If you haven't seen a few I Dream Of Jeannie episodes in your lifetime you are either a genie trapped in a bottle or have been seriously culturally deprived and never had a television when you were a kid. I Dream Of Jeannie has become one of the most popular syndicated television comedies ever. This great, though often berated, sitcom ran for 5 years (1965 - 1970) but never left the television schedule after that. The adventures of Jeannie (Barbara Eden), astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman), and his best friend Roger Healey (Bill Daily) have become a television classic.
There are even college courses given on I Dream of Jeannie where one professor espouses the theory that the reason this television comedy was so successful was that it answered the discomfort society felt towards the women's liberation movement. Of course, this is just hogwash and if you watch carefully you will see Jeannie was as liberated as any modern woman.
I Dream Of Jeannie, The Complete First Season is available in both the original black and white and the color version. The colorized version looks pretty good. The great thing about this box set is you get to finally see the early shows which, for some reason, never seem to show up in syndication, and hear the original theme music. The pilot features astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) having to bail out when his rocket misfires and landing on a deserted island. While building an SOS fire he finds an odd looking bottle, rubs it, and out pops the lovely Barbara Eden. The rest is television history. The pilot episode also features a commentary track with Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, and Bill Daily. This is pretty useless and inane stuff -Bill Daily's comment is "What a great show!" over and over again-although you do learn Jeannie speaks Farsi at the beginning of the show.
My Hero? Episode two of I Dream Of Jeannie, The Complete First Season finds Tony in Persia two thousand years ago (or on a cloth festooned Hollywood back lot in the mid-sixties) where while trying to defend Jeannie's honor he is sold as a slave to a rich lady. This episode features Richard Kiel (of James Bond movie fame) as Ali.
Episode 3 of I Dream Of Jeannie The Complete First Season follows the basic recipe of all Jeannie episodes: Jeannie (Barbara Eden) tries to help her master out, gets him into some trouble, Tony looks foolish for a while, Jeannie fixes the problem she caused, and they lived happily ever after in syndication. This time, Tony and Roger are in the desert on a pre-moon launch survival expedition and Jeannie, worried about her master, decides to help out.
This is a very funny box set and with thirty episodes from season one to choose from I Dream Of Jeannie fans will definitely have a favorite. Some, like The Americanization of Jeannie or Russian Roulette (where a female cosmonaut gets the bottle and the genie) kind of fall flat but a vast majority are great fun. The following episodes are those I enjoyed most:
G.I. Jeannie where Jeannie joins the WACs to become his secretary and so be closer to him. The episode is neatly set up as they point out Jeannie has a very high IQ before they set her out to destroy everything in sight as she purposefully fails every assignment so she can be assigned to Tony Nelson. It is nice to see a TV sitcom where the dumb blonde is not so dumb after all, magic or no magic.
Get Me To Mecca On Time has Jeannie and Tony on a pilgrimage to Mecca so Jeannie can regain her powers and not vanish. This episode features a short appearance by Jamie Farr of MASH fame.
The Genie is out of the bottle in The Richest Astronaut In The Whole Wide World when Roger becomes Jeannie's master. He soon learns that having everything can be problematic and asks Tony for help.
Bigger Than A Bread Box And Better Than A Genie has ever gullible Roger believing in the powers of seer Madam Zolta. Tony, the skeptic, is out to debunk her at a séance and Jeannie crashes the séance to teach Madam Zolta a lesson.
Weirdly enough, the special effects in season one look better in the colorized episodes than they do in the color shows. Go figure.
The extra feature is on disc 4. I Dream Of Jeannie: Out Of The Bottle is a short recollection of the first year with the stars and series creator Sidney Sheldon. Fun stuff for fans of the series though they don't really reveal any dirty details or anything.
I recall seeing a 20/20 or Dateline show where some university professor was teaching Television 101 as part of the curriculum. His take on I Dream Of Jeannie was that it was a response to the women's liberation movement to make men more comfortable with the whole idea. If that is true, the release of I Dream Of Jeannie The Complete First Season in 2006 is a way to show not all Muslim women wear the chador.
Factoids: According to I Dream Of Jeannie The Complete First Season, Jeannie was born July 1st 21 BC while Tony was born July 25th.
The Lady In The Bottle
Guess What Happened On The Way To The Moon?
Jeannie And The Marriage Caper
The Yatch Murder Case
Anybody Here Seen Jeannie?
The Americanization of Jeannie
The Moving Finger
Djinn & Water
Whatever Became Of Bobby Custer?
Where'd You Go-Go?
What House Across The Street?
Too Many Tonys
Get Me To Mexico On Time
The Richest Astronaut In The Whole Wide World
Is There An Extra Jeannie In The House?
Never Try To Outsmart a Genie
My Master, The Doctor
Jeannie And The Kidnap Caper
How Lucky Can You Get?
Watch The Birdie
The Permanent House Guest
Bigger Than A Bread Box And Better Than A Genie
My Master, The Great Rembrandt
My Master, The Thief
This Is Murder
My Master, The Magician
I'll Never Forget What's Her Name
Extra Feature: I Dream Of Jeannie: Out Of The Bottle