Kids Will Love Going Back To School With Arthur

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids recently released its latest collection of episodes from the family favorite animated series Arthur. Arthur Goes Back To School is an especially fitting addition to any family’s home DVD library now that many children are themselves headed back to school this week. Arthur Goes Back To School boasts plenty of positives. The first of those positives is its writing. The writing behind each of the four episodes is the cornerstone of the overall presentation. The quality animation is another factor to consider in the overall enjoyment of this presentation. Last but not least of all is the bonus material included with this collection of episodes. Each of the factors noted here stand by themselves with their own importance. Altogether, they make Arthur Goes Back To School one more wonderful addition to any family’s home DVD library whether at the start of the school year or any other time of the year.

The writing that went into each of the four episodes featured in Arthur Goes Back To School is the cornerstone of the DVD’s overall presentation. There are many reasons that this sole factor is the cornerstone to this DVD, too.   The primary reason for that is the themes incorporated into each of the episodes. “To Eat Or Not To Eat,” the first of the DVD’s episodes, presents a theme of healthy eating. When a new candy bar catches the attention of all the kids in Elwood City, Buster becomes wary of the candy bar because of its effects. His investigation leads him all the way to the head of the company responsible for making the candy bar. That is because of the chemicals he finds in the candy bar. When he and his mother confront the company’s head representative, Buster’s mother breaks the story in the city’s newspaper. This effectively shuts down the company. In an age when childhood obesity remains such a hot button topic, such an episode becomes increasingly important for children and their parents to watch together. That’s because it could serve as a starting point for a very important discussion about healthy eating. It’s just one of the important themes included in Arthur Goes Back To School.

Being that so many youths are headed back to school this week, the show’s writers tackle the stresses of standardized testing in a way to which the show’s young audiences will be able to relate in “S.W.E.A.T.” The writers also take on the much maligned subject of math education in “Brain’s Biggest Blunder.” Brain has a big chore in getting Binky ready for the school’s annual “Arithmattack” competition in this episode. The writers make the episode relatable to young viewers by showing that math isn’t as bad as they think here. There’s even a nice stand-alone episode in “Baseball Blues” that has come along just in time for the countdown to the MLB postseason. Not only does it promote baseball and athletics, it also teaches young viewers that everybody has a special talent. Even if someone isn’t good at one thing doesn’t mean that a person isn’t good at something else.

On a superficial level, Arthur’s writers are to be commended for crafting four episodes to which young viewers will definitely be able to relate given that so many children are now headed back to school this week. On another, deeper level, anyone familiar with Arthur will appreciate that the writers have actually maintained a certain amount of continuity with the inclusion of Harry Mills in “Baseball Blues.” Harry is a former romantic interest of Buster’s mom, as Buster’s parents are divorced. There’s even a reference to the initial episode in which Harry was introduced here. It’s so subtle. But older audiences will potentially catch this. And those that do catch it will appreciate that inclusion.

The writing that went into each of the episodes on this DVD is the most important factor of all in the overall presentation of Arthur Goes Back To School. Whether it be for its more superficial aspect or the deeper issue of continuity, it should be clear by now why the writing in these episodes is the cornerstone of the entire presentation. Just as important to the DVD’s overall presentation is the animation used in each of the episodes. The episodes included on this disc have been pulled from Arthur’s more recent seasons. That means that the animation used in each episode is actually flash animation instead of the hand-drawn animation used in the series’ early seasons. Despite the use of flash animation, the episodes still maintain the look of the original fully hand-drawn episodes. There are those that have complained about the series’ increased use of flash animation. The reality though, is that it would have been just as easy for the show’s heads to go the full-on CG route. This critic personally is thankful that that didn’t happen. Audiences should be thankful that these episodes still have that classic look. That the show’s animators and heads would go this direction couples with the solid writing to make Arthur Goes Back To School all the more enjoyable for audiences of all ages.

