The Adventures of Superman - Seasons 5 & 6
The fifth and sixth seasons of The Adventures of Superman close out Warner Home Video's DVD release of the series in the same grand style seen on the earlier season installments. As with Seasons Three and Four, which had short production schedules of 13 episodes each, owing to the switch to color shooting, there are a total of 26 episodes in the five-platter package, with all of the bonus materials this time confined to the fifth disc. The full-screen (1.33-to-1) film-to-video transfers are, if anything, generally slightly better and more consistent in these two rounds of episodes than on the previous color releases, and run rings around the old laserdisc releases, but there's still considerable variation in color tones between shots and scenes in the same episodes, owing to weaknesses in the preservation of original materials. Some shots (starting with the main-title sequence) have a depth and richness that approaches Technicolor, while others have a pale, dupey quality, for which the producers have done a fairly good job of compensating in the transfer itself. The sound is consistent, and set at a healthy volume, and the same easy-to-use menu seen on earlier volumes is present on each of these discs. The DVD volume closes out with a close look at the character of Jimmy Olsen as portrayed by Jack Larson, who has participated in the supplementary sections of all of these releases -- the interview and factual material are good as far as they go, but one heartily wishes that someone had drawn Larson out on what he learned as an actor on the series from director Tommy Carr, who helmed a major part of the first two seasons, and also from some of the veteran co-stars and guest stars; the most entertaining moment in the entire round of supplements derives from this volume, and a fan reaction to a dual role that he portrayed in one episode of the series. Given the usual track record on vintage series supplements for DVD, it's difficult to complain too loudly about the shortcomings, although one does hope that Larson will write an autobiography someday that really addresses his work, the series, and his character, which is one of the most memorable portrayals in early television.