“ Genre: Television - I Dream of Jeannie / Theatrical Release: 1965 / Director: Larry Hagman, Hal Cooper, Claudio Guzman, Richard Goode / Actors: Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, Barton MacLane ... / DVD released 2006-07-11 at Sony Pictures / Features of the DVD: Box set, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC „
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While the first season of a show introduces us to the characters and premise of the show, season two is usually where the writers and actors have got to know the characters well enough that the show usually blossoms. This is most definitely true of this series. Jeannie goes from being not quite three dimensional and a bit on the petty side, to a much more rounded character whose jealousy is actually a by product of not only her great affection for Major Nelson, but also due to her child like naiveté. Major Nelson also is more clearly defined here, as we learn more about Tony's hopes and dreams. These of course can lead to some comical occurrences, as Jeannie learns them too and decides "Your wish is my command." Nor is it just Tony Nelson's wishes. Oh no, best pal Major Roger Healey is still about and wanting his own wishes too, though when he does get them, its not quite what he had in mind. Poor Dr. Bellows is definitely feeling the pinch this season, beginning to seriously doubt his sanity as much as Gladys Kravitz of Bewitched ever did. Luckily for him, Mrs. Bellows is more observant than the hapless Abner, and she begins to wonder about those strange seeming goings on as well. Altogether, the expansion of the characters was skilfully well done and with a more three dimensional character to play, the actors finally knew the person they were playing and the performances greatly improved. Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman both developed a great rapport with each other and their comic timing was impeccable, making this much less of a pale imitation of Bewitched, with a life of entirely its own. The fresh outlook was perhaps mirrored best by the new theme tune that debuted this season, and which remained to the end of the show's run. The new tune is bouncy and upbeat, with a pop feel to it that is the an antithesis to the previous jazz number we were treated to.
The scripts were also much better this season, with much more varied scenarios compared to the first season. Greater use was made of Jeannie's powers so that we get to see more the world than Major Nelson's office and home this season, adding to the realism. Special effects were more widely used as well, and have aged very well, with modern viewers still able to suspend disbelief while watching, over 40 years on. Noticeable differences in Jeannie's make up in the earlier episodes of this season may seem surprising to some, but it should be noted that this was entirely down to the first season being filmed in black and white, so her make up artists were applying it to compensate for the grey scale, but this season was filmed in colour, and they had not got around to softening her look yet. A handful of episodes in, they get a grasp of the effect of using colour film, and find the right look, which they stayed with thankfully, as rendered in its true colours and not adjusted after being colourised from black and white, it did look a bit on the garish side. Ok, Miaow!
This aside, I can tell you that it was a very well put together series this season, making it easy to see why it has remained a firm favourite for many over the past several decades. The attention put to transferring this to digital medium also shows a lot of care, and a strong desire to not disappoint the fans. Well, they did disappoint me slightly, as the only R2 version I can get is either in German with an alternate English soundtrack, ordered from Amazon.de (look for 'BEZAUBERNDE JEANNIE') or from the Marketplace as an import from the Netherlands, again, with an alternate English soundtrack. The Region 1 discs are RCE encoded, so unless you have a multiregion player that is not made by a firm that also sells music or films, you probably won't be able to play them. That said, when you do get the set, you are in a for a real treat. The pictures are clear, the sound matched perfectly, and the mono sound track clean and crackle free. All 31 of the original episodes are present and in order, again without any extras. There appears to be a small dispute amongst fans of the show regarding two episodes that supposedly seem to have cuts in them, but it is undetermined if that is from the original unedited print being unavailable, a blooper being present, or just an awkward final cut that is original. Whatever, until it was mentioned, I had not really noticed! I CAN tell you, however, that with the present dearth of decent programming and recent favourites being now scarce as we experience the resulting break midseason from the earlier writer's strike, this makes great TV viewing in the main, and the bonus is, if you have kids, they can watch it too.