The writing and animation that went into the episodes included in Arthur Goes Back To School. Are both important elements to the overall presentation on this DVD. The activities and coloring pages included with the DVD round out the whole thing. One of the key activities included on the DVD is the “Definition of Cool” activity. This activity is directly related to the stand-alone episode “Baseball Blues.” Adults can use this activity to build self-esteem among young viewers. They do so by having children come up with a list of talents and attributes that they think are “cool.” After they come up with their lists, children can talk about why they think that the attributes and talents of other children in a group are cool, instead of their own. It is a wonderful activity for children especially with the current climate of bullying in schools today. The standard “Crazy Bus” activity is included here, as on previous Arthur DVDs as are the trading card and “Groove It” activities. If these activities aren’t enough for viewers, the coloring pages featuring Arthur and his friends will also make audiences happy. Whether audiences prefer the included coloring pages or the activities on this DVD, there is plenty of bonus material included on the disc to make any viewer happy here.

The bonus material included on Arthur Goes Back To School is the final touch to a DVD that every family will appreciate both now in the start of a new school year and any time of the year. Together with the writing and animation featured in all four episodes included on this disc, it makes this DVD a solid choice for any fan of Arthur whether they be kids or kids at heart. Arthur Goes Back To School is available now on DVD. It can be ordered directly from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=41615676&cp=&sr=1&kw=arthur+goes+back+to+school&origkw=Arthur+Goes+Back+to+School&parentPage=search. More information on Arthur is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSARthur. More episodes of Arthur are available online at http://www.pbskids.com/arthur along with more activities and games for the whole family. 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.

PBS, Syfy Announce Release Date, Specs For The Almighty Johnsons Season One

Courtesy:  PBS/Syfy

Courtesy: PBS/Syfy

The Almighty Johnsons are coming to DVD and Blu-ray this fall.

The first season of the hit sci-fi/fantasy dramedy The Almighty Johnsons will be released on DVD and Blu-ray this fall.  The series focuses on the brothers Mike, Anders, and Axl, who just happen to be descendants of Norse gods.  Each of the three brothers becomes himself a Norse god on his 21st birthday.  But there’s just one catch.  While each of the brothers does get his own powers upon becoming a god, those powers are not as powerful as they would hope.  The reason that their powers are far less than hoped for is that Odin has been separated from Frigg, effectively taking down the house of Asgard.  As luck would have it, Odin has been reincarnated as Axl.  And it won’t be until Axl and Frigg are reunited that the house of Asgard will be rebuilt and the brothers’ powers brought to full strength.  So it is up to Axl and his brothers to defeat their nemeses, the evil power-hungry Goddesses, and reunite Odin and Frigg.  Adding to the series’ interest is that Axl is not yet at his 21st birthday.  He is still only 20-years old.  So the combination of his every day pressures coupled with those of becoming a god plays a major role in what happens to both him and his brothers along the way in this series’ first season.

The Almighty Johnsons: Season 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, October 7th.  The DVD box set will retail for SRP of $39.99.  The Blu-ray box set will retail for SRP of $44.99.  It will also be available for digital download.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray box set will include commentary from Tim Balme (Mike) and Emmett Skilton (Axl) and director Mark Beesly on the series’ first episode.  There will also be a bonus cast interview.  Both the DVD and Blu-ray can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org.

Fans of The Almighty Johnsons can keep up with all of the latest news about the show online at http://www.facebook.com/almightyjohnsons, http://thealmightyjohnsons.com, and http://www.syfy.com/almightyjohnsons.  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.

The Dinosaur Train Will Bring Lots Of Spooky Family Fun This Fall

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/The Jim Henson Company

PBS Kids and The Jim Henson Company will release another brand new DVD from PBS Kids’ family favorite series Dinosaur Train next month.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure will be available on DVD Tuesday, September 2nd.  The brand new DVD features four more family friendly Halloween-themed episodes that are perfect for any child’s Halloween party.  In “Haunted Roundhouse,” the first of the adventures on this disc, the Pteranodon family goes to Troodon Town.  During the family’s trip, the Dinosaur Train makes a stop at its roundhouse, which has been decked out in Halloween decorations by the Troodons.  While there, the Pteranodon kids meet Vlad Volaticotherium.

“Big Bond Pumpkin Patch” is the second of the shorts included on the disc.  The Pteranodon kids discover their first pumpkins in this episode while learning about the customs of their neighbors, the Lambeosaurus family at the annual “Gourd Day,” a prehistoric Halloween of soirts.  The whole family learns how to hollow out and carve pumpkins along the way.

