Day Of Days Is One Of PBS’ Best WWII Documentaries To Date

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

June 6th is one of the most important dates in the history not only of America but of the world.  And this past June, the world stopped and recognized the seventieth anniversary of that day, also known as D-Day.  In honor of that day, many networks across the television spectrum presented their own programs, recalling the events of the day in question.  Few if any were as powerful as PBS’ Day of Days: June 6th, 1944American Soldiers Remember D­-Day.  This program is one of the most moving and powerful that PBS has premiered so far this year.  That is first and foremost because it is not just another documentary.  It is a group of firsthand recollections from just some of the men who fought on the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.  There are no animations.  There are no actors.  The only extras (if they are to be considered extras) are the collective snippets of the events from that day.  They are another part of what makes the entire experience in this program so powerful.  Of course, there is the “Beachhead to Berlin” newsreel.  That bonus is the final touch on a presentation that everybody should see at least once if not more.

Day of Days: June 6th, 1944American Soldiers Remember D­-Day is one of the most powerful WWII-centered pieces that PBS has ever premiered.  The central reason for that is the fact that it is anything but the steady stream of documentaries churned out by the various networks that handle such fare, PBS included.  There are no actors, “experts,” no special animations, or any other embellishments.  It is just a group of military veterans that were part of the Normandy invasion on June 6th, 1944.  The men recount the horrors that happened on those beaches.  Over the course of the program’s roughly hour –long run time.  In hearing their painful recollections, audiences will see and hear firsthand just why those that have served choose to not talk about what they experienced.  The tears that they shed as they recall the memories of those events are very real.  And they will deeply move anyone taking them in regardless of whether they are everyday viewers or themselves military veterans.

As has already been noted, Day of Days: June 6th, 1944—American Soldiers Remember D-Day is such a powerful piece from PBS because it isn’t just another documentary.  There are no “experts.”  There are no animations, re-enactments or any other embellishments.  The only “extra” of sorts that was partnered with the stories told by the veterans is a collection of actual footage shot as the Normandy invasion took place.  The footage itself is difficult to watch in its own right.  That is because audiences will actually see men being shot and falling, lifeless as they make their way onto the beach.  Again, this is not acting.  It is actual footage of those events.  There is footage of the firefight that took place from the sea off the French coast and much more.  That collection of footage partnered with the veterans’ stories make this program all the more powerful and memorable. It isn’t all that make the program memorable and powerful, either.

The vintage footage that accompanies the veterans’ recollections and the recollections themselves are both of the utmost importance to the presentation in whole. Just as important to the overall presentation is the bonus newsreel “Beachhead to Berlin.” This is an actual newsreel used to bolster patriotism among Americans in the days following the Normandy invasion. The newsreel uses much of the footage that is incorporated into the veterans recollections in the main feature. There is also footage not used in the main feature. The collective footage set against the voice over of a military officer writing a letter to the parent of a fallen soldier makes the newsreel truly powerful. It is later revealed that the officer writing the letter was himself a veteran and had received a purple heart for serving in the war. That final statement is the perfect closing moment for the newsreel. And together with the final thoughts of the veterans in the main feature, it becomes even harder hitting as a final moment for the entire presentation.

The primary feature presented in Day of Days: June 6th, 1944American Soldiers Remember D­-Day is by itself a program unlike anything that PBS has presented so far this year. The bonus newsreel that accompanies that feature is in itself just as moving. Both features together prove this program to be one that viewers of all backgrounds will appreciate, whether they be military or not. They prove the program to be one that everyone should see at least once if not more. It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620366&cp=&sr=1&kw=day+of+days&origkw=Day+of+Days&parentPage=search. More information on this and other releases from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. 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.

Ruben Salazar: Man In The Middle Is An Important Piece Of Cultural, Journalism History

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS released early this year a documentary centered on Hispanic journalist Ruben Salazar.  The documentary, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle is a fittingly titled presentation.  That is because it discusses the interconnection of his own personal life and of his life as an influential journalist.  The most important aspect of this program is that unlike so many others of its ilk, it doesn’t waste time going through his entire childhood and his adult life.  Rather, it focuses primarily on his short adult life.  The use of newspaper articles, interviews and video footage to aid the story’s illustration adds another layer of interest to the overall story.  And last but not least, the entire approximately hour-long presentation runs chronologically.  It follows Salazar’s rise through the ranks of the journalism world through his untimely death in 1970.  Each of these factors by themselves provides their own value to this presentation.  Together, they make Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle a feature well worth watching by anyone with any interest in history and in the history of journalism.

