I Love Lucy: The Complete Second Season

It's been 53 years since I Love Lucy first premiered on television and the show is still circulating in syndication today. While it continues to pop up on critics' "best shows of all time" lists, it's uncertain whether it still resonates with new audiences. In many respects the show is simply outdated. Even for a sitcom, its brave attempt to address difficult issues surrounding race and gender stereotyping — uncharted territory for its time — is perhaps overly innocuous. But even this may be forgivable if the show is viewed as the trailblazing classic comedy that it was. With this DVD set, CBS/Paramount has certainly gone to great lengths to treat the show's second season as though the minutest detail is of some holy significance. This five-disc collection features all 31 episodes digitally remastered and free of the edits suffered during its years in syndication. These include hilarious favourites such as "Job Switching," where Desi and Fred challenge Lucy and Ethel to a career swap with mutually disastrous results (Lucille Ball's memorable turn on a chocolate assembly line comes to mind). The "moral" of the story? Men really are the breadwinners while women should stay at home. Still, this season also includes the "pregnancy shows," which are thought to have brought such "women's issues" to the limelight while garnering some of the highest ratings in the show's history. Every episode features an option that highlights the difference between what first aired, what has been broadcast over the subsequent decades and what has been restored. This might be something as simple as an animated cut-away that segued to a commercial but can also include missing scenes that have been snipped away over the years. The most innovative feature, however, includes an in-depth look at the flubs. Whether it's mishaps with staging or dialogue fuck-ups, they've done an interesting job of highlighting bloopers that occurred while the show was being taped live before a studio audience. It's kind of like Lucy reality TV and is just one aspect of this collection that makes it so compelling. Plus: lost scenes, restored music, original openings, script excerpts, production notes. (Paramount)