Transformers Cybertron Offers Entertainment For Fans Of All Ages

Courtesy:  Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

When it debuted earlier this summer the Michael Bay directed Transformers: Age of Extinction was met, as expected with rather mixed reviews.  And as audiences will note, it apparently didn’t last very long in theaters, either.  While it didn’t last very long, Shout! Factory has made up for the failure of that film by releasing earlier this month Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series.  There is plenty to say of why this box set will last far longer than its big screen counterpart.  The primary reason for the success of this “series” is its writing.  While it is its own series, it is actually just one part of larger story.  Another reason that many audiences will appreciate this latest installment of the beloved Transformers franchise is its mix of hand drawn anime style animation and CG elements.  And lastly, the packaging of the discs rounds out the whole thing.  It is even more proof of why Shout! Factory remains not only the leader in classic and modern classic series, but in home releases overall.

The central point of success behind Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series is its writing.  Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series is the final installment of a three-part series that started with Transformers Armada and continued with Transformers EnergonCybertron picks up right where Energon left off.  In this installment of the Unicron trilogy, the Autobots are trying to close a black hole created due to Megatron interfering with Cybertron’s new Energon sun.  The only way to close the black hole is to get a group of “Cyber Planet Keys” that will close it.  Along the way, the Autobots have to face off against their old foes the Decepticons time and again.  This aspect of the series will bring in even the oldest of fans that perhaps are more familiar with the Transformers than their younger counterparts.  Younger fans of this long-running franchise will be impressed as this latest installment incorporates certain elements of today’s hit anime series into its writing.  One of those elements is the use of “cyber keys” to “power up” the Autobots and Decepticons.  This is very similar to the way that characters in Pokemon, Yu-Gi­-Oh, Digimon and others of their ilk use their own special power ups for their characters.  The very fact that the Autobots and Decepticons are searching for very specific hidden objects is much in line with other current anime programs, too.  Given in the original Transformers animated series, the Autobots and Decepticons were searching for Energon cubes on Earth.  But the “Cyber Planet Keys” are more specific, almost legendary type of objects much like those hunted in those other anime series.  So again, the use of this element will certainly bring in today’s younger audiences.  With any luck, bringing in younger audiences will also get those same audiences interested in the original Transformers series that remains the gold standard for what is one of Hasbro’s most well-known properties.

Audiences of all ages will appreciate the writing behind Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series.  The writing incorporates elements of the franchise’s original series and those of more current anime favorites into one series that can in turn perhaps bring the whole family together.  Just as important to note of this installment in the Transformers franchise is its “animation.”  Just as it incorporates the writing elements of current anime series, so does it also incorporate the “animation” elements of today’s hit anime series.  Again, the similarities to the likes of Pokemon, Digimon, and even Yu-Gi-Oh are quiet clear.  There’s even a similarity to the likes of Monsuno to a lesser degree.  That’s because that series and the others use both hand drawn anime and CG-based creations together, too.  While the use of such animation techniques will not grab everybody, it is sure to pull in audiences that are fans of those animation techniques.  And then having pulled in the fans of those techniques, hopefully those same fans will become even more interested in the original Transformers franchise through the inclusion once more of the Autobots and Decepticons, even if some of the characters have changed.  Yet again, audiences see just why Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series will be far more welcomed by audiences than Michael Bay’s recent big screen adaptations of the Transformers.

The animation techniques used throughout Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series and the writing that combines both the original Transformers series with its more recent incarnations are both important in their own right to the overall success of this box set.  There is one more aspect of the set overall that is worth noting when considering what will make audiences appreciate this set.  That last aspect is the set’s packaging.  For the longest time, Shout! Factory has proven to be the leader in multi-disc home releases not just for the content of their releases but also for their packaging.  The packaging of their sets has maintained a certain bar that has been the model to which so many other companies aspire to achieve.  Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series is no different.  The series is spread across seven discs.  Each of those discs is placed on its own spindle on either side of a group of “plates.”  One disc is placed at the top of said plate on one side, while the other disc is placed at the bottom of that same plate on the other side of that plate.  The set’s seventh disc is placed on the inside back of the box’s case on its own spindle, too.  This method of packaging multi-disc sets saves the discs from one another and it saves space on DVD racks.  It’s too bad that some other companies out there still don’t strive to achieve this model.  It only serves to exemplify once more why Shout! Factory is the leader in home releases.

