Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2

Running for five seasons and bringing oversized sweaters and flowered hats to the forefront of fashion in the early '90s, Blossom likely still holds a special spot in the hearts of many women and gay men, who would currently be in their early-to-mid-30s. While this reviewer is a little too young to be fully familiar, the cultural phenomenon of Joey's "Whoa" catchphrase and the many "very special episodes" about date rape, marijuana, menstruation and divorce were talked about and referenced even in grade school by kids who idolized the mature, fashion-forward Blossom Russo and her slightly retarded brother Joey. The quick-paced, culturally referential dialogue and progressive, if cornball, handling of delicate issues have clearly influenced modern female-driven modes of entertainment such as Juno and Gilmore Girls, which might be part of the appeal for people to go back and check out these first two seasons on DVD. Titled Blossom, after its titular character and her "blossoming" into womanhood (the initial episode is about her first period), the series examined the perils of modern teen life as Blossom (Mayim Bialik) and best-friend Six (Jenna Von Oy) dealt with boys, peer pressures and the horrors of getting called a "slut." Other perspectives came care of older brother Anthony (Michael Stoyanov), who coped with kicking his drug habit, middle-child Joey (Joey Lawrence), who explored the world of girls and sports, and single-father Nick (Ted Wass), who learned how to raise three kids on his own. With all 37 episodes from the first two seasons, including the original pilot where Blossom's parents were still married, this box set is a must-have for fans of the series, or even those curious about a fairly significant pop culture signifier. Also included on the six-disc set are commentaries on three episodes with Mayim Bialik, Jenna Von Oy, Joey Lawrence and series creator Don Reo, which consists of much mockery of fanny-packs, big hair and purple cowboy boots. In addition, three featurettes that explore the fashion, the phenomenon and the on-set friendships are available on the discs, with recent interviews from the majority of the cast. (Shout! Factory)