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Family Tree: Season 1

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Family Tree: The Complete First Season (DVD)

Written and created by Christopher Guest, Family Tree is a documentary-style comedy series conceived and produced in the manner of Guest's feature films. The story revolves around the journey of the 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd), an Englishman in his 30s who has few roots, little family, and a somewhat unsure sense of his purpose in life. Having recently lost his job and girlfriend, Tom inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great-aunt he never met, triggering a passion to investigate his family lineage. As Tom's interest in genealogy grows, his life expands and evolves in unexpected directions, as he uncovers a world of unusual stories and characters in the U.K. and the U.S., as well a growing sense of who he is and who his real family are.

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Special Features

Keith's Favourite 1970's Sitcoms; Bonus Scenes; Music from the Show

Product Details

  • Actors: Chris O'Dowd, Tom Bennett, Nina Conti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 2013
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DQEHKZ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,261 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on July 28, 2013
Format: DVD
The HBO series "Family Tree" is the latest endeavor by comic genius Christopher Guest (co-created with Jim Piddock, another terrific comedic actor). Guest has been in the business for decades as a writer, director and actor (shout out to Spinal Tap). For me, his artistic peak as a filmmaker came with his series of faux documentary features that began with 1996's "Waiting for Guffman" and carried on with 2000's "Best in Show," 2003's "A Mighty Wind," and 2006's "For Your Consideration." Guest's specialty in these films is that he really understands his subjects and has a genuine affection for them. Although absurd, they have an underlying tenderness and sweetness. He and his cast of largely improvisational performers (there is a somewhat regular stable) skewer topics such as amateur theater, dog shows, folk music, or the quest for Academy Award glory. Deadpan and droll, these features are both wickedly funny (especially Guffman and Show) and surprisingly truthful. Their humor stems from the fact that they treat their characters with respect and embrace the oddity inherent in the environments they inhabit. I mention this tone specifically, because if you have no idea what I'm talking about than "Family Tree" may confound your expectations somewhat.

Although moments in this eight part series are laugh out loud funny, the show's sense of humor can be understated as well. Chris O'Dowd plays a typical Londoner entering into an existential mid-life crisis. After losing his job and his girl, he becomes somewhat directionless. One day, he collects a strange box of remembrances left to him by a deceased Aunt he hardly knew. Upon poking through this rather meager collection, he finds an old photograph of (what he presumes) is his grandfather and this opens up an unexpected mission.
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Format: DVD
Tracing your family tree seems to be addictive. As soon as my mother got a taste, she spent every spare moment she had looking up obscure medieval ancestors.

One can only wonder if Christopher Guest had a similar experience that inspired "Family Tree," which proves that Guest can make almost anything funny. Half quirky dramedy and half mockumentary, this smart little show follows a young man who gets his life together as he learns the stories of his ancestors... who, it turns out, are almost as weird as the kith and kin he has now.

Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd) is depressed after the double-punch of being dumped by his job and his girlfriend, so the death of a great-aunt doesn't make much of an impression. But in the box of things she left him, he finds an unnamed picture of a Victorian officer, which he believes may be one of his ancestors. He's accompanied by his insane friend Pete (Tom Bennett) and sometimes his even more insane sister Bea (Nina Conti) who can only communicate via a foul-mouthed monkey hand puppet.

With the picture as his starting point, he begins to investigate the stories of his ancestors -- which involve the theatre, the Olympics, cousins on a farm, betrayal, hot-air balloons, sex and pantomime horses. Tom's quest even takes him over to the US, where he searches for a possible Native American ancestress, a guy who apparently fought for both sides in the Civil War, and some eccentric cousins from L.A.

Anyone familiar with Christopher Guest's movies will probably feel right at home in "Family Tree." It has Guest's usual approach -- a mockumentary where everybody acts and speaks in a very serious manner...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This show is unlike anything else I have seen and i love it! I heard it has been cancelled though, which is a bummer because I definitely wanted to see more of the character's journey! but glad I have the dvd in my collection so I can watch it any time!
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Format: DVD
"Family Tree" is absolutely hilarious. Every episode is superb, with Chris O'Dowd heading a terrific ensemble cast. For the millions of us who are dabbling in our own ancestry searches, who better to lampoon the process, and the inherent anticipations of ancient greatness, than comic genius Christopher Guest? The first season takes O'Dowd's character, Tom, through the ups and downs of genealogy tracking, meeting so called experts and distant cousins with family secrets. Tom goes from the UK to America, as he discovers one of his Grandfathers did the opposite of most people, and actually moved from America to the UK. "Idiot" is the term Tom ascribes to this ancester for that miscalculation. As he explores his possible Native American roots, he meets his U.S relations. All are a funny collection of oddballs, with Guest, himself appearing as one of the oddest. So, so funny. But, one of the best characters throughout the season, is Tom's sister, Bea, a ventriloquist, who relates largely to people through her monkey hand puppet. His name is "Monk" or just "Monkey" and everyone involved, treats him as part of the family. He says all the deranged and nasty stuff, she is thinking but can't say. OMG. Side splitting hilarity! I cannot wait for Season 2 of "Family Tree," and is it too much to ask, that Guest maybe give Bea and "Monk" their own show? Great stuff!

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