The Carol Burnett Show Cast To Appear May 20th On The Queen Latifah Show

Courtesy:  Sony Pictures Television, Inc.

Courtesy: Sony Pictures Television, Inc.

The cast of The Carol Burnett Show will re-unite for the first time in a decade this week.

Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway, Lyle Waggoner, and Bob Mackie will re-unite for the first time in a decade tomorrow, May 20th, on The Queen Latifah Show. Latifah will sit down with the remaining cast members to discuss some of their favorite moments from The Carol Burnett Show. The cast will also be discussing the recently released complete Carol Burnett Show and the compilation DVD box sets that have been released by Star Vista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment.

The most recent of those box sets is the recently released Carol’s Crack Ups. The six-disc box set retails for SRP of $59.95. The box set is available in stores and online. It can be ordered online from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Carols-Crack-Up/dp/B00HXWV2JQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1400545306&sr=1-1&keywords=the+carol+burnett+show+carol%27s+crack-ups. More information on this and other box sets from The Carol Burnett Show is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS and http://www.timelife.com.

Audiences can find out when The Queen Latifah Show airs in their area online at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Queen-Latifah-Show/322981017838350. Audiences can go online to http://queenlatifah.com to find out when The Queen Latifah Show will air in their region. Audiences can also get more information on The Queen Latifah Show online at http://twitter.com/iamqueenlatifah. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista’s New Carol Burnett Show Box Set Will Have Viewers Cracking Up

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

StarVista Entertainment has done it yet again. On Tuesday, April 15th, StarVista Entertainment will release the latest collection of episodes from The Carol Burnett Show in the form of The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups. This six-disc box set is one of the few box sets this year that has earned itself a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best overall new box sets. From the episodes collected for this set, to the equally hilarious bonus material, to the video’s once again high quality footage and the packaging, so much was done right concerning this set. So much was done right in fact that there is simply not enough time or space to discuss every single positive aspect of the set. All of these factors and more make The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups a box set well worth purchasing for any fan of The Carol Burnett Show and more than worthy of a place on this critic’s list of the year’s best overall new box sets.

The primary reason for any fan of The Carol Burnett Show to pick up this latest compilation of episodes from Burnett’s landmark show is the episodes themselves. Each of the set’s seventeen total episodes is jam packed with hilarious jokes and gags, and enjoyable musical numbers. Make the deal even sweeter, StarVista Entertainment has once again given audiences the ability to choose not only given shows, but the separate segments within each show. While the jokes and gags have a certain edge about them, they are quite tame in comparison to the majority of what’s out there today. Their edge proves that comedy can still be funny even in the 21st century without being overtly blue. One of the prime examples of this comes in the bonus skit, “The Oldest Man: Firefighter.” This skit sees Tim Conway playing his familiar “Old Man” character once again. This time the old man is a firefighter dispatched to stop a fire at the home of Korman’s unnamed character. The physical comedy and the jokes shared throughout the skit will leave any viewer laughing so hard that they cry. It certainly did that with this critic. Bonus skit or not, it shows just why The Carol Burnett Show is still such a beloved show even decades after it ended its original eleven-season run on CBS.

The largely family friendly humor shared throughout each episode in this latest box set is just part of what makes the episodes the cornerstone of the set’s success. Audiences will enjoy just as much, the musical numbers included in each episode. The Carol Burnett Show was not the first, nor the last to incorporate musical numbers into its overall structure. The Smothers Brothers—Tom and Dick—incorporated musical numbers into their show in the late 1960s as did Sonny and Cher in their variety programs—The Sonny & Cher Show and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. This then raises the question what would make the musical numbers in The Carol Burnett Show so enjoyable. The answer to that is the same answer to what made the musical numbers in the other variety shows so enjoyable. Unlike a show such as Saturday Night Live, The Carol Burnett Show and its fellow variety shows didn’t stick just to pushing the most current radio hits of the day. The radio hits were there. But they weren’t all that got the focus. So simply put, the musical numbers were so fun because they weren’t part of the massive marketing machine that today’s talk shows are. The musical numbers included in The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups sees the likes of And y Griffith (The Andy Griffith Show, No Time For Sergeants, Matlock) Gloria Swanson, Ruth Buzzi and more singing songs that are just as enjoyable today as they were decades ago. Those songs include: ‘Just Squeeze Me/Oh, You Beautiful Doll’, ‘Turn Your Radio On’ and ‘I’ve Been Around/A New-Fangled Tango.’ Those songs and all of the others included in each show serve to add even more enjoyment for viewers of all ages as they make their way through all six of the set’s discs.

