I DREAM OF JEANNIE:
When I was growing up, syndicated sitcoms were a regular staple of my daily television viewing diet. And every day, I DREAM OF JEANNIE served as a fluffy comic treat that I devoured with great delight. That said, my voracious appetite lead to me seeing every episode of I DREAM OF JEANNIE more times than I care to admit. Even after sitting through countless re-runs of I DREAM OF JEANNIE I still find the show to be really funny- more than four decades after its debut. As I stated previously, the reason I DREAM OF JEANNIE remains funny can be summed up in two little words: Larry Hagman. Hagman had wonderful comic 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. Of course, my comments about Hagmanís contributions should not be considered a slight to gorgeous leading lady Barbara Eden, who was the cherry on the top the sundae that was I DREAM OF JEANNIE.
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 FIFTH SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired in year five: Jeannie At The Piano, Djinn, Djinn, The Pied Piper, Guess Who's Going To Be A Bride? (Part 1), Guess Who's Going To Be A Bride? (Part 2), Jeannie's Beauty Cream, Jeannie And The Bachelor Party, The Blood Of A Jeannie, See You In Cuba, The Mad Home Wrecker, Uncles A Go-Go, The Wedding, My Sister, The Homewrecker, Jeannie, The Matchmaker, Never Put A Genie On A Budget, Please Don't Give My Genie No More Wine, One Of Our Hotels Is Growing, The Solid Gold Jeannie, Mrs. Djinn Djinn, Jeannie And The Curious Kid, Jeannie, The Recording Secretary, Help, Help, A Shark, Eternally Yours, Jeannie, An Astronaut In Sheep's Clothing, Hurricane Jeannie, One Jeannie Beats Four Of A Kind and My Master, The Chili King. Season five of I DREAM OF JEANNIE marks the end of the classic sitcom, which may have had something to do with the marriage of the girl in the bottle to her astronaut master. Even in the sixties, the "will they" or "wonít they" sexual tension went a long way to keeping a series afloat- so once it was gone, it proved to be the unfortunate sinking of I DREAM OF JEANNIE.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Like the previous sets, the episodes contained here look fairly marvelous. Throughout the course of the episodes, the picture looks quite sharp and pretty nicely defined. Colors are generally bright, fully saturated and produce pretty appealing flesh tones. As expected, the sitcom level lighting creates a flat looking picture, however the colors look pretty darn sweet. Blacks are generally accurate and the whites are stable. 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 usually do not make their presence known.
All of the episodes that comprise I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON come with fairly solid Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Most signs of background hiss and other audible flaws have been cleaned up during the mastering process. Dialogue is clean and fully understandable. 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. Supplements include two abbreviated Minisodes, which would indicate a new syndication concept, three-minute episodes with twenty-seven minutes of commercials.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE is still very funny, even four decades down the road. Sonyís DVD collection looks marvelous for a forty-plus-year-old sitcom, and is certain to please longtime fans, who will want to own this set. Recommended.
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