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Featured TV on DVD Review: I Love Lucy: Season Two

August 2nd, 2015

I Love Lucy: Season Two - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray

I Love Lucy

It is not overstating things to say I Love Lucy is a classic TV show. It is one of the most influential sitcoms of all time and to this day it remains one of the ten best sitcoms of all time. The show has already been released on DVD, but the second season is coming out on Blu-ray this week. Is the show worth owning? Of course. But is the Blu-ray worth the upgrade? That's a more interesting question.

The Show

This show stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, as Lucy and Ricky. Ricky is a leader of a band and Lucy always wants to be in the show. Meanwhile, William Frawley and Vivian Vance co-star as their neighbors, Fred and Ethel. Ethel is usually mixed up in Lucy's schemes and the pair are one of the funniest comedy duos in the history of TV.

There are a few highlight episodes in season two, starting with Job Switching, a.k.a. The Chocolate Factory. It is the first episode of the season and is one of the most iconic episodes in sitcom history. Some would say it is the best episode in the show's entire run, but I still think Lucy Does a TV Commercial from the first season is a little better. The other major highlight of the season involves a storyline where Lucy gets pregnant. ... I mean Lucy is with child. For those who don't understand, when I Love Lucy came out, using the term "pregnant" wasn't allowed and studio censors would jump in if the show used it, so the episode where Lucy found out she was pregnant was called Lucy is Enceinte. How did that generation survive? Another classic episode from season two was No Children Allowed, which was the first episode with Elizabeth Patterson as Mrs. Trumbull, who became a recurring character.

On a side note, it is so strange to see an ad for cigarettes integrated into the opening of the show. It's strange to see ads for cigarettes, period. Times have changed.

The Extras

There are loads of extras on the Blu-ray, some of which were not on the original DVD releases, but are not entirely new either. There is an audio commentary track on Job Switching, which was originally recorded for the Criterion Collection laserdisc release. You can also watch that episode in color and in a French-Canadian version. Because Lucille Ball was pregnant in real life during the filming of this show, some episodes from season one were repeated, but with new openings recorded. These are available here as well. There is also a recut movie made from the first three episodes. There are even radio clips and clips from Lucy's audio book. Not to mention the tons of production notes, information on guest stars, etc.

As for the technical presentation... the series is showing its age. This season is more than 60 years old and the black and white transfer is not as sharp as I would like, but really that's unavoidable at this point. To be fair, while it doesn't look as good as a more recent black and white film, like Nebraska, it still looks better than it did and a lot better than most things its age. The detail level is solid and the contrast is great. The audio is also showing its age and it doesn't quite have the clarity I would like, but again, it is an improvement from before and much better than most releases its age.

The list price is $130, which is a lot. Even with the discount, the price is still $80. That's a lot more than most TV on DVD releases, but this is a much older show with a ton of extras.

The Verdict

I Love Lucy is inarguably one of the ten best sitcoms ever made and Season Two has what is arguably the best episode in the show's run, Job Switching. The quality of the episodes and the amount of extras on the Blu-ray means it is worth picking up, even with the premium price.

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Filed under: Contest, Nebraska, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball