Family Ties: Season 5
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Brian Bonsall joins the cast as preschool-aged Andrew Keaton. While Bonsall's screentime is understandably limited, the mere fact that Alex's little brother can now speak and interact with the others helps create some great comic moments. Alex also has to deal with the loss of steady girlfriend Ellen (though actress Tracy Pollan would eventually become Mrs. Michael J. Fox in real life). It's also a great year for Nick and Mallory, including probably my all-time favorite scene in which Mallory tries to tutor Nick ("High School Confidential"). And life would continue to imitate art when Tina Yothers tried her hand at singing after Jennifer Keaton joins a band.
Still, it's the groundbreaking "A, My Name Is Alex" which leaves the largest impression. Alex is overcome with remorse and self-doubt when he backs out of a commitment to help his friend Greg, and then Greg is killed in a car accident. The second half of the episode, which was presented commercial-free back in 1987, is basically Fox on a darkened stage, with family and friends appearing in little vignettes illustrating key points in Alex's life.
"Walking into that kitchen was like walking into a hug," Alex observes. And for those of us with fond memories of this quintessential 80's sitcom, here's another 4 discs' worth of hugs.
But I simply cannot stand by and not voice my outrage at CBS DVD and their butchering of the finest show in the entire run of this series.
Season Five featured an episode called "My Name is Alex"...a ground-breaking episode not only because of the superb talents of Michael J. Fox, but also because of how it was originally broadcast. When first aired, it ran for one hour, the final half hour being completely uninterrupted by commercials and, from what I can tell, unedited. It played out like a stage performance, with Alex (Michael J. Fox) going thru every part of his life, searching for answers as to why his friend would be killed in a car accident and he be allowed to live. Watching it in its entirety, you feel the back and forth, the conflicting emotions, and the roller coaster ride he goes on. The viewer is right along with him.
Sadly, this DVD features the syndicated version, which cuts the episode into two shows. It cuts right in the middle of Alex's journey, going instead to end credits of the first show. The 2nd show then begins part-way thru his session with his psychiatrist, thus killing the momentum of the show, and the entire reason it was aired in its entirety the first time.
I'm just lucky I still have the VHS I recorded off-air back in the mid-80s. That will continue to be the only way I'll watch "My Name is Alex".
For the people confused about the episodes that seem "out of order" because all of the sudden Andy has gone back to being a baby and stuff like that...it is because some episodes were filmed but not shown originally.
In this season, The Big Fix episode was filmed for the 3rd season (1984-1985) but didn't air until the 5th. Matchmaker and It's My Party were filmed for the 4th (1985-1986) but didn't air until the 5th as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I view these episodes and compare them to today's sitcoms, I realize how much of the idealism then has vanished in our society.Published 1 month ago by Mike E
Great episode. The show overall is good family entertainment but this particular episode deals with grief and loss in a "Our Town" kind of way with Alex's memories played... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Silvergreen