I DREAM OF JEANNIE:
Thanks to DVD, I continue my decades long romance with I DREAM OF JEANNIE. I DREAM OF JEANNIE was one to those shows from my childhood that 1970ís syndication ensured a daily appearance on my television. Even after seeing every episode of I DREAM OF JEANNIE more times than I care to admit, this classic sitcom has the kind of staying power to keep it fresh and funny- four decades later. I DREAM OF JEANNIE maintains the wide eyed innocence of the 1960s, but thanks to its gorgeous leading lady, Barbara Eden, the show had plenty of sex appeal, even if her navel free harem costume maintained the television equivalent of a "G" rating. Aside from Eden, much of what made I DREAM OF JEANNIE a success came down to two little words: Larry Hagman. Hagman had wonderful timing and an affinity for physical comedy. Despite all the years of playing nighttime soap opera villain J.R. Ewing on DALLAS, which has pretty much become the actorís signature role, the little kid inside of me who grew up watching I DREAM OF JEANNIE, will always think of Hagman first and foremost for his gift for comedy.
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 FOURTH SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired in year four: U-F-Oh Jeannie, Jeannie And The Wild Pipchicks, Tomorrow Is Not Another Day, Abdullah, The Used Car Salesman, Djinn, Djinn, Go Home, The Strongest Man In The World, Indispensable Jeannie, Jeannie And The Top Secret Secret, How To Marry An Astronaut, Dr. Bellows Goes Sane, Jeannie, My Guru, The Case Of My Vanishing Master Part 1, The Case Of My Vanishing Master Part 2, Ride 'Em Astronaut, Invisible House For Sale, Jeannie, The Governor's Wife, Is There A Doctor In The House?, The Biggest Star In Hollywood, The Case Of The Porcelain Puppy, Jeannie For The Defense, Nobody Loves A Fat Astronaut, Around The Moon In 80 Blinks, Jeannie-Go-Round, Jeannie And The Secret Weapon and Blackmail Order Bride. Season four of I DREAM OF JEANNIE includes the return of Jeannieís seductive dark haired sister (also portrayed by Eden), who has designs on making Tony her master. Eden also takes on the role of Jeannieís mother, plus the pesky genie pooch Djinn Djinn, who has a definite distaste for uniforms, begins making appearances on the show during season four.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Once again, these four-decade-plus episodes really look pretty darn terrific. Most of the time, everything appears quite sharp and nicely defined. The hues are usually notable for their candy colored brightness and fairly appealing flesh tones. As with the previous color seasons, the sitcom level lighting makes for a fairly flat looking picture, but the colors do shine. Blacks are fairly deep and the whites are crisp. Film grain is noticeable across the episodes, but isnít excessive. Print damage and other signs of age tend to be fairly minimal. Digital compression artifacts remain under the radar.
All of the episodes that comprise I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON feature pretty respectable Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. As expected, most signs of background hiss and other audible flaws have been cleaned up during the mastering process, which leaves the individual episode sounding just fine. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. Fidelity has some age related limitations, but nothing beyond expectations. The music gets by without any significant problems. 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 still very funny, even after four decades. Sonyís DVD collection looks marvelous for a forty-plus-year-old sitcom, and is certain to please longtime fans. I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON comes recommended.
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