TV on Disc: ‘Eight is Enough’

You could think of Eight is Enough: The Complete First Season (Warner) as the modern-day (circa 1977) answer to “The Waltons,” with Dick Van Patten as a newspaper editor and father to eight kids facing all the challenges of growing up in the seventies. The pilot sets the tone and style of the show, from the “topical” issues like sex and drugs (no rock and roll for this show) to the annoying laughtrack dropped over the periodic comic sequences, and sets up the personality clash between dad and eldest son David, played in this episode by Mark Hamill. He’s not the only actor to be replaced in the series proper. By episode two, when Grant Goodeve steps into the role, we also welcome Willie Aames as middle son Tommy and Dianne Kay as Nancy.

The show flirts with being progressive but couldn’t be more conventional or paternal. Father may not always know best, but he tends to come around. It debuted as a mid-season replacement and the three-disc DVD set features all nine first-season episodes (including the pilot) and the featurette “Eight is Enough: A Heartwarming Cast Reunion.”

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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