Judge Cynthia Boris dreams of the Blue Djinn.
"If there's anything that makes me nervous, it's an angry
Risqué at the time but tame by today's standards, I Dream of Jeannie is a TV comedy classic. Although it was developed for NBC to compete with ABC's magical hit Bewitched, Jeannie had a style and panache all its own; a style that was probably a bit ahead of its time. I Dream of Jeannie was an innocently sexy version of every man's fantasy: a bachelor with a gorgeous female bound to fulfill his every wish. It had a hip vibe, an upscale lifestyle, and a soundtrack with a distinctive jazz beat. Pack your bags and head for Cocoa Beach…t's time for I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Second Season.
Facts of the Case
Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman, Dallas) is just your average, everyday astronaut. He lives a swinging single's lifestyle in Cocoa Beach, Florida, is engaged to the General's daughter, and he has the respect of everyone in the NASA space program. He's on his way up—only on the way up, his spaceship blows a fuse, dropping him down on a desert island. While waiting for rescue, Tony finds an ornate bottle. He gives it a rub and voila, a gorgeous blonde and very female Jeannie (Barbara Eden, Harper Valley P.T.A.) appears. Once they get past the initial communication problems, Tony finds out that he is now the proud owner of said genie and there's no way he's going to cut her loose.
From day one throughout much of the series, Jeannie lives in Tony's hip bachelor pad, performing often unwanted feats of magic while keeping well hidden from Tony's friends. Eventually, her secret is revealed to Tony's best friend, Roger Healey (Bill Daily, The Bob Newhart Show) but always kept under wraps from their nemesis, Dr. Bellows (Hayden Rorke). I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Second Season comes to you in glorious, living color! Episodes on this set include:
• "Happy Anniversary"
Color! This season is filmed in brilliant, living, peacock color. I don't usually discount B&W TV, but in this case it makes all the difference in the world. Jeannie's costume, the detail inside her bottle—the magic is so much better in purple, blue, red, and yellow.
Coming into the second season, everyone is really at the top of their game. The show has found its niche. The actors are comfortable in their roles and the plots are formulaic but funny. You'll find several great guest stars this season including Paul Lynde (Bewitched), Hoyt Axton, Dabney Coleman, and Sammy Davis Jr.; even Groucho Marx appears as himself in "The Greatest Invention in the World." Also, watch for the first of three appearances by Barbara Eden's husband, Michael Ansara (a personal favorite of mine!). Born in Syria, Ansara was a popular character actor known for playing Indians, sheiks, and Klingons. The two met while on a studio arranged date in 1958 and they remained married through the run of the series. He pops up (quite literally) in the very first episode as the powerful Blue Djinn.
Jeannie's antics this season include shrinking Tony, making every day Sunday, and sending Tony back in time to meet Napoleon and the pirates of the Spanish Main. Two interesting storylines deal with the idea of Jeannie losing her powers if she marries mortal Tony—is it a trade she's willing to make? You won't find out, as the sexual tension continues for another three seasons.
As with Season One, I just adore the packaging and presentation of this DVD: bright colors, great disc art, and terrific use of the Jeannie animation in the navigation. Even the episode navigation is clever, using a puff of Jeannie smoke as a pointer. Audio and Video are both crisp and clean. These episodes are a pleasure to watch.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
While the series is delightfully clever and well-produced it is a one trick pony. Tony makes a careless remark, ("Oh, I wish every day could be Sunday") and Jeannie makes it come true. Hilarity abounds as Tony deals with the consequences of Jeannie's good intentions. The variation on the theme is Roger or Dr. Bellows compounding the magical mischief, but the results are always the same.
After five or six episodes of watching Tony come up with elaborate ways of explaining Ming vases in his living room and how he can be in two places at one time I began to wonder why he didn't just say Jeannie is magic and be done with it. After all, who's going to believe a story like that?
The low score I gave this boxed set is mostly the result of a zero for no extras in the mix. Overall, it's an enjoyable, mindless piece of entertainment; a true television classic that's not to missed. And if you're a Jeannie virgin, skip the first season and check out the second season. The addition of color is pure magic.
The court finds…hmm…the court can't seem to find the defendant anywhere…funny, she was here just a second ago. Guess I'll have to dismiss all charges.
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