I DREAM OF JEANNIE:
I DREAM OF JEANNIE is another of the syndicated classic sitcoms that became an everyday fixture in the regimen of television viewing during my misspent youth. Featuring a healthy dose of slapstick, generally performed by Larry Hagman (who would go onto gain greater recognition as nighttime soap opera baddie J.R. Ewing), not to mention, over the top humor, I DREAM OF JEANNIE remains a timeless sitcom; one that can still delight audience, even more than forty years after its television debut. The basic premise of I DREAM OF JEANNIE follows astronaut/US Air Force Captain Anthony 'Tony' Nelson (Larry Hagman), who washes up on a deserted island after a failed space launch. On the island, Captain Nelson happens upon an old bottle, which he uncorks and releases the beautiful Genie contained within.
Although Captain Nelson sets this Genie free, Jeannie (Barbara Eden) decides to remain with her new "master" to reward him for his generosity. Since Jeannie is decidedly not Air Force issue, Captain Nelson needs to keep the magical girl in the bottle under wraps, which certainly isnít easy, as her desire to grant his every wish generally attracts undue scrutiny from his superiors. The cast of I DREAM OF JEANNIE also features Bill Daily as skirt chasing Captain Roger Healey and Hayden Rorke as suspicious (and usually befuddled) Air Force psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Bellows.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all thirty episodes that were aired in the series first year. The thirty featured episodes are as follows: The Lady In The Bottle, My Hero?, Guess What Happened On The Way To The Moon?, The Marriage Caper, G.I. Jeannie, The Yacht Murder Case, Anybody Here Seen Jeannie?, The Americanization Of Jeannie, The Moving Finger, Djinn And Water, Whatever Happened To Baby Custer?, Where'd You Go Go?, Russian Roulette, What House Across The Street?, Too Many Tonys, Get Me To Mecca On Time, Richest Astronaut In The World, Is There An Extra Genie In The House?, Never Try To Outsmart A Jeannie, My Master, The Doctor, Jeannie And The Kidnap Caper, How Lucky Can You Get?, Watch The Birdie, Permanent House Guest, Bigger Than A Bread Box, My Master, The Great Rembrandt, My Master, The Thief, This Is Murder, My Master The Magician and I'll Never Forget What's Her Name.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The thirty episodes are presented in glorious black and white, which is how they were originally produced. A colorized set of these episodes is also available, but not reviewed here. In general, image quality is really amazingly good. Everything appears crisp and very nicely defined. Blacks are deep, whites are clean, plus there is nice variance in the grayscale. For a forty plus year old television series the film elements are remarkably clean and generally free from defects. Film grain is mild and never bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are always nicely concealed.
All of the episodes contained in I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON feature perfectly acceptable Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Considering that I DREAM OF JEANNIE is a vintage, mid-sixties television series, sonic fidelity is somewhat limited, but fortunately, the musical component of the episodes never sounds harsh or brittle, even with a bit of amplification. Heck, even the more melodious season one theme music comes across quite nicely. The dialogue is always clean and remains completely understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, nor have any subtitles been provided.
Animation and the more familiar I DREAM OF JEANNIE theme music from the later seasons, serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a couple of nice extras. Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman and Bill Daily are on hand to provide a running audio commentary for the pilot episode: The Lady In The Bottle. Eden, Hagman and Daily return to share their reminiscences about the series in I Dream Of Jeannie: Out Of The Bottle, interview footage of series creator Sidney Sheldon is inter cut with the three stars, who appear together.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE is another great classic sitcom that is making its long anticipated debut on DVD. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has provided the episodes with terrific presentations on DVD, which should really please fans. If you love this show or are a fan of Barbara Eden and/or Larry Hagman, I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is a must have. Recommended.
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