“Night Train” is the third of the shorts included on PBS Kids’ latest Dinosaur Train DVD.  Buddy and Tiny go for a nighttime ride on the Dinosaur Train along with Mr. Pteranodon in this short.  They learn about all sorts of nocturnal animals during their ride.  T all ends with a walk under the full moon at the Big Pond.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure is rounded out with the short “Fossil Fred.”  Buddy, Tiny, and Don are searching for fossils around the Big Pond in this episode.  The result is the discovery of the complete skeleton of a dinosaur from the Jurassic era.

Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Halloween Adventure will be available Tuesday, September 2nd on DVD.  It will retail for SRP of $7.99.  It can be ordered via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=42447476&cp=&kw=buddys+halloween+adventure&origkw=Buddy%27s+Halloween+Adventure&sr=1.  Parents and children can get more information on Dinosaur Train, as well as games, activities and more episodes online at http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain and http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain.  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.

The Mona Lisa Mystery Is As Gripping As Any Major Mystery Author’s Novels

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Da Vinci’s famed Mona Lisa is perhaps the single most talked about painting in the history of visual art.  His painting has been the topic of discussion for ages largely because of the mystery surrounding the identity of the woman behind the painting.  Experts, critics and average art lovers alike were confounded by her identity for quite some time.  But now that that mystery has seemingly been solved, there is still another mystery that remains about the Mona Lisa.  That mystery is whether or not the painting that hangs today in the Louvre is in fact the real deal or a very convincing counterfeit.  That’s right.  As it turns out, there is a second Mona Lisa painting that many never knew about until recent history.  And the two paintings are the subject of the latest episode of PBS’ hit series Secrets of the Dead.  As a matter of fact, they are the center of why anyone with any appreciation of art and art history will want to see this episode now that it is on DVD.  The very discussion itself on whether the two paintings were crafted by the same man or by separate individuals is only the start of why audiences will want to watch this episode of Secrets of the Dead.  The depth of the arguments and the evidence provided for said arguments makes the program even more engaging.  This is the case even for viewers that might not be so familiar with the art world.  And last but not least of all to consider in this episode’s success is the tasteful use of re-enactments throughout the course of the program.  Altogether, these factors make The Mona Lisa Mystery another example of what makes Secrets of The Dead another great addition to PBS’ schedule.

The central discussion on which The Mona Lisa Mystery is based is key to the program’s overall success and enjoyment.  It doesn’t waste any time on the oft discussed topic of the picture’s subject.  Rather, it focuses on the far lesser known story of the second Mona Lisa painting.  That’s right.  What few people other than perhaps the most avid art lovers know about the Mona Lisa is that there were not one but two Mona Lisa paintings crafted.  This program aims to try and figure out if one of those paintings was a fake or if perhaps Da Vinci painted both of them and the one hanging at the Louvre is actually one of that pair potentially painted by one of the greatest artists in history. It makes for a great introduction into what is one of history’s lesser known mysteries. And that’s only the beginning (bad pun fully intended) of what makes this DVD worth checking out. The sheer depth of the evidence provided in the arguments and the arguments themselves make add to the interest of this mystery.

The arguments provided throughout this episode of Secrets of the Dead are an important piece of the whole as is the evidence provided for those arguments. Simply put, there is no bias one way or the other concerning the validity of the second Mona Lisa or lack thereof. Arguments are made supporting the possibility that Da Vinci could have painted both versions of the Mona Lisa with one having been painted on one canvas and the other having been potentially painted on a completely different canvas years later. This argument states that perhaps Da Vinci was unhappy with his original and only pulled it back out years later and used it as a model for the second one, thus attempting to explain away the differences in background, etc. Another argument alleges that not Da Vinci but another artist painted the second Mona Lisa having seen the original in its incomplete state. The painter in question is another of the more well-known names in the art world. And a third argument alleges that maybe, just maybe, a far less well-known individual had painted the second Mona Lisa. Again, none of these arguments is ever definitively confirmed. However, the evidence used in each of those arguments is quite compelling to say the very least. In depth information regarding dates of the paintings’ creation and carbon dating used to confirm said dating are just some of that evidence. It definitely leaves on wondering in the best way possible. It’s one more reason that audiences will enjoy this episode of Secrets of the Dead regardless if they are art lovers, history lovers, or just audiences looking for a worthwhile respite from all of the brainless “reality shows,” and overly violent and over sexed dramas and comedies that fill television’s spectrum.

