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Sunday, June 15, 2014

'The Jetsons' S3 DVD: Great End to Classic Series About Model Space-Age Dad

The Jetsons: Season 3
The recent Warner Archive DVD release of the 10 episodes that comprise the syndicated 1987 third season of the classic Hanna-Barbera animated series "The Jetsons" rounds out the DVD releases of  this series.

Fans will recall that the first season ran in prime-time in the 1962-63 television season and that the show resurfaced in 1985 for a syndicated run in which first season episodes were interspersed with the new ones.

"The Jetsons" is similar to the predecessor animated sitcom "The Flintsones" with the twist that it puts a space age, rather than stone age, spin on stories about the everyday lives of typical American families in their era. Unreal TV has reviewed the similar Hanna-Barbera '70s Saturday morning cartoon series "The Roman Holidays.

The Jetsons are more of a nuclear family than the Flintstones in that they have two, rather than one, children and that George Jetson works in an office while Fred Flintstone toils away in a rock quarry.

The third season of "The Jetsons" kicks off with the family large flat-screen television picking up a video chat about a planned heist getting George thrust in the middle of the action. The futuristic 1980s-oriented references include a mention of the police drama "Hill Star Blues;" a later episode has the family watching pastel-clad detectives in "Martian Vice."

A surprisingly adult-oriented episode revolves around green-card marriages in a manner that folks who oppose marriage equality may start citing as an example of the alleged slippery slope related to same-sex marriages. One spoiler is that this episode does not involve any effort for a character to marry family dog Astro.

A particularly amusing outing has the family comically trying to circumvent limits of places where dogs are allowed. This effort relates to using the new skills of mega-mentally enhanced Astro for fun and profit. A game of a chess similar to the 3D version on "Star Trek" OS is a highlight of that episode.

Two other episodes involve scifi staples. The first one has George engaging in corporate espionage against Cogswell Cogs on behalf of employer Spacely Space Sprockets. The second has George having himself cloned so that that duplicate will fulfill family obligations while George goes fishing. Hilarity ensues in both (and the other eight) episodes.

The series ends with an episode that has George fulfilling his professional aspiration of becoming the head of Spacely. The reliance on an aptitude test in putting George in the corner office and the particularly ruthless business practices on all sides once he gets there provide wonderful commentary on the business environment in the '80s.

Other notable aspects of these episodes are appearances by "guest stars" from the original series and the unexpected amount of animated nudity for an after-school cartoon. One observation regarding the latter is that evolution apparently eliminates male nipples over the next hundred years or so.

The best things about these charming and amusing shows is that they provide a fun look at tech. that is a nice mix of outdated and "hoped for" items.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "The Jetsons" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.