<p>Good Neighbors: The Complete Series 1-3 (DVD)</p><p>On Tom Good's fortieth birthday, he decides to escape the rat race for a life of self-sufficiency with his wife, Barbara. Soon they're plowing a field in their suburban yard and tending a goat and pigs, much to the dismay of their upwardly mobile neighbors and friends the Leadbetters. This series, known as <i>The Good Life</i> in the UK, enjoyed such popularity the queen requested a viewing, and as recently as this year it was listed as one of the top ten British sitcoms of all time.</p>
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Originally telecast in the 1970s, Good Neighbors is the wonderful 1970s Britcom about an upper-middle-class couple who relinquish consumerism and turn their cozy suburban London home into a self-sufficient farm. Tom (Richard Briers) and Barbara (Felicity Kendal) Good trade in one version of the good life for an impoverished other--an old tractor instead of a car, a goat instead of a purebred pup--to the continuing consternation of their best friends and executive-salaried neighbors, Jerry (Paul Eddington) and Margot (Penelope Keith) Ledbetter. Among the episodes contained in the first three series are "Pig's Lib," in which Margot covertly seeks help from the local residents' association to stop Tom's plans for keeping pigs; "Just My Bill," in which Tom and Barbara face the rare problem of a harvest surplus that has to go somewhere; "Mutiny," in which poor Jerry is caught in a crossfire of obligations to both his boss and bossy Margot; "Going to Pot," in which the Goods come close to abandoning their self-sufficiency ethic when Tom proves a profitable craftsman at the potter's wheel; "The Happy Event," in which the birth of new livestock is wonderful news for the Goods but a sore point with the Ledbetters; and "The Last Posh Frock," featuring Barbara at the end of her rope when her last nice dress gets torn. As always, the series' concept ultimately takes a back seat to the lovely chemistry among four outstanding actors, and story lines that wisely emphasize relationships. Fans of British television would do well to look into Good Neighbors. --Tom Keogh
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