The Good

The Bad

Gilligan’s Island: The Complete Third Season is amazingly the final batch of the original Gilligan’s Island episodes. How is it that this show has managed to hang on, have numerous spin-offs shows based on the original concept, when it only ran for 3 seasons? The Brady Bunch ran for 5 and it too has managed to stick around as well. It’s as if these shows, even though they were canceled, never went off the air. I think the best explanation for this phenomenon is the fact that, while flawed in certain ways, these shows have something deeper to them that innately resonates with people. After all, Gilligan’s Island was show that was on it’s way to entering absurdity. When you have plots in which people are on an island, and others can come to them but the castaways can’t get off, I think you will eventually see the writing on the wall. So, as much as I do love this show, I have to say that I think it was a good idea that the suits up top cut the cord when they did.

This dual layer, three disk set is comprised of 30 episodes. I guess the thing that amazes me most is that as out there as these shows get (the castaways performing Hamlet for a movie producer, a show based around Gilligan dreaming about dinosaurs, or Gilligan becoming a human magnet) the characters never play it up. They never wink to the camera and make us aware that the the situation is pure camp. There is an earnestness to their performances that lends a great deal of credence to their unbelievable situation.


Season Introduction by Creator/Producer Sherwood Schwartz

I love hearing producers like Sherwood Schwartz talk about their shows. He and Frank Marshall (Happy Days) have such easy going attitudes about what goes into making a show, and this attitude is almost contagious. Schwartz talked about the responsibility of the producer who has a show like Gilligan’s Island and why he thinks it is still running today. Considering that he also did The Brady Bunch, and that’s still going, I think this must be looked at as some kind of astronomical achievement.

Commentary on the “The Producer” (Episode #4) by Sherwood Schwartz

Having this commentary is almost like having Sherwood sit next to you as you are watching the episode. He talks about the show, the locations, the props and what’s really amazing is how he remembers all this stuff. He discussed how he got Phil Silvers to play the role of the producer, how this particular episode was made and basically what goes into pulling a show like Gilligan’s Island off. I think what is really telling about this commentary is how much he believed in the show. It wasn’t just business to Sherwood Schwartz.

Gilligan’s Island: A Pop Culture Phenomenon Documentary

This is a documentary in which film scholars, comedians, members of the Gilligan’s Island fan club and even people involved with The Real Gilligan’s Island reality show weigh on the importance and cultural significance of this show. It is something that you might expect to see running on TV Land. What always impresses me is that no matter how many pieces you see on a show like this, you always end up hearing something that illuminates some aspect of the show for you in a new way. As a result, when you watch the show, you can’t help but bring those new thoughts to it.


Full Frame. I am very impressed with the look of these shows. It might be something that happened when the DVDs were compressed, maybe it was the transfer, but these shows have such a freshness to them. This is also complimented by the the actor’s “bright eyed” performances. Every character is playing a type and this is further underscored in how they are dressed. Ginger is very regal, the Skipper is always wearing his hat, the Howell’s are always in decent clothes, etc. I guess because these shows were actually shot on film, you get a bit more texture to the images. At first I thought that these episodes might be in widescreen, but I think that artificially putting something like that in could be detrimental to the shows impact. Overall, I think these DVDs look great and again it’s nice to see that an important show like Gilligan’s Island has been kept up so well over the years.


Dolby Digital - English Mono. You sometimes wonder why people have gone out of there way to make sound so much better. I feel this way because after screening Gilligan’s Island: The Complete Third Season, there was not a word that I couldn’t make out or understand. I didn’t even have to adjust my TV set at all. I just popped the disks in and let them play. There really aren’t background noises in the sound design that interfere with what the characters are saying. As a result, the sound on all of these disks is as pristine as it can be.


The cover features a poorly Photoshopped drawing of the castaways with the waters of the lagoon behind them. There is an obvious island motif to this cover with sand, shells and beach watcher as the background for the entire box. The back features 3 pictures from the show, a description of the box set as a whole and an extras listing. The disks inside fold out and there are pictures of the cast spread out around them. There are listings of each episode each with a tiny description. The is solidly done, economical packaging that caps off the final season of one of televisions most popular and venerable shows.

Final Word

One could nitpick something like Gilligan’s Island: The Complete Third Season to death. They could pick it apart, put it back together and at the end of the day, I don’t think that they would be any further along then they were to begin with in trying to figure out this show. People like to be entertained it seems. There is something fun about putting on a show and knowing that it is going to make you laugh. I think there is something inside all of us that makes us gravitate toward those things. This is why I am such a huge fan of TV on DVD. Shows like Gilligan’s Island make us feel good. They remind us of the past and they help put the present in perspective. If this means that the show is “plastic” or “brain candy”, that is fine because ultimately a show like Gilligan’s Island serves a more humanistic function.

It helps us live.

Gilligan's Island was released .