Search - Life Goes On - The Complete First Season on DVD

Life Goes On - The Complete First Season
Life Goes On - The Complete First Season
Actors: Bill Smitrovich, Patti LuPone, Chris Burke, Kellie Martin, Monique Lanier
Directors: David Carson, Georg Fenady, Lorenzo DeStefano, Michael Braverman, Paul Wolff
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2006     17hr 58min

This heartwarming family drama broke ground by addressing difficult social issues including Downs Syndrome and AIDS is on DVD for the first time. The show centers around the Thatchers: Drew, Libby, Becca, Paige and Corky.


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Actors: Bill Smitrovich, Patti LuPone, Chris Burke, Kellie Martin, Monique Lanier
Directors: David Carson, Georg Fenady, Lorenzo DeStefano, Michael Braverman, Paul Wolff
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/09/2006
Original Release Date: 09/12/1989
Theatrical Release Date: 09/12/1989
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 17hr 58min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

MARLENE B. (Marly)
Reviewed on 7/16/2011...
Great retro series that I originally watched with my daughter....who incidentally got red glasses like Becca!

I would fully recommend this series....great for families, children....lots of life lessons.

My only disappointment came when I realized that the other 3 seasons have not been released yet. What is TimeWarner thinking to leave us hanging for the 5 years since the first season was released?
Jackie R. from UTICA, NY
Reviewed on 12/16/2007...
I love this show, I wish they would release more of the seasons on DVD!!
4 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Spend time with the Thatchers
Robin Orlowski | United States | 05/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Family dramas had existed since the invention of television-but 'Life Goes On' really attempted to deal with real life.

14 years after the passage of laws requiring special education, this was the first series realistically examining a person with a disability as lead character that audiences intentionally were supposed to empathize with.

Nineteen year old Charles "Corky" Thatcher has Downs Syndrome (as does the actor Chris Burke who plays him). Many plots of this award-winning series involved Corky adjusting to being mainstreamed in a regular school after previously having attended a special school.

Younger sister Becca (Kellie Martin-in her breakout role) loves her brother, but also wrestles with her own challenges of wanting to support family while wanting to fit in with her peers who don't take easily to the `weird'. Winning the affections of Tyler Benchfield (Tommy Puett) is her recurring goal throughout the 1989-1990 season. She also gets an EXCELLENT `star' episode in "Becca and the Underground Newspaper" , learning the hard way that publishing everything and anything you find out without first doing fact-checking is irresponsible journalism. Tyler is admittedly hot for the era, but the writers wanted Becca to also be daring.

"Corky for President" is a good episode because Corky runs for president---without realizing that the girl whom he sincerely had a crush on encouraged him to run to only toy with his emotions. She did not feel the same way about him. At the same time, it showed Corky seriously campaigning and sincerely believing that he could be president.

Another memorable episode is "The Baby-sitter" because Corky gets a job as a babysitter, taking care of children. This is important because people with disabilities ourselves are historically portrayed as children, needing other people to take care of us. Corky himself is considered responsible and capable.

"Ordinary Heroes" is a pivotal episode because Drew decides to quit his construction business and instead open up a restaurant. The current owner of the property the Thatchers are interested in won't sell because of Corky's disability, but the Thatcher family restaurant ultimately comes into fruition.

Then, Corky is paired up with none other than Shannen Doherty herself when a teacher has students do a `marriage' project ("Corky's Crush").He subsequently develops a crush on her-while she has the hots for another guy. I still get a kick out of this episode because both Kellie Martin and Doherty now look so different from how they once looked.

"Corky Rebels" is an important episode because it communicates that some families smother their members with disabilities under the guise of protecting them They don't want to acknowledge us as being independent. Corky's `fight the power' act looks somewhat campy now, but ironically aired at a time when disability activists demanded greater freedoms for people with disabilities and passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The Return of Uncle Richard" reminds us that those upcoming freedoms will not leave the world in a free for all. Drew Thatcher (Bill Smitrovitch) mends fences with his estranged brother Richard so Corky still will have a guardian if something bad were to happen to his parents.

I have a different disability and am a young adult in a much different era, but this series continues to address so many similar issues. It grows ever more relevant for me and other people with disabilities. Many of our experiences continue being reflected in the series scripts without being condescending, overdramatic, or disempowering.

Extras include commentary by both Chris Burke and the series creator Michael Braverman. During this season only, Paige Thatcher, Drew's daughter from a previous marriage, is played by Monique Lanier. This series was good in it's time, but grows ever more cherished with age. It's a scathing indictment of current television that other series have yet to make a similar cultural impact, particularly concerning people with disabilities, our families, and friends.
Sunday dinner with the Thatchers
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 02/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've got great memories of watching this show on Sundays night over dinner with my family. They really don't make t.v. like this anymore, and that's a shame. The Thatchers were a believable family, albeit a very unique one.

