Shout! Factory has released the Complete Third Season of Fantasy Island. Fantasy Island is the fondly remembered anthology series produced by Aaron Spelling that aired originally on the ABC network from 1977 until 1984. Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban) was the owner of Fantasy Island and his diminutive assistant was Tattoo (Herve Villechaize). Each week, Tattoo’s exclamations of "De plane! De plane!" would herald the arrival of new guests who had paid a high price to come to live out their fantasies on the island.
Studio: Shout Factory
Film Length: 18 hours
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Subtitles: Closed Captioned
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Each episode of Fantasy Island would begin with Mr. Roarke and Tattoo wearing their immaculate white suits and greeting the guests as they debarked from the plane. Mr. Roarke would provide exposition to the audience by identifying each guest and explaining to Tattoo the fantasies being sought by the guest stars. The guest stars were different every week, although some actors returned more than once to Fantasy Island, sometimes returning in the same roles and sometimes playing entirely different characters. The guest stars on Fantasy Island comprised a cross section of classic film stars and up and comer TV stars. The guest stars during this third season included Don Adams, Sonny Bono, David Cassidy, Bob Denver, Annette Funicello, Robert Goulet, Peter Graves, John Larroquette, Roddy McDowall, Leslie Nielsen, Doris Roberts, Dick Sargent, Abe Vigoda, and Fred Williamson.
The true nature of Mr. Roarke and the island was never fully explained but supernatural powers were hinted at since no amount of money could have created the elaborate fantasies lived out by the guests. Mr. Roarke even challenged the Devil in a couple of episodes, which suggested that Mr. Roarke must be very powerful indeed. The stories were usually morality plays in which the guest would want to live out a fantasy with the belief that they would receive what they wanted or needed, and the experience would teach them that they really wanted something else, or already possessed that which they were seeking. In this respect, Mr. Roarke was kind of like the Wizard of Oz.
This set consists of every episode from season 3 consisting of 23 full length episodes on 6 discs. Season 1 of Fantasy Island was released on DVD by Sony Home Entertainment in 2005 with nothing further released until Shout! Factory licensed this series for release in Region 1 for North America, with season 2 being released by Shout! in May of 2012. The episodes appear to be complete and unedited based on their content and running times, which average approximately 48 minutes in length for the regular episodes. These episodes were often edited for syndication so the inclusion of full-length network versions is appreciated in this release.
The series and special features are displayed in a 1:33:1 screen ratio. The video quality on the individual episodes is excellent for a series from the late 1970s. Colors are vibrant with good contrast and detail. Compression artifacts are minimal to non-existent, with only some black crush apparent in a few scenes.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track accurately reproduces the audio of the original broadcasts. The audio may not be exceptional by modern standards but is probably as good, if not slightly better, than when these episodes aired originally in the 1970s. There is no hiss audible and no fluctuations in volume level, and dialogue is always appropriately audible over music and sound effects.
Fantasy Island has aged much better than most other TV shows from the 1970s. The anthology format combined with a parade of guest stars from classic film and TV shows makes Fantasy Island an interesting time capsule of celebrities of the 1970s. This season and the next 4th season are arguably the high point of the series. Shout! Factory has done fans a great service by bringing us 2 seasons of this classic series within the same year. The video and audio are excellent for a 30 year old TV series. Fantasy Island The Complete Third Season on DVD is highly recommended for fans of entertaining television.