The packaging used for Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series is a model to which every home entertainment company should aspire to achieve.  That model set alongside the animation techniques used in this series and the series’ writing make this box set even more enjoyable for those that are fans of both anime and the Transformers.  The three factors together make this a box set that as one can tell, so many audiences will appreciate and enjoy. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/transformers-cybertron-complete-series-0. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. 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.

Shout! Factory Releases The Final Chapter Of The Transformers’ Unicron Trilogy On DVD

Courtesy:  Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory released the latest Transformers box set this week.

Transformers: Cybertron was released Tuesday. The new box set was released yesterday fresh on the heels of the release of the latest Transformers big screen feature Transformers: Age of Extinction. Transformers: Cybertron is the final piece in the Transformers’ Unicron trilogy, which includes the series: Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon, and Transformers: Cybertron.

This new box set follows the events of Unicron’s defeat and resultant consequences. A black hole has been created as a result of Unicron’s defeat. And now it is threatening Cybertron, the home world of the Autobots. The only way for Optimus Prime and the autobots—and their new human friends Coby, Lori, and Bud—is to find the four mystical Cyber Planet Keys. Of course the search for the keys won’t be easy as the Autobots still have to deal with Megatron and his Decepticon forces. The fate of the galaxy and even the universe is at stake in the Autobots’ search.

Transformers: Cybertron is available in stores and online now for SRP of $44.99. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store now at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/transformers-cybertron-complete-series-0. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. 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.

Shout! Factory Brings Audiences More Adventures Of Chuck & Friends Next Week

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Hasbro Studios/Hub

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hasbro Studios/Hub

Chuck and his friends are back in another new DVD from Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios.

The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Top Gear Trucks will be released in stores and online next Tuesday, June 3rd. The sixth collection of episodes from the family favorite series, it sees Chuck and his friends—Digger, Handy, Boomer, Rowdy, Biggs, and Flip—taking off on ten more adventures. From hunting for a “ghost” in “Ghost Stories” to getting messy in “The Dirt on Chuck” to re-creating the first meeting of his parents in “When Haulie Met Porter,” and much more, Chuck and his friends offer viewers lots more laughs and lessons in this latest collection of shorts. The complete episode list for the DVD is included below.

         Episodes Include:

  1. Digging Deep

  2. Fools for Rules

  3. Fort Chuck

  4. Ghost Stories

  5. Mayor Chuck

  6. Pop Goes The Inner Tube

  7. Runaway Chuck

  8. The Dirt On Chuck

  9. Up All Night

  10. When Haulie Met Porter

The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Top Gear Trucks will be available next Tuesday, June 3rd. It will retail for SRP of $12.97. It can be ordered online via Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/adventures-chuck-and-friends-top-gear-trucks More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. 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.

 

Shout! Kids’ Latest Pound Puppies Compilation Is Another Great Watch For The Whole Family

Courtesy;  Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Kids released the latest collection of episodes from Hub’s award-winning series Pound Puppies this week.  The latest collection of episodes from this update on the original 1980s series is just as much a jewel as the series’ previous compilation DVDs.  The episodes included in this compilation make it so enjoyable first and foremost because of the episodes’ writing.  By connection, audiences will appreciate the subtle lessons taught through some of the episodes.  Intentional or not, there are some subtle lessons taught through some of this set’s episodes.  It makes the set all the richer.  And last but not least, viewers (especially parents) will appreciate this latest compilation is the list of guest appearances.  Some very big names lend their talents to Pound Puppies in this collection.  Whether it be the guest talent, the lessons, the writing or all three factors together, Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match proves to be another wonderful set of episodes for the whole family.

