Webster: Season One

Webster: Season One
It's hard to know whether to shake the people at Shout! Factory's hands or their necks. They are apparently hell-bent on bringing some of the worst television the '80s had to offer to DVD, and the latest addition to the list is Webster. Maybe that's a little harsh, because Webster isn't as bad as it could have been. Considering it originated as a rather cynical Diff'rent Strokes knockoff, where a newlywed white couple have a cute little black kid thrust upon them when his parents are killed in car crash, it did well enough to stick around for six seasons. Most of that was down to Emmanuel Lewis, who played the pint-sized title character. He lacked the catchphrase-spouting sass of Gary Coleman, but actually had impressive comedic timing and delivery that put him head and shoulders above those awful Olson twins. Almost everything else about the show was remarkably unremarkable. His onscreen adopted parents were played by real-life husband and wife duo Alex Karras and Susan Clark, and while they are likeable enough, they aren't given very much to work with. It was all the usual sitcom plots and devices being recycled, without a single "very special episode" to break up the monotony, Webster relies far too much on Lewis's adorableness, and that only goes so far. This is another distant '80s memory best left in the past. All 22 episodes that make up the first season are collected in all their fuzzy, un-remastered glory. But unlike most of the other sets to emerge from Shout! Factory, Webster comes almost extra-free. There's just a very lame text-based trivia game, suggesting that even they had given up by the time they made it to the third DVD. (Shout! Factory)