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Warner Home Video presents
Gilligan's Island: The Complete Second Season (1965/1966)

"This time nobody's going to be able to say: 'Gilligan, you've done it again!'"
- Gilligan (Bob Denver)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: February 02, 2005

Stars: Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells
Other Stars: Russ Grieve, Henny Backus, Mary Foran, Eddie Little Sky, Nehemiah Persoff, Bert Madrid, Jerry Hopper, Booth Colman, Larry Thor, Arthur Peterson, Danny Klega, Vincent Beck, Les Brown, Jr., George Patterson, Ed Wade, Kirby Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Michael Whitney, Sandra Gould, Bob D'Arcy, Charles Maxwell, Richard Kiel, Vito Scotti, Mike Mazurki, Patrick Denver
Director: Jack Arnold, Leslie Goodwins, Gary Nelson, George Cahan, Stanley Z. Cherry, Tony Leader

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 13h:26m:04s
Release Date: January 04, 2005
UPC: 053939692624
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A+ A-AA- C

DVD Review

Forty years after its debut in 1964, Gilligan's Island remains one of the finest situation comedies ever created. While it lasted only three seasons originally, the show's wide and long lasting appeal has kept it a syndicated favorite. Returning for its second season, the tale of seven castaways stranded on a desert island after their ship, the S.S. Minnow, is grounded while the group is out for a three hour pleasure cruise, brings another 32 hilarious episodes to DVD. The biggest change here is that the show is now presented in color, after its black and white inaugural season. The second major change is to the theme song, which was revised, at Bob Denver's request, to credit the Professor and Mary Ann.

Plausibility is one factor that doesn't apply on Gilligan's Island. Forget wondering why the entire passenger list were packing enough clothes for a three year voyage, or why the Howells would bring a trunk full of cash with them for a short cruise—it just doesn't matter—it's all part of the fun. Where else but on Gilligan's Island could the audience accept the plethora of bizarre circumstances facing the castaways, from Gilligan becoming a radio or a mind reader, or the multitude of devices dreamed up by the clever Professor, fashioned from the native island resources.

In revisiting this show many years since I last saw it, I have a newfound appreciation for the talent, both in front of and behind the camera, that makes this show work. This has to be one of the best ensemble casts of all time, as each actor completely inhabits their roles. Although on the surface Gilligan appears to be simple, he is actually a very complex character. Outwardly an idiot, he always manages to come up with the best ideas, even if he sabotages them later on. He is also very selfless, always looking out for the group, even if it puts him in danger. While he will grudgingly take orders from the Skipper, he is not easily corrupted, immune to Ginger's feminine charms or Thurston's monetary bribery. Denver is a genius, easily among the finest physical comedians of his day. His timing is impeccable, and he is able to handle broad situations, site gags, slapstick, or reactions with a natural brilliance. Alan Hale's Skipper is the perfect match for Gilligan. The brave and gruff exterior provides the façade for a sensitive, if easily agitated persona. The exchanges between Hale and Denver form the heart of the series, with Hale's periodic glances into the camera letting the audience in on the joke. The Howells (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer) continue their privileged lifestyle, including their exclusive country club, but are targeted in several unfortunate changes in circumstance. Movie queen, Ginger (Tina Louise), still exudes her glamor and beauty, using it to her advantage while trying to manipulate the men into action, while Mary Ann (Dawn Wells)—the most popular member of the cast—provides a down home contrast to her Hollywood bunk mate. The castaways would be in dire straits without the resourceful Professor (Russell Johnson) who can make anything (except a boat!) out of a few coconut shells and a piece of bamboo.

The second season features many memorable episodes, all of which are very consistent in quality, and still some of the funniest I've ever seen. When not being visited by amorous tribes folk, Cosmonauts, deposed dictators, robots, mad scientists, musicians or imposters, the gang deals with volcanoes, poisonous bugs, a lion, a sinking island, meteors, mines, and errant satellites. The Howells find their fortune vanished and their marriage annulled, Gilligan wins the lottery, and Mary Ann loses a boyfriend. Among the highlights are Don't Bug the Mosquitoes which finds a musical group (which includes the members of The Wellingtons, who sang the first season theme song) hoping to use the island as a peaceful getaway, only to discover themselves amongst a throng of fans. The girls form their own group, The Honey Bees, and put on a show. In the only episode in which the castaways leave the island, Vito Scotti appears as The Friendly Physician, whose experiments include switching the personalities of the island residents. When the Skipper worries about a successor, Gilligan learns to wield authority in The Chain of Command and becomes a radio receiver after being hit on the head in Hi-Fi Gilligan. Gilligan's dream sequences add another dimension once again, this time seeing himself as Jack with the bean stalk in "V" for Vitamins (which includes a giant Skipper, and Ginger and the Professor as elderly hostages) and imagining his friends in their old age in Meet the Meteor.

There is something for everyone on Gilligan's Island—so sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship...

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Fans are in for a real treat with this release, as Gilligan's Island has never looked so good! Say goodbye to dingy, scratched up, washed out, broadcast versions—the image is sharp, colors are vibrant, contrast is excellent and source defects are minimal. Grain is natural, and only really visible in process shots (like the titles) or on stock footage. If only all TV shows could look this good on DVD. Way to go Warner!

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Gilligan's Island has never sounded better either, as the mono audio soundtrack is very well presented. Dialogue is clean and clear without any excess sibilance or distortion. Spectral coverage is respectable for a 40-year-old series, with a full presence.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Sherwood Schwartz
Packaging: Digipak
3 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Season two introduction by Sherwood Schwartz, Russell Johnson
Extras Review: This second season of Gilligan's Island features only a couple of extras, and despite menu options on all the discs, they are limited to the first side of disc one.

The first is a 6m:21s introduction to the season by series creator/producer, Sherwood Schwartz, and actor Russell Johnson (the Professor).

Schwartz also provides an entertaining and enlightening commentary track on The Little Dictator, with insight into many of the not so obvious aspects about the show.

Unfortunately, Warner has again neglected to add chapter stops within the episodes, but there is a Play All feature on each disc. Like the first season, the set is packaged in a slipcovered, foldout digipak housing the three double sided discs, which includes a disc by disc episode guide.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

The second season of Gilligan's Island does not disappoint, chock full of fun and outrageous antics, and Warner's gorgeous transfer runs circles around any broadcast version I've ever seen. This is television comedy at its finest. Very highly recommended.


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