Studio: Paramount Home Video Year: 1982 Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Discs: 4, 22 episodes Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) Subtitles: None MSRP: $38.99 Street Date: 20 February 2007 The sitcom is a standard on American television, though every generation features a different iteration. “Family Ties” eschews the dysfunctional theme found in its predecessors like “I Love Lucy” or “All in the Family” in favor of a family that, for the most part, gets along and works as a unit. Sure there may be disagreements, but for the most part the Keaton children defer to their parents, and the parents respectfully guide their kids through a moral life. The premise of the show is novel, asking what would happen to those crazy hippy activists when they grew older and built a family within the Reagan-controlled United States. Further, the show ponders how the child of liberal parents would rebel, introducing Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox), a young Republican. Fox is an excellent actor who has, to my mind, never done anything wrong on screen and this show is absolutely no different. While the family is broadly the topic of the show, Fox takes center stage. That’s not to say Tina Youthers, who plays the precocious Jennifer Keaton, and Justine Bateman--sister Mallory--and parents Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter aren’t good at their respective roles: they are. It’s just that the eye naturally gravitates toward Fox. The first season of “Family Ties” feels very after-school-special. Each episode is self-contained, wrapping up with a moral message. Whether that be the dangers of “restricted clubs,” losing ones virginity, and the difference between boys and girls, “Family Ties” is very heavy-handed, driving home its point with a hug and a cookie. I never watched “Family Ties” during its initial run; I was just eight when it went off the air, and in syndication it always looked antiquated, despite the fact that it was less than five years old. Unfortunately the show has not aged well, with the color scheme screaming early 80s with the muted colors and dress. To me, editorializing, it doesn’t make me nostalgic or seem like a slice of life, instead reminding me more of an unfortunate time in American fashion history. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy pieces of the show, I did. Though the season started slow, the characters are easy to read and the writing is snappy enough to inspire more than the occasional guffaw. Video: The 4:3 transfer shows its age and source material. The pilot is rife with lens flares and grain, and the entire season seems muted and lacks pop. The quality is otherwise good, with no problems with grain or compression. Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is perfectly serviceable. The music cues are clear and the dialogue is crisp. Extras: The set commences with a set of promos for existing or soon-coming TV-on-DVD sets from Paramount. And that is it. Overall: Fans will be most pleased with the quality of this DVD set, and the show might fine a few new fans who are aware of Fox’s work on the widely-syndicated “Spin City.” "Family Ties" set the tone for the modern sit-com, and while it isn't particularly good in itself, it isn't without its charms.