Far too often, documentaries on the lives of important and influential figures tend to focus on the entire lives of said figures.  In some cases, going into such depth is necessary to help viewers understand how those figures became who they were and are.  In others, it’s not so necessary.  The case of Ruben Salazar is one in which the subject’s entire life story was not needed.   And thankfully documentarian Phillip Rodriguez realized this, too opting instead to focus primarily on the events that would eventually lead him to become the figure that so many have come to know today. This approach saves plenty of time without losing any of the most important information about Salazar’s importance both culturally and in the business of journalism.

The story of Ruben Salazar’s rise to notoriety and his untimely and still unsolved death is by itself rather interesting both for its cultural value and because of how that cultural importance played into his professional life. The tie in to the civil rights movement of the day makes Salazar’s story even more intriguing. As if that isn’t enough, the inclusion of actual footage and newspapers from the now much discussed events leading up to his death make the overall presentation even richer for viewers. They, along with the interviews with those closest to Salazar and the controversy raised by his allegations against the LAPD make for even more intrigue. They collectively will leave viewers wanting to do even more of their own research, trying to get answers for themselves due to the depth of the information shared by all three together.

The information shared by the included interviews, footage and interviews does an applause-worthy job of complimenting Phillip Rodriguez’s presentation in this program. The positives don’t stop here. There is still one remaining aspect of Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle that viewers will appreciate in the overall presentation. That final factor is the program’s organization. Audiences will note that the events leading up to Salazar’s mysterious death are presented in fully chronological order. Presenting the events leading up to his death in this manner makes the program simple to follow. Believe it or not, there are those documentaries that have a tendency to jump randomly from one point to another through the course of their presentations even today. Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle isn’t one of those documentaries. And because it doesn’t follow that model it makes all of the interviews and the story itself contained on this disc truly valuable as a piece not only of journalism history but of cultural history, too.

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32759016&cp=&kw=ruben+salazar&origkw=Ruben+Salazar&sr=1. More information on this and other releases from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews, 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 Set To Release Three New D-Day Documentaries July 8th

PBS will release three new programs next Tuesday centered on one of the most pivotal moments of World War II next Tuesday.

Day of Days

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release next Tuesday,  Day of Days: June 6, 1944: American Soldiers Remember D-Day, D-Day 360, and Nova: D-Days Sunken Secrets. The first of the documentaries brings together a group of WWII veterans that took part in D-Day. The men recollect the events of what is one of the largest collective operations in military history. Throughout their discussions, the men also discuss their uneasiness over being called “heroes,” their transformation from boys to men, and the loss of their friends in the assault on Normandy among other topics. The stories bring up very powerful and equally painful memories for the veterans. This program will be available on DVD and via digital download. It will be available for SRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620366.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

D-Day 36O, the second of PBS’ upcoming WWII-centered documentaries, re-creates the events of D-Day. It does so through the use of new data-driven and statistical tools to display the sheer immensity of the operation. It was on June 6th, 1944 that 3,000 planes dropped 23,000 airborne troops behind German lines, 7,000 ships delivered some 20,000 military vehicles and 130,000 allied soldiers to take on some 40,000 German soldiers, roughly two million mines buried in the sand, and 46,000 beach obstacles. Among those obstacles were hundreds of miles of barbed wire, shells, and bullets. The program focuses primarily on the exit at Vierville-sur-Mer, the most important stretch of Omaha Beach that day. It documents the events that unfolded over the course of five hours of fighting on the five-mile stretch of French coastline. The program will be available on DVD next Tuesday. It will retail for SRP of $24.99 and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35446756.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

In the third and final of PBS’ upcoming D-Day centered programs, audiences are taken beneath the waves of Normandy to see the remnants of what is today one of the world’s largest underwater archaeological sites in Nova: D-Days Sunken Secrets. Audiences will see in this five-part program, a combined group of military historians, archaeologists, and other specialist divers as they explore the waters just off of Normandy’s beaches. They use submersibles, underwater robots, and the latest 3-D mapping technology to identify the tanks, ships, planes, landing craft and more that sunk just off of Normandy’s beaches that day. Along with that, audiences are also taken into the planning of the D-Day invasion, and how the work of scientists, mathematicians, inventors, and even meteorologists helped in said planning. The expedition which led to this presentation lasted six weeks and was led by Sylvain Pascaud. D-Days Sunken Secrets will retail for SRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34895296.