The arguments presented in this program and the evidence used to support said arguments are integral to the program’s overall success. They leave audiences scratching their heads and wondering in the very best way possible. That along with the very fact that the program focuses primarily on the mystery of the paintings will most definitely keep audiences engaged throughout this program. There is still one more factor to consider in what makes The Mona Lisa Mystery work as well as it does. That last factor is the minimalist use of re-enactments. Those behind the program’s creation kept the re-enactments to a minimum. Instead, they let the program speak for itself, which it does and quite well at that. The re-enactments that are used are incorporated primarily for the purpose of illustrating specific arguments. Other than that, their use is kept to a very limited space. It’s one more way that PBS continues to prove why it is the gold standard for anyone wanting real educational content now that History Channel,TLC, Discovery and certain other channels of that ilk are but pale shadows of what they once were. And it is that alongside the solid and valid arguments and their evidence that completes The Mona Lisa Mystery, making it one of the best episodes yet of Secrets of the Dead.

Secrets of the Dead: The Mona Lisa Mystery is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=38349356&cp=&sr=1&kw=secrets+of+the+dead&origkw=Secrets+of+the+Dead&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online at the official Secrets of the Dead Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead and http://pbs.org/secrets. 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./

D-Day 360 Is A Fitting Final Piece To PBS’ D-Day Trilogy

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

The world stopped this past June to note the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.  The battle on June 6th, 1945 is to this day the biggest naval operation of the 20th century if not in history.  While the battle is considered to be the beginning of the end of the war in Europe, it obviously wasn’t without its problems as has already been pointed out in PBS’ recently released programs Day of Days: June 6, 1944 and D­-Day’s Sunken Secrets.  Those programs, released just last month, both outline the work that was undertaken to make the Normandy invasion happen.  They also help audiences to see that the events of June 6th were only part of the story of D-Day.  Now in D-Day 360, the last of PBS’ trio of programs centered on the D-Day operations, viewers get one of the most comprehensive looks at the initial operation that has been seen yet.

D-Day 360 is a good finishing piece for PBS in its recently released trio of programs centered on the Normandy invasion.  The primary reason that it is such a good finale to the series of programs is its in-depth graphical examination of the events that unfolded on D-Day.  There are no re-enactments or anything of that nature.  What viewers get in this program is a visual presentation that fully immerses them in the events of that day.  It does so through the use of graphics that bring to life so to speak all the names and figures thrown out in so many documentaries before.  From graphic depictions of just how far German shells could fly from the beaches to depictions of how far Allied planes overshot Normandy on their bombing run to cover the ground forces and more, D-Day 360 gives viewers a perspective like no other documentary before that has covered the Normandy invasion.  Rather than just churning out a bunch of names and numbers, those names and numbers get their own life of sorts, making the impact of this knowledge even harder hitting.  It really goes to show just how much PBS has surpassed the likes of History Channel now that that network has become little more than just another reality show network.

The graphic illustrations used through D-Day 360 are central to the overall enjoyment and success of the program. Thankfully, those behind this program’s creation used more than just computer generated illustrations to advance the program and keep viewers engaged throughout its roughly hour-long runtime. Also incorporated into this program are stories told first-hand from a handful of veterans that fought at Normandy. These veterans don’t seem to be the same veterans interviewed for PBS’ previous pair of programs centered on D-Day (say that one five times fast). Every interview is important. That is because every day, there are fewer veterans left to tell the countless stories of that terrible conflict. Their addition to this program adds even more depth to the overall presentation. The end result is a program that is even more informative and entertaining for audiences whether they be in a military studies class or simply a history class. Audiences don’t even have to be in school to appreciate the interviews. They can simply be history buffs or military history buffs.

