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Fantasy Island - The Complete First Season


TITLE: FANTASY ISLAND - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 16
Running Time: 775 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 35 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Spanish, and Portuguese languages (Spanish missing from one episode; Portuguese missing from two); Spanish and Portuguese subtitles; closed-captioned
Special Features: "Creating the Fantasy" and Spending the Day at Fantasy Island" featurettes (interviews); promotional teasers for 11 episodes


Introduction:

De plane! De plane! WELCOME to Fantasy Island, the one and only island where you can live out your fantasies! Anything that you want to happen here not only can happen, but will happen! And if your fantasy is to see these fantasies on DVD, your fantasy will be granted to you on November 15, 2005 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment!

Fantasy Island is a somewhat obscure show from our television past (there are many more that are much more obscure, but this isn't exactly something that you see on any television network 30 times a day) that featured Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke. Mr. Roarke was the one that would grant the fantasies to all of the people that came to the island, along with his assistant Tattoo (played by Herve Villechaize). The visitors to the island were all played by special guest stars—in fact, each and every episode has more than one prominent guest star. The basic premise of the show is to be careful what you wish for, as what you believe is your fantasy can and will backfire on you when you least expect it—just be happy that you have what you have.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Okay, there is so much to cover here! First we start with the 1977 pilot, "Fantasy Island." Bill Bixby, Victoria Principal, and Dick Sargent all make guest appearances in this one. Next we go to "Return to Fantasy Island," which aired one year later. Adrienne Barbeau and Karen Valentine make appearances in this episode. Next, we go to "Escape/Cinderella Girls," where Bert Convey has a fantasy to make an escape from Devil's Island. Meanwhile, two girls, played by Diana Canova and Georgia Engel, wish to be part of the elite. Ed Begley, Jr. makes an appearance in "The Prince/The Sheriff." In "Family Reunion/Voodoo," Marjorie Lord makes a guest appearance as she attempts to regain her memory using voodoo. Alan Hale and Jerry Van Dyke appear in "Lady of the Evening/The Racer." A girl played by Maureen McCormick has a fantasy of becoming a beauty pageant winner in "Treasure Hunt/Beauty Contest." Marcia Strassman plays a famous comedienne that would rather be unknown in "The Funny Girl/Butch and Sundance." Tommy Lasorda and Leslie Nielsen appear in "Superstar/Salem." Bernie Kopell, Nancy Walker, and Don Knotts appear in "Trouble, My Lovely/The Common Man." A leader of a gang wants to reunite the mob one last time in "The Over-the-Hill Caper/Poof, You're a Movie Star." Herb Edelman also guest stars on this episode. Mary Ann Mobley and Ken Berry both appear in "Fool for a Clint/Double Your Pleasure." Finally, the first season ends with "Call Me Lucky/Torch Song," where Richard Dawson plays a gambler that wishes to be the luckiest man in the world.

You may have noticed that each episode has two titles, and if you are like me and not well acquainted with the show, you may be wondering why—basically, each episode has two plots going on concurrently. The idea, according to Leonard Goldberg in the interviews, is that the double plots would present something in every episode that everybody would like.


Packaging:

The packaging style used for the discs is the style that seems to have become the typical for most of the latest Sony releases—double slim cases. There is something about the design of these Sony slim cases that bothers me time and time again, and that is the fact that these double slim cases never seem to secure the DVD very well at all—many others think I'm crazy when I say this, but I have had that problem with three of these Sony sets with this design. However, the slim packaging is a positive thing—it is nice to have four discs in a package that is about the size of one Amaray case. Each slim case has a photo of Mr. Roarke and Tattoo.

Disc 1 contains the two pilot episodes and the first hour-long episode, Disc 2 contains episodes 4-8, Disc 3 contains episodes 9-12, and Disc 4 contains episodes 13-16. The disc art contains various snapshots of Mr. Roarke and Tattoo (I'm wondering how many of these photos they have, there are five different seemingly similar photos within this set of them together with just minor variations here and there).


