Debuting in 1974, "Good Times" was a hugely successful sitcom about a black family living in an apartment in the ghetto. Unlike most sitcoms at the time, "Good Times" tackled controversial topics (i.e. welfare, sex, etc) while putting a unique comedic spin on them. With the recent influx of TV-on-DVD, it was only a matter of time before "Good Times" would make its way onto a digital medium.
"Good Times" focuses on the Evans family, headed up by parents James and Florida. They are proud people that value their ethics in a city that doesn't even know the meaning of the word. They have three children, the youngest named Michael, the middle named Thelma, and of course, the oldest named JJ (played by Jimmy Walker, man responsible for most of the show's laughs, and for delighting audiences with his well-timed "Dyn-o-mite!").
Watching the DVD set of "Good Times – Season One" made me feel like a kid again (I used to watch this show in syndication during my childhood). There are a total of 13 episodes, spread over 2 DVDs. There are no chapter stops within the episodes, and each one has a runtime of approximately 25 minutes. Here is an episode per disc breakdown, plus brief summaries:
Getting up the Rent - The Evans family is faced with a possible eviction if they do not scrounge up the necessary $74 to pay their rent.
Black Jesus - JJ's painting of Black Jesus leads to a string of good luck for the Evans family, despite Florida's claim that it's just a coincidence.
Too Old Blues - James is sure he's about to get a high paying job, but there's only one problem, according to the union, he's too old to join.
God's Business is Good Business - An old buddy of James, now a televangelist, offers James a job that pays $100 a day.
Michael gets Suspended - Michael's claim that George Washington was a racist causes him to get suspended from school.
Junior gets a Patron - JJ gets a patron who provides him with all the supplies he needs, despite his father's objections.
Sex and the Evans Family - Florida finds some questionable reading material by the name of "Sexual Behavior in the Ghetto", and automatically believes it to be JJ's.
Junior the Senior - Florida and James are worried that JJ won't be passing the 11th grade.
The Visitor - Michael sends an angry letter about the conditions in the ghetto to the local newspaper. The housing commission responds immediately, and we're treated to a fish out of water scenario.
Springtime in the Ghetto - Florida is participating in a "cleanest apartment" competition and is dead set on winning. There's only one problem; Michael has brought home a new "friend."
The TV Commercial - Florida is offered a television commercial for a product called "Vita-brite", in which she would be paid $5,000.
The Checkup - The Evans family is concerned about James' health after reading a magazine article about hypertension.
My Son, the Lover - The popular girl at school wants JJ to paint her picture. JJ believes that it's really an invitation for something more than what it is.
Good Times is presented in full frame 1.33:1. For a television show almost 20 years old, it looks damn good. The picture is a little soft, but that is fully expected with any show from the 70s. There is very little instances of pixelation and artifacting throughout the show, so I'm a happy camper. Columbia Tri-Star did a good job with this set.
The audio is presented in Dolby 2.0. It's just what I was expecting (not much surround activity). This isn't a show that requires a 5.1 mix, so the 2.0 is more than adequate. All I ask for is that all the character dialogue sounds crisp and clean, and that's what Columbia Tri-Star has given me.
Both DVDs have roughly the same menu (static picture of the faces of the Evans family superimposed over a striped background). The menu options are as follows: "Play Episodes", "Subtitles", and "Episode Selections" (and "TV Comedy Favorites" on disc 1). Everything is laid out very nicely.
I guess if you consider it an extra, Columbia Tri-Star included a trailer for their TV shows on DVD.
If you're a fan of "Good Times", then you should really grab this DVD box set. Think about it, better video than broadcast TV, is reasonably prices, and has no commercials. For those of you who are unfamiliar with "Good Times", I suggest you give it a chance and check it out. Therefore, I'll give the set a "Recommended."