The use of computer generated graphics combined with actual stories from veterans that fought at Normandy are both key factors to the overall presentation that is D-Day 360. By direct connection, the general lack of re-enactments in this program is subtle.   But it adds so much to the presentation in whole. It shows that those responsible for bringing the program to the masses understood quite well that less is more mentality. They knew where to draw that line between enough and too much. It’s just one more way that PBs continues to show that it is the leader in true educational content while networks that once led the way (E.g. History Channel, TLC, etc.) have fallen by the wayside. This subtle but oh-so-important factor is the final piece to a presentation that any and every military history buff, history buff and teacher alike will appreciate.

D-Day 360 is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store. More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online via PBS’ official website and Facebook page. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog, too.

PBS Kids’ Latest Daniel Tiger DVD Another Must Have For Any Family With Young Children

Courtesy:  PBS/ PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/ PBS Kids

PBS Kids recently released its newest DVD from its family favorite series Daniel tiger’s Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tries Something New is another wonderful addition to the home library of any family with young children. This latest compilation is only the third so far containing episodes from the series. This, believe it or not is something important for parents looking or something for their children especially now as parents count down the last few weeks of summer. Just as worth noting is the content itself within the episodes culled for this DVD. The episodes included in this set teach even more invaluable life lessons for young viewers. And last but hardly least important of this set is the inclusion of even more activities and printable coloring pages. Each factor noted by itself plays its own important role in the overall enjoyment of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tries Something New. All three factors together make this latest compilation a DVD a must have for any children with young children.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tries Something New is only the third compilation released so far from this family favorite series. This doesn’t seem all that important on the surface. But when taken into consideration that Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is currently only in its first season and that these DVDs aren’t exactly budget busters, parents won’t feel like they’re that far behind or that they’re too expensive if their children are asking for any of these DVDs. Sometimes, parents can feel overwhelmed when trying to keep up with this DVD or that DVD that their kids want or that would keep their children entertained. That won’t be the case here for the reasons noted. So as minor as these details might seem on the surface, the DVD’s cost effectiveness and the fact that it’s only the third DVD to be released so far become even more important in its overall enjoyment and success.

The cost effectiveness of the latest Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVD and that it’s only the third releases so far are both important factors for any parents trying to decide whether or not to pick up this DVD. It’s only one part of what parents should take into consideration in making their decisions. Just as important to consider are the lessons taught throughout the course of each of its eight shorts. “Daniel’s Babysiitter” teaches young viewers about both having patience and that just because parents go out, they aren’t leaving forever. This can apply not just to situations such as parents going out on a date night alone but to something as simple as a parent leaving the room for a few minutes. Speaking of parents going out, “A Night Out At The Restaurant” is another example of the lessons taught in this compilation. This short teaches children about proper behavior in a social situation. It also serves to reiterate the lesson of patience to young viewers. If that’s not enough, there are also lessons about playing nicely together and even multiculturalism. There are more lessons for young views in the episodes included on this DVD. And they will get those lessons when their parents pick up this DVD or order it online. It isn’t the last of factors worth noting on this DVD, either. Last but not least worth noting of this DVD is its bonus coloring pages and activities.

The printable coloring pages and activities included with the DVD as bonus material is its last but hardly least noteworthy factor. The activities included with this latest DVD help teach young viewers ways to express their feelings in a healthy way while eating healthy at the same time in the “Feeling Faces” activity.   And in the activity titled “All Aboard,” children get to pretend that they are going for a ride on their own make-believe trolley. It teaches them both about taking turns and that people always come back when they go on trips. It coincides with the first short on the DVD. All the instructions and details on both activities are included with the DVD. All a person needs is a DVD drive and Adobe Reader. The printable coloring pages included this time are the same as on the previous two Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVD compilations. And that brings everything full circle. That’s because parents don’t have to worry at least about the coloring pages being different on each of the DVDs. They are the same each time. That factor is the final touch to a DVD that in the end proves to be one more must have for any family with young children.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tries Something New is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from the PBS Online store now. More information on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is available online now via the series’ Facebook page and official website. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog, too.

