'Family Ties - Season 2'
(Michael J. Fox, Scott Valentine, Tracy Pollan, Courteney Cox, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1982) 2007 / Paramount)
Overview: 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. This DVD contains all 22 heartwarming and hilarious episodes from the second season.
DVD Verdict: My wife and I purchased 'Family Ties - Season 1' in the spring and we've watched the episodes over and over. Few television shows are that watchable, with the exception of Seinfeld and The Simpsons. I'm excited that I was given the cance by this Magazine to review this second season ahead of time ... and I have to say it's still as good as I remember it to be!
Thursday nights in the mid 1980's were a special time for sitcom fans. Starting in 1984, NBC offered a killer lineup: The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court. Cosby may have had the most laughs, Cheers had an unbeatable cast, and Night Court was the underdog favorite. But Family Ties had humor AND heart, and stands out in my mind as the best of that bunch.
The juxtaposition of "hippy" couple Steven & Elyse Keaton with the Reagan-era 80's was the starting point of much of the humor. And some of it may be hard for younger viewers to understand. The ultimate irony of the Keatons' situation is that oldest son Alex was a card-carrying Republican, a living embodiment of the "establishment" that Steven & Elyse fought against in their own youth.
Of course, Michael J. Fox's Alex Keaton would become the show's breakout star. And with no disrespect intended to the rest of the cast, he probably deserved it. Fox seemed born to play the role that brought him his greatest fame. Even a less-than-stellar script (and there were a few of those in season one let alone here in season two!) could be bolstered by his presence.
It would be a couple of more seasons before Family Ties would really hit its stride. But it's important (if you are 'new' to this classic TV show!) to see it from the beginning, to watch all the characters grow (Tina Yothers in particular gets a lot less irritating in subsequent years). This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Making of Family Ties
Michael J. Fox: The Best Gig In The World
The Year of the Beard