'Rob' Keaton.

The third season of "Family Ties" successfully interweaves a dramatic tone with its expert comedy, all while making room for a fourth Keaton child. It is absolutely a classic season for the series.
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