The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season DVD Review

     Actors: George Segal, Jeff Garlin, Troy Gentile, Sean Giambrone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 495 minutes


            Although one of television’s earliest sitcoms was also named “The Goldbergs,” this new series feels far more like a remake (or re-imagining) of “The Wonder Years.” The series is actually based on the childhood of creator Adam Goldberg, though elements were clearly changed in ways that make it more similar to “The Wonder Years,” including the replacement of the older brother character with an older sister instead. It is more than that, however. When I was a child in the late 1980s, I watched a show about a family living in the 1960s. Twenty-some years later I am watching a series about a family in the 1980s, and can finally relate to what “The Wonder Years” must have felt like to my parents.


            Highlighting a facet or trend from the 1980s in every episode, along with a plethora of cringe-worthy costuming choices, “The Goldbergs” follows the hijinks of 11-year-old geek Adam (Sean Giambrone). Adam is obsessed with movies and frequently carries a massive home video camera around to make his own films, a practice which was clearly shared by the real Adam, whose actual home footage is often shown at the close of the episode. Adam has a popular older sister named Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and an older brother who has delusions of being just as popular despite awkward teenage behavior and random outbursts of rage.


            As much as the show’s storylines are often focused on the kids, it wouldn’t be the same without the contributions from their polar-opposite parents. Their mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), brings new meaning to the word ‘over-protective,’ while their father, Murray (Jeff Garlin) is happiest wearing only underwear and sitting in a recliner in front of the television. They are also joined by their womanizing grandfather (George Segal), who seems to be taking life lessons from Hugh Hefner.


            I suppose I could continue to harp on the unoriginal aspects of the show’s one-camera format, criticize the clunkiness of the pilot episode or point out the narcissism that must go along with constructing a show about yourself and not even bothering to change the names. I could harp on many irritating aspects of “The Goldbergs,” but all that really matters is that it made me laugh and reminded me of my own childhood. And how can you fault a show that does that?


            The complete first season of 23 episodes is included in this three-disc set, along with a handful of extras. The special features include commentary tracks on five episodes, as well as a handful of featurettes. There are casting featurettes on Jeff Garlin and Patton Oswalt, who provides the voiceover for adult Adam. There are also featurettes on the costumes, the house, and a retrospective look on the making of season one.   


    Entertainment Value: 9.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

    Historical Significance:  7/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

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