Jetsons Season Two DVD: An Astro-nomical treat

OK, as we know, you can’t go home again. But you can remodel that home, which is sort of what the creators of TV’s The Jetsons did when they brought back the show in 1985 after a 22-year hiatus.

The original futuristic animated sitcom aired for 24 episodes from 1962-63, then began a long run of reruns. In ’85 it returned with new but comparable animation, as well as most of the old voice actors, some of whom sounded a bit different, being older, but close enough. Now, the first 21 episodes of this belated “Season Two” are new on DVD from Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. as The Jetsons: Season Two, Vol. 1.

Besides those shows, there’s a featurette on the transition called The Jetsons: Return to the Future.

I have mixed feelings about these shows. Though they’re largely faithful to the originals, they are not exactly like them in visual presentation, and in some ways don’t try to be. The movements are punched up in different ways, and sometimes the personality wavers. Astro may cry a tear or two, but he doesn’t erupt into pitiable, bawling fits as he did on the ’60s show. There’s just a smidgen less charm, that’s all.

But that said, there’s plenty of innocent fun in the vein of the original, and it’s awfully good to see a fine program which had such a brief TV run get new life this way, much as I applauded the ’70s return of Star Trek as an animated series. Anything is better than a big heap o’ nothing, and in this case The Jetsons’ “anything” is a reliably amusing sendup of what’s really a quaint and cute view of the future. George, Jane, Judy and Elroy also are a much more appealing family unit than, say, the bickering Flintstones of that show’s early years. And what can I say? As a Houstonian, I’m a big fan of the big, lovable dog named Astro, from whom you could argue our hometown baseball team got its name (though the Astros would cite, instead, Houston’s Johnson Space Center and the real astronauts who live here).

At any rate, Jetsons, it’s good to have you back — and let’s hope your label follows up with the remaining 20 shows of Season Two, then the 10 shows of Season Three. Meanwhile, don’t forget 1989’s Jetsons: The Movie, also on DVD.

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