The Good

A cool Fourth Season release that really gives the fans something fantastic.

The Bad

I actually don't have too much to say considering how cool the extras were.Family Ties: The Fourth Season keeps things moving with the Keaton family. Alex (Michael J. Fox) finds himself falling in love with Ellen (future wife Tracy Pollan) and still being the same old Alex, Steven Keaton (Michael Gross) deals with his family and its growing pains, Elyse (Meredith Baxter Birney) deals with her workload and her new baby, Jennifer (Tina Yothers) sees changes in herself both internally and externally, and Mallory (Justine Bateman) finds love in the arms of the Sylvester Stallone-inspired Nick (Scott Valentine).

Having reviewed all the other seasons of Family Ties, I really can't tell you too much about this new one. It isn't because this show is redundant it is simply because it is the nature of the situation comedy. There is a strength to this show that made it the piece of classic television that it is. Sure, in many ways it is a 1980s walk down memory lane. At the same time it is also a pretty real snapshot of an American family during that time period.

At least based on my experience it is.

Features

Family Ties Vacation

Okay, all you need to know is that the Keaton family goes to London and somehow gets involved in a spy ring. No doubt some 1980s, Cold War piece of pap, if you're a fan of the show you've got to love this. One of the more interesting things was seeing how the tone and look of the show didn't translate to the movie of the week format. So, I am telling you this isn't great. I am also telling you that you should see it.

Gag Reel

Video

Aspect Ratio - 4:3. The episodes on this 4 disc set looked pretty darn good. I don't think Paramount is running them through any amazing process or anything, but for what they are this show seems to be kept up well. The colors in the Keaton home always looked soft when I was little kid, so I am not surprised when I look at them now that they seem to have stayed the same over time.

Audio

Audio - English Mono. Close Captioned. The sound on this release was alright. I had to turn up the audio on my set a little more than halfway but once I did that things sounded good. There is a strength to the audio on this release that really lends itself to the DVD format. I don't know that you're gonna wanna drop this in the ole Blu-ray player, but I think one will find it holds up in the surround arena.

Package

The Keaton family portrait has been altered on this release only because of the new addition of Baby Andrew. The back portion features another family picture, some images from the show (that don't look like they've been rendered that well), a description of what Family Ties: The Fourth Season contains, a Special Features listing and technical specs. All of the 4 discs in this release are neatly contained within one amaray DVD case.

Final Word

Overall, I think this might be the best release of Family Ties. I was happy to see that they stepped it up in the extras department. Too many times it seems like Paramount is all fired up to release something on DVD. So they throw it together and don't pay too much attention to what the fans want. Well aside from shows that are completely intact (and not edited for syndication), we really do not get that at all. However, by putting the Family Ties release they have gone a long way toward placating people like myself. In fact, having just read Lucky Man, the Mike Fox autobiography, I remember thinking how cool it would be to actually get to see this. Now, thanks to Paramount Home Video I get to own it in all of its glory.

So if you have been reading my reviews and following the other Season releases, I think it's a good idea for you to pick up Family Ties: The Fourth Season.