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The Bill Cosby Show - Season One

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Bill Cosby Show: Season One, Cosby's Emmy-nominated first situation comedy (featuring 26 fully restored uncut episodes from the 1969-70 season), is a fresh mix of intelligent character studies and real-life situations, seamlessly infused with his trademark sense of humor and positive outlook.

Chet Kincaid (Cosby) is a gym teacher at an urban high school in Los Angeles, an all-around good guy and an inspiration to his friends, family and students. Chet's good heart gets him into tons of predicaments, such as losing a one-on-one basketball game to a student he considered too short to make the team, his accidental involvement in a domestic dispute when he answers a pay phone and going on a date in a borrowed garbage truck.

Includes music by Quincy Jones and guest appearances by:

Academy Award-winner Lou Gossett Jr. (An Officer And A Gentleman)

Henry Fonda (On Golden Pond)

Cicely Tyson ("Roots")

Elsa Lanchester (Bride Of Frankenstein)

Wally Cox ("Mr. Peepers")

And many others

Amazon.com

Fresh off a successful three-season run on I Spy, in which he was the first black performer to land a leading role in a TV drama, actor-comedian Bill Cosby had the clout and popularity to do pretty much whatever he wanted for his next project. He made a wise choice with The Bill Cosby Show, released here with the first season's 26 episodes contained on four discs. Not to be confused with The Cosby Show, the immensely popular '80s series that focused on the home life of a middle-class New York family and earned Cosby the top spot on TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time," The Bill Cosby Show, which aired from 1969-71, features Cosby as Chet Kincaid, a high school basketball coach and teacher. Kincaid is single, which provides fodder for several storylines. He's also considerably hipper than Dr. Cliff Huxtable, and the show has an overall tone that's, well, funkier than its juggernaut of a successor. Still, Cosby is Cosby, and the same values he espouses in life (fairness, the importance of education) and the techniques he brings to his standup comedy routines (especially an emphasis on storytelling over one-liners) are apparent here as well. Indeed, his imprimatur is all over the series, which is entirely a good thing. Although the show is often very funny (he's at his best in "Let X Equal a Lousy Weekend," which finds him completely out of his depth when substituting for the algebra teacher), Cosby was adamant that it not include a canned laugh track; in an interview conducted for the DVD release (it's the only bonus feature), he recalls his battles with NBC over the issue, and suggests it contributed to the network's decision not to renew the show despite high ratings. Even more striking is its refusal to play the race card, even for laughs. Although Kincaid's high school is thoroughly multi-culti, racism is a non-factor; an episode that deals with prejudice involves Kincaid's reluctance to give a proper tryout to an African-American basketball player simply because the boy is too short. And while the show is kid-friendly, addressing issues like shoplifting, learning to drive, and profanity, the focus is primarily on the proud, principled Chet and his dealings with family, friends, students, prospective dates, and such. What emerges is a portrait of a gentle, decent, funny guy, and a program that deserved more than two seasons on the air. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • 26 episodes on 4 discs
  • New on-screen interview with Bill Cosby

Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Cosby, Arlyce Baker, Ketty Lester, San Christopher, Joyce Bulifant
  • Directors: Bill Cosby, Coby Ruskin, Elliott Lewis, Harvey Hart, Herb Wallerstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: August 22, 2006
  • Run Time: 660 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EQ5UUA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bill Cosby Show - Season One" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Paff on March 7, 2006
Format: DVD
When I was a kid (about 35 years ago) this was just about my favorite show. It was funny, creative and decent, the whole family could watch it. There was no laugh track and it was better for it I think. I've always enjoyed Bill Cosby's comedy (spent many hours listening to records of his comedy routines) and I've been hoping this t.v. series would become available on DVD some day so that I could enjoy them again. If you like Cosby at all go ahead and order it.
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I remember watching this show on television as a child and loving it. I loved Bill Cosby and the funky soundtrack, and the fact that this show tended to deal with real life in a funny and optimistic way, and there was no soundtrack. This show doesn't need to tell you when to laugh.

I've mentioned this show to friends over the years and nobody knew what I was talking about. I thought that perhaps for some reason Bill Cosby himself had decided to never let this show see the light of day again.

