The Addams Family Volume One

As is the case with all great things, they are never fully appreciated in their time. And while we may sit here today and regurgitate an endless stream of Addams Family references that have forced their way into pop culture (C’mon, who hasn’t said "You rang?” at some point in an affected baritone?), the fact of the matter is that the original group of monstrously sophisticated misfits — at least more so than the cartoonish Munsters — comprised of Gomez Addams (Jon Astin), wife Morticia (Carolyn Jones), Uncle Fester and the rest of the family, were so far ahead of their time back in 1964 that they were unceremoniously dumped by the network after two measly seasons. But you can’t keep a good ghoul down. The Addams Family was weird, wacky and just plain funny. The tales of kin who would moon bathe, blow things up for fun and exist in a freakish polar opposite universe to the Leave It To Beaver norm of the time instead of struggling to fit in is still unique and highly entertaining. It’s why the legacy has survived, even if to varying degrees of dubiousness, i.e., a bland re-imagining of the sitcom and two feature films. Hell, even the theme song and those damned snaps are unforgettable. So it’s high time the inspiration for this finally received its due. Reanimating the show’s first 22 episodes on DVD, each instalment is, well, brilliant. The hilarity of watching the family freak out at Pugsley becoming normal, killer pet gorillas doing laundry, Grandma being arrested for telling fortunes or Gomez’s amnesia is strong, sublime and smooth, especially as the show was blessed with impressive acting, timeless characters and comedy that stands up surprisingly well today. Even the extras, which you think would be lacking for a 40-year-old show, are piled on. There are commentaries with Astin, Loring and Weatherwax, a featurette on creator Charles Addams and a feature on the aforementioned theme song. (MGM / Sony)