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The Cosby Show: Season 1

3.9 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Cosby Show appeared on NBC from 1984 to 1992, becoming one of the most popular programs in the history of television. The Cosby Show depicted a close-knit and prosperous African-American family that dwelled in New York City. Dr. Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable were a happily married, dual-profession couple with aspirations of raising their 5 children in an uplifting, positive environment. The Cosby Show held TV's #1 slot for a record 5 consecutive years (1985 to 1990) and stayed in the Top 20 shows for all eight seasons it was on NBC.


Looking back at season 1 of The Cosby Show, it's easy to forget that momentous history was being made. Not only did this immensely popular sitcom hold the #1 spot among all network TV shows for five consecutive seasons (a record that still stands), but it promoted an evolutionary progression that influenced the entire TV industry from that point forward. African Americans had enjoyed sitcom success in the past (on Julia, The Jeffersons, and Good Times), but the idealized family of Cliff and Clair Huxtable (Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad) represented a new and quietly revolutionary perspective; married for 21 years with five children (one in college, a detail unmentioned in the pilot episode), the Huxtables were happy and successful (he's a doctor, she's a lawyer), and issues of race were almost entirely irrelevant to the show's universal appeal. Making their Thursday-night debut on September 20, 1984, they were conceived by Cosby (as "executive consultant Dr. William H. Cosby Jr., Ed.D."), cocreators Ed. Weinberger and Michael Leeson, and executive producers Tom Werner and Marcy Carsey, with a matter-of-fact approach to upgrading the African American image, built upon Cosby's rubber-faced popularity as a stand-up comedian and rooted in the complete and unbiased integration of the black experience into the American mainstream. More to the point, The Cosby Show was eminently respectable family entertainment, perhaps too squeaky-clean for some tastes, but immediately popular at a time when Eddie Murphy (in Beverly Hills Cop) was honing a more profane image that Cosby disapproved of.

The show was also perfectly cast for mass appeal, from the irresistible precociousness of Keshia Knight Pulliam (as the youngest and most charming Huxtable daughter, Rudy) to the stylish adolescence of Lisa Bonet (years before her controversial role in Angel Heart) as 16-year-old Denise; Malcolm-Jamal Warner as outspoken teenager Theo; Tempestt Bledsoe as sensible younger daughter Vanessa; and Sabrina LaBeauf as college student and eventual mother of twins, Sondra. Combined with the effortless chemistry of Cosby and Rashad (credited in Season 1 as Phylicia Ayers Allen), the entire cast forged an easygoing, loosely-rehearsed dynamic that was genuinely familial.

Given The Cosby Show's immense popularity, it's deeply regrettable that the exorbitant cost of original music rights resulted in this DVD release of edited episodes that were shortened, with different music cues added, for perpetual syndication. Fans eager to see the original NBC broadcasts were understandably outraged, and this shortcoming should be addressed in DVD releases of subsequent seasons. In truth, the episodes (including "Goodbye, Mr. Fish," a perfect example of the show's universal appeal) are not significantly diminished by the careful editing; for casual fans, the difference is barely worth mentioning. And while the 90-minute bonus feature "The Cosby Show: A Look Back" (a clip show originally broadcast May 19, 2002) suffers from the conspicuous absence of Bonet (who by then had mostly retreated from show business), it duly conveys the long-term value (and moral values) of the series, which singlehandedly restored the fortunes of NBC while embracing familial togetherness that would inform many of the popular sitcoms that followed its noble example. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • All 24 episodes from 1984-85 season
  • The 90-minute 2002 TV special "A Look Back" including deleted scenes, bloopers, audition footage and more
  • DVD Booklet with air date infomation

Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe
  • Directors: Jay Sandrich, Nancy Stern
  • Writers: Bill Cosby, Carmen Finestra, Earl Pomerantz, Ed. Weinberger, Elliot Shoenman
  • Format: Subtitled, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Urban Works
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2005
  • Run Time: 575 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ZSHR6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,344 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cosby Show: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Over the years, television commercial breaks have lengthened, and older series in syndication have suffered for it. When you watch a rerun of your favorite TV show, it can have anywhere from two to four minutes edited out to make room for more commercials, depending on the show's age.

"The Cosby Show" is no exception to this rule. During the 1984-1985 season (when the show debuted), the average length of a half-hour show was twenty-four minutes with about six minutes allotted for commercials. In 2005, the average length of a half hour show is twenty-one minutes. So the versions we see umpteen times a day on TBS, WGN, Nick At Nite and various local stations have more than two minutes cut out of them.

But that's okay, because the upcoming release of "The Cosby Show's" inaugural season will include all the footage from the NBC airings we haven't seen in over twenty years, right?


In their infinite wisdom, Carsey Werner and UrbanWorks have decided to allow consumers to plop down a good portion of their hard-earned cash for the syndication edits of one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 1980s, without any warning on the packaging that these are, in fact, not the full-length episodes (even lying to us by stating in the original press release for the set that they were using "all original NBC network versions, including the pilot episode, which are approximately two minutes longer than the syndicated versions").

Part of the appeal of TV shows on DVD is the fact that we get to see our favorite shows uncut for the first time in years. That's why I've gladly shelled out money to add shows such as "Cheers," "M*A*S*H," "Seinfeld," "The Simpsons" and "Taxi" to my DVD collection.
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Format: DVD
Well I was getting ready to sell off my Columbia House copys of The Cosby Show to buy the new season 1 set,but then I read the reviews and nearly passed out when I read the news about the episodes on the upcoming box set being the cut versions.The episodes on the upcoming set are about 22:00 minutes in link.After I read this I popped in one of my Columbia House copys watched "Goodbye, Mr.Fish" on the Columbia House version the episode was 24:07 minutes in link.If you bought the Columbia House DVD's keep them as the are the orginal network versions.I cant believe they are going to release The Cosby Show this way,this show is an American Classic and it should not be release this way!Thumbs down to this release! Thumbs up to Columbia House for doing Cosby right!Columbia House are best of set,but atleast the episodes are uncut.
Update-Well I read the news about the rest of the series being released uncut,Urbanworks heard the complaints and season 1 has not sold very well,so season 2 and on will get the uncut treatment,I'll beleive it when I see it?remember they promised everybody that season 1 was going to be uncut and it turn out to be a big lie! If 2 is going to be uncut I think they should rerelease seaon 1 also!
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Format: DVD
All the episodes are EDITED! These are not the versions run by NBC. Save your money; you can see these truncated versions in syndication.

This is especially horrible as the company put out press releases a few months ago stating these were to be uncut, and now they release edited versions? I think they should be reported to the FTC and product should be recalled so it can be properly labeled with a disclaimer stating that the shows are CUT.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Yes, these are the edited versions of "The Cosby Show Season 1". I am a loyal fan of the show and have all the ORIGINAL episodes on VHS. I didn't even make it past the 1st show when I realized I was ripped off. And it's not just a few seconds, it is entire scenes that are cut out. One scene that I was looking forward to seeing betewwn Cliff and Claire in the 1st episode was completely gone.The DVD will be returned tomorrow and I recommend that no one buy this junk! I thought I would share with you the 1 response I got from these people "We truly appreciate your enthusiasm regarding the Season One DVD release of THE COSBY SHOW, one of Carsey-Werner's most cherished projects. We sympathize with your concerns relating to the syndicated episode versions.

To provide some background for you, THE COSBY SHOW SEASON ONE DVD would not be a reality had the network versions of the show been used. The licensing fees for the music cues often add up to exorbitant dollar amounts thereby prohibiting the release. You will find that other studios and distribution companies exercise the same practice of using syndicated versions of a show, which include revised music cues.

Please be assured that the edits made to the show were done with the utmost of care and concern by the original producers. These changes were limited to transitions and in most cases did not include dialogue and/or important moments. Every precaution was made to ensure that the integrity of the show was not in any way compromised.

It should be noted that due to the passionate response we have received from collectors, we are seriously pursuing the possibility of using the network versions on ALL future releases.
Thank you for your concern and feedback.
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