Well, I was wrong and I am thrilled to be able to see this show in color since my family had only a black-and-white TV back in 1969. And, they even put it on one-sided discs! They did the packaging right!

So, why not kick back and watch one of the very best TV shows ever. In a way it's rather dated, but it's rather timeless too.
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This is a 4-disc set of Season I of the first Bill Cosby Show, the 1969 series - not to be confused with "The Cosby Show," the more recent Show. No, this was the original Cosby. Here he plays a bachelor high school coach. Cosby's loose ad lib style is already brilliant and fully developed in this series, and you might find you actually prefer it to his long-running turn as a family man. These episodes have more a slice-of-life feel than a staged sitcom feel. And the young people featured in this earlier series have unpredictable personalities that run the spectrum from shy to self-assured. They aren't uniformly smart-alecky and precocious, as almost all the children in modern sitcoms tend to be.

The adults aren't stereotyped either. They aren't boxed into being humorous by way of being self-absorbed. This isn't a series of one-liners, of zingers-and-retorts delivered like shoot-outs. People still have conversations here. This is something really different, something with heart.

A number of big-name stars show up occasionally. You'll see Henry Fonda, Elsa Lancaster, Cicely Tyson, and others. But you might not notice them, because they too blend in with the warmth of everyday neighborhood life.

One of the series' funniest episodes, perhaps one of the funniest episodes of all time, is entitled "Goodbye Cruel World" and features Wally Cox. Cox plays a lovelorn cafeteria server at Coach Kincaid's high school. When all of Kincaid's advice to Cox about how to ask that special woman for a date fails - Cox decides he's going to commit suicide. This might not sound as if it would make likely material for a comedy, but believe me, it turns out to be hilarious.

Kincaid (Cosby) is again unpredictable. He doesn't feverishly try to dissuade Cox, as one might expect.
Read more ›
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It is a sad commentary on the television industry's selection processes that The Bill Cosby Show only got 2 seasons and is forgotten while The Cosby Show got 6 seasons and is considered a classic. In the latter the square Cosby (a slightly pompous, highly successful physician) is constantly outwitted and put down by the other 4 lovable, hip family members. Cosby carries the show, but all his funny lines (accompanied by a lot of tedious mugging) are as the butt of other peoples jokes. George Burns and Gracie Allen made that work because Gracie became the comedian and because underneath her apparent stupidity was a remarkable sensitivity and sense of humor. In the Cosby Show the 4 straight people have no subtlety; they just dish out smart putdowns that the ordinary viewer can identify with. Perhaps that was the secret of the show's success.

In the Bill Cosby Show, Chet (Cosby) is a mildly hip school teacher dealing with the hassles of everyday life. The humor comes from the situations, ranging from getting his car repaired to the mediocre performance of his student basketball team to his own prowess at handball. The supporting characters come through as unique individuals struggling for minor success against an adverse environment of hazards that are more funny than threatening. Best of all Cosby has most of the funny lines, whether giving advice to others or musing on his own intentions and motivations.
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Format: DVD
Finally! One of the great sitcoms of all time is back. I always thought that the '80s "Cosby Show" was too self-consciously good. Cosby was a buffoon, his wife was too intelligent and the kids were too well-behaved. The original "Bill Cosby Show" drew humor from real-life situations. As Chet Kincaid, Cosby spends entire episodes looking for a valve needle to blow up his volleyballs, trying to get some sleep, trying to borrow a television to watch the Rams/49ers, attempting to find a letter signed by Abraham Lincoln, and many more. The premises were strokes of genius; 22 minute lessons in morality, love, and friendship, all without hitting the audience over the head with messages or even canned laughter. The guest stars were always amazing: from the famous: Henry Fonda, Will Geer, Cicely Tyson - to cult favorites like Antonio Fargas, Herb Edelman (hilarious, trying to quit smoking) and Len Lesser ("Seinfeld"). Jazz and blues fans should take note because you never know when a cameo appearance by Cosby idols like Jimmy Witherspoon (as a gym janitor) stroll by. Savor each episode; this is television at its best. Cos unfettered; his best stand-up routines brought to life.
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