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In the 1960s, there were lots of television shows that came from novel ideas like a bunch of people getting stranded on a deserted island as in Gilligan’s Island or even a housewife who turned out to be a witch as in Bewitched. But despite those great ideas, someone at NBC thought they had a better idea when they combined those two shows together to create I Dream of Jeannie. What better idea for a TV show could there be than an astronaut landing on a deserted island to find a magical bottle with a magical genie inside, who happens to be blonde, beautiful, and eventually becomes his wife. As unbelievable as it sounds, this was still the 1960s so this idea worked at least for a little bit. But was five seasons of a show that could be called “pure male fantasy” too much when in the real world in the 1960s the “woman’s movement” was in full swing?
The premise of I Dream of Jeannie is that one day astronaut Major Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) was on a space flight when his one-man capsule comes down far from the planned recovery area, near a deserted island. Tony notices a strange bottle that rolls by itself, and when he rubs it after removing the cork, smoke starts shooting out and a genie named Jeannie (Barbara Eden) materializes and kisses Tony. Eventually, Jeannie “blinks” a recovery helicopter into the area to rescue Tony, who is so grateful for her help that he tells her she’s free. But Jeannie, who falls in love with Tony at first sight, reenters her bottle and moves it into Tony’s duffel bag so she can accompany him back home. Tony at first keeps Jeannie in her bottle most of the time, but finally relents and allows her to develop a life of her own. Having freed her, Nelson reluctantly becomes her master and Jeannie caters to his every whim, whether he wants her to or not. Soon Nelson’s best friend, Major Roger Healy (Bill Daily) learns about Jeannie and attempts to steal her away but eventually accepts the fact that Nelson is Jeannie’s master. But Major Nelson has to keep the fact that he has a genie living in his house from becoming known to everyone else, especially by his boss, the ever-suspicious Dr. Bellows (Hayden Rorke). This is no small task considering that Jeannie’s antics regularly land him in more trouble than he can handle.
The cast really made this show work in the end. Barbara Eden was the perfect choice to play Jeannie. She was not only beautiful, but she was funny as well. She also had remarkable chemistry with Larry Hagman, who should be given the most credit for playing such a nice guy in Major Nelson on this show since he is now most known for playing the evil J.R. Ewing in the dramatic television series Dallas. Hagman was a more than capable comedic lead, who didn’t get as much credit for that as he deserved. In addition, Bill Daily and Hayden Rorke had strong supporting roles that would help both advance their careers.
The fifth season of this series was the final one, so by this point the writers seemed to have run out of ideas. For the previous four seasons, there was constant sexual tension between Nelson and Jeannie and early in this season they finally get married. That honestly would have been the best way to end this show, but the writers continued on for 20 or so more episodes. Along the way, Dr. Bellows finally gets some satisfaction by “catching” Major Nelson and finding out the truth or so he thinks, Jeannie’s wicked twin sister makes a final appearance, and other wackiness ensues with Jeannie’s bizarre relatives from far off foreign lands. But at least there were some good guest stars during this season like Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island), Jackie Coogan (The Addams Family), Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels), and Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough).
By the time the five season rolled around, I Dream of Jeannie had worn out its novelty. In every episode Jeannie did something that would cause problems for Major Nelson, and Major Nelson had to fix things before someone found out what exactly was going on. The writers attempted to tie up everything and properly send the show off in the fifth season, but even they didn’t realize when enough was enough. So as a result the final season is a weak one. Still it was a fun 1960s show while it lasted, but it definitely went on for too long.
Episode 1 – “Jeannie at the Piano”
Jeannie blinks a little magic into the base piano to enable Major Nelson to play more than “Chopsticks” for his superiors. But they all think he’s a musical genius, and they arrange for him to play a concert tour. Naturally, that little red piano comes into play.
Episode 2 – “Djinn, Djinn, the Pied Piper”
When General Schaeffer (Vinton Hayworth) invites Tony to bring the dog to the part to help him exercise his own dog, Jupiter, Djinn Djinn turns invisible again.
Episodes 3 & 4 – “Guess Who’s Going to Be a Bride?” (Parts 1 & 2)
Jeannie’s Uncle Suleiman visits, expecting Jeannie to take over his kingdom after he abdicates. Naturally, Tony misses her, after she leaves, and he proposes.
Episode 5 – “Jeannie’s Beauty Cream”
Trouble ensues when Jeannie creates a face cream that turns Mrs. Bellows (Emmaline Henry) into a woman so young and beautiful that not even her husband recognizes her.
Episode 6 – “Jeannie and the Bachelor Party”
Tony doesn’t want a party, but that doesn’t stop Roger and Dr. Bellows from throwing him one.
