Gilligan's Island: The Complete Third Season (DVD)
Their three-hour tour is now a three-season television classic as the Skipper, Gilligan, the Howells, Ginger, Mary Anne and the Professor settle in to life on the island. The seven castaways struggle to survive the great outdoors — and the mindless meddling of hapless Gilligan, who always seems to ruin their chances of getting back to civilization! In the third season, Gilligan thinks he is becoming a vampire, the professor tries to repair a jetpack, an egotistical movie producer arrives and directs a musical version of Hamlet, the island is invaded by a spy who looks just like Gilligan, a witch doctor casts a spell, a compulsive kidnapper (comedy giant Don Rickles) plagues the castaways, Mrs. Howell receives love letters from a secret admirer and the gang attempts to contact a spacecraft in orbit. Television comedy was never the same after this wonderfully wacky series.
Though Gilligan and his fellow castaways will remain forever marooned in syndication, the series' network run actually did come to an end in 1967 after a three-year run and 98 episodes. The final 30--which for Gilligan fanatics, include many of the show's best--are compiled in this three-disc set, along with input from creator Sherwood Schwartz. It's not known if Schwartz knew that the series was headed for cancellation, but he and the writers definitely appear to pour on the steam in season 3 to produce some of the series' most imaginative episodes, many of which break out of the island sets through dream sequences; these include the season kickoff, "Up at Bat" (after being bitten by a bat, Gilligan dreams of being a vampire); "Pass the Vegetables, Please" (the castaways gain extraordinary powers after eating radioactive produce); "The Producer: (Phil Silvers guests as a Hollywood director whom the castaways attempt to win over with a musical production of Hamlet); "The Invasion" (the discovery of a government briefcase leads to Gilligan dreaming about spy capers); "The Secret of Gilligan's Island" (a stone table leads to a caveman dream), and so on. A cruise ship's worth of engaging guest stars (Don Rickles, Rory Calhoun, Strother Martin) and amusing performances by the always-game cast make this final season a worthwhile addition to any Gilligan groupie's collection. And doubling its value is commentary by Schwartz on "The Producer" (arguably, one of the best episodes of the entire series), and a featurette about the show's impact on pop culture. --Paul Gaita