Why you should buy the ?'Family?' DVD -- Ken Tucker says the ?70s classic is better than you remember

By Ken Tucker
Updated September 01, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Family: The Complete First and Second Season

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  • Movie

Why you should buy the ”Family” DVD

Family — the 1976-80 drama whose first two seasons have just been released in a DVD boxed set (Unrated, 1,382 mins.) — has a hushed, quiet air; its upper-middle-class California WASP clan is the sort that television today ignores or derides. (Among the series’ producers were Aaron Spelling and Mike Nichols.) Watching the largely forgotten TV classic now is a revelation. You may recall that it featured Kristy McNichol as tomboy Buddy, and she’s excellent. But what gobsmacks you are the portrayals of the parents, Sada Thompson’s Kate and James Broderick’s Doug, who have fierce arguments and play favorites among their older kids. Doug gives son Willie a hard time because he won’t pursue a law career like his dad. (Gary Frank’s delicate performance is heartrending.) And as Nancy, Meredith Baxter Birney (who replaced another actress in the role in the seventh episode) is literally a golden girl. A spunky beauty and Dad’s favorite, she’s the despair of Kate, unhappy about Nancy’s brief marriage and single-motherhood. Rarely have family tensions played out with such rich complexity.

Episode Recaps

Family: The Complete First and Second Season

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  • Movie
mpaa
  • UNRATED
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