D-Day’s Sunken Secrets Is Another Important Chapter In The History Of WWII

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ NOVA: D-Days Sunken Secrets is another invaluable program for anyone that has any interest in the history of World War II or in military history in general.  As informative as the program is, one can’t help but note that it perhaps could have benefitted from a different title.  That’s because most of the program focuses more on the operations of Operation Overlord than on the sunken remnants of the Normandy invasion.  That isn’t to say that that moment in time is completely avoided.  But it doesn’t focus on that aspect near as much as one might be led to believe by the program’s title.  That aside, it is still an interesting piece of World War II history that adds yet another chapter to one of the biggest operations in military history that might otherwise not have been known by some.  And that’s just the beginning.  Audiences will be interested, too to discover that the program’s narrator is himself a WWII veteran who was also there on D-Day.  And last to note is the use of vintage footage against modern video of Normandy today to help illustrate the story of what happened on D-Day and the days that followed.  Each factor plays its own important role in the overall success of this presentation.  Together, they make a program that while perhaps improperly titled, still is an important story that needed to be told.

The first aspect of NOVA: D-Days Sunken Secrets the fact that it reveals another chapter of sorts to the story of the D-Day invasion.  It reveals a part of that history that might not have otherwise been known.  Everybody knows about the initial invasion by Allied forces.  And sometimes discussed by historians is the immense planning that led up to the invasion.  However, many might not know that then general Ike Eisenhower actually wrote a letter taking full blame for the operation should it fail.  Interestingly enough, whether or not the initial operation actually failed comes up between a military veteran and a military historian.  The true irony is that the veteran, when posed with the question actually says that in his own view, the operation did in fact fail.  He notes that it failed in that the men that took the beachhead went without the air coverage or the planned naval coverage, either.  Add in changing tides, much like at Dieppe, and the argument is made that while Allied forces eventually took the beaches of Normandy, the operation was still a failure at least in its planning.  That argument actually makes sense.  Had those men had the planned coverage, it is possible that casualties would have been far fewer among Allied forces.  Just as interesting to note is that German U-boats were still patrolling the waters off of France’s coast even after the initial invasion, which led to its own share of sinkings.  There was also the failure of the “floating tanks” and much more discussed throughout the course of the program’s near two-hour runtime.  All of that and more will definitely keep audiences watching and wanting to learn more about what really happened on D-Day and the days that would follow.  It is but one part of what makes NOVA: D-Days Sunken Secrets another important addition to the vast history of World War II.

Another important factor to consider in the overall success and enjoyment of this episode is the use of an actual WWII veteran as the program’s narrator.  For that matter, the use of a veteran that fought at Normandy makes it especially interesting. Peter Thomas narrates the program. And while he does quite the job in his role, it is obvious that he does at times become somewhat choked up as he carries out his duty. It could very well be this critic’s own interpretation. But it certainly sounds like he does in fact choke up at times. If that is the case, it’s a welcome change from every documentary out there. It actually adds a certain realism to the program that is sadly lacking in those other programs out there. It adds a more human element for lack of better wording. That human element will pull in viewers even more and lead them to feel at least a modicum of the emotion felt by those that served on that fateful day. It’s one more impressive touch to this program that makes it another invaluable addition to the library of any lover of military history or history in general.

The use of an actual WWII vet that fought on Normandy and the inclusion of even more information on the history of that groundbreaking operation both are key to the overall enjoyment of NOVA: D-Days Sunken Secrets. The final aspect of the program that audiences will appreciate is the inclusion once again of actual footage filmed as Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. Just as much, audiences will appreciate the use of video illustrations outlining the movements of both Allied and German forces before and after the initial landing and battle to reclaim the beachhead. Viewers will be amazed at the CG recreation of the Allied forces’ man-made harbor and how it worked with the waters off the French coast. The bridges that were created were an engineering feat far ahead of their time. So, even those with an interest in engineering and construction will find something to like about this episode of NOVA. It’s the final touch to another overall impressive albeit slightly mis-titled piece of World War II history.

NOVA: D-Days Sunken Secrets is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34895296&cp=&sr=1&kw=d+day&origkw=D+Day&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NOVAonline, http://twitter.com/novapbs, and http://www.pbs.org/nova. 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.