Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden return for more hokiness in the complete second season of I Dream of Jeannie, which features 31 not-so-fantastic episodes with the most juvenile humor and situations. I suppose the possibilities for fun are there, but none are fully realized, perhaps because censors just wouldn’t let the series be all it could be. For goodness sake, they wouldn’t even allow the display of the lovely Eden’s belly button in her mid-riff outfit. Leave it to censors to find sex in the most ludicrous o… places. It makes one wonder what kinds of weird kinkiness goes on behind their closed doors, but that’s an avenue I don’t care to travel. Truth is: the show is completely harmless, and as with Bewitched, its harmlessness is to its detriment. Fans of the series, however, will have a great time with about 15 hours of Jeannie. And if it’s bad entertainment such as this you like, at least there’s the lovely Eden’s belly button-less frame to make the experience more enjoyable.
The second season begins with the anniversary of Jeannie’s discovery at the hands of good-hearted astronaut Tony Nelson. The first episode comes complete with a villain (the Blue Djinn), who was actually responsible for Jeannie’s imprisonment. It’s an episode that cries out for the main plot of the inevitable movie version of this decrepit-on-ideas series. But it’s no more interesting than the other 30 episodes included here. Other highlights for fans of the series: “How to Be a Genie in 10 Lessons,” in which Jeannie is forced to torment her aloof master in an effort to “be like other genies.” There is the two-part “The Girl Who Never Had a Birthday,” in which Captain Nelson and his sometimes rival Roger seek to find out Jeannie’s birthday before she wills herself into nothingness. Last and just as least, there is “My Incredible Shrinking Master,” which is just like it sounds. In a nutshell, if you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen them all.
The standard 1.33:1 full frame has been cleaned up some, but there is nothing extraordinarily remarkable in its presentation. Yes, the colors are a little richer; the flesh tones, vibrant. What little use of blacks these discs have, they pull off in a respectable fashion, but there is nothing to drop the jaw or add to the quality of these failing episodes. I suppose the greatest accomplishment Sony has given us is the nearly complete removal of grain and other contaminants. It’s the best the show will probably ever look. And if you can sit through more than one episode, that’s a good thing.
English, Spanish, and Portuguese 2.0 tracks are available. The most notable quality of these discs is that darn addictive score. No matter how badly I reel against the series, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the guy humming it in the shower and making up imaginary words without thinking. I take no responsibility for this. If you’ve heard the score, you’re probably guilty of the same behavior… or at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself to make me feel better. Other than that, the dialogue and bass levels are consistent with a slightly better-than-average volume.
No interviews, remembrances, or obnoxious reunion movies – in other words, no bonus materials of any kind.
Well, if you like it, then rejoice. They’re getting these shows out, and what better way to preserve Eden’s beauty. I’ve always believed her to be a knockout in league with Marilyn Monroe. But alas, this is her legacy. Take that however you wish. Sony has done a fine job bringing the series to DVD. There just aren’t any bells and whistles to include, and that goes for the technical aspects as well as the bonus materials. Regardless of how I feel, the show’s continued presence on DVD is a reassuring commitment to the format – and that’s never a bad thing.
Special Features List