More information on each of these programs and others from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. 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.

Peg + Cat Gets Its Own DVD Release This Fall

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Officials with PBS and PBS Kids announced Monday that PBS Kids will release the first ever DVD from the network’s new series Peg + Cat this fall.

Peg + Cat: Chickens on the Loose and Other Really Big Problems will be released on DVD Tuesday, September 9th. The DVD will feature eight stories from the series along with bonus printable coloring pages and activities for kids and parents. In the first of those eight stories, Peg and Cat have to deal with one hundred chickens in two different ways. The pair has to get the chickens in question back into their coop in “The Chicken Problem” before the farmer sees that they’ve escaped. And in “The Space Creature Problem,” Peg and Cat have to get the chickens away from Big Mouth and back to their spaceship. The first of the pair teaches children size correspondence and the significance of the number 100. The second of the chicken-based episodes teaches children to count by tens to 100.

“The Messy Room Problem” is the third of the stories included on the upcoming first ever Peg + Cat DVD. Peg and Cat have to get Peg’s room cleaned in this episode, in time for company to come over and see Cat’s masterpiece, “The Circles.” This story teaches young viewers about both sorting and shapes in this story, as well as about keeping their rooms clean.

Peg and Cat go on an adventure in “The Golden Pyramid Problem,” the fourth of the stories included on the new DVD. Peg The Bold and Brave Sir Cat imagine that they’re Knights of the Round Table in this story. They have to retrieve the mermaid’s golden pyramids and return them to her. This story teaches solid shapes and counting by two to young viewers.

Peg and Cat form a super group called The Electric Eleven in “The Three Bears Problem,” the fifth story included on the DVD. In order to form their super group, Peg and Cat must first bring together, The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Children learn to count to eleven and add one in this story.

In “The Giant Problem,” the sixth story included on the DVD, Peg and Cat must evade a group of giants along with their eight fairy-tale friends before the giants can have them for lunch. Children will learn through this story, combinations that add up to 10 and the circle shape.

The penultimate story included on the brand new debut Peg + Cat DVD, “The Dinosaur Problem,” puts Peg and Cat in the middle of a prehistoric rain forest, riding dinosaurs. They have to diagram their way to safety along the way before the baby T-Rex catches them. Children learn about patterns and about following diagrams in this story.

In the final story on the new Peg + Cat DVD, Peg and Cat help famed composer Ludwig Van Beethoven as he writes one of his symphonies. And thanks to Cat’s laugh, Beethoven gets a great idea for his symphony. That’s in “The Beethoven Problem.” Children learn about patterns and ordinal numbers in this story.

Peg + Cat: Chickens on the Loose and Other Really Big Problems will be available on DVD Tuesday, September 9th. Its run time is 100 minutes. It will retail for SRP of $12.99. More information on Peg + Cat is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PegPlusCatTV and http://pbs.org/peg. 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.

PBS Proves The Reach Of 1964′s Events In New Dcoumentary

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

American Experience: 1964 is quite the interesting look at what was one of the most important years in America’s modern history. The approximately two-hour program takes viewers through the events of the year, showing the good, the bad, and the ugly. That fully unbiased presentation is central to the success of this edition of American Experience. Along the way, various figures are interviewed to help illustrate the importance of the events that made 1964 an important year. From historians to activists and more, each figure makes the year’s different subjects much clearer and more interesting than they would have otherwise been. That is another key factor to the overall success of this presentation. The subjects examined throughout the two-hour run time of American Experience: 1964 and those that helped to illustrate each subject work together to make this a presentation that any history buff will appreciate. There is one more factor to take into account in examining the program that makes it work as well as it does. That final factor is the program’s pace. A lot of ground is covered over the course of 1964’s two-hour run time. Even with as much as is covered over that time, those behind the program keep the pace at just enough of a pace to not lose viewers along the way. This final factor brings everything full circle in this episode of American Experience, making the program complete and even more well worth the watch whether it be in the classroom or the living room.

