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Life Goes On - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006 (Warner Home Video)
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 900 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 55 minutes (counting commentary)
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English, French and Spanish subtitles; Closed Captioned.
Special Features:
* Bill Smitrovich/Patti LuPone Screen Test * Pilot Episode Commentary by Chris Burke and Series Creator Michael Braverman
* Laughs Go On: A Mini Gag Reel


After thirteen years, the Thatchers have finally returned to warm our hearts with Warner Home Video’s release of Life Goes On: The Complete First Season on May 9, 2006. This groundbreaking ABC family drama starring Chris Burke (“Corky”), Kellie Martin (“Becca”), Patti LuPone (“Libby”), Bill Smitrovich (“Drew”) and Monique Lanier (“Paige”) was the first network series to address difficult social issues including Down syndrome, AIDS and teenage sex. In its inaugural season, Chris Burke was presented with a Young Artist Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series. And actress Vivica Lindfors received an Emmy for “Outstanding Guest Actress” for her portrayal of Mrs. Doubcha in the episode entitled “Save the Last Dance for Me.” Life Goes On: The Complete First Season includes all 22 episodes and bonus features in a 6-disc collection. And the original theme song is not intact for all the episodes except the pilot. I will have more on that later in the review…so keep reading!

Meet the Thatchers ­ Drew (Bill Smitrovich), Libby (Patti LuPone), Paige (Monique Lanier), Becca (Kellie Martin), and Corky (Chris Burke). Oh and yes Arnold the Semi-Wonder dog, too. They are your typical suburban family with their own set of unique issues. Paige, the oldest of the three Thatcher kids, is Drew’s daughter from a previous marriage. She has graduated from high school and returns home frequently to help her hard-working parents take care of the rest of the clan. Becca is an antsy teenage girl eager to date boys and fit into in her high school social scene. Corky, the Thatchers’ only son attends high school with Becca but is dealing with a different set of acclimation issues. Born with Down syndrome, Corky struggles to keep up with the “mainstream” students while striving to maintain a healthy social life in a world where his peers are different than he is.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

This heartwarming family drama broke ground by addressing difficult social issues including Downs Syndrome and AIDS has so many memorable episodes. Some stand-out episodes include “Pilot” where we meet Corky and the Thatchers and learn all about them; “The Babysitter” where Corky gets a job babysitting but his classmates barge in; “Corky Witnesses a Crime” is the one where Corky is the football team’s manager and sees the coach beating a player and wants to tell on the coach; “Corky’s Crush” has Corky falling in love with his partner for a school project; “Corky Rebels” is the one where Corky wants to be his own man and does some bad things; “Pig o’ Mart” in which Drew buys a restaurant, and “Spring Fling” is the season finale where Becca gets asked out by Tyler.

Famous faces include Al Michaels and Frank Gifford; Shannen Doherty; Denise Richards; James Cromwell; Scott Weinger; and Seth Green. Recurring include Tommy Puett as Tyler Benchfield, Michele Matheson as Rhona Lieberman, Ray Buktenica as Jerry Berkson, and Tanya Fenmore as Maxie.


The packaging is nicely packaged! The usual WHV sets are digipak but not this one! We get three slim cases holding two discs each! The color scheme for this set is black and yellow. The box cover features a nice cast photo of the family with the dog, too! They are posing in front of their house and a tree. The show logo is also present and above that is the note of “The Complete ‘1’ First Season” with headshots of the family. The back of the box has information on the series, set & special features and three snapshots. It also states “Original theme music substituted on DVD set.” I will talk about that little later on. So keep reading again! The slim cases are very nice. Each has a different photo (or photos in some cases) on each side of each case, along with episode info from each disc indicating episode number, title, writer, director, original airdate and a short synopsis. When we open each slim case, they have the same photo of the family behind the discs.

The disc art is the same for each. Green/yellow color, the logo and disc number. Disc one features episodes 1-4 (episode one with commentary option), disc two features episodes 5-8, disc three features episodes 9-11, disc four features episodes 12-15, disc five features episodes 16-19 and disc six features episodes 20-22 and the extras.

Menu Design and Navigation:

Now to the menu navigation--it is very simple and easy to use. The closing theme plays in the background and the same photo of the cast from the box is on each menu screen. The menu seems greenish. The options are: Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. A leaf is your pointer to select options. Languages option has the option of turning on subtitles in French or Spanish. Special Features is listed on each disc, but there is content only on discs one and six. Episodes gives you a list of episode titles and you can choose which episode you want to watch, obviously. Play plays them all. Keep reading and you’ll get an exclusive on the DVD theme…

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality is very good. The show never looked and sounded better. The episodes run usually between 48-50 minutes or so, all uncut. The pilot runs 47:44. The episode “Return of Uncle Richard” runs only 45:27, but I think it just ran short originally. Chapter stops are well placed. WHV usually does a good job on that for their dramas, but not for their sitcoms. OK, now what you guys have been all waiting for! The theme song! The original theme song is removed from every episode except the pilot. The pilot’s credits ran longer than the usual and it was sort of needed. So, at least we get the family singing “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” at least once! You can listen to that full theme from the pilot here. Also, I am happy to report that the closing credits from the pilot which features a nice (and memorable) song is very much intact. You can listen to that as well here. I’m not sure if any music was replaced on any episode, but I don’t think any actually was. The box only mentions the theme song was replaced. The replacement theme song is used for episodes 2-22. It is actually a catchy theme. It sounds like a theme for a teen show, but it is addictive. It isn’t better than the original, but as long as we get the episodes, I’m for it. I don’t know if this theme was just created for this set or if it is an actual song. But you can listen to that theme for the very first time right here at! The closing credit theme for each episode is unchanged, so that is good. And yes, since I have given you themes for everything else, you can listen to that closing theme here! Wow, 4 audio clips in one review!

Special Features:

The extras are not that well done, but oh well! The best extra is on disc one. The audio commentary for the Pilot is from Chris Burke (“Corky”) and series creator Michael Braverman. If any of you did not know, Burke really does have Downs’s syndrome. You can tell too. He is so innocent though. Braverman is very informative and remembers a lot. This is a must to listen to for every fan. The rest of the extras are on disc six, but are not that good. Bill Smitrovich/Patti LuPone Screen Test runs 5:58 and shows three scenes with 3/4 of the screen showing the screen test and about 1/4 of the screen showing the actual scene. It is a nice extra, but not a must to have. The next extra is not good. It is way too short. It runs 31 seconds. The title indicates it is a mini, but I didn’t think it would be THAT mini. “Laughs Go On: A Mini Gag Reel” is what it is called. It has fast paced bloopers with music in the background. They should have given us the entire reel instead!

Final Comments:

I just love this show! It is so addictive. I was surprised when I was told that WHV was releasing this as a season set. I never thought they would do it. I was expecting at the very most a “TV Favorites” set with 6 episodes, but I’m not complaining. Not at all! The theme song being replaced is a downer, but at least we hear it once with the pilot. And the replacement theme is kind of catchy, too, so all is not lost. The more important thing is that the episodes are unedited, and from what I can see, they are. Let’s hope WHV commits to this series and releases all four seasons. In order for that to happen, YOU must buy this set. If you watched the show last June on TV Land for the first time, then you should buy this set and watch each episode, since they only aired the pilot and first season finale. I recommend people trying this show if they have never seen it. It teaches you about life and how tough it can be. Will Becca and Tyler end up together? Or will Lieberman stay with Tyler? Or will Corky go after Lieberman? Find out on the first season of Life Goes On!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 04/25/06

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