The writing behind this collection of episodes is the central point of impact for this DVD.  Those that are familiar with this incarnation of Pound Puppies and with the original series from the 1980s know that both series emulate the classic WWII-themed sitcom Hogan’s Heroes in their theme songs.  The new Pound Puppies has taken things to a higher level, actually giving Ace and his canine friends an underground base just like Col. Hogan and his Allied forces friends in Hogan’s Heroes.  As viewers will see in this set’s opening episode, the writers even emulate Hogan’s Heroes in terms of the writing, too.  In “The Yipper Caper”, viewers see McLeash bring in a giant dog feeding machine just to impress his superiors much like Col. Klink would do in Hogan’s Heroes.  Klink was always taking on some wild, hair-brained scheme to impress his higher-ups.  On the other side of things, audiences hear Ace tell Yipper that the Pound Puppies have homes outside the shelter, but they stay there to help others.  Audiences familiar with Hogan’s Heroes will again recognize quite the similarity there.  This writing is a wonderful homage to the golden era of television and takes things one step farther than the original Pound Puppies series.  That homage is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes the writing so fun in these episodes.  Just as impressive to note is the fact that the show’s writers are able to time and again find ways for the Pound Puppies to complete their missions without McLeash ever knowing.  This is the case throughout all five episodes, not just the opener.  Again, this is an homage to Hogan’s Heroes.  It’s one more way to potentially get young viewers started on the road to an appreciation for television’s Golden Era.  And for that, the show’s writers are more than deserving of their applause.

As one should be able to tell by now, the writing behind the episodes included in the latest Pound Puppies compilation DVD is key to the collection’s overall enjoyment.  Even older viewers will appreciate the writing thanks to its throwback to what is one of television’s greatest ever sitcoms.  Just as important to these episodes are the lessons taught through the episodes.  “Hello Kitten” teaches a not so subtle lesson about the ability of people to get along and be friends despite opposing backgrounds.  It does this by having the youngest of the pound puppies help a kitten find his perfect person.  There’s just one problem.  The Pound Puppies’ feline counterparts, led by a feline mirror image of Ace is set out to keep the young kitten from becoming friends with dogs and finding a person for the kitten themselves.  In the end, the cats learn that it’s okay to be friends with dogs.  The secondary lesson taught here is that one must let go of things from the past.  All holding onto the past does is make a person bitter.  “Beauty is only Fur Deep” teaches a lesson about being one’s self when a much talked about dog comes to Kennel 17.  The Pound Puppies have their hands…*ahem*…paws full when the seemingly humble dog turns quite self-centered on getting a new coat of fur.  It creates lots of problems for the Pound Puppies especially when he shoots down the little girl they said was his perfect person. He of course learns a rather valuable lesson from this experience that viewers of all ages will appreciate.

The lessons taught through the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match and the general writing that pays homage to Hogan’s Heroes both make this latest compilation of episodes just as enjoyable as previous Pound Puppies DVDs. There is one more factor to consider in this DVD that makes its episodes so fun. That final factor is the list of guest stars that lent its talents to each episode. J.K. Simmons (Spiderman 1 3) and Tress MacNeille both share their talents in the episodes included in this DVD. Go figure, Simmons voices a character in “Working K-9 To 5” that is a newspaper man. Hmmmmm, now where have we seen that before? His character is even presented much in the same vein as J. Jonah Jameson from director Sam Raimi’s Spiderman Trilogy. MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama) voices a fellow canine in another episode. It’s only a bit part. But parents that know McNeille’s voice will love hearing her voice here, too. And of course, the true queen of comedy herself, Betty White, returns once more as the voice of McLeash’s not so nice mother. These are just some of the guests that appear in the episodes collected for this DVD. Also on board on these episodes are: Tara Strong (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly Odd Parents), E.G. Daily (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, Chalk Zone), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Napoleon Dynamite, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts, Diff’rent Strokes, Tiny Toon Adventures) and so many others. The fact that so many well-known actors and actresses would lend their talents to these episodes shows just how respected a series it proves to be. Parents will recognize most (if not all) of the names mentioned here. And that alone is enough to give the DVD just one watch if not more. And it is most definitely deserving of far more than just one watch.

Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/pound-puppies-perfect-match. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Kids is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. 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.

Chuck & Friends Running On All Cylinders In Their Latest Compilation

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Hasbro Studios/Hub

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Hasbro Studios/Hub

The writers behind Hasbro Studios’ The Adventures of Chuck & Friends have made a habit of crafting episodes that are both entertaining and that have heart at the same time.  Watching the episodes contained on the show’s previous DVD releases, one sees just why this series is a favorite among both children and their parents.  Now families have yet another new compilation of episodes front loaded with even more fun and heartfelt episodes in The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Trucks Versus Wild.  This latest compilation, the fifth so far from the series, contains ten more episodes from the hit Hub network series.  That brings the total number of shorts to fifty so far.  The show has actually produced thirty-nine full length episodes with a total of seventy-eight shorts and one special, bringing the total to forty episodes.  That the series has reached forty episodes especially on a digital network is a major statement about this latest compilation.  The episodes themselves are collectively another reason that families will enjoy thanks once again to the work of the show’s writers.  And despite the fact that the show is based in CG animation, the animation still maintains a difference from that of other computer animated based children’s programs that fill the television spectrum today.  These factors together make The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Trucks Versus Wild one more fun filled collection of episodes from this family favorite Hub network series.

Hub network is not a network that is available to every family.  Most cable and satellite service providers carry Hub on one of their many digital tiers.  That means that in order to take in Hub network’s programming–Chuck & Friends included—families have to pay an extra monthly charge for the whole tier on which it sits.  They might even have to pay an extra secondary fee for a digital box each month so as to receive said tier.  So what does this have to do with the fact that audiences now have fifty of seventy-eight shorts from The Adventures of Chuck & Friends to watch?  It has plenty to do with this fact.  Not every family has subscribed to or even will subscribe to their provider’s digital television service.  That means that whatever percentage of audiences would only see the show via its DVD releases.  The combined DVD sales and digital subscriptions have provided enough of a fan base for The Adventures of Chuck & Friends that they have offset those without subscriptions to necessary digital services.  It’s a testament to the series’ ability to entertain families even solely through DVD sales. Put into simple terms, it shows that the series is simply that popular among audiences whether they have the chance to see it on TV or not.  And the series remains so popular largely because of the work done by its writers.

It’s quite the feat for The Adventures of Chuck & Friends to have reached a total so far of forty episodes and seventy-eight shorts.  That is a lot for a cartoon series; especially one that is carried on a digital tier rather than standard cable networks.  Luckily its shorts have been made available for families to enjoy on DVD, too.  This allows even more audiences to experience the enjoyable work done by the show’s writers.  That is the central point of what makes this show so successful, whether viewed on its digital tiers across the country or on DVD.  And this latest compilation of episodes is a prime example of that.  Trucks Versus Wild presents in its ten episodes lessons about getting over one’s fear of doctors, not growing up too fast, and not taking advantage of one’s friends and families among many others.  These are timeless lessons to which every generation of children has dealt with.  The series’ writers are to be commended for having taken the noted lessons and made them relevant to the current generation of young viewers.  It’s one more part of the whole that makes this latest compilation of shorts from The Adventures of Chuck & Friends as enjoyable as the series’ previous DVD releases.

The latest compilation of shorts from The Adventures of Chuck & Friends offers families loads of fun and important life lessons.  That is hopefully clear by now.  There is still one more factor in this set that makes it enjoyable.  That factor is the shorts’ “animation.”  While it may be computer based, that “animation” still helps to maintain the series’ identity from all of the other computer-based children’s programs on television today.  The similarity to the likes of Pixar’s Cars and Disney’s Planes is there.  But it is only an incidental similarity at best.  For the most part, it really manages to maintain its own look.  That is thanks to the work of those that bring the series to life behind the scenes.  Together with the work done by the show’s writers in the episodes culled for this set, it makes the compilation all the more worth buying when it hits stores later this month.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 21st.  It can be ordered directly from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/adventures-chuck-and-friends-trucks-vs-wild.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.

