History’s “Definitive WWI & WWI Collection” Is A Must For Any History Buff

Courtesy:  History Channel/A&E Home Video

Courtesy: History Channel/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

The world stopped this year to mark two of the most important dates in not only military history but in the history of the world.  Those two dates are June 28th, 1914 and September 1st, 1939.  On June 28th, 1914, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, leading to the start of what is today known as WWI.  This past June marked the one hundredth anniversary of that fateful event.  And seventy-five years ago on September 1st, 1939, Hitler and the Nazi forces invaded Poland.  That invasion was the beginning of what would eventually become World War II.  As a way to recognize those anniversaries, History Channel released a new pair of documentaries this year in the forms of 100 Years of WWI and 75 Years of WWII.  These two documentaries are the latest in a long series of WWI and WWII-centered features that History Channel started releasing five years ago in 2009.  Five years ago, History Channel released Patton 360 to the masses.  That presentation was followed up with a number of documentaries that ultimately culminated this week with the release of The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection.  This brand new twenty-disc collection culls together Patton 360 with six previously released WWI and WWII-centered documentaries for a collection that more than deserves its title.  That collection of documentaries is the center of the set’s success and enjoyment.  The breadth of information shared throughout the course of those programs makes the collection even more worth the watch by any history buff and specifically military history buff.  Completing the box set is its packaging.  Considering that the set is spread across a total of twenty-discs, one might think the box would be rather bulky.  The reality is that History Channel has done quite the impressive job of packing the set without making it too bulky.  That will be discussed later.  But together with the collection of documentaries and their collective information, it helps make The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection a *ahem* definite must have for any history buff and military history buff.

History Channel’s new multi-disc collection of WWI and WWII documentaries that is The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection is a must have for any true history buff and military history buff specifically.  The main reason for this is the mass of material that makes up the box set.  No fewer than seven different programs centered on WWI and WWII (mainly on WWII) make up the total of the collection.  Those programs are: WWII in HD, WWII From Space, 100 Years of WWI, 75 Years of WWII, The Color of War, Patton 360, and History’s most recent mini-series/documentary The World Wars.  Each program is presented in its entirety.  The catch is that the discs have been scattered through the two boxes for some reason.  It’s possible that the reason for that is an attempt to correlate the topics covered in each disc.  That would be the most feasible explanation.  So audiences should expect that ahead of time.  It doesn’t mean that audiences can’t re-arrange the discs together.  But each series and program is presented in its entirety regardless.  And that in itself is itself a huge bonus for any lover of history and military history.  It offers a total of nearly forty-five hours of content that is just as useful in the classroom as the living room.  That’s about a whole year’s worth of military history, just putting it into perspective.  That mass of material is in itself another reason that lovers of history and military history specifically will appreciate this brand new box set.

History Channel offers in The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection nearly forty-five hours of content.  That is a lot of content.  The content specifically covers so many different angles of World War I and II.  Audiences learn in 100 Years of WWI how simple farm machinery was the basis for the very first tanks.  They also learn about the dangers and effects of chemical warfare on both sides as said warfare was developed.  It definitely was anything but perfect at that point.  The WWII-centered programs and documentaries are just as enjoyable.  WWII in HD is one of the most in-depth programs centered on WWII that has been released in at least the last ten years.  It covers WWII from every possible angle, including first-hand accounts from documents written by those that were swept up in the war.  The Color of War is a good complimentary piece to WWII in HD as it focuses mainly on the color footage that was available from WWII.  Patton 360 is just one part of History’s WWII 360. It offers audiences a look not just at Patton but at his adversaries and what made them such tough opponents.  And then for those that want something a little different, The World Wars mixes elements of actual history with something akin to a movie for a piece that is in itself one of this year’s best new documentaries.  There is so much more that could be noted in terms of what is made available content-wise.  But that would take far too long.  Needless to say, the amount of content made available across these twenty discs is roughly the equivalent of a small library of books on WWI and WWII.  It is likely more than enough for an entire academic year or even a single collegiate semester.  For those watching at home, it is material that can be visited and re-visited at any point any time one has to turn it off.  There is just so much to take in.  And every bit of it is well worth taking in, too.  It’s one more reason that any lover of history, and more specifically military history, will appreciate and enjoy this brand new box set.

The inclusion of seven full-length programs to make up The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection is by itself good reason for audiences to check out this box set.  The sheer breadth of material and its depth makes the set in whole even more worth the watch.  Making The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection a home run is its packaging.  One would think that twenty discs in one box set would make said box set pretty bulky.  However, History Channel has pleasantly surprised with this box set.  The set is broken up into two separate cases with ten discs each inside.  Both boxes see one disc placed on a spindle on the inside front of the case, another on the rear inside, and eight discs spread across four separate “leaves.”  The discs in question are placed on either side of each “leaf.”  This method of packaging both saves space and it protects the discs from one another.  Protecting the discs from one another means increasing the life of the discs, and in turn the enjoyment of each disc.  The packaging in whole will save space on any viewer’s DVD rack.  By comparison to the bulky box sets released by other companies this year and in previous years, audiences will see a positive difference between said box sets and this one.  Together with the previously noted content and the number of programs offered through this box set, this packaging makes The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection complete.  It makes one hundred percent clear just why any lover of history or military history specifically will enjoy and appreciate it.  It makes clear why it is a valid contender for a spot on any critic’s list of this year’s best new box sets overall.

