"No phones, no lights,
Okay trivia buffs, by now you should all be familiar with the names Jonas Grumby, Roy Hinkley or Eunice Wentworth Howell, Mary Ann Summers and Willy Gilligan, if not the names Thurston Howell III and Ginger Grant should be a dead giveaway to the classic sitcom that I am reviewing here… However, if none of these names sound even vaguely familiar to you, you must have been marooned on a desert isle for more than the last forty years! Anyway, "Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his Wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann" are here on DVD now- and in their second season to boot! As a kid, I loved GILLIGAN’S ISLAND and watched it everyday without fail, until I could quote back the all the dialogue. Of course, as a kid who didn’t know any better, the color episodes were always my favorites, just because they were in color- and "Color TV" was still a big thing (boy am I dating myself). Anyway, with the arrival of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($40) the comic misadventures of everyone’s favorite castaways become available in glorious color, as opposed to the black and white shenanigans of the first season.
For that small handful of you out there, who are over a certain age and are unfamiliar with the premise of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, here it is: GILLIGAN’S ISLAND follows the passengers and crew of the S.S. Minnow, who manage to survive in relative comfort, after finding themselves shipwrecked on small, uncharted island after a violent storm blew hundreds of miles off course- and away from the Hawaiian Island chain where they were taking a three hour tour. GILLIGAN’S ISLAND starred Bob Denver as Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as The Skipper, Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer as Mrs. Howell (AKA "Lovey"), Tina Louise as movie star Ginger Grant, Russell Johnson as The Professor and Dawn Wells as Mary Ann. As someone who still loves this incredibly goofy show, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND has endured for four decades because each member of the cast imbued their character with real comic charm, not to mention that every episode of featured a strong dose of physical comedy, which is universal and timeless.
GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes to DVD in a three disc set that features all thirty two episodes that were aired in the show’s sophomore year. While not the thirty six episodes of the first season, these actors continued to prove that their generation worked a lot harder, for a lot less compensation back in the 1960s than they do today. Anyway the thirty two featured color episodes are as follows: Gilligan's Mother-In-Law, Beauty Is As Beauty Does, The Little Dictator, Smile, You're On Mars Camera, The Sweepstakes, Quick Before It Sinks, Castaways Pictures Presents, Agonized Labor, Nyet, Nyet -- Not Yet, Hi-Fi Gilligan, The Chain Of Command, Don't Bug The Mosquitoes, Gilligan Gets Bugged, Mine Hero, Erika Tiffany Smith To The Rescue, Not Guilty, You've Been Disconnected, The Postman Cometh, Seer Gilligan, Love Me, Love My Skipper, Gilligan's Living Doll, Forward March, Ship Ahoax, Feed The Kitty, Operation: Steam Heat, Will The Real Mr. Howell Please Stand Up?, Ghost A Go-Go, Allergy Time, The Friendly Physician, "V" For Vitamins, Mr. And Mrs.??? and Meet The Meteor.
Warner Home Video has made all thirty two episodes that comprise GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes really look sweet on DVD, so much better than I remember them looking when I was a kid. Image quality is really, really great; everything appears crisp and very nicely defined. Some shots look softer then others, but generally they are shots that contain some form of optical processing. Colors are incredible- fully saturated and just about pop off the screen. Blacks are accurately rendered, whites are clean and contrast is very nice for a vintage television series. The film elements used for the transfer are very clean for their age. Additionally, film grain remains very mild, even when it is noticeable within the episodes. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.
All of the episodes that constitute GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON feature Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Sound quality is just fine for a vintage TV show; with everything sound fairly smooth. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the tracks with a fairly respectable sonic quality. Fidelity is ok, although the sound effects and the music can seem a bit thin in places; additionally, the canned laughter still sounds like it is in the can. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks or subtitles are present, although English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided for the episodes.
Forty years down the pike, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND remains goofy, good-natured fun and because of that, it is a show that will probably last forever. As for the DVDs, Warner has done a terrific job with the show’s presentation of DVD, making this release the best the show has ever looked on television. If you are a fan, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is another must have. Recommended.
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