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DVD SAVANT

My Favorite Martian
The Complete Second Season


My Favorite Martian The Complete Second Season
Rhino Video
1964 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 950 min. (38 episodes) / Street Date May 10, 2005 / 39.95
Starring Ray Walston, Bill Bixby, Pamela Britton, Alan Hewitt, Ann Marshall, J. Pat O'Malley
Cinematography Frank Carson, Keith Smith
Original Music George Greeley
Produced by Jack Chertok

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Savant reviewed The Complete First Season of the My Favorite Martian TV show last September and found it a pleasant and nostalgic experience, mainly because of Ray Walston's professionalism and good humor. Rhino has returned with a second fat disc set that puts 38 episodes (that's roughly 950 minutes) onto five sides of three discs. That's a lot of Bill Bixby's Tim O'Hara trying to keep his Martian roommate Uncle Martin (Walston) out of trouble.

The show's second season had little choice but to abandon even the pretense of character development that marked the first group of shows. Things stayed more or less the same among the principals, with the addition of the actor Alan Hewitt as a detective who dates Mrs. Brown (Pamela Britton) and is always hyper-suspicious of Uncle Martin (whose Martian name, by the way, is identified as Xzydgeous 1212).

Instead, the show concentrated on gadgets and science fiction gimmicks, all to guarantee more special effects opportunities for each episode, which the producers and network decided were the major draw. The reason always given for this was competition in the form of Bewitched and later, I Dream of Jeannie, comedy sitcoms with plenty of supernatural hocus pocus, nose-wiggling and poofs of colored smoke. Martian producer Jack Chertoff contributed a competitor of his own, however, My Living Doll. The show featured Bob Cummings as a psychiatrist teaching Julie Newmar's sexy robot Rhoda how to be a more like a "real woman." I remember thinking the shows were funny, and that Ms. Newmar would have made the perfect mate for Klaatu or even Gort. Web sources say that most episodes of that show are now lost.

A look at the second season episode titles shows that the Martian writers dragged in just about every conceivable science fiction idea that could be represented on a tight budget. Martin's dreams become reality, confusing and frightening people. A memory pill wipes Tim's brain clean, and he thinks Martin is a dangerous invader from space. Martin's three personalities cause him to split into three distinct people. A falling telephone wire turns Martin's brain into a phone exchange with a lot of crossed lines. To hide his ESP from a scientist, Martin transfers his powers to Mrs. Brown. A biological problem turns Martin into a folk singer. Martin's super-intelligent brain is transferred to a small boy who previously was refusing to learn.

That's just the first eight shows. Most of the rest of the season is devoted to people-duplicators and various problems Martin encounters with his special powers, like getting his antennae stuck permanently in the up position. There are a few more ordinary concepts, such as when Martin has to pretend he's Irish because of a visit from one of Tim's relatives. One show reflects the secret agent fad by having Tim and Martin go up against an evil organization called Crush.

Episodes:

Disc 1 A: DREAMING CAN MAKE IT SO,* THE MEMORY PILL, THREE TO MAKE READY, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH,* DIAL M FOR MARTIN, EXTRA! EXTRA! SENSORY PERCEPTION,* MY UNCLE, THE FOLK SINGER, THE GREAT BRAIN ROBBERY, Disc 1 B: DOUBLE TROUBLE, HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY ELECTRO-MAGNETIC NEUTRON CONVERTING, GRAVITATOR?, DON'T RAIN ON MY PARADE, THE NIGHT LIFE OF UNCLE MARTIN, TO MAKE A RABBIT STEW -- FIRST CATCH A MARTIAN, WON'T YOU COME HOME, UNCLE MARTIN, WON'T YOU COME HOME?, THE CASE OF THE MISSING SLEUTH, HOW'RE THINGS IN GLOCCA MARTIN, Disc 2 A: GESUNDHEIT, UNCLE MARTIN, MARTIAN REPORT #1, UNCLE MARTIN AND THE IDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS, A MARTIAN FIDDLES AROUND, HUMBUG, MRS. BROWN, CRASH DIET, GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, STOP OR I'LL STEAM, Disc 2 B: THE MAGNETIC PERSONALITY - AND WHO NEEDS IT?, WE LOVE YOU, MISS PRINGLE, UNCLE BABY, ONCE UPON A MARTIAN MOTHER'S DAY, UNCLE MARTIN'S BEDTIME STORY, .006-3/4, NEVER TRUST A NAKED MARTIAN,* MARTIN'S FAVORITE MARTIAN, Disc 3: THE MARTIAN'S FAIR HOBO, A MARTIAN'S SONATA IN MRS. B'S FLAT, THE GREEN-EYED MARTIAN, EL SENOR FROM MARS, TIME OUT FOR MARTIAN, PORTRAIT IN BROWN

Rhino's set of My Favorite Martian Season 2 is at about the same quality as the first season. Close to 3.5 hours are on each side of each disc and there is some grain structure to the encodings, but by and large they look better than they do on cable television. In the third and last season (coming next year perhaps) the show switched to color for a few episodes.

Rhino's packaging lets us know that four of the episodes are shorter "syndicated versions" because the originals could not be located. According to online sources, they are time compressed, not cut.  1 I've indicated them with asterisks (*) in the list above. Rhino tends to be very concientious with disclaimers of this kind. Savant's own review disclaimer is that he watched only 9 episodes, but some of the more promising ones from every disc.

Savant's sources tell me that studios have seriously ramped up the promotion of television series on DVD, some of them older series. I'd never have believed that it was possible to put out so much material so economically, but it's come to pass. My Favorite Martian was never pitched higher than sitcom laughs, but there are some clever concepts here. I particularly like the one where Mrs. Brown gets turned into a two dimensional painting and is stolen by art thieves ... its quality could be described as "dimestore surrealism."

This second season package has no glittery cover, but the planet Mars on its cover is more accurately colored red.


On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, My Favorite Martian, The Complete Second Season rates:
Show: Very Good
Video: Good
Sound: Very Good
Supplements: none
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: May 16, 2005


Footnote:

1. Both of these websites were very helpful in picking up My Favorite Martian trivia: JH Harrison's My Favorite Martian Page, and Another My Favorite Martian Page whose makers weren't immediately apparent.
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DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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