Family Ties: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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Family Ties debuts on DVD in a 4-disc set including all 22 heartwarming and hilarous first season episodes. The award-winning; popular show features a couple who were ardntly left wing political activists in the sixites as they face the problems of raising a family with children who have strongly conservative views. Season One gusts appearances include Tom Hanks and Dick Sargent.
Though it emerged during the Reagan era, Family Ties remains as relevant as ever. Most children find their parents a little embarrassing, but what sets this sitcom apart is that former hippies Steven (Michael Gross) and Elyse (Meredith Baxter-Birney) Keaton have three children, Alex (three-time Emmy winner Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman), and Jennifer (Tina Yothers), yet they haven't lost their youthful idealism. The ambitious Alex and materialistic Mallory, however, don't share it. Poster children for the go-go 1980s, they'd rather rake in the cash than change the world. As Alex quips in the pilot, "The '60s are over, Dad." If the writing were more cynical, it's unlikely the ABC show would've become a seven-season hit. It works because the Keatons obviously love each other--foibles and all.
In their first year, the family faces a variety of challenges. Steven finds out his father has a fatal illness ("I Never Killed for My Father"), 15-year-old Mallory deals with unwelcome male attention ("Give Your Uncle a Kiss"), and 17-year-old Alex learns a lesson about responsibility when he loses nine-year-old Jennifer while babysitting ("The Fifth Wheel"). Guest stars include Bewitched's Dick Sargent as Elyse's father, Charlie ("No Nukes Is Good Nukes"), and a lanky Tom Hanks as her brother, Ned (two-part episode "The Fugitive"). Though Fox (Back to the Future, Spin City) was the breakout star of Family Ties, he was part of a strong ensemble. Some storylines are also surprisingly hard-hitting, particularly the script dealing with sexual harassment. On the downside, there are no extras and, like many Paramount boxed sets, most of the original music has been changed or eliminated. The theme song "Without Us," for instance, is sung by session players on several episodes rather than by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Beyond Family Ties
More DVDs with Michael J. Fox
More 80s TV Series
More TV Series on DVD for the First Time
- All 22 Episodes from the 1982-1983 season on 4 discs
- Music has been changed for this home entertainment version
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Top customer reviews
"Family Ties" is a nice little family sitcom which I doubt seriously would offend anyone. All the family members are likable in their own way and deal with their fair share of shortcomings. What I like most about it though is their political overtone. Elyse and Steven Keaton (Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross) are old hippies who seem to have raised a die-hard Republican in Alex P. Keaton (Fox). Alex's ideals continually clash with his parents's and those moments provide some great entertainment. Although the tone is pretty lefty it is not judgemental and the clashes always end well (usually with Alex seeing the errors of his ways).
The first season of "Family Ties" isn't laugh out loud funny it must be said. The first three episodes in particular are not at all interesting or very funny but things pick up immediately in the fourth episode which deals nearly exclusively with Alex. The kids gradually took center stage but originally the parents were to be the real main characters.
"Family Ties" ran for seven seasons and when shows run that long it's usually thanks in large parts to great chemistry between the cast members. It's easy to see why Fox became a hot property. He's such a natural comic performer and overall good actor and he easily carries the lesser episodes in the series. Justine Bateman grows on you as Mallory and Meredith Baxter is sincere and likable as Elyse. But here on the first season Michael Gross is easily the weakest link. His one-liners look like they're read off of cue cards and his comic talents seem to be mostly non-existent. He fares better when he's called upon to be serious (like in the episode dealing with his father and when Mallory's uncle behaves inappropriately), that's where he looks pretty solid.
Overall "Family Ties" is a sporadically funny but (nearly) always enjoyable sitcom. The irresistably appealing Fox carries the shows in it's duller moments but mostly it's great fun watching the goings on at the Keaton household. Nearly every reviewer here says the seasons got better and I'm taking them at their word as Season 2 is on it's way.
I recommend this season of Family Ties to anybody who enjoys good acting and funny story lines.