Pound Puppies’ Latest Compilation One Of The Show’s Best Yet

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Hub Network/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hub Network/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Factory has teamed up with Hasbro Studios and the Hub network once again another compilation of episodes from Hub’s Pound PuppiesPound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks is one of the best compilations from this family and kid favorite series to be released yet.  That is largely because of each episode’s writing.  This compilation offers viewers some of the series’ most heartfelt episodes to date.  Just as noteworthy in this compilation is the guest voice talent.  Both parents and kids alike will recognize the celebrity voices that are included in some of the episodes in this set.  Something more subtle, but just as worth noting in this collection of episodes is that each one features its own musical number.  It’s something that hadn’t been seen (or rather heard) in previous collections.  It’s a nice touch to the episodes in question.  The reason for that will be discussed later.  All things considered, Holiday Hijinks is one more great addition to any family’s home DVD library, whether it’s their first introduction to the new Pound Puppies or not.

The latest compilation of Pound Puppies episodes includes five more episodes from the Hub network’s hit children’s series.  This follows the same format as the previous DVD compilations that have been released.  The episodes collected for this collection stand out because they are some of the series’ most heartwarming episodes yet.  The collection’s opener, “I Heard The Barks on Christmas Eve” is the collection’s only actual holiday themed episode.  It’s still a wonderful story, nonetheless.  For the first time ever, viewers see that Mr. McLeish actually has a heart and isn’t the mean middle aged man that he comes across as being in most episodes.  It presents those classic messages that everybody needs somebody and that everybody deserves somebody, especially during the holidays.  Audiences will appreciate how writer Joe Ansolabehere expanded on the show’s central theme of family in the set’s second episode, “I Never Barked For My Father.”  Lucky meets his long lost father and brother for the first time ever in this episode.  These are two of the collection’s finest.  What’s more, older audiences will appreciate the guest vocal talent shared here.  That is another positive to this set of episodes.

The episodes collected for Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks offer plenty of heart and laughs.  The writers behind the show are to be applauded for their work.  Just as worth noting of these episodes is the guest vocal talent recruited for these episodes.  Lucky’s father is voiced by none other than Gary Cole in “I Never Barked For My Father.”  And his long lost brother is voiced by one Gary Cooksey.  Cooksey is best known for his time on Diff’rent Strokes as well as voicing Montana Max on Tiny Toon Adventures and portraying Robert “Buddy” Budnick on Nickelodeon’s hit 90s series, Salute Your Shorts.  Older audiences will recognize Gary Cole from his roles in Office Space, Dodgeball, Talladega Nights, and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law just to name some of his work.  Cole and Cooksey are just a couple of the well-known names that grace this collection of episodes.  Fred Stoller (Wordgirl, Everybody Loves Raymond) guests on the collection’s opener as the voice of Ralph.  Ralph is a stray that has lost his Christmas spirit because he has never had a single owner.  That all changes thanks to the Pound Puppies.  Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King, Jurassic Park, The Exes) also shares his talents as the voice of Ralphie, Mr. McLeish’s old friend in “Good Dog, McLeish.”  If that isn’t enough, then the addition of both Tress MacNeille (Futurama, The Simpsons) and Charles Shaughnessy (The Nanny) as guest talent in “Prince and the Pupper” will certainly convince parents to check out this latest collection of Pound Puppies episodes with their kids.  The list of guest talent included in Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks is only a glimpse of the big name actors and actresses that have lent their talents to this series over the course of three seasons.  And it’s just one more reason for families to enjoy this collection together.  There is one more reason that families will enjoy the episodes presented in this set.  That reason is that each of the set’s five episodes includes its own musical number.  It would have been so easy for the writers to go over the top considering the history of musical numbers in shows that aren’t known for musical numbers.  Instead, the show’s writers made each episode’s musical number respectable and within limitations.  They didn’t make them big, cheesy tongue-in-cheek numbers.  They actually add a certain amount of emotion and comic relief where necessary.  Just as with the guest vocal talent and the equally enjoyable writing overall, the musical number become one more part of the whole that makes Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks well worth the watch any time of the year.  It is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/pound-puppies-holiday-hijinks.  More information on this and other Pound Puppies DVDs is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutactoryofficial.  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.

