Finally, one of television's most beloved sitcoms from the 1960s is being released on DVD. After Lucille Ball's immensely popular 1950s program, I Love Lucy went off the air, she returned with The Lucy Show. This time around, Ball plays Lucy Carmichael, a widow raising two children -a daughter named Chris (Candy Moore) and a son named Jerry (Jimmy Garrett). Ball's long-time friend Vivian Vance, also of I Love Lucy fame, plays Vivian, a recently divorced woman who moves in with Lucy. Vivian is raising one son, Sherman (Ralph Hart) . The show follows the comedic, everyday mishaps of Lucy and Vivian as they work to raise their children alone, manage a household, live without men in their lives, and deal with personal issues, such as finding Mr. Right.
Ball knew it would a be gamble returning to television without Desi Arnaz, since the pair had long been identified as an iconic American television couple. But Arnaz and Ball were now divorced, and having them star in a new television series was impossible. Despite this, The Lucy Show went on for six seasons and, like I Love Lucy, did not drop out of the Nielsen top ten rankings once.
It's easy to tell why. Ball is a highly talented comedian and actress, while Vance is a perfect second-in-command. These two ladies play comedy perfectly off one another. It feels completely natural, and every episode of The Lucy Show is brimming with their creative, physical comedy, which will have everyone rolling on the floor.
One of the best episodes of the series, "Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower" features an absolutely hilarious scene in which the two women get stuck in a dangerous shower after the water won't turn off. The scenario may be completely improbable, but Ball and Vance float through the dialogue with such ease that the viewers forget any sense of real danger, going along for the laughs.
Even modern viewers will be able to relate to the humor here; the show still works although some of the issues are a quite dated. In "Lucy and Viv Put in a TV Antenna" Lucy and Vivian go to extreme measures to install a new TV antenna on the roof of their home. This episode is hilarious, even to most modern viewers, who have mostly known only cable and satellite and have never needed to bother with an old-fashioned antenna. The writing is dead on, and the performances are perfect.
All 30 first-season episodes gathered in this set are beautifully restored in the original black and white, although the series would later convert to color.
This DVD set is packed with special features including two brand new interviews with actors Lucie Arnaz and Jimmy Garrett, the original network sponsor openings and closings, original promos and commercials for the show, cast biographies, production notes, a clip of Lucille Ball introducing her new show, a segment on vintage Lucy merchandise, and more. In addition, all episodes in this set are completely unedited; each episode is featured in its entirety. There's even a really neat feature that plays the original episodes, complete with the network openings, closings, and cast commercials, allowing viewers to experience The Lucy Show much like when it first aired on television.
While not quite as good as I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show is a great extension of that series, filled with the sort of over-the-top physical comedy that Ball fans loved.