The first and most important factor that makes American Experience: 1964 is the completely unbiased presentation. Presented within the course of the program’s near two-hour run time is all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It presents the violence that arose from the civil rights movement. It presents Lyndon Johnson’s attempts to fill the shoes of John F. Kennedy after his assassination. It even shows the cultural impact of the arrival of The Beatles in America and of the now influential book The Feminine Mystique on women across the country among much more. Through it all, the events of the year are presented chronologically from New Year’s Eve 1963 to the year’s end. It is all wrapped up nicely with the use of singer Sam Cooke’s hit song ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ as the discussion point for the events that would come as a result of everything that happened in 1964. The tone taken in those final moments is one of optimism. It drives home the argument that for all of the unsettlement experienced in 1964, it would lead to much positive change in the years to come.

The unbiased presentation of the events of 1964 and their chronological together form a solid starting point for the success of American Experience: 1964. The presentation is made even richer through interviews with various scholars, activists, and others. The interviews in question are used to help illustrate precisely why each of the year’s events were so pivotal. Some of the most powerful of the program’s interview segments are with civil rights activist Dave Dennis. At one point late in the program, he recalls the mistreatment of a young African-American male by police in riots that rose from other events. His reaction at recalling a conversation with one of three civil rights activists that had come down to help was just as powerful. There are other equally enlightening interviews from various scholars, journalists and more that illustrate the events that made 1964 such a pivotal year in America’s history.

The events discussed in American Experience: 1964 and the accompanying interviews go a long way toward making the program especially useful whether it be used in the classroom or the living room. The last piece of the presentation that will impress viewers is its pacing. At no point through the course of the program’s two-hour run time does its pacing ever go too fast or too slow.   And keeping in mind the number of topics covered over the course of the program’s total run time, the pacing becomes even more of a positive. Viewers aren’t left feeling like they were just rushed through a freshman level college history course by the program’s end. And it’s that, along with the program’s interviews and topics, that together make American Experience: 1964 a must see whether one is a history buff or just wants to learn a little bit of America’s history.

American Experience: 1964 is available now on DVD. It can be ordered directly from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=29630386&cp=&sr=1&kw=1964&origkw=1964&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online at http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperience and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience. 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.

AmEx: Freedom Summer An Excellent Follow-Up To Spies Of Mississippi

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS released earlier this year what is one of its most intriguing documentaries of the year in Spies of Mississippi. Now the network will release the “companion” program to Spies of Mississippi next week in a new episode of American Experience. American Experience: Freedom Summer will be released on DVD next Tuesday, June 24th. This latest program centers on the civil rights movement of 1964 that was centered on Mississippi. American Experience: Freedom Summer is an excellent companion to the previously released documentary in that it goes into even more depth than that program. That is the first aspect of this program that makes it well worth the watch. Making it even more interesting is the use of vintage footage from the Freedom Summer. Sealing the deal for the program is its writing and editing. Writer/director Stanley Nelson and editor Aljernon Tunsil are both deserving of applause for making the roughly two hour program pass by with ease without losing viewers along the way. This factor along with the in-depth stories and vintage footage make American Experience: Freedom Summer a piece that everybody should see at least once this year.

American Experience: Freedom Summer is a program well worth the watch by any viewer first and foremost because it picks up where Spies of Mississippi left off. While that documentary focused primarily on the efforts on a covert group to try and keep African Americans from registering to vote in Mississippi, this latest feature on the Freedom Summer goes into even more depth. It focuses on more than just that one aspect of the Freedom Summer. Rather, it focuses on the Freedom Summer in whole. It presents the movement from its roots to its end. Along the way, it also connects the Freedom Summer to its effects on the country as a whole. The whole thing is told by those that organized the Freedom Summer movement and by those that it affected. It adds a whole new layer to the story that was started by Spies of Mississippi, making the program in whole even more worth the watch.

Mississippi’s civil rights movement in the summer of 1964 was one of the most important cultural events in America’s history. That is made clear through the combination of American Experience: Freedom Summer and Spies of Mississippi. The additional layers of information added to the story of that movement here are just part of what makes this program well worth the watch. Making the program even more interesting and in depth is the use of vintage footage to illustrate the story. Actual footage of the events that happened during the Freedom Summer is included throughout the program in place of re-enactments. The use of re-enactments would have been the easy way out. But those behind the program didn’t go that route. It’s nice to see that this avenue was taken. It serves to pull in viewers even more and keep them engaged along the way. This plays directly into the last factor of the program’s success. That factor in question is its collective writing and editing.

