It’s hardly any surprise that The Lucy Show in many ways directly follows I Love Lucy. Each episode feels familiar in tone and style, with Lucy causing mischief, Vivian going along, and both struggling to find a way out.
Obviously, given the enormous success of I Love Lucy, the formula worked. Episode titles in The Lucy Show can immediately tell you what to expect. “Lucy Buys a Sheep,” “Lucy Drives a Dump Truck,” and “Lucy and Vivian Put in a Shower” make you wonder what could possibly go wrong. With Lucy, the obvious answer is everything.
Despite playing new characters, both Lucy and Vivian carry their personalities over to the new series intact. Despite the lack of male companionship (Lucy is widowed, Vivian divorced, the latter a first for a TV series), numerous male characters do appear on the show, typically walking in the front door without a care in the world. This is undoubtedly a show taking place in a bygone era.
The first seasons, at least the ones with Vivian Vance as a co-star, are a no-brainer for devoted Lucy followers. An extended wait for a DVD release makes this set an easier buy yet, as these remain the highlight of this six-season series.
CBS has done a fine job with this series on DVD, presenting a crisp image. Various specks and dirt appear on the prints in every episode, although the damage is minimal. Grain can spike, but is otherwise natural and unobtrusive. It gives this series a fine texture (which was shot on 35MM like many shows of the day), and the disc handles it without excessive noise.
Unlike the film format of the day, TV audio recording wasn’t given much attention in 1962. This comes from a mono source, and suffers from rather strained dialogue and flat high end. While the episodes are free of distortion (popping and hissing included), they also offer little to discuss considering the source. This is adequate for the needs of the show.
CBS delivers an excellent set of extras spread across all four discs. A brief scrolling text message from CBS opens the first disc, moving into bonuses that typically fall into a few categories on each disc. A guest cast list provides various information on spot characters. Flubs are not outtakes, but various continuity errors that are quickly viewed through the menu.
Special footage includes promos and interviews (including an extended one with Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), while broadcast elements includes opening and closings along with advertisements done by the cast. Production notes, newspaper clippings, and a photo gallery remain.
Vivian Vance would leave the show after the third season so she could be with her husband. The series remained near the top of the ratings chart until the end despite her departure, and its final season was its highest rated. It was dropped due an agreement in the sale of Desilu Productions to Gulf & Western in 1968.