Two decades on, this 1980s-vintage sitcom hasn't aged well as comedy -- the jokes seem very unfunny, broad, and predictable when they're in the hands of anyone except Nell Carter; her jokes are also broad and predictable, but they are funny, and she comes off as a perfect larger-than-life persona for the small screen. Actually, the scripts tend to cover some serious issues in the 19 episodes here, in terms of families and raising kids, so watching this -- beyond Nell Carter's work, which is consistently entertaining -- is not remotely as vacuous an experience as, say, watching The Brady Bunch. The transfers are excellent, and all three discs open automatically to a simple, easy-to-use menu. The third disc contains several significant bonus features, in the form of bonus episodes of Charles in Charge, Kate & Allie, and the second season of Gimme a Break!, plus an excellent 30-minute documentary produced by Colleen Benn's special feature unit at Universal. That featurette, "The Great '80s Flashback," focuses in on such series as Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Magnum, P.I., Simon & Simon, Murder, She Wrote, The A-Team, Charles in Charge, and Quantum Leap, and tries (with some success) to put a serious spin on a body of shows that, as even one of the television mavens featured in the film admits, had no connection whatsoever to reality. Indeed, one comes away realizing that, for Universal at least, 1980s network television was pure escapism (in what other era would ordinary people look for stylistic tips to a pair of Miami-based cops who dressed better and drove more expensive cars than anyone we possibly knew?). Breezily paced and brilliantly edited, with just enough serious commentary from a few media mavens, plus actresses Julie Cobb and Lara Jill Miller, and producer Stephen J. Cannell, the documentary outclasses any of the actual programming in this set.
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