Party Of Five: The Complete First Season
GILMORE GIRLS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel Unrated, 15 hrs., 45 mins., 2000-01 (Warner)
PARTY OF FIVE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell Unrated, 16 hrs., 1994-95 (Columbia TriStar)
The first seasons of two beloved family shows debut on DVD. Full of humor and heart, Gilmore Girls, currently one of The WB's top-rated programs, follows the sisterly relationship between a willful, young single mother, Lorelai (Graham), and her shy but confident teenage daughter, Rory (Bledel). While Lorelai grapples with overbearing parents, shaky finances, and a tentative romance, Rory adapts to a new school and discovers first love. The sharp, original script is peppered with pop-culture references (Oscar Levant, Oliver North, Fawn Hall), rendering it all the more relevant and witty.
By comparison, Party of Five, the angsty drama about orphaned San Francisco siblings that went off the air in 2000, seems a downer, but it strikes a hopeful note too. After their parents die at the hands of a drunk driver, 24-year-old Charlie (Matthew Fox) crashes head-on into maturity as guardian to Bailey (Wolf), Julia (Campbell), Claudia (Lacey Chabert), and Owen (Taylor and Brandon Porter). Claudia learns about puberty from Julia, Bailey struggles over whether to meet their parents' killer, and Charlie's fatherly efforts are rewarded when baby Owen calls him Dad. EXTRAS On the quirky documentary ''Welcome to the Gilmore Girls,'' we learn about writer Amy Sherman-Palladino's inspiration for the series, and ''Gilmore-isms'' offers a montage of clever one-liners. Party's nine-part ''Look Back'' includes cheerful cast anecdotes and writers' commentary (ever wondered how they all looked alike?), but the rest of the features are pure filler. Gilmore: A Party: