Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Different World - Season 1|
Actors: Lisa Bonet, Kadeem Hardison
Genres: Comedy, Television
From the creators of the top-rated THE COSBY SHOW comes A DIFFERENT WORLD, a fresh funny situation comedy that follows the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of students of Hillman College. This half-hour spin off of the ... more »
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A GREAT show but a SO-SO first season... admit it!
John J. Martinez | Chicago, Illinois United States | 07/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"(I'm glad to hear that the DVD of Season one is coming out, but before you gloss over this review, please read on...)
I had made it a point of watching it EVERY DAY on the Oxygen channel and my local station here in Chicago, and the episodes have been aired season to season from one to six chronologically as well! I was addicted to it, and I even sneak-watched it at work. However, whenever I watched it, I saw Lisa Bonet on the screen struggling to be the star of a sitcom in which the entire future of the show sat on her shoulders, and it hurt to see knowing what a dismal future she eventually laid for herself.
We all know that this show was supposed to be a star vehicle of sorts for her, but look what she did - she kinda RUINED the first season... here's why.
If I'm going to keep this review real on ANY level, one thing has to be said, once and for all - Lisa Bonet was (and still is, in my opinion) a bland actress with mediocre talent. Cosby made her a star because he saw something in her at age 9 or 10 on his show, but as she grew she unraveled herself by thinking she was somehow better than the limiting prospects of television (she has said this in subsequent interviews), then she decided to choose more 'daring' but crappy outside projects - does the film ANGEL HEART sound familiar???
Although her lines were well written by the original writers of The Cosby Show, definitely featuring situations in a culturally diverse Hillman College (with roommates to boot), she herself as a character failed miserably and I did not shed a tear when she left the show.
And let's be honest about one other thing - very few of the episodes are worth remembering - can you really remember one all the way through? The only one I can remember is the season finale, when Lisa finally goes out on a date with Dwayne before she 'goes home' to drop out later. It's funny, but it sets up a potential thing between him and Whitley, even though the show ends with Lisa kissing him and dancing with him under the stars.
You also have to remember, she was still a part of the Cosby universe, so during Season One EVERYBODY from the Cosby show visited her, and one at a time just to milk the fame effect just enough to carry us 22 minutes plus commercials. Theo with his crazy weekend, Rudy and pop, her grandfather with the whole bear-stealing thing, and yes, ol Dad Bill wanders about for a few at the beginning.
Ratings? Yes. Was it really worth watching for the QUALITY of the writing and the development? NO. I say again, NO.
By the end of the season there was a change needed, and desperately, even though the show was coming in at the top 5 ONLY BECAUSE OF IT FOLLOWING COSBY. When Bonet learned she and Lenny Kravitz were going to have a child, she walked away - she WALKED AWAY from a top 5 show to be a wife and mother, which is fine down at the local office, but from a MAJOR TV SHOW that was built around you???
This resulted in a severe shake-up, and now who would be the 'star' of the show? (Lisa would return to Cosby in a more background role.) Well, in my opinion, this was the main ingredient of change needed to make season two grow incredibly by the wonderful additions of Charnele Brown as Kim, Cree Summer as Winnie, Glynn Turman as Col. Taylor, Darryl M. Bell as Ron Johnson and comedian Sinbad. This rounded out the ensemble of already future stars Jasmine Guy, Dawnn Lewis and Kadeem Hardison.
Marisa Tomei and other minor characters were simply dropped, and Hillman suddenly went from being a culturally integrated college to an almost predominately black populated one, as it was probably intended to be. No loss there, but you can see the subtle shift from diversity to one of almost inclusion, which is fine, because I think Cosby's original goal was to bring the black experience to America on a higher level (no pimps or gangbangers here!) and to feature a (almost) totally black cast - and to his credit, it worked wonderfully!
You have to know Season One was awful - it really wasn't all that funny!!! The biggest key to the show's survival was the loss of Lisa - who was probably relieved to be walking away anyway - and when the producers hired director/choreographer DEBBIE ALLEN to SAVE THE SHOW from its lack of real "star" power, she then used scripts by writers who could realistically flesh out and bring to life the real trials of college for black people during the 90's with a great deal of intelligence and humor.