Episode 7 – “The Blood of a Jeannie”
The marriage hits a snag when Jeannie tells Tony she has green corpuscles instead of red, and Tony suggests she get a substitute to help her pass Dr. Bellows’ blood test.
Episode 8 – “I’ll See You in C.U.B.A.”
Jeannie blinks Tony down from an experimental aircraft, but accidentally blinks both him and the aircraft to Havana.
Episode 9 – “Jeannie & the Mad Home Wrecker”
Mrs. Bellows and her husband give Jeannie and Tony the ugliest piece of modern art as an early present, and it goes from bad to worse when the NASA staff chips in to have the same artist re-do Tony’s house.
Episode 10 – “Uncles A-Go-Go”
One of Jeannie’s uncles must approve of Tony, or else there will be no wedding. But Tony is finding it impossible to make both men happy at once.
Episode 11 -“The Wedding”
Another snag. Genies are invisible in photos. How can you explain that to a wedding photographer, especially when every photographer in town has been given permission to capture the wedding on film?
Episode 12 – “My Sister, the Home Wrecker”
Jeannie’s twin tries to break them up by making one final play for Tony, pretending to be Jeannie and convincing Roger, and Dr. and Mrs. Bellows, that she’s having an affair.
Episode 13 – “Jeannie, the Matchmaker”
Jeannie tries to help Roger find a date through a computer dating agency; meanwhile, Tony is arranging a date for Roger with the General’s niece on the same night.
Episode 14 – “Never Put a Genie on a Budget”
After Jeannie goes on a spending spree, Tony tries to teach her frugality which backfires when they’re to entertain a visiting Russian cosmonaut.
Episode 15 – “Please Don’t Give My Jeannie No More Wine”
Jeannie blinks up a bottle of wine at the Bellows’ home, but it unfortunately doesn’t get them drunk it makes them invisible.
Episode 16 – “One of Our Hotels is Growing”
Told there’s no room at the Inn, Jeannie blinks a 13th floor for her, Tony, Roger and the Bellows’.
Episode 17 – “The Solid Gold Jeannie”
Jeannie blinks herself into Tony’s decontamination chamber after one of his flights, unknowing that she has to remain hidden there for 21 days with Tony, Roger, and another astronaut.
Episode 18 – “Mrs. Djinn Djinn”
Roger spreads a rumor that Jeannie is expecting, when it’s really Mrs. Djinn Djinn who’s going to give birth.
Episode 19 – “Jeannie and the Curious Kid”
When the Bellows’ troublemaking nephew stays at the Nelson house for a few days, he discovers Jeannie’s secret.
Episode 20 – “Jeannie, the Recording Secretary”
Jeannie joins an officers’ wives’ club and can’t fight the temptation to use her magic to try to win a trip for two to Hawaii.
Episode 21 – “Help, Help, a Shark!”
When Tony causes Gen. Schaeffer to lose a big game of billiards, the only thing that can save him is Jeannie’s blinking magic.
Episode 22 – “Eternally Yours, Jeannie”
When an old high school flame writes Tony that she’ll be visiting, Jeannie has another of her fits of jealousy.
Episode 23 – “An Astronaut in Sheep’s Clothing”
On their six-month wedding anniversary, Jeannie and Tony experience a version of “A Gift of the Magi,” wanting to give gifts but not having it work out.
Episode 24 – “Hurricane Jeannie”
Holed up in the Nelson home because of foul weather, Dr. Bellows finally witnesses an act of genie magic.
Episode 25 – “One Jeannie Beats Four of a Kind”
A card shark has been robbing NASA officers, and with Jeannie’s help, Tony tries to teach him a lesson.
Episode 26 – “My Master, the Chili King”
In the series finale, Major Nelson endorse a can of chili without NASA’s permission, and getting in such trouble that not even Jeannie can help him.
The video is given in fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is good with some graininess, but the colors are particularly bright for a show this old. No major problems at all, though.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound, or Portuguese Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound. There are Spanish and Portuguese subtitles available as well. This is an old show, so you shouldn’t expect much more but sometimes the dialogue and music don’t come out as loud and clear as it should. The audio is very inconsistent, and could have been better.
There are no extras for this season of the show, which is disappointing but shouldn’t surprise you that much since this series is 40 years old.
This show started off hot, but faded out quickly. The writers did their best to tie up every loose end for fans of the show during the fifth and final season, but the final episodes are really lackluster. So this one is only a must-buy for hardcore fans of the show. If you haven’t seen the show before, you are actually better off renting earlier seasons as this one is the worst.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents I Dream of Jeannie – Season 5. Created by Sidney Sheldon. Starring Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, and Emmaline Henry. Running time: 628 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: July 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com