I DREAM OF JEANNIE:
Having shows like I DREAM OF JEANNIE available on DVD, takes me take me back to a much simpler time, when I was growing up, and watching afternoon television seemed far more enjoyable. Back in the day, before the advent of trash talk shows and trash reality shows, which have come to dominate todayís programming, choices were limited to what was airing on local broadcast stations- channels two through thirteen. Even with fewer choices during the days of yesteryear, having my afternoons filled with those regularly syndicated classic sitcoms remains preferable to having to endure the stomach churning trash being aired on the zillions of available stations these days. Sure, there is some worthwhile programming on in the afternoons, if you care to hunt for it on cable or satellite, but personally, Iíd rather pop something like I DREAM OF JEANNIE into my DVD player and forget about reality and the rest of the world- in thirty minute increments.
For those who donít know or donít remember, the basic premise of I DREAM OF JEANNIE follows the amusing magical misadventures astronaut and US Air Force Major Anthony 'Tony' Nelson (Larry Hagman). Once upon a timeÖ Tony Nelson washed up on a deserted island after a failed space launch. While waiting to be rescued from the island, Tony happened upon an old bottle, which he uncorked and released the beautiful Genie that was contained within. Although Tony 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, Major Nelson needs to keep the magical girl in the bottle under wraps, which isnít easy, as her desire to grant Tonyís every wish continually attracts undue scrutiny from his superiors. The cast of I DREAM OF JEANNIE also features Bill Daily as skirt chasing Major Roger Healey, Hayden Rorke as suspicious (and usually befuddled) Air Force psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Bellows and Emmaline Henry as the psychiatristís nosy wife Amanda Bellows.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all thirty-one episodes that were aired in the series sophomore year: Happy Anniversary, Always On Sunday, My Master, The Rich Tycoon, My Master, The Rainmaker, My Wild Eyed Master, What's New, Poodle Dog?, Fastest Gun In The East, How To Be A Genie In 10 Easy Lessons, Who Needs A Green Eyed Jeannie?, The Girl Who Never Had A Birthday Part 1, The Girl Who Never Had A Birthday Part 2, How Do You Beat Superman?, My Master, The Great Caruso, The World's Greatest Lover, Jeannie Breaks The Bank, My Master, The Author, Greatest Invention In The World, My Master, The Spy, You Can't Arrest Me... I Don't Have A Driver's License, One Of Our Bottles Is Missing, My Master, The Civilian, There Goes The Best Genie I Ever Had, The Greatest Entertainer In The World, The Incredible Shrinking Master, My Master, The Pirate, A Secretary Is Not A Toy, There Goes The Bride, My Master, Napoleon's Buddy, The Birds And The Bees Bit, My Master, The Swinging Bachelor and The Mod Party.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Season two of I DREAM OF JEANNIE marked the first year the show was produced in color, which makes for an eye-popping change from the previous black and white season. The episodes really look sweet on DVD and certainly better than my recollection of the shows from my childhood. The image is as sharp and well defined as any mid 1960s sitcom is likely to look. Colors are strongly rendered, Barbara Edenís costume is especially vivid; additionally, the flesh tones look nice. Speaking o flesh tones, check out guest star Michael Ansaraís appearance in the season two premiere episode, youíll easily see that his blue body makeup isnít particularly waterproof. Blacks are accurately reproduced throughout the set and the whites are crisp. I DREAM OF JEANNIE is lit like a sitcom, so the contrast is a bit limited, which gives the picture a rather flat appearance. Grain is noticeable in places, but isnít excessive. The film elements are generally well preserved on this vintage sitcom.
All of the episodes that comprise I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON feature perfectly fine sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Considering that I DREAM OF JEANNIE is has gone past its fortieth anniversary, I should come as no surprise that the sonic fidelity of the episodes have some limitations. Fortunately, the musical component of the episodes is never thin or reedy, even with a bit of amplification. Heck, even the showís memorable theme music, which debuted in season two, holds up quite well. The dialogue is crisp and is always easy to understand. Portuguese and Spanish language tracks have been included on the DVDs, as have Portuguese and Spanish subtitles (however, there are no Portuguese subtitles on episodes 2, 7, 24, or 26).
Animation and the I DREAM OF JEANNIE theme music, serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features. Unfortunately, there are no supplements included with this set.
Featuring a good deal of slapstick and goofy humor, I DREAM OF JEANNIE is an enjoyable sitcom from a more innocent era. As for the DVD release of I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, Sonyís DVD set looks and sounds better than your typical syndicated rebroadcast. Personally, I wish the show stars had been tapped to provide extras for this collection, as they had for the season one release. However, if you are a fan of classic sitcoms, this DVD release is another must have.
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