The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection. More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at:

Website: http://www.history.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/History

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Ancient Aliens Box Set Is An Out Of This World Collection

Ancient Aliens The Complete Seasons 1 - 6The truth is out there.  Or is it?  For ages, people have claimed that beings from other worlds have visited Earth.  Those people have been knocked as nutjobs, crackpots, and much worse, much like those that have any belief in the paranormal.  What if there is something to their arguments, though?  What if beings from other worlds—aliens—have not only visited but have been here all along and have even played a role in the countless advances made by mankind for eons?  History Channel and H2’s hit series Ancient Aliens has pondered these questions for six seasons.  And the series’ seventh season is airing now on H2.  The series’ first six seasons run primarily right now on H2.  However, they do also run on History Channel at seemingly various times.  This can be a little bit troublesome for those that want to catch the series.  Thankfully, Lionsgate and History Channel are releasing the first six seasons in one complete box set for audiences tomorrow, November 11th.  Now audiences can see the series’ first six seasons anytime that they want.  That is the first and most important aspect of what makes this brand new box set a good addition to the collection of any of the series’ fans.  The episodes themselves are more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this box set.  Even if the episodes don’t win over everyone, one thing that can be said of them is that many of them will leave even the harshest skeptics questioning the world and the universe.  In direct connection to the content of the episodes included in this box set is the inclusion of twelve episodes that are new to DVD.  Each of these aspects by themselves make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1 – 6 well worth adding to the collection of any sci-fi fan and any hardcore believer.  Collectively, they make this box set one of the best new box sets to binge on this weekend or any time this winter as the weather gets colder.

Ancient Aliens has proven to be quite the surprise for History Channel and its digital “sister station” H2.  Very few people expected this series to last more than one season when it premiered on History Channel back in 2009.  Since that time, it has gone on to be one of the networks’ biggest hits.  The problem is that not everybody gets H2.  And those that have History have to largely speculate as to when the network will run episodes.  This is a big problem for the show’s fans.  Enter the brand new six-season box set from Lionsgate and History Channel.  Six of the series’ current seven seasons are spread across twenty-three discs.  While the packaging is a little bit questionable, it is still nice to have them all in one place.  Having them all culled in one box means that audiences can watch any of the episodes anytime they want.  They can even binge on all six seasons without needing Netflix or any other streaming service.  That in itself is a huge plus as it’s an alternative both to cable AND streaming services.  So kudos are in order for both Lionsgate and History Channel for that.

The presentation of Ancient Aliens’ first six seasons in one box is by itself an important part of the box’s overall success.  It means being able to watch any episode from the series’ first six season any time that viewers want.  For those that so choose, it even means getting to do lots of binge watching since that seems to be something of a movement now.  And they can do so without the need for Netflix or any other streaming service.  By direct connection, the episodes themselves are just as important to the overall presentation that is Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1- 6.  From aliens beneath the sea to ancient alien treasures to the alleged genetic link between humans and aliens, audiences get plenty of interesting material.  Some of the stories and theories presented across the series’ six season set are thought provoking, while others are obviously rather laughable.  Regardless, the topics and concepts discussed across the set’s six seasons and eighty-two total episodes are enough to leave even the harshest critics at least questioning at a little bit the world and universe around them even if they still remain skeptical.  The fact that these episodes could leave even the harshest of nonbelievers questioning things even a little bit is quite a statement in favor of these episodes.  It is one more reason for any viewer(s) to pick up this brand new box set.

The episodes that make up Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 are rather interesting to say the least.  Again, some of the topics and theories discussed leave a lot of room for discussion.  Others on the other hand are less likely to have audiences believing.  The very fact that the episodes in whole will leave even the harshest critics questioning the world and the universe (even a little) is a major positive for this box set. Speaking of the episodes culled for the box set, also included are twelve previously unreleased episodes. Those episodes all come from the series’ sixth season. They have not been released on the previously released stand-alone Season Six box sets. That means roughly twelve hours of deep, thought provoking material that was previously unavailable to audiences. It means twelve more hours of conspiracy theories, cover ups and supposedly hidden history that sci-fi fans and alien enthusiasts will love.

The bonus addition of twelve previously unreleased episodes coupled with the series’ already released episodes makes Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 a great gift idea for any sci-fi fan or alien enthusiast. The very topics and theories discussed within every one of the set’s eighty-two total episodes makes this set even more worth the watch for its key audiences. And the fact that they are all combined into one single box set makes the deal even sweeter. Each factor alone makes this set a must for any fan of what has become one of History and H2’s most surprising series. Collectively, they make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 an *ahem* out of this world gift for any