Small Wonder: The Complete First Season

Small Wonder: The Complete First Season
Childhood memories are deceptive things. Toys, movies, television shows and so on are held in such high regard because of something that happened so many years ago. Yet returning to them in the present is usually a terrible idea, as time plays awful tricks, and it inevitably ends in disappointment. That means there will be a whole bunch of people who buy Small Wonder based on the warm, fuzzy memories they have about the show. And after watching three or four episodes, they will be questioning everything about their childhood because it is bad — painfully bad. So bad that it could have some of that camp value that makes people buy every season of Full House, but it really isn't very good at all; nostalgia can only go so far. The show tells the tale of Ted Lawson (Dick Christie), an engineer for a robotics company who has been developing a new project at home: a Voice Input Child Indenticant, or VICI for short. VICI, or rather Vicki (Tiffany Brissette), takes the form of a young female child, who he integrates into his family, much to the delight of his wife, Joan (Marla Pennington-Rowan), and in particular, son Jamie (Jerry Supiran), who uses her as a way to get his chores done. It's all pretty mundane, predictable stuff, with the expected shenanigans that come when a robot takes instructions too literally, and when the nosy neighbours begin asking too many questions, all with hilarious consequences — allegedly. Everything about the show has dated badly, from the cheesy theme tune to the alarming amount of innuendo and creepy undertones, and any charm it might have had gets spread so thinly over 24 episodes that it lives up to its place on many "Worst Sitcom Ever" lists. Despite everything, the set has been put together with more care and attention than anyone would expect. There are commentary tracks on five episodes, where the cast (although not Brissette) and the producer talk with a definite fondness for the show; it's a lot more interesting than listening to the lame series dialogue. There are also the original promos for each episode, plus a rather strange collection of artwork drawn by fans, suggesting that there might be a solid fan base just waiting for the next four seasons to arrive. Everyone else should just watch a few clips on YouTube and shudder at its awfulness. (Shout! Factory)