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on the set are creative and kind of interesting. When you load the disc, you see Tattoo ringing the bell announcing "the plane, the plane," and then the main menu loads. On the main menu, the theme song plays in the background, and you have options of Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, Languages, and Special Features. There is nothing special to note about any of the submenus above; they are very clean (but basic) menus. Like a lot of other sitcom DVD sets, there is no scene selection menu, but chapters are included at all of the appropriate spots in each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes are nearly 30 years old, yet they look surprisingly good. The picture quality seems to be a bit faded, but other than that, these seem to be very well preserved episodes, and I have to say that I'm pleased with the video quality. The audio quality (presented in Dolby Digital Mono) is of very good quality, and there really isn't anything at all to complain about with it. And if you want to have a little fun, you can even watch most of the episodes in Portuguese or Spanish ("Pilot" is missing the Portuguese audio, and "Return to Fantasy Island" is missing both the Portuguese and the Spanish audio). There are even Spanish and Portuguese subtitles on each episode as well. Or, if you just want to read the dialogue in English, you can use the closed-captioning that is provided. Finally, each episode is unedited in the 49 minute range and the two pilot movies are at 94 and 97 minutes each.


Special Features:

The special features on this set are not the "strong point" of the set, but regardless, they are decent. To start, we have promotional teasers that were used for various episodes in the first season. Basically, these are just introductions for each episode, with an announcer beginning each one by saying "Next on Fantasy Island." On Disc 2, we have them for "Bet a Million/Mr. Irresistible" (0:57), "The Prince/The Sheriff" (1:02), "Treasure Hunt/Beauty Contest" (1:03), "Lady of the Evening/Racer" (1:02). On Disc 3, we have them for "Superstar/Salem" (1:03), "The Over-the-Hill Caper/Poof You're a Movie Star" (1:03), "The Funny Girl/Butch and Sundance" (1:02), and "Trouble, My Lovely/The Common Man" (1:02). Finally, on Disc 4, we have them for "Call Me Lucky/Torch Song" (1:03), "King for a Day/Instant Family" (1:03), "Fool for a Client/Double Your Pleasure" (1:03). I know nothing about the show, so I have no clue what purpose these originally served. They almost seem like teasers that should be playing at the beginning of each episode, but if that is the case, why weren't they simply put back at the beginning of the episodes? Also, why don't the other three episodes on the set (not including the movies) have these teasers on the DVD set? And one final point to make about this (I promise, this is the last one), the teaser for "Bet a Million/Mr. Irresistible" seemed to be missing the first few seconds, as it began somewhat abruptly without any "Next on Fantasy Island” introduction.

There are two featurettes (in other words, interviews) on this set that are kind of interesting. The first one, "Creating the Fantasy" (14:50), basically just talks about how the show came to be, and most of the time, you are just hearing from Leonard Goldberg. There are a few other contributors in this featurette, such as one of the writers and the personal manager for Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, but Leonard Goldberg is the primary one speaking here. The second featurette was (in my opinion) a bit more interesting. It is called "Spending a Day at Fantasy Island" (9:04), and basically, it has interviews (new ones, not "recycled from stock footage" interviews) with people that have been to the island (or in other words guest starred). The ones interviewed are Ken Berry, Mary Ann Mobley, Adrienne Barbeau, and Joe Campanella. These can all be found on Disc 4.

Finally, least and definitely least, there are some trailers on Disc 1. The trailers included advertisements for "Bewitched TV," "The Partridge Family," "80's Hits" (movies from the 80s, including Stand by Me and St. Elmo's Fire), "Christmas with the Cranks," and "Jumanji Deluxe Edition."


Final Comments:

Before I received this DVD set, I had never really seen the show. That isn't to imply I never heard or knew anything about the show, but I had never actually sat down to watch an entire episode. But, after watching the episodes on this DVD set, this show is kind of an enjoyable show, and if you are really into guest stars, this set is perfect for you. And of course, Fantasy Island is one of those shows with a loyal fan base, and certainly, they'll want these DVDs too. And if you are like me and don't fall into either of those categories, you'll probably still find yourself enjoying it. The episodes on here are much better than what I would have expected, and the special features, although somewhat minimal were very nice. While I wouldn't call this an absolutely perfect set, it is by all means above average. Now smiles, everyone, smiles!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/12/05

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000B8IA3U/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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