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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > The Brady Bunch - The Complete First Season

The Brady Bunch – The Complete First Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: B



Though it was not always the big hit everyone thinks of it as now, ABC-TV held on to The Brady Bunch for a few years and it later became one of the biggest series in the history of syndicated rerun TV.  Give or take the additional cultural phenomenon it also become, it makes sense why creator Sherwood Schwartz had created a TV classic.  Now, with The Brady Bunch – The Complete First Season, you can too see how clever the original show really was before all of its best moments became fodder for satire.


Robert Reed, who already had established himself on other hit TV shows, gained immortality as the father with three sons who meets a beautiful woman named Carol (the perennial Florence Henderson) who just happens to have three daughters of her own.  In the pilot show, they get married right away the show was on its was.  Add the cast of kids and a gentle maid/cook/disciplinarian in Alice (Ann B. Davis) with a big furry dog named Tiger, and the show was set.  The twenty-five half-hour shows in the first season are:


1)     The Honeymoon

2)     Dear Libby

3)     Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy

4)     Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

5)     Katchoo

6)     A Clubhouse Is Not A Home

7)     Kitty Karry-All Is Missing

8)     A-Camping We Will Go

9)     Sorry, Right Number

10)  Every Boy Does It Once

11)  Vote For Brady

12)  The Voice Of Christmas

13)  Is There A Doctor In The House?

14)  Father Of The Year

15)  54-40 & Fight

16)  Mike’s Horror-Scope

17)  The Undergraduate

18)  Tiger! Tiger!

19)  The Big Sprain

20)  Brace Yourself

21)  The Hero

22)  The Possible Dream

23)  To Move Or Not To Move

24)  The Grass Is Always Greener

25)  Lost Locket, Found Locket



One of the things that worked best in this 1969-1970 season was the idea of the kindness and selflessness between the characters, especially with the kids so young early on.  As they became older, this aspect would sometime strain credibility, but the chemistry is obvious.  Why it was not a larger hit sooner when it was on ABC actually shows how much great programming used to be on the Big Three Networks at the same time in their peak.  In a time when obscure shows, old and new, are being rethought and rediscovered, The Brady Bunch holds up quite well and is one of the last situation comedies of its kind before That Girl, All In The Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show changed TV comedy forever. 


The 1.33 X 1 image looks very good for its age, but detail is lacking on too many of the early shows, despite some really good color, certainly better than any previous presentation of the show to date.  Of course, a few have likely seen it in film prints, which used to be sent out to the TV stations in the era when videotape was not perfected enough (or cheap enough) for all stations to be able to afford.  As with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Green Acres (all reviewed elsewhere on this site), this is a set with prints in great condition with the color-richness that put color TV on the map.  The prints are as pristine as any of those sets and is one of the reasons it has such rewatchability.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is better than usual from Paramount, especially for an older show, with a surprise beneficiary being the “Music By DeVol” as credited.  Many still think that this is the name of a band or some corporate entity that does Muzak, but in real life, it is the music from the great composer Frank DeVol.  Mr. DeVol was great at this kind of lite music, as shown in his theme from the failed anti-war feature film The Happening (1967), which became a #1 hit for The Supremes with Diana Ross.  DeVol could also do scoring for more serious works, but this has kept his name alive as much as any of his work.  Schwartz himself co-wrote the classic theme song with DeVol, one of the best known in all of television history.


For a change, Paramount has included extras with one of their classic shows, and on three of the four DVDs in this case so nicely packaged in two double-slender cases.  Schwartz does the commentary on the first show, while Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen do commentaries on two shows on DVDs 2 & 4.  Fans will like that, but I wish Henderson and Davis would take on at least one show.  After the shows, DVD 4 offers a featurette called The Brady Bunch – Coming Under One Roof Together.  It runs about 17. 5 minutes long.  Schwartz repeats a few items in the featurette as in his commentary, but all are worth repeating.  The Brady Bunch – The Complete First Season is a classic TV set done right, and our copy came with a lenticular flicker cover.  As you know, the opening and closing credits have the nine cast members in their own squares looking at each other.  This was done by optical printing, though it may look a bit like The Hollywood Squares.  When you flicker the cover in the light, their faces change as if they are looking at each other.  The trick with “center square” Alice was that Miss Davis did not move her head at all.  The creators simply bounced the single frame around like a sort of bobble head.  It is hard to tell if Paramount will include this on all copies, but collectors should get this version before its too late.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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