As Lucille Ball headed into the fifth season of "The Lucy Show" in the fall of 1966, the comic icon must have been feeling some pressure.
Though ratings were still high for her first post-"I Love Lucy" show, there was creative trouble afoot. Scripts for the series' fourth season had been mediocre at best and the show struggled to adapt to changes made after the departure of Ball's co-star, Vivian Vance. During this fourth season upheaval, Ball's Lucy Carmichael character not only left Connecticut for California, but underwent a serious back story overhaul. No longer was she a widow living on trust-fund money. Instead, she was single and working at a bank.
With these changes in place, the show stabilized and Ball's manic comedic genius was back in full bloom, a fact that's evident on CBS DVD's four-disc set "The Lucy Show: The Official Fifth Season."
All 22 fifth-season episodes are included, and they're a riot. Like a bull in a china shop, Lucy Carmichael barrels through life and leaves a trail of havoc in her wake. She disrupts a John Wayne movie, confuses a monkey for Mr. Mooney, joins the "beatnik" generation, gets arrested for shoplifting, baby-sits a family of chimps and gets trapped aboard a Navy ship. It's classic stuff, and Ball walked away with an Emmy for best actress in a comedy series in 1967. It was her first Emmy win in 11 years. Also included are a host of extras, including bloopersand the hourlong "Lucy in London" television special directed by Oxnard's Steve Binder.