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My Favorite Martian - The Complete First Season


TITLE: MY FAVORITE MARTIAN - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info: DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004 (Rhino Home Video)
black & white, approx. 880 minutes
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 37
Language and Subtitles: English - Mono
Special Features: None


Introduction:

When reporter Tim O'Hara (Bill Bixby) discovers Martin (Ray Walston), a genuine Martian whose ship has crash-landed on Earth, the two become quick friends and roommates. Like Bewitched's Samantha and Jeannie of I Dream of Jeannie, Uncle Martin has supernatural powers that cause poor Tim all kinds of trouble. With a supporting cast of clueless characters and episodes, filled with endlessly entertaining situations, My Favorite Martian is the original fantasy sitcom.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

My Favorite Martian ran for 3 seasons on CBS from 1963-1966. The first 2 seasons were broadcast in black & white, while the final season was aired in color. The first season was a solid hit ranking #10 in the Nielsen ratings. Memorable episodes from the first season included the pilot episode when after crash landing on earth, "Uncle Martin" moves in with reporter Tim O'Hara. In "How to Be a Hero Without Really Trying," Martin tries to make Tim a hero in the eyes of a pretty new neighbor. An electrically charged Martin disrupts the town's power system in "Danger! High Voltage!." Notable guest stars included Richard Deacon as James R. Jackson in "Russians "R" in Season" and as Mr. Bentley in "My Nephew the Artist," Vito Scotti as the Junk Yard Manger in "Rocket to Mars" and the waiter in "Hitchhike to Mars," Howard Morton as Brian Henley in "Raffles No. 2," Butch Patrick as Stevie in "How to Be a Hero Without Really Trying," Bernie Kopell as Morton Beanbecker in "Poor Little Rich Cat," Allan Melvin as Pete Dudley in "The Sinkable Mr. Brown," Tom Skerritt as Edgar and Marlo Thomas as Paula in "Miss Jekyll and Hyde," and Alan Hale Jr. as Omar Keck in "The Disastro-nauts."


Packaging:

All 37 episodes from the first season are included on this 1st season disc. The box is typical of what you usually see with movies put on dvd - a plastic snapcase. The dvd cover art has a green sparkling image of Mars as well as some sparkling stars. I know some fans would have preferred that they make Mars orange, so their choice of green is questionable. Maybe they thought the green would stand out better. The back of the box has a short sumamry of the show along with 4 small black and white photos from the show. It also has the sparkling star effect which is pretty cool and a nice touch. Inside the box, they include a single page sheet that lists the episode titles and original airdates sorted by what disc they are located on. The first 2 discs are double sided and have no artwork on them. The 3rd disc is green in color and looks to show the surface of Mars. The 3rd disc notes that program information on both sides of discs 1 &2 prohibits the use of artwork on discs 1 & 2. Disc 1 - Side A has episodes 1-8, Disc 1 - Side B has episodes 9-16, Disc 2 - Side A has episodes 17-24, Disc 2 - Side B has episodes 25-32, and Disc 3 has episodes 33-37. I don't see why they couldn't have put 8 episodes on single sided discs as they could have put them on a total of 5 instead of 3.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus open with a short little animated scene of a manned spacecraft crashing into Mars and his spacecraft breaks in half. The main menu has the theme song playing in the background and has a photo of Bill Bixby and Ray Walston with his antennae. There is also an animated background with stars flying and a rotating image of an orange Mars. Play All and Scene Index options are offered on each disc. You highlight an option and a red spacecraft appears by it and it turns green when you select it. The Scene Index sub menus have a light purple background that has actual short video clips from the episodes. There are 4 chapter stops per episode. The Scene Index menu also lists the title and original airdate for the episode and has some spacey music playing in the background and a portion of the theme song can be heard at the start of it with a lower volume. A minor complaint is that if you choose to watch one episode, after it finishes the next episode automatically starts and doesn't go back to the menu.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality of this set is very good. The transfers are generally pretty crisp with some occasional dirt and fuzzy scenes. This can be expected for a series from over 40 years ago. Rhino asked fans to help them locate the original uncut pilot and they were successful at finding it and including it in this set. All episodes appear to be uncut running over 25 minutes. Some previous DVD/VHS releases of My Favorite Martian were sped up or trimmed for syndication. The show has also been released on VHS by Columbia House and has aired on TV Land in recent years. Each disc has no more than 8 episodes on each side, so there appears to be little or no compression on this set. The audio is adequate for a show of it's age, you can hear some low static in the episodes.


Special Features:

There are no extras for this set. Perhaps, in a future season release they can include some original network promos, commercials of the cast advertising products, production notes, or other interesting behind the scenes details.


Final Comments:

I have never really sat down and watched many episodes of My Favorite Martian in the past, but I have been a big fan of Bill Bixby and his other series especially The Courtship of Eddie's Father and The Incredible Hulk for many years. I enjoyed watching some of the episodes for this review. The special effects and sound effects were state of the art 40 years ago, and they are fun to see now. Bill Bixby and Ray Walston had great chemistry and would reunite several times including on The Incredible Hulk. This set has great value as you can get 37 episodes for under $30, so it's less than a $1 per episode. Hopefully, Rhino will release the second and third seasons in the future to complete the series.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.4/5
Audio Quality: 4.3/5
Special Features: NA
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/16/04

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002T7YYO/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

For much more information on My Favorite Martian, visit the excellent website A TV Classic: My Favorite Martian


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