The use of vintage footage, and of interviews with those directly connected to the Freedom Summer movement are both integral to the success of American Experience: Freedom Summer. Just as integral to the feature’s overall success is the program’s writing and editing. Everything included in this program had to be scripted in a certain order. That order in turn had to be edited so as to keep viewers’ attention throughout the course of the program’s approximately two-hour run time. Writer/director Stanley Nelson and editor Aljernon Tunsil both did just that. There is not one moment over the course of the program’s two-hour run time during which the program loses audiences’ attention. The pair is to be applauded for such expert execution of their job duties. Because both individuals went to painstaking lengths to make the program interesting, it makes viewers want to take in the vintage footage and the stories told by those that were directly linked to the Freedom Summer movement. All of these factors together make American Experience: Freedom Summer a presentation that is just as valuable in the classroom as it is in the living room. It proves in the end to be a candidate for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

American Experience: Freedom Summer will be available next Tuesday, June 24th on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34894696&cp=&sr=1&kw=american+experience+freedom+summer&origkw=American+Experience%3A+Freedom+Summer&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperience, http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS, and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience. 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.

Viewers Will Discover Much To Like About The Lost Gardens Of Babylon

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS released another new episode of its history-based series Secrets of the Dead today to the masses. Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Gardens of Babylon was released on DVD today. This episode of Secrets of the Dead is without a doubt, one of the best installments of the series to date. One of the reasons for this is the fact that it’s not just another piece with people investigating a given subject in a sterile environment. The search for the fabled Lost Gardens of Babylon takes Dr. Stephanie Dalley into the very heart of a war zone in the Middle East. During the course of Dr. Dalley’s investigation, she makes a stunning discovery that is more than just a historical discovery. The discovery in question is another aspect of this episode that makes it all the more interesting to watch. And last but definitely not least, it leaves viewers in the end—not to reveal too much—what the gardens might have looked like in their golden age. That final image in itself opens the door for just as much discussion as the discovery made by Dr. Dalley in her search for the Lost Gardens. All of these factors together make this episode of Secrets of the Dead one more that any viewer will enjoy regardless of how long they have watched the series.

The very first aspect of Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Gardens of Babylon that makes it well worth the watch is that it isn’t just another sterile history investigation. Presented in this episode of Secrets of the Dead is the search by one scholar—Dr. Stephanie Dalley—to find what is the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the lost hanging gardens of Babylon. Her search for the fabled gardens takes her away from the academic world and into what can only be described as a war zone in the Middle East. She makes the argument in this episode that despite the popular belief regarding the location of the gardens just south of Baghdad, she believes that the gardens are actually some two hundred miles plus north in Mosul. Mosul is hardly the safest city in the world. And as viewers will see in watching this program, even the people who come along are in constant and very real danger. That’s made especially clear when a pair of individuals is sent to videotape the site she believes to be that of the gardens. As is explained by narrator Jay O. Sanders, the men can only stay at the site for a given period of time before becoming too conspicuous. Understanding the reality of the danger faced by Dr. Dalley and all around her as they search for the gardens heightens the episode’s tension and in turn will keep viewers fully engaged.

The search itself for the lost gardens is only one part of what makes Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Gardens of Babylon so interesting. Audiences that give this episode of Secrets of the Dead a chance will find that in her search for the gardens, Dr. Dalley makes a very important discovery. She discovers how the water for the flowers, trees and other plants that grew in the gardens may very well have been provided by corkscrew style devices that were eons ahead of their time. It goes to show just how technologically advanced the builders of the gardens were. Taking into account this understanding, it opens a whole new window into the potential advances used to construct the pyramids, Stonehenge and some of the other most well-known architectural structures in the world. At the same time, it is enough to silence those people that would like to believe forces other than man constructed said structures. It proves that just because they didn’t have everything that humans have today doesn’t mean that the people of those times didn’t have the understanding of architecture and construction—or the means to build such structures–that we have today. Simply put, this serves as the starting point of a whole other program and discussion. Again, it makes this episode of Secrets of the Dead even more interesting to watch.