I do think the first season was a bit uneven, as the show struggled to become more than just a soapbox for accepting different people (i.e., Corky's Down Syndrome). And they never could seem to figure out what to do with oldest daughter Paige (who was played by another actress in seasons 2-4). But it's still engaging family drama that never gets TOO preachy.

The best part about the first season has to be Kellie Martin as Becca. The part was smarter and better-written than any teenage role I can recall. Martin just got better as the series went on; it's a shame she would only do one more series (the short-lived CHRISTY) before becoming the queen of t.v. movies throughout much of the 90's.

I hope that this set sells well so Warner will be able to release the remaining seasons of Life Goes On.
Best Family Show of all time comes to DVD...Finally!
Sean Pasek | Albuquerque, NM | 03/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Oh-blah-dee, Oh-blie-dah, Life Goes On!

I grew up with many family shows such as Little House on the Praire, the Waltons, and so forth. But, Life Goes On will always be my favorite.

Life Goes On put realism and just a touch of grit into television as it attempted to broadcast to families the changing times, the new issues facing teenagers, and the plights of an American family constantly struggling to make do.

Life Goes On is the first television series to have a down-syndrome actor as one of its stars. Chris Burke (Charles "Corky" Thacher) is simply wonderful. You will see over the course of four seasons how his acting range really blossoms. He was originally going to be the focal point of the show.

Life Goes On is about the Thachers...a semi-middle class family living in Glenbrook Illinois which is a suburb of Chicago. It is the story of a hard-working family that faces one plight after another...just like life!

Drew Thacher (Bill Smitrovich) is the father who is working as a construction worker. He's tired of "just getting by" with the hard physical labor and the small checks. He plays a father who loves his children and is always trying to find a way to get ahead; to get on top of things. His life-long dream is to be the owner of a restaurant. Over the course of the first season we find out if he can achieve this dream or not...and if so, what are the costs?

Libby Thacher is wonderfully played by stage performer and Tony award winner, Patti Lupone. She works for an advertising agency run by Jerry (who becomes a favorite character played by Ray Butenika). Libby is tired of doing all of Jerry's dirty work...taking his clothes to the cleaners, washing his car, getting him coffee, etc. She feels she can do more than this, but Jerry is stingy and tries to cut financial costs and corners wherever he can.

Paige is Drew's daughter from his first marriage. She is out of high school, and a bit of a leaf blowing in the wind. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. The role of Paige is played first by Monique Lanier who has a softness and sweetness in the character. She is replaced from the second season on by Tracey Needham. Paige has a special relationship with Corky, and she has the usual big-sister/little-sister issues with Becca. She also begins the show with an estranged relationship with Libby.

Corky is the oldest son who is suddenly moved from attending a special school to a public school, as he is high-functioning, and the Thachers feel he is entitled to a "regular" education as they attempt to mainstream him. Corky finds himself the target of many high school taunts and practical jokes (particularly Russo). Tyler Benchfield is, at first, Corky's only friend. Tyler is a jock who has a special place in his heart for Corky, as we discover that Tyler has a brother with down-syndrome also. Tyler attempts to protect Corky and to help him fit in. Becca, the youngest daughter, is not thrilled at having Corky at her school, but quickly changes her tune.

Kellie Martin would soon take center stage in Life Goes On. Her acting ability is tremendous, and the writers quickly discover that the meat of their story is in the character of Becca (Rebecca) Thacher. She is a brilliant, straight "A" student with glasses and skinny legs who dreams of Tyler, her life-long crush. She's feisty and has a knack for throwing out intelligent comebacks or quips to her parents or to those who try to put her down. We quickly find that Becca is an intelligent girl with an even bigger heart. Subsequent seasons will demonstrate this fact when she meets Jesse (Chad Lowe), a boy she quickly falls in love with, but discovers he is HIV+, which sets up one of the most powerful relationship dynamics in television history.

This is a show about real values. This is a show about real, integrating into high school, issues facing the rearing of a down-syndrome child, broken dreams, etc. You find as a viewer that you relate with the Thachers. Their world is far from perfect, but the love is always there, and in the end, it's the most important glue to holding a family together.

The entire cast is wonderful. I loved this show when it was on. I was sorry to see it go. Chad Lowe would later win a much deserved Emmy for his performance as Jesse McKenna as Life Goes On would tackle one of the biggest issues in society...AIDS and how it affects a high school boy; how he deals with the prejudices of those around him, and why a "normal" girl would want to have anything to do with him.

Life Goes On will touch your heart, make you laugh, and make you cry because there is a tenderness and sweetness behind the realism. Life Goes On proved that family television can do both!