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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Fantasy > I Dream Of Jeannie: The Complete Series (1965-1970/Sony DVD Box)

I Dream Of Jeannie: The Complete Series (1965-1970/Sony DVD Box)


Picture: B (except colorized: D)     Sound: C+     Extras: A     Episodes: A*


*(A- with minus due to the colorization of the First Season)



Having already purchased all 5 seasons of I Dream of Jeannie, I was curious to see how Sony was going to entice fans to buy the complete series.  The packaging is colorful including a paper ‘Jeannie’ bottle with cork and 55 trading cards featuring facts about the show.   I was leery some of the information on the cards may be inaccurate.  Careful research was done and the cards are informative and attractive featuring images previously not seen before.  They include a few of Jeannie’s nasty brunette sister (portrayed by Barbara Eden) which is always a delight to this viewer.  Unfortunately, a card of Jeannie’s mother, also played by Eden during the fourth season, was not included.  Overall the cards will please fans of the series.  The entire DVD set, bottle and cards comes in an attractive package featuring artwork seen in the animated opening.


Unfortunately Sony used the colorized episodes of the first season in this DVD set.  While the colorization is good it’s not historically accurate as the first year was filmed in black and white during the 1965-66 season.  The series was the last black and white program to be aired on NBC.


I Dream of Jeannie was created by Sidney Sheldon for the NBC network. The network was hoping to duplicate the rating’s success Bewitched (reviewed elsewhere on this site) was having on ABC.  Bewitched fans have proven to be a ferocious bunch often attacking I Dream of Jeannie for being nothing but a knock-off of the ABC witch series.  They fail to note, however, Bewitched’s premise was based on the popular movies, I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle.  Certainly the idea of supernatural folk on the small screen was used prior to both series with Topper and My Favorite Martian


Jeannie’s first two years were written more as a romantic comedy with Jeannie’s jealousy providing many of the plots.  Beginning with the third season any sense of continuity from the first two years was mostly forgotten.  Episodes were fast paced with an emphasis on slapstick comedy.  An assortment of genie relatives, most notably, Jeannie’s uniform hating dog popped in to cause havoc.


Jeannie, though averaging 15 to 21 million viewers a week during its network run, was not a huge rating’s success.  NBC never settled the program in one time period. Jeannie and Tony Nelson’s wedding during the last season removed the sexual tension from the series.  Still, after 139 episodes, Screen Gems sold the program into international syndication.  This is when the series’ popularity exploded airing five days a week to the family audience.  For example, when the reruns debuted on New York's WPIX, Jeannie won its time period with a 13 rating and a 23 share of the audience (Variety, October 6, 1971).  The series averaged a 14 share and 32 share of the audience when WTTG in Washington, D.C. began airing the series (Variety, September 22, 1971).  Across the board, the series was reaching a bigger audience in syndication than on NBC.  According to the October 6, 1971 edition of Variety, it was the first off-network series to best network competition in the ratings: "The big switch no doubt representing the first time in rating history that indies (local stations) have knocked over the network stations in a primetime slot was promoted by WPIX's premiere of the off-web Jeannie reruns back to back from 7 to 8 p.m."


By the 1980s, the series had achieved cult status being referenced and parodied in a number of comic strips, animated cartoons, movies and television series.  I Dream of Jeannie has become one of the most successful, and best loved, series in television history.



We have reviewed all the follow-up seasons on DVD and the 1.33 X 1 picture quality is the same, though this is the first time we had to look at the sadly colorized versions of the debut season.  Though not listed as limited edition, fans and those wanting to give the series as a gift will want to get this set.



-   Fred M. Grandinetti


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