Sorry, I digress... this is Season One we're supposed to be talking about.
I don't know if the any of the DVDs of any of the seasons will include the recent June 21, 2005 E! Channel retrospective of A Different World which brought back a few of the main characters, but it would be nice for them to get everyone back to do a commentary of sorts on the disc and let them talk about their experiences on the show, etc. THAT would be worth the price of the disc for the first Season for me.
I love this show, and although I watch it almost every day, I can't get myself to like the first Season, because it looks like "Cosby's A Different World featuring my daughter Lisa Bonet" instead of just a stand alone show. I'll be waiting for the second season DVD a lot more than this one. Sorry if you're offended in any way, but look at for what it is.
Thanks for reading!"
Review of A Different World Season One Box Set
Dorrie Wheeler | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Different World Season One is now available on DVD for the very first time. The 4 DVD box set includes 22 episodes from the shows first season and one bonus episode from a later season.
A Different World was created as a spin off series for second to oldest Cosby Show daughter Denise Huxtable portrayed by actress Lisa Bonet. The shwo chronicled her life at a ficticious Historically Black College named Hillman.
A lot of A Different World fans and critics judge the shows first season pretty harshly. Season one, like many television series, was a time of trial and error. As the show would progress it would deal with more serious topics and the writing improved, even still season one was enjoyable.
The DVD box set includes a composition like booklet titled A Different World-Season One Big Laughs On Campus. This booklet is an episode guide and also includes trivia and random facts about the season.
Season One primarily dealt with Lisa Bonet (Denise), and her two roommates Maggie (Marisa Tomei) and Jaleesa (Dawnn Lewis). Denise was away from home for the first time. Her roommate Jaleesa was twenty six and divorced and Maggie was a white girl at an all black college (although no one really made too much of a mention about this.) Acclaimed actress Loretta Devine was the first dorm mother Stevie. She had a small son and was replaced midseason by Mary Alice who took over the dorm mother role as Lettie.
It's a really great season as we are introduced to Whitley. Whitley's voice seems especially high pitched during this season. As the show continued through the years Whitley and Dwayne would become the stars of the show.
Season one was enjoyable but the show would really heat up and become Must See TV in later seasons. Producers of the DVD have provided fans with a taste of what's to come by including the episode "Homie Don't Ya Know Me," from the shows 6th season. The show includes a guest appearance from slain rapper Tupac Shakur. In this episode Leena (Jada Pinkett Smith) is visited on campus by her hometown friend (Monica Calhoun). Her friend happens to bring along Leena's ex-boyfriend Piccollo (Tupac Shakur). Piccollo is set on trying to get Leena back and tries his best to punk her current beau (Bumper Robinson). The two men eventually get into a physical confrontation regarding Leena who not only has to deal with this drama but who finds herself torn between her friends from Baltimore and her friends from Hillman. This episode has run in syndication but never aired during the shows NBC run. This episode can be found on disc 4 with the bonus materials.
Also included on Disc 4 is a E! Entertainment special titled "A Different World: I Was A Network TV Star." Show regulars Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Darryl Bell, Dawnn Lewis and several cast members who joined the show later in it's run appear in this featurette. The cast members and producer Debbie Allen sit around and reminisce about the show--and dish about all of the big stars who appeared on A Different World. It's a great short feature. Disc 4 also includes bloopers.
The show would change in Season 2 with characters Denise and Maggie gone from the show and several new characters introduced including Freddy (Cree Summer). Hopefully, season two will arrive on DVD soon."
Yes I own and enjoyed Season 1
S. M. Anderson | Lithia Springs, GA | 12/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm one of the few people that actually enjoyed Season 1 of this show, and watch certain episodes a lot of my Season 1 DVD set. A Different World was one of the few positive black shows that displayed young people doing something positive with their lives. It's wonderful to tune into the show and see young black people going to college and meeting the challenges of college life. In fact watching this show really made me want to go to college, and it's one of the reasons my younger sister did attend Hampton University. I really feel this show made a huge impact on a log of young black men and women, and their decision to go to college.
