‘My Three Sons’ Season Two Volume 1 is a sitcom with heart

Not all vintage TV series get a second shot on DVD. But My Three Sons is back with Volume 1 (the first half) of its second season, featuring 18 episodes from 1961-62. The three-disc set from CBS/Paramount has no extras apart form original sponsor spots (actually, the end-credits are always plugs for cars beneath the credits), but having 18 new-to-DVD episodes is quite enough, especially for this quirky and inventive family sitcom which stretched the boundaries for its genre.

That was especially true in the first season, already on DVD in two volumes, when stories could range and veer from cute comedy to quiet pathos to strangely creative tacks, such as setting the family’s haste to get going in the morning against a televised countdown for an unmanned rocket launch (a fitting juxtaposition, since Fred MacMurray’s Steve Douglas is an aerospace engineer).

For the second season, things calm down a bit in narrative terms, though the all-male Douglas household remains a roiling vortex of chaotic activity. The opening show is a gentle jab at parents’ discomfiture when having to relate the facts of life to a kid who isn’t quite ready, in this case youngest son Chip (Stanley Livingston).

But regardless of storylines, it’s good to see the spirited but warm family back in all their black-and-white glory. Now CBS/Paramount has delivered 54 total episodes, with 326 to go if it manages to complete the series’ 12-year run. You may not want to stick around that long even if it does, as characters come and go. But up to this point, it’s well worth it.

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