Steve and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney), once 1960s radicals, now find themselves in Reagan-Era American trying to raise a traditional suburban family. Son Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) is an am... more »bitious Young Republican and his sister Mallory (Justine Bateman) is a shallow victim of the corporate culture, obsessed with music, clothes and boys. Their only normal kid is young Jennifer (Tina Yothers), a bit of a tomboy.« less
"Its so hard for me to give Family Ties such a low rating. Perhaps one of the best sitcoms in the history of television, complete with memorable moment after memorable moment, this show was the beacon of good writing, amazing acting, and performances we won't soon forget.
But I simply cannot stand by and not voice my outrage at CBS DVD and their butchering of the finest show in the entire run of this series.
Season Five featured an episode called "My Name is Alex"...a ground-breaking episode not only because of the superb talents of Michael J. Fox, but also because of how it was originally broadcast. When first aired, it ran for one hour, the final half hour being completely uninterrupted by commercials and, from what I can tell, unedited. It played out like a stage performance, with Alex (Michael J. Fox) going thru every part of his life, searching for answers as to why his friend would be killed in a car accident and he be allowed to live. Watching it in its entirety, you feel the back and forth, the conflicting emotions, and the roller coaster ride he goes on. The viewer is right along with him.
Sadly, this DVD features the syndicated version, which cuts the episode into two shows. It cuts right in the middle of Alex's journey, going instead to end credits of the first show. The 2nd show then begins part-way thru his session with his psychiatrist, thus killing the momentum of the show, and the entire reason it was aired in its entirety the first time.
I'm just lucky I still have the VHS I recorded off-air back in the mid-80s. That will continue to be the only way I'll watch "My Name is Alex".
Family Ties and Michael J. Fox's finest hours
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 03/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Season Five of Family Ties may be best remembered for two things: Baby Andrew grew up a LOT over the summer, and Michael J. Fox's amazing performance in the hour-long episode "A, My Name Is Alex." (SPOILERS AHEAD) Brian Bonsall joins the cast as preschool-aged Andrew Keaton. While Bonsall's screentime is understandably limited, the mere fact that Alex's little brother can now speak and interact with the others helps create some great comic moments. Alex also has to deal with the loss of steady girlfriend Ellen (though actress Tracy Pollan would eventually become Mrs. Michael J. Fox in real life). It's also a great year for Nick and Mallory, including probably my all-time favorite scene in which Mallory tries to tutor Nick ("High School Confidential"). And life would continue to imitate art when Tina Yothers tried her hand at singing after Jennifer Keaton joins a band.
Still, it's the groundbreaking "A, My Name Is Alex" which leaves the largest impression. Alex is overcome with remorse and self-doubt when he backs out of a commitment to help his friend Greg, and then Greg is killed in a car accident. The second half of the episode, which was presented commercial-free back in 1987, is basically Fox on a darkened stage, with family and friends appearing in little vignettes illustrating key points in Alex's life.
"Walking into that kitchen was like walking into a hug," Alex observes. And for those of us with fond memories of this quintessential 80's sitcom, here's another 4 discs' worth of hugs. "
My favorite season.
ADRIENNE MILLER | TENNESSEE | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Family Ties: The Fifth Season is my personal favorite. Andrew has started preschool and the whole gang is funnier and wiser. My fave episodes from season five include: Be True to Your Preschool, My Brother's Keeper, My Mother, My Friend, Band on the Run, and It's My Party Parts 1 and 2. Mallory and Jennifer are hilarious in different ways and Alex - well he's just a conservative gem. I highly recommend this groundbreaking show, I also recommend seasons 1-4. Enjoy!"
Excellent season of a great show
AR | 03/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Family Ties is one of my favorite shows and the 5th season is definitely one of the best. It's extremely well written, funny, and Michael J. Fox is at his best.
For the people confused about the episodes that seem "out of order" because all of the sudden Andy has gone back to being a baby and stuff like that...it is because some episodes were filmed but not shown originally.
In this season, The Big Fix episode was filmed for the 3rd season (1984-1985) but didn't air until the 5th. Matchmaker and It's My Party were filmed for the 4th (1985-1986) but didn't air until the 5th as well."
Episodes out of order
Suzanne C. Rees | Surrey, BC Canada | 03/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed the entire series of Family Ties but on the season 5 DVD, I've noticed at least 4 episodes that seem to be included incorrectly in this season. Season 5 starts with Andrew attending preschool which would make him 3 years old, but there are episodes here from before Andrew was born, & when Andrew is a baby. No idea why they weren't included in the previous seasons, it's like they were forgotten about & added later..."