One of ABC's biggest hits in the late 90's, "Dharma and Greg" wasn't anything new, but creator Chuck Lorre and his cast played things just right, especially in the earlier seasons. The show follows the romance of Dharma Finkelstein (Jenna Elfman) and Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson). She's a liberal and he's a conservative lawyer. Her parents are hippies and his are wealthy and snobbish.
The show certainly could have been a trainwreck without Elfman, who plays Dharma in a way that's fun and sweet without being way too lightweight. In other hands, Dharma could have been too wacky or over-the-top, but Elfman makes the character sweet and real, successfully pulling off the show's occasional emotional moments. Without at least a hint of gravity to the proceedings, the series wouldn't have been as believable and I don't think audiences would have cared as much.
Elfman also played off Gibson well, as the two had solid chemistry with each other. Gibson's performance was also entertaining, as the actor was able to bring some moments of lightness and a deadpan delivery that complimented Elfman's more breezy style.
It also helped that the two were surrounded by a supporting cast that were strong enough to nearly steal the scenes from the leads. Alan Rachins and Mimi Kennedy had great timing and were quite amusing as Dharma's aging hippie parents, but Mitch Ryan and Susan Sullivan were even a bit better as Greg's snooty parents. As enjoyable as Gibson and Elfman were as a loving couple, it was often just as enjoyable to see the two sets of parents irritated with one another. Shae D'Lyn and Joel Murray were also able to give a bit more depth to the role of Dharma and Greg's friends than is usually seen in a show like this.
Overall, "Dharma and Greg" still stands out as one of the better sitcoms of the '90s and, after not watching it for almost 5 years, I was pleased to see that the series still stands up pretty well.
1. 1- 1 24 Sep 97 Pilot
2. 1- 2 1 Oct 97 And the In-Laws Meet
3. 1- 3 8 Oct 97 Shower the People You Love With Love
4. 1- 4 15 Oct 97 And Then There's the Wedding
5. 1- 5 22 Oct 97 The Ex-Files
6. 1- 6 29 Oct 97 Yoga and Boo, Boo
7. 1- 7 5 Nov 97 Indian Summer
8. 1- 8 12 Nov 97 Mr. Montgomery Goes to Washington
9. 1- 9 19 Nov 97 He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father
10. 1-10 26 Nov 97 The First Thanksgiving
11. 1-11 10 Dec 97 Instant Dharma
12. 1-12 17 Dec 97 Haus Arrest
13. 1-13 7 Jan 98 Do You Want Fries With That?
14. 1-14 21 Jan 98 Old Yeller
15. 1-15 4 Feb 98 The Second Coming of Leonard
16. 1-16 11 Feb 98 Dharma and Greg's First Romantic Valentine's Day Weekend
17. 1-17 25 Feb 98 The Official Dharma & Greg Episode of the 1998 Winter Olympics
18. 1-18 4 Mar 98 Daughter of the Bride of Finkelstein
19. 1-19 11 Mar 98 Dharma's Tangled Web
20. 1-20 1 Apr 98 The Cat's Out of the Bag
21. 1-21 28 Apr 98 Spring Forward, Fall Down
22. 1-22 13 May 98 Much Ado During Nothing
23. 1-23 20 May 98 Invasion of the Buddy Snatchers
VIDEO: "Dharma and Greg" is presented here in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Fox. Thankfully, the studio has done a very fine job presenting the series on DVD, as the episodes looked to be at broadcast quality, if not slightly better. Sharpness and detail were very good throughout much of the running time, with only a few minor scenes here-and-there looking softer than the rest.
Aside from some trace instances of artifacts seen on a couple of brief occasions, the picture looked quite crisp and clean, with no edge enhancement or wear on the source elements. The show's bright, lively color palette looked terrific, with very nice saturation and no smearing or other issues. Fans will likely be very pleased.
SOUND: The show's stereo audio was perfectly fine sitcom audio, presenting clear music and dialogue with no distortion or other concerns.
EXTRAS: Actors Jenna Elfman, Mimi Kennedy and Alan Rachins offer commentary on the pilot episode, as well as "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father" and "The Official Dharma and Greg Episode of the 1988 Winter Olympics". The three seem to be having a lot of fun chatting about working on the series and bring both a light atmosphere and quite a few good tidbits of info on the series to the commentaries. Additionally, the final disc offers an enjoyable (if rather clip-heavy) documentary, text screens of the set of "vanity cards" (brief text screens from creator Chuck Lorre that played at the end of some episodes) from season 1 and an interactive game.
Final Thoughts: Sweet and funny, "Dharma and Greg" may not be particularly original, but the series more than makes up for it with fine writing and solid performances. Fox's DVD edition should certainly please fans, as audio/video quality is quite good and there's a nice helping of extras. Recommended.