The cast consisted of girl hungry Dwayne Wayne, enterprising Rod, older student Jaleesea Vinson and dorm director Stevie Ralleh, Sinbad as Walter Oaks. Lisa Bonet rounded out the cast as Denise Huxtable. The season 1 set includes 22 episdoes and a bonus episode that never aired originally on NBC, but will air sometimes in syndication. The episode with Jada Pinkett, and Tupac. That one episode alone is worth buying the set!!!
It was obvious the show was going through changes during it's first season. For example adding Marisa Tomei who played Maggie as the white young lady who would also be Denise and Jaleesa's roommate. Loretta Devine was the first Dorm Director, and then without explanation she was gone before season 1 was finished and replaced with Mary Alice who would take over.
How many people caught on that Keenan Ivory Wayans, Kim Wayans and Damon Wayans (of In Living Color) were guest stars on Season 1?
The season of the show starts with Denise wanting to change roommates after meeting Jaleesa. She is begging Jaleesa to move back into her original room after having to survive a night of spoiled Whitley's crickets radio. Another episode explores financial responsibility when Denise has to find a job in order to pay hers and Jaleesa's room fees, but her being too proud to ask for the money from her parents.
Another episode deals with Denise getting a D in calculus and studies with Dwayne Wayne, but when he is caught leaving Whitley's room after curfew rumors spread that they had something going on.
Another episode deals with Maggie wanting to stay in school, even though he wants her to drop out and marry her. When Rudy visits during Rudy and the Snow Queen she is so taken with Whitley, that Denise actually feels jealous. One of my favorite lines comes from Cliff "You keep her, and send her back when she gets a degree."
When Denise's grandfather comes to visit he still is in the school spirit and wants to steal the opposing schools mascot not knowing that Denise, Maggie and Jaleesa want to be the first women to steal the mascot.
The girls have a huge crush on the geology professor played by David Alan Grier (In Living Color), and when he pays special attention to her, she takes things the wrong way. Another episode we see Whitley dealing with her parents getting a divorce. We find out that Whitely eats when she is depressed.
In Does he or Doesn't he, someone pretends to come on to Dwayne Wayne to prove a point because of his sorry pick up lines. "Rumor has it that the Biology department has built the ultimate woman and you must be the proto type."
Another episode deals with sexism, when Dwayne decides to run for Miss Hillman competition. When he is being cat called he feels like a piece of meat and realizes that's how he treats the women on the campus. In Speeach Therapy we find out that Jaleesa who is an excellent student is terrified of public speaking, and does not want to do a speech in front of the class.
My favorite episodes
Porky De Reversal
Those who can't Tutor
Rudy and the Snow queen
Sometimes you get the Bear
Does he or doesn't he
Romancing Mr. Stone
The Show must go on
The first season Daryll Bell is not a regular cast member, but he is in a few episodes. He becomes a regular in season 2. I simply love this show, and I'm looking forward to the other seasons being released. I want to own all the seasons, because even though season 1 was good, the show got 10 times better when Season 2 started, and it was funnier as well.
Season 1 is what got the show going, and even though a lot of people did not appreciate the first season, I enjoyed it. I'm happy to have the show as a part of my DVD collection.
My final rating for Season 1 is 3 1/2. The extras are great with the bloopers, and the reunion of the cast and their discussion of the show."
A show has to start some where
Yvette(Swan) | Ilinois | 11/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I loved a different world, it was one of my favorite shows; but like many others have already stated, the first season wasn't the best. Lisa Bonet, who is great on the Crosby Show, just couldn't hold tight to a show of her own. The best change that happened was her leaving and letting Jasmine Guy & Kaheem Harrison take the spotlight; because it was these two, along with many others, that made the second season and beyond, a run home and watch, show. The first season wasn't really humorus but it's a good start to learn the 3 characters that would make "A diiferent world" the great sitcom it becomes. So I would buy it, just to start my collection"