The discovery made by Dr. Dalley in her search for the Lost Gardens of Babylon and the danger experienced in the search are both important factors in the success of this episode of Secrets of the Dead. There is still one more factor to examine in the overall success of this installment of PBS’ hit series. That factor is the final statement offered by those behind the creation of this episode. Audiences are left with a fleeting glance of what the Lost Gardens of Babylon might have looked like in their golden era. The glance is given by way of computer animation. And it is impressive to say the least. Just as the discovery made by Dr. Dalley sets up a wholly new discussion and potential episode of Secrets of the Dead, so does the animation in question. It presents an image of beautiful, flourishing gardens in a terraced setting of sorts. The gardens sat just outside a palatial structure that was itself built at the mouth of a body of water that constantly fed the gardens. This image serves to heighten even more the discussion on architecture and construction started by the discovery made by Dr. Dalley in her search for the gardens. That discussion and any that spin off from it works in partner with the very search for the gardens to make Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Gardens of Babylon an episode of PBS’ series that every viewer will appreciate.

Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Gardens of Babylon is available now on DVD. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34695396&cp=&sr=1&kw=secrets+of+the+dead&origkw=Secrets+of+the+Dead&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of PBS’ Secrets of the Dead is available online 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.

PBS Kids To Release New Daniel Tiger DVD This Summer

Courtesy:  PBS/ PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/ PBS Kids

Officials with PBS Kids recently announced that the network will release another brand new DVD containing more episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood this summer.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tries Something New will be released Tuesday, July 15th on DVD. The brand new upcoming DVD will feature eight more episodes from the family favorite series. The episodes included on the DVD see Daniel take his first trip to a restaurant, his first day of school and much more. It will also include live-action music videos as bonus material. The complete episode rundown for the upcoming DVD release is listed below.

Daniel’s Babysitter

Daniel Goes To School

Prince Wednesday Finds A Way To Play

Finding A Way To Play On Backwards Day

Daniel Waits For Show and Tell

A Night Out At The Restaurant

The Dragon Dance

Teacher Harriet’s Birthday

The eight episodes included in the upcoming DVD equal a total run time of one hundred minutes. It will retail for SRP of $12.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620466&cp=&sr=1&kw=daniel+tigers+neighborhood&origkw=daniel+tigers+neighborhood&parentPage=search.

More information on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is available online at http://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv and http://pbskids.org/daniel. 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.

PBS Kids’ New Martha Speaks DVD Is A “Super” New Release

Courtesy;  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy; PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids released its latest collection of episodes from its hit series Martha Speaks last month. Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures was released May 13th. The single-disc compilation is another great teaching and learning resource both in the classroom and the living room. The episodes included on the disc are just part of why it is such a valuable resource for families and teachers alike. The bonus activities and printable coloring pages make this collection all the more valuable regardless of whether the DVD is used in homes or schools. And together with the included episodes, the entire package is certain to have viewers of all ages “speaking” themselves about how enjoyable this collection is.

Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures includes six episodes culled from the series, which now has six full seasons under its belt. Those episodes are the foundation of the compilation’s overall enjoyment. Each of the included episodes plays its own role in the set’s enjoyment thanks to the solid work on the part of the series’ writers. Martha learns an important lesson about idol worship in “Starstruck Martha.” She learns that what one sees on screen isn’t always what one gets behind the cameras when it comes to celebrities. It’s very much an episode to which audiences of all ages can relate. And in “Martha the Hero Maker,” Martha’s friends take a story idea with which she came up an turn her artistic vision into their own story. On the surface, it’s just another story. But on a much deeper level, it teaches a valuable lesson about teamwork and respecting the views of others. This is the case whether one is working on a story or just working together on any project. The writers were able to tie in this lesson without making it preachy.

The lessons included in both “Martha the Hero Maker” and “Starstruck Martha” are both good examples of how the series’ writers were able to successfully balance entertaining and educational material to make the show so enjoyable for viewers of all ages. The writers are to be just as commended in the two part episode “Return of the Bookbots: The Case of the Missing Words” amd “Martha’s Adverb Adventure. That’s because while the writers balanced just as expertly the show’s entertainment value with educational content based more in classroom material than on life lessons. The same can be said of “Verb Dog, When Action Calls!”   Whether audiences value the episodes in this set for the general vocab-based content, the life lessons or the overall entertainment factor, it can be agreed that the episodes alone are reason enough to add this DVD is an equally useful resource in the classroom and the living room.

