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Although it was still doing well in the ratings, the third season proved to be the last for the seven stranded castaways of GILLIGANíS ISLAND. While never a darling of the critics, GILLIGANíS ISLAND was popular with audiences, and surprisingly, the series found itself on the network chopping block due to a scheduling conflict on CBS. CBS cancelled GUNSMOKE, which proved to be a highly unpopular decision that the network was forced to reverse, which left them in the position of eliminating another series from the schedule. Of course that series turned out to be GILLIGANíS ISLAND, which was still a solid draw, and ranking in the top 20.
Despite the mistake of the network, GILLIGANíS ISLAND has endured for four decades in the realm of syndication because the show was genuinely funny thanks to the healthy dose physical comedy, which has universal appeal and a timeless quality. Having watched every episode of GILLIGANíS ISLAND untold times since childhood, I can happily attest to the fact that I still love this incredibly goofy sitcom and am delighted that its third (and unfortunately final) season has shown up on DVD. Now for that small handful of you out there, who are of a certain age and are unfamiliar with the premise of GILLIGANíS ISLAND, here it is: GILLIGANíS 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. GILLIGANíS ISLAND starred Bob Denver as Gilligan (AKA Willy Gilligan), Alan Hale Jr. as The Skipper (AKA Jonas Grumby), Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer as Mrs. Howell (AKA "Lovey" or Eunice Wentworth Howell), Tina Louise as movie star Ginger Grant, Russell Johnson as The Professor (AKA Roy Hinkley) and Dawn Wells as Mary Ann (Summers).
GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON comes to DVD in a three disc set that features all thirty episodes that were aired in the showís final year. Thirty episodes in a single season goes to show that actors of previous generations worked a lot harder, for a lot less compensation back in the 1960s than they do today. Anyway the thirty featured episodes are as follows: Up At Bat, Gilligan Vs. Gilligan, Pass The Vegetables, Please, The Producer, Voodoo, Where There's A Will, Man With A Net, Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Ring Around Gilligan, Topsy-Turvy, The Invasion, The Kidnapper, And Then There Were None, All About Eva, Gilligan Goes Gung-Ho, Take A Dare, Court-Martial, The Hunter, Lovey's Secret Admirer, Our Vines Have Tender Apes, Gilligan's Personal Magnetism, Splashdown, High Man On The Totem Pole, The Second Ginger Grant, The Secret Of Gilligan's Island, Slave Girl, It's A Bird, It's A Plane, The Pigeon, Bang! Bang! Bang!, Gilligan and The Goddess.
Warner Home Video has made all thirty episodes that comprise GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Again, the visual quality of the episodes on DVD is really nice and certainly surpasses that of syndicated rebroadcasts. Image sharpness and detail is just great for a television series from the mid 1960s, with little softness present, except for shots with optical processing. Colors are strongly rendered and rather vibrant, while flesh tones only appear slightly made up. Blacks appear accurate, whites are stable and contrast is just fine for a vintage television series. The film elements used for the transfer appear quite clean for their age. Additionally, film grain remains very mild, even when it is detectable. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.
All of the episodes that constitute GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON feature Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Considering the age of the series, the audio quality is just fine. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible defects have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the tracks with a fairly pleasant sound. Fidelity is fine, although the sound effects and laugh track do sound canned, plus the music is a bit reedy in places. 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.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide one with access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Season three starts off with a three-minute introduction that features series creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz. Also included, is a running audio commentary with Sherwood Schwartz on the episode The Producer.
Even after forty years, GILLIGANíS ISLAND still generates laughs and retains its endearing quality. As for the DVDs, Warner has done their usual great job with the episodeís presentation of DVD, easily besting your typical syndicated rebroadcast. If you are a fan, GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON is another must have. Recommended.
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