I DREAM OF JEANNIE:
As someone who grew up watching I DREAM OF JEANNIE in syndicated reruns, I can honestly say that even after forty years, this classic sitcom remains a whole lot of fun. I DREAM OF JEANNIE had plenty of innocent charm to spare thanks to its beautiful and funny leading lady, Barbara Eden, whose harem costume always maintained the television equivalent of a "G" rating. Where I DREAM OF JEANNIE always managed to excel was in the realm of slapstick comedy, much of it performed by Eden co-star Larry Hagman. Despite all the years of playing baddie J.R. Ewing on DALLAS, which has pretty much become the actorís signature role, the little kid inside of me will always think of Hagman falling flat on his face for my enjoyment.
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), who washed up on a deserted island after a failed space launch. While waiting to be rescued, 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 THIRD SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all twenty six episodes that were aired in year three: Fly Me To The Moon, Jeannie Or The Tiger?, The Second Greatest Con Artist In The World, My Turned-On Master, My Master, The Weakling, Jeannie, The Hip Hippie, Everybody's A Movie Star, Who Are You Calling A Jeannie?, Meet My Master's Mother, Here Comes Bootsie Nightingale, Tony's Wife, Jeannie And The Great Bank Robbery, My Son, The Genie, Jeannie Goes Honolulu, The Battle Of Waikiki, Genie, Genie, Who's Got The Genie? Part 1, Genie, Genie, Who's Got The Genie? Part 2, Genie, Genie, Who's Got The Genie? Part 3, Genie, Genie, Who's Got The Genie? Part 4, Please Don't Feed The Astronauts, My Master, The Ghostbreaker, Divorce, Jeannie Style, My Double-Crossing Master, Have You Ever Had A Jeannie Hate You?, Operation: First Couple On The Moon and Haven't I Seen Me Someplace Before?. Season three of I DREAM OF JEANNIE is significant as it introduces the character of Jeannieís seductive and slightly evil, dark haired sister (also portrayed by Eden), who has designs on making Tony her master.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. In general, the presentations of these forty-year-old episodes get high marks. For their age, the episodes really look sweet, appearing pretty darn sharp and fairly well defined. Colors are bright and a number of the hues pop rather nicely without noise or distortion. Sure, the sitcom level lighting makes the picture appear pretty flat, but it also helps the colors look really good. Interiors look better than exteriors, because of the controlled lighting. Blacks appear deep enough and the whites are stable. Film grain is noticeable across the episodes, but never becomes bothersome. Print damage and other signs of age tend to be fairly minimal. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.
All of the episodes that comprise I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON feature pretty respectable Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Not surprisingly, the majority of background hiss and other audible anomalies have been expunged during the mastering process, which leaves the individual episode soundtracks with smooth sonic quality. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and easy to understand. Fidelity has some limitations, but that is to be expected from forty-year-old recordings. The music holds up well enough, without any distortions. Portuguese and Spanish language tracks have been included on the DVDs, as have Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
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.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE is simple, innocent fun that I remember fondly from my youth and this classic sitcom still manages to tickle the old funny bone, even after four decades. Sonyís DVD collection looks really good for a vintage sitcom and is certain to please longtime fans. Recommended.
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