Littlest Pet Shop Update A Good New Take On A Classic Cartoon

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Hasbro/Hub/Shout Kids/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hasbro/Hub/Shout Kids/Hasbro Studios

Hasbro’s new animated take on the Littlest Pet Shop toy franchise is a good series for its intended young female audience.  The first DVD from the updated series, “Little Pets, Big Adventures” is proof of that.  This take on the toys will most definitely entertain its intended audiences and teach some very important life lessons, too throughout the five episodes contained on its single disc.  Add in animation much like that of its fellow updates in Pound Puppies and My Little Pony, and young female audiences get a solid introduction to this updated cartoon.

The very first and most important factor that audiences will appreciate in Littlest Pet Shop: Little Pets, Big Adventures is its mix of entertainment and heart.  The heart in these episodes comes from the life lessons interwoven into each episode.  While there are only five episodes (technically there are four since one episode is a two-parter), the lessons written into each one and the manner in which they were written will be appreciated because they aren’t preachy.  They are there.  But they don’t overpower each episode’s main story.  Rather, they are extensions of each episode so to speak.  One of the best examples of this is in the set’s final episode, “Penny For Your Laughs.”  This episode is one more salvo in the fight against bullying.  It also includes a lesson about knowing who one’s real friends are.  The anti-bullying lesson is approached when Pepper decides to become a comedian.  Her jokes start out funny.  But then, they start to get increasingly mean.  Eventually they lead to some very hurt feelings.  While that is going on, Blythe learns her own lesson when she stands up for the Biscuit twins.  They take her on as a BFF.  At first she likes it.  But then she starts to realize that things aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be.  In the end, both she and Pepper learn about being sensitive to others.  This is an increasingly valuable lesson as bullying is still a major issue in America today.  So for including such an episode, and making the culmination of the set, too, the writers behind Littlest Pet Shop are to be commended.

This one episode is just one example of the value of the writing behind Littlest Pet Shop.  Audiences will also appreciate the lesson about responsibility in “Bad Hair Day” and the two part introductory episode, “Blythe’s Big Adventure.”  This episode is the show’s very first episode.  It sets the stage for the adventures to come.  There is no lesson in this episode.  But it will still entertain its audiences, regardless.  Viewers will just have to find out for themselves about these episodes when they pick up this first DVD from the updated series for themselves.

The writing behind Littlest Pet Shop plays its own role in the success of this cartoon for its intended audiences.  Those that have the Hub network on their cable carrier will recognize just how similar this cartoon’s animation style is to that of fellow updated cartoons, Pound Puppies and My Little Pony.    It bears all the trademarks of those cartoons all the way around.  And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.  As is the case with any children’s cartoon, animation style plays a much larger role than many might think.  Its animation style is that new school style that looks blurs the line between CG based cartoons and hand drawn.  That line is so blurred that it’s next to impossible to tell which style was used.  This is actually a very good thing.  Young audiences need to be reminded as much as possible what real animation is.  In the same vein, the bright colors used throughout each episode are bright and cheery.  As minute a factor as it may seem the use of bright colors is a psychological move.  It helps to maintain a positive feeling among its audiences.  And when it is tied into the equally upbeat storylines, it becomes one more part of a whole that will make each episode that much more enjoyable for its viewers with each watch.  And each episode can be watched anytime because this DVD is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory web store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216610.  Audiences can keep up with all of the latest news on releases from Shout! Factory online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.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.