The episodes included on the latest Martha Speaks compilation are the foundation for the value of the DVD. They collectively teach important life lessons and educational lessons all while entertaining audiences of all ages. Making the DVD even more valuable for teachers and families are the bonus printable coloring pages and activities. The activities can be printed out just like the coloring pages. The number of printable coloring pages included on this DVD sits at ten. Each printable coloring page features the members of the show’s cast. The bonus printable activity sheets include a hidden object game that serves a dual purpose. On the surface, it lets children find a number of hidden objects. Being that the objects are in a messy room, parents could use that as a starting point in a discussion about why children should clean their rooms. So it’s a double bonus to that extent. There is also a matching card game, a game that encourages children to find the differences between two pictures, and a cryptogram that children have to decipher. A code box is included for children to use as a guide to figure out the cryptogram, too. So that will make it even more fun whether children are deciphering the cryptogram by themselves or with a teacher or parent. These bonuses all work together to make Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures all the more enjoyable. What’s more, they serve to show even more why this latest DVD is an equally valuable resource both in the classroom and the living room.

Martha Speaks: Martha’s Superhero Adventures is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129636&cp=&sr=1&kw=martha+speaks&origkw=Martha+Speaks&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Martha Speaks DVDs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSmarthaspeaks. More episodes and games are also available online at http://pbskids.org/martha. 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.

Dinosaur Train Re-Issue More Prehistoric Fun For Every Family

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids released the latest Dinosaur Train compilation earlier this month.  The new compilation is the most impressive new release from the series to date.  The primary reason for that is that it takes two previously released compilations and combines them into one complete double-disc set.  The combined compilations give audiences a total of seventeen shorts.  That equals out to a run time of roughly three and a half hours.  There is a lot to be said of all of this.  As if the massive compilation of episodes isn’t enough for audiences, the bonus printouts, interactive game, and info for kids and parents make the set all the more enjoyable.  The bonus material in question, alongside the dual disc set presented here, make this latest compilation one more must have for any family.

Dinosaur Big City and Dinosaurs A to Z have both been previously released in their own single disc presentation by PBS Kids. This newly compressed double-disc set is just as good for those that already own both DVDs as it is for those that have perhaps purchased only one or even neither. Having compressed both discs into a single case saves a certain amount of space on any DVD rack. Given, that amount of space is not much. But it’s still worth it in the grand scheme of space availability. The first of the discs is placed on its own plastic insert. This keeps it separate from the set’s second disc. The end result is that it keeps both DVDs from scratching one another, thus increasing the life of both discs. Kudos are in order once again thanks to all of this.

The space saving packaging used in PBS Kids’ new double-disc Dinosaur Train DVD set is one of its most important factors to consider when ordering this new release. Just as important to consider is that none of the seventeen total shorts that comprised the originally released DVDs have been omitted here. They have all been included for viewers once again. They equal out to a grand total of roughly three and a half hours of programming. This is especially valuable now that school is out for summer. It’s one more way for parents to both entertain and educate children during their summer vacation. What’s more, it’s a great excuse for parents to spend time with their kids, without their kids objecting to their parents spending time with them. This is especially important in an age in which kids are far less inclined than ever to want to spend time with their parents. Once again, those behind the show and those at PBS Kids are quite deserving of applause taking this into consideration with this set.

The packaging and complete carry-over of material from both Dinosaur Big City and Dinosaurs A to Z for this new double-disc set are equally important factors in the overall enjoyment of the set. One more factor to consider in examining the set is the inclusion of the original bonus material also included in both sets. Kids can play the dinosaur size comparison games included on both previously released DVDs. Also included once again are the bonus coloring sheets. Parents and children have some eleven different coloring sheets that can be printed out and colored. And of course, Dr. Scott’s companion shorts are there, too for each episode along with character introductions for parents and children that might be new to the world of Dinosaur Train. That along with the space saving packaging and inclusion of all of the shorts from both DVDs’ original releases completes this latest compilation. It makes the set all the more worth adding to any family’s home library.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City/Dinosaurs A to Z is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct through PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129386&cp=&sr=1&kw=dinosaur+train&origkw=Dinosaur+Train&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Dinosaur Train DVDs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain and http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain. Families can also go online to http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain to play more Dinosaur Train games and keep up with the latest news from the show. 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.