The comedy and the musical numbers included in each of the seventeen total episodes on this set make for so much enjoyment. Making things even better for viewers is the fact that StarVista Entertainment has once again given viewers the option to choose not just from the episodes on each disc, but also to choose from specific skits and musical numbers within each episode. This option means that viewers will once again not have to sit through the entire episodes in order to their favorite segment in each episode. That in itself could be argued a bonus feature separate from the bonus features which will be discussed later. It is the finishing touch that makes the episodes included in this set such a joy to watch.

The episodes included in The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crackups are the foundation of the success of the set in question. The bonus features included in the set make that foundation even more solid for audiences. This time out, StarVista has included as bonus material, special separate looks at the impact of both Tim Conway and Harvey Korman on The Carol Burnett Shows. Those examinations include footage of other classic Carol Burnett Show skits that really exhibit their talents both by themselves and together. Among the most memorable of those skits are “The Dentist” and Conway’s now famed “Elephant Skit” from The Family. It’s too bad that neither of those skits was included in this set in their entirety. That’s because of their level of hilarity. It was so funny to learn that in “The Dentist”, Tim Conway made Harvey Korman laugh so hard that he wet himself. And the bonus discussion on “The Peeping Tom” is definitely not for children, ironically enough. Carol and company discuss the comedy in guest star Dick Van Dyke and Tim Conway switching places in the skit and how Carol used a body suit with fake breasts to flash the peeper. Yes, that is what she did. And she shows the body suit, too. Again, it is not for children. It’s one of the rare moments that is not kid friendly. The other bonus material included in this box set is relatively safe for all viewers. And it is sure to have anyone watching laughing just as hard as ever.

Having discussed the role of the episodes themselves and the bonus features in The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups, there is one last part of the set to examine in the set’s success. That last factor is its packaging. StarVista Entertainment has once again wisely packaged its set, placing each of the six discs on either side of three separate “plates” inside the box. Bizarrely enough, there is actually a fourth plate, which has been left empty. Perhaps this is only the case with review copies. But it was very much the case with previous Carol Burnett Show box sets, too. So it is definitely a head scratcher of sorts. That aside, the fact that StarVista has maintained that high standard of packaging, protecting the discs is one more reason the company is quite deserving of its share of applause. It is the last touch on a set that is more than worth the purchase for any viewer whether new to The Carol Burnett Show or not.

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups will be available Tuesday, April 15th. It can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Carols-Crack-Up/dp/B00HXWV2JQ/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1396874564&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=The+Carol+Burnett+Show+Carol%27s+Crack+Ups. More information on this and other Carol Burnett Show DVD sets is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista, Time Life To Release Latest Carol Burnet Box Set Next Month

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

StarVista Entertainment will release the latest in a continuing series of DVD sets from the Carol Burnett Show next month.

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups will be released by StarVista Entertainment Tuesday, April 15th.  The new set features seventeen more episodes of The Carol Burnett Show on six discs.  Each episode presented in this new box set was hand-picked by Carol Burnett.  Fans of CBS’ hit sitcom Mama’s Family will be pleased to know that “The Family”, the skit that led to Mama’s Family, will be featured throughout the set’s seventeen total episodes.  Also included among the set’s sic discs are more installments of the beloved skits, “Carol & Sis”, “Alice Portnoy”, “The Charwoman” and “The Old Folks” just to name a handful.  There are also guest appearances from Carl Reiner, Charo, Roddy McDowall, Ruth Buzzi, Andy Griffith and lots more.

The classic resurrected skits featured throughout all six of this set’s discs are only part of what audiences can expect from Carol’s Crack Ups.  StarVista has sweetened the deal for fans by adding bonus cast interviews and commentary, bonus sketches, and two previously unavailable featurettes in: “Tim Conway: Chief Cracker Upper” and “Tim On The Street.”

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups retails for $59.95.  More information on this latest release and the complete 22-disc collection of Carol’s Crack Ups is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/timeLifeUS.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date, Details For Mama’s Family Season Three

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Thelma Harper returns this winter!  StarVista Entertainment and Time Life have announced that they will release the third season of the hit sitcom Mama’s Family on February 25th, 2014.  There are changes for the Harper family in the series’ third season.  The most noticeable of those changes is the departure of Vint’s kids, Buzz and Sonja.  The pair was replaced in Season Three by a new character named Bubba Higgins.  Bubba was the child of Ed and Thelma’s daughter Eunice.  He was played by Allan Kayser.  His sudden appearance is explained by his having been previously incarcerated in juvenile hall.  It is explained that he decided to move in at Thelma’s because Ed and Eunice had moved to Florida.  It’s not the only change that viewers see this season.  Ellen (Betty White—Golden Girls) goes under the knife, and Thelma’s sister Fran (Rue McClanahan—Golden Girls) dies.  Of course, Thelma doesn’t let it remain a somber occasion.  She harps on Ellen for how she did her hair for the funeral.  There are plenty more laughs from this, the penultimate season of Mama’s Family in its original run.  The upcoming box set’s release’s bonus features and guest appearances will impress, too.

Mama’s Family Season Three comes packed with its own share of bonus features.  Fans of The Carol Burnett Show that weren’t lucky enough to get their hands on any of the stand-alone box sets or the complete series set get yet another classic “The Family” skit taken from said show as a bonus in this set.  Also included is a profile of Bubba Higgins, an interview with Allan Kayser, and a Mama’s Family cast reunion.  If the bonus features aren’t enough for viewers, maybe the guest star lineup will.  Golden Girls star Betty White returns again.  Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jack Dodson (The Andy Griffith Show), and Lewis Arquette (Best in Show) all make appearances, too.

All twenty-five episodes of Season Three are included across four discs.  The set is listed at an MSRP of $29.95.  More information on Mama’s Family Season Three and other releases from StarVista Entertainment and Time Life is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS and http://www.timelife.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Every Family Should Add Christmas With Carol To Their Holiday Viewing Tradition

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Traditiooooooon.  Tradition!  Sorry, folks.  This critic had a brief Fiddler on the Roof moment there.  Why?  That’s because this critic was thinking about the traditions in which people take part each year during the holiday season.  One tradition in which so many people take part during the holiday season is the watching of the annual holiday specials on TV’s major networks.  Those specials are wonderful in their own right.  But they aren’t the only specials out there.  Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista have released a new compilation from The Carol Burnett Show that more than deserves to be a part of any family’s annual holiday viewing tradition in The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol.  Those that watched the sketches included here will enjoy them just as much as those that are new to the comedienne’s talents.    Audiences will appreciate first and foremost that the episodes culled for this compilation are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  They will also appreciate that in comparison to so much of today’s comedy, it is actually quite family friendly.  Just as important to this compilation is the inclusion once more of a thorough episode guide included inside the box.  All three of these aspects make this latest compilation more than deserving to be part of any family’s holiday viewing tradition.

The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol includes two classic holiday themed episodes from the show’s original run.  While there are only two episodes, those two episodes are presented exactly as they were done in their original broadcasts.  Nearly thirty years has passed since the first of the pair originally aired.  And almost thirty-six years have passed since the latter of the pair originally aired.  Needless to say that in watching both episodes included in this set, the classic footage has stood the test of time quite well.  Of course, those charged with preserving it and restoring it where necessary have done their jobs expertly.  So they too deserve a round of applause.  The same can be said of the set’s bonus holiday sketches.  That the footage still looks as wonderful as it did in its original broadcast will instill in some viewers a sense of nostalgia.  For others, it will hopefully help to garner respect for one of television’s greatest programs.

The quality of the footage alone in the included shows and sketches goes a long way toward making this new holiday collection a joy for the whole family.  The material in the shows helps it to go just as far.  That’s because unlike so much of what’s out there today, the sketches included in the set are largely family friendly.  Given, there is some material that is slightly edgy at best.  But it’s nowhere near the level of the material in some of today’s sketch comedy shows.  No names will be used here.  A prime example would be Burnett’s sketch with Alan Alda (M.A.S.H.) , “Morton of the Movies.”  Alda’s Morton is a department store Santa that falls in love with Burnett’s character.  The catch is that Morton uses a bunch of movie quotes and character styles to make her fall for him.  Her reaction to discovering this is everything that makes physical comedy so great.  The way that her eyes bug out and her mouth drops open as she watches the lines that Morton just used being recited on television is classic in every sense.  It’s the type of comedy that viewers of every age will appreciate and enjoy.  ON the other end of the spectrum is a slightly edgier sketch with Burnett playing the beloved secretary, Mrs. Wiggins.  Mrs. Wiggins is celebrating the holidays with her boss, Mt. Tudball.  And the ditzy secretary ends up causing Mr. Tudball more trouble than he bargained for as a result.  This is a moment that older audiences will appreciate more.  It’s nowhere near the level of today’s comedy.  But it at least has substance.  That’s more than can be said for so much of what currently classifies as comedy.  There is much more comedy included in the material collected for than what is listed here.  Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they order the DVD for themselves as it is available now.  Of course, the material included on this DVD isn’t the last commendable portion of the presentation.  Audiences will also appreciate that Time Life and Star Vista have once again included a relatively thorough episode guide with the collection that is itself a bonus.

The episode guide included with this new DVD is its own bonus.  So often, DVD compilations (both single and multi-disc sets) lack guides for viewers.  This should be considered a cardinal sin.  Time Life and Star Vista have thus done very good.  Not only are the episodes outlined in the bonus guide, but thorough summaries of the set’s main sketches are included along with a handful of photo stills from different portions of the included episodes.  The inclusion of the sketch summaries helps to set expectations before viewers even put the DVD into their DVD players.  And the inclusion of photo stills helps to heighten those expectations.  In turn, these two elements make the overall presentation of the DVD that much more enjoyable.  These elements work together with the previously noted elements to make The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol a wonderful addition to any family’s holiday viewing tradition this and every holiday season.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from Time Life Entertainment online at http://timelife.com/products/christmas-with-carol.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Time Life, Star Vista Score Another Hit With Mama’s Family Season Two

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

The second season of the hit classic sitcom Mama’s Family is one more wonderful addition to the home library of this show’s fans.  While it might have been edgy for its day during its original television broadcasts, it still had its own comic value.  In comparison to the fare being offered to today’s audiences, it is just as valuable for that same reason.  Season Two offers audiences just as many laughs as the show’s first season thanks to its writing staff.  Audiences see Thelma get a job working alongside Naomi in what is one of the season’s best episodes.  Fans also get in the season premiere, one of the most relatable of storylines when Thelma teaches Buzz and Sonja about the “good old days.”  And Thelma’s “help” with Fran’s advice column hits some hilarious highs, too.  These are just a few of the great episodes offered up in Season Two.  And they’re just part of what fans will appreciate in this season’s box set, too.  Fans will also appreciate the StarVista and Time Life Entertainment have included a bonus booklet with the set.  The booklet in question offers viewers a brief yet thorough synopsis of each episode contained on the set’s four discs.  Completing Season Two is the inclusion of the original TV movie Eunice that would eventually lead to the creation of Mama’s Family after The Carol Burnett Show ended.  These aspects and much more make Mama’s Family Season Two all the more worth adding to any fan’s home library.

Mama’s Family Season Two offers up to fans twenty-one complete episodes.  One of those episodes, “Mama for Mayor” is actually split into two separate episodes, bringing the grand total to twenty-two episodes.  What audiences will appreciate most of all from these episodes is that unlike the previous release of Mama’s Family in 2006, these episodes (as well as those in the release of Season One) include the famed introductions by Alastair Quince (Harvey Korman).  These introductions were allegedly not included in the show’s previous release in 2006.  They are a welcome addition to the whole presentation.  It’s one more part of the show’s writing that made it so fun.  Of course, the writing behind the episodes themselves will definitely entertain audiences, too.  One of the best examples of that writing is in the episode “Supermarket.”  This episode sees Thelma being forced to work alongside Naomi when she takes a job as a customer consultant at her local grocery store.  The rivalry between the two women reaches comedic heights as the pair go toe-to-toe.  In another of this season’s best moments, Thelma takes Buzz and Sonja on a trip back to the “good old days” when she sees what had become of youth culture in the world at that time.  Every generation can relate to this laugh riot episode.  And of course, Thelma’s biting commentary comes into hilarious play when she helps Fran with her advice column.  This is an episode that will leave any true comedy lover laughing tears of joy.  And it serves as one more example of how solid the show’s writing was and still is today in comparison to today’s sitcoms.

The writing staff on Mama’s Family did a top notch job writing the episodes for the show’s second season.  There are more laughs throughout this season than can be noted in one sitting.  Audiences will just have to take them all in when they order this set themselves.  When they order this set, they’ll find that the laughs aren’t all to appreciate.  Along with such solid writing, fans of the show will appreciate the Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista have included EuniceEunice was the TV movie that would eventually lead to the creation of Mama’s Family after The Carol Burnett Show’s end.  Being that Mama’s Family only lasted roughly two seasons in its original run, this inclusion is a big bonus for the show’s original fans.  It brings everything full circle and makes this season even more of a full experience for those looking to get back to a better brand of comedy.

The writing behind each of the show’s episodes in Season Two and the inclusion of Eunice offer viewers so much to appreciate.  But Time Life and Star Vista didn’t stop there.  Just as with the show’s first season, a bonus episode guide was included with the set.  The guide offers a brief yet concise synopsis on each the season’s episodes.  Many audiences take episode guides in box sets for granted.  But there are a lot of box sets released even today that don’t offer episode guides.  The inclusion of this little, but important bonus helps tie everything together.  It gives viewers the chance to know the plot of each episode, and thus make a decision which episode(s) to watch.  In turn, it helps audiences make a fully informed decision on which episode(s) they want to watch.  The resultant effect is even more appreciation of the show’s writing and of the set’s overall presentation.  This season is available now along with the show’s first season, and can be ordered direct online via the Time Life Entertainment website at http://timelife.com/products/mama-s-family-seasons-one-two.  More information on this and other releases from Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment is available online at http://timelife.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Time Life, StarVista Deserve Applause For Mama’s Family Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

Television today is a pale shadow of what it once was.  It used to have so much heart and substance.  But somewhere along the way, something changed.  Both the heart and substance were thrown out the window in favor of programming overly laden with sex and violence.  Thankfully StarVista, Time Life and Warner Home Video have officially released another nugget of television’s past in the form of Mama’s Family Season 1 that reminds audiences of what once made television great.  The first season of this spinoff from The Carol Burnett Show is front loaded with so many laughs that even audiences not familiar with the iconic comedy will agree it’s a welcome re-issue.  It also boasts some wonderful acting on the part of star Vicky Lawrence and her co-stars.  On a more extrinsic level, audiences will appreciate Season One’s packaging.  The packaging for the discs is right along the lines of most other companies.  All things considered, Mama’s Family Season One proves in its new re-issue to be just as fun as it has ever been.  It is a highly recommended piece for anyone looking for a change of pace from what TV studios offer today.

The debut season of Mama’s Family is the funniest of the show’s six total seasons.  It offered some of the greatest writing of any sitcom of the twentieth century.  It was completely unlike anything else on the air at the time.  It took the classic nuclear family setup from older family based sitcoms and completely turned it on its ear.  Even more interesting, it did so without being too racy or edgy.  By comparison to today’s programming, that speaks volumes for this sitcom.  Mama’s Family walked a very fine line even during the 80s.  But it never crossed that line.  It’s just part of the writing that made (and still makes) it such a cult hit.  Season One also offered its share of pure laughs.  A prime example of that lies in an episode that sees Thelma and company make an appearance on the hit game show, Family Feud.  Then host Richard Dawson was even on hand for the laugh riot episode.  This was such a funny episode in that it took that dysfunctional family element and took it outside the walls of Thelma’s house into a wholly new environment.  The result is one of the funniest episodes of Season One and of the entire series.

The writing behind Mama’s Family made this sitcom unlike anything else on television at the time.  It continues to do so today.  But what is good writing without a cast to bring the scripts to life?  Luckily, the cast that made “The Family” a hit on The Carol Burnett Show were also the cast here in Season One of Mama’s Family.  It would have been so easy to replace any of the core cast with new actors for the series.  Luckily that didn’t happen.  In turn, the chemistry developed among the original cast members was allowed to develop here.  It was obvious just how much chemistry the cast had, too.  This is especially the case between Burnett and Lawrence.  Audiences will be laughing nonstop as they watch the pair argue so convincingly as if they really were mother and daughter.  The episode, “Cellmates” is proof of that.  When the pair end up in jail together, it leads to one of the funniest moments between the pair in Season One.  The occasional appearances of Betty White and Rue McClanahan as Fran and Ellen added their own extra comic element, too.  Ironically enough, the pair would go on to star together in The Golden Girls only a couple years later.  That aside, the acting of both women and the rest of the show’s cast in Season One proves to be one more reason that any true fan of comedy should watch at least this season.

Writing and acting are obviously the most important part of any television program’s success.  Both elements have made Mama’s Family a huge success even roughly three decades after it first premiered.  There is one more piece of the puzzle to examine in what makes  the newly re-issued first season of Mama’s Family a success.  That piece to the puzzle is its packaging.  Season One’s packaging follows the standard used so commonly today for multi-disc box sets.  Two of the set’s three discs are placed on either side of a plastic “insert” while the third is placed in its own spot on the back side of the case.  This standard packaging format helps to protect the integrity of the discs.  It also is more ergonomic.  Packaging usually doesn’t get much credit for DVD and blu-ray sets.  But it really is an important part of any release’s full presentation.  And in this case, it’s the icing on the cake of a much welcomed and needed blast from the past that is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered along with the larger complete set online at http://timelife.com/products/mama-s-family-the-complete-series.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Carol Burnett Set One Of 2012′s Best Box Sets

Courtesy: Timelife/Star Vista

Television today is at a critical point.  Regardless of one’s server, a single trip through the channels shows the dominance of very specific styles of shows.  It shows increasingly that the last bastion of family friendly programming is indeed PBS and its digital sister stations.  Politics aside, that speaks volumes.  So what’s a person to do in the search for something family friendly other than just PBS?  The answer:  The Carol Burnett Show.  Thanks to Timelife and Star Vista, this classic family friendly variety show is available once more for the entire family.

The Carol Burnett show and its namesake were groundbreakers in every sense of the word.  Burnett herself was the first female to host a variety show.  And the show itself can and should be credited as an influence for Saturday Night Live, which didn’t even air until years after The Carol Burnett Show was well into its prime.  And in comparison to shows such as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour—both of which ran around the same time as The Carol Burnett Show–, it was a groundbreaker in that it went in a somewhat different direction than those shows.  Ironically, as audiences will see, Burnett actually had the Smothers Brothers on her show during its run.  And that episode is one of many highlights of the complete twenty-two disc retrospective box set released by Timelife and Star Vista.

The Smothers Brothers’ appearance is only one of so many highlights from The Carol Burnett Show.  What really makes The Carol Burnett Show stand out is its skits.  It’s obvious the influence that these skits had on Lorne Michaels and all involved with Saturday Night Live.  And the way that Burnett’s show mixed its musical performances and skits is a near identical mirror to the format that SNL has used ever since its inception years after The Carol Burnett Show hit the airwaves.  There was more influence there than from say, The Smothers Brothers or even Sonny and Cher.  Audiences will see that throughout The Carol Burnett Show:  The Ultimate Collection.  Staying on the topic of the whole box set, audiences will be pleased to go through each separate box included in this new complete set.  The first noticeable factor of each set is that within each box, the discs each get their own spot on an inserted “leaf.”  Placing the discs in this fashion not only is ergonomically smart, but it also protects the discs from scratching, thus increasing their longevity.  This is a very smart packaging manner.  This is just the beginning of the packaging’s positives.  Another positive to the packaging is the inclusion of a booklet in each box.  The booklet in question includes outlines of each episode along with some added history specific to each history.  This adds even more enjoyment to the overall viewing experience.  On top of the boxes is an even larger commemorative collector’s booklet that includes even more history behind the show, and even quotes from the cast.  One of the most interesting pieces of extra history is centered on Burnett’s co-stars, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway.  It is noted in the extra booklet that Korman couldn’t look at Conway without breaking out in total laughter once Conway did certain things.  Audiences will see that for themselves throughout certain episodes of the show, too.

The laughs provided by Korman, Conway, and the rest of the cast are again just another tiny piece of the overall puzzle that makes The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection a must have for any classic television fan.  Bringing things full guest spots from the likes of The Smothers Brothers, Betty White, Joan Rivers, Telley Savalas, and so many more make for so many more laughs.  They’re included in their own skits, as well as episodes of the show’s most beloved and longest running skit, “The Family.”  Speaking of “The Family”, how many variety shows have managed to take its skits and turn them into such a success as that.  Sure, Saturday Night Live has taken its skits and tried to make them into movies.  But save perhaps for Wayne’s World, none of its other skits have ever really had any true success.  Mama’s Family by comparison was a huge hit throughout its run on television.

The guest stars and the overall set packaging of The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection are impressive to say the least.  The quality of the footage is just as impressive.  Timelife and Star Vista make note on each disc that the footage may contain some discrepancies.  But the reality, it’s amazing how well the footage has stood the test of time.  And that it looks as good as it does so many years after the show’s end will create that same sense of nostalgia that an old jazz vinyl will create.  It will take anyone who remembers the show back to another time; a better time.  And it will show newer audiences everything that was at one time right with television.  It’s something which so many of today’s television execs should revisit as it shows that television can be funny and family friendly, even in the twenty-first century.

So much more could be said of The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection.  Doing so would take up far more space than is possible.  Audiences will see for themselves everything that this set has in store when they pick it up for themselves.  Fans of this legendary show can purchase it online now via Timelife’s online store, http://timelife.com/products/the-carol-burnett-show-the-ultimate-collection

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New Carol Burnett Show Re-Issue A Great Piece of TV Nostalgia

Courtesy: Time Life/Star Vista

Television today is largely anything but family friendly.  As Peter and Lois Griffin joke in the opening to Seth McFarlane’s hit cartoon, Family Guy, “all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV.”  While that line is meant entirely in a tongue-in-cheek manner, there’s a certain modicum of truth to it in today’s television culture.  Thank goodness for companies such as Time Life.  Time Life officially released yesterday what is one of the greatest sketch comedy/variety programs of all time and one of the greatest family friendly programs in television history in The Carol Burnett Show.

Time Life released “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” yesterday.  The six-disc compilation contains seventeen episodes considered among the “best” of the show’s roughly eleven year run on CBS.  The episodes compiled for this new set leave no doubt that Burnett’s show was one of the influences behind NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  The sketches from this show clearly hint at the bits that would come from the latter.  The Carol Burnett Show even spawned a little show called “Mama’s Family” that would last a total of six seasons on television.  Saturday Night Live, on the other hand, has tried multiple times to spin off its sketches to both the big and small screen with little success.  That goes to show the importance and staying power of The Carol Burnett Show to this day.  It’s even been spoofed by a number of television shows that have come since.  And after all, it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” is a wonderful collection for those who are unable to pick up the complete twenty-two disc collection.  That collection was released yesterday alongside this compilation.  It contains every episode from the show’s run.  Among some of the best episodes included in the six-disc “Carol’s Favorites” are the ones that include the hilarious skit, “The Family.”  That skit was the precursor to Vicki Lawrence’s hit TV sitcom, “Mama’s Family.”  Fans of “Mama’s Family” will be happy to know that on this set is the very first episode of “The Family.”  Guest star Roddy McDowall even gets his own role in the skit.  McDowall is just one of a bevy of guest stars to make appearances on the show.  Also appearing on the show in this compilation are the likes of:  Joan Rivers, Johnny Cash, The Jackson 5, Steve Martin, Betty White, Vincent Price and loads more.

From the original skits to the guest stars, The Carol Burnett Show offered so much great entertainment for the entire family.  That’s not all that makes this set such a great addition to the library of any classic television fan.  The set’s packaging is another bonus.  While the box may seem slightly bulky, the packaging for the discs themselves is very impressive.  Three inserts hold all six discs inside the box.  Each disc has its own spot on the inserts, thus protecting them and increasing their longevity.  This may come across as something minor.  But the longer the discs last, the more families will get to enjoy this TV classic.

The packaging goes a long way to making “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” a joy for families and fans alike.  But one would be remiss to ignore the most obvious factor of this set that makes it such a joy.  That factor would be the footage itself.  There are those who would speak badly of the footage quality.  But as with so many shows from that era, watching it from its original airing recordings is like listening to an original classic jazz song on vinyl.  The static on those old original vinyls creates a certain sense of nostalgia.  In the same vein, seeing this show as it originally aired will bring back that sense of nostalgia, too.  Trying to enhance it would only decrease that sense of nostalgia.  So kudos to Time life for keeping it how it was. 

There are shows that deserve to be resurrected on DVD and blu-ray.  And then there are those that are better left dead.  The Carol Burnett Show is one of those shows that belong in the prior category.  Despite what some critics may have to say, this newest reintroduction of this classic show is quite welcome.  Now a whole new generation can experience what is an example of television with real heart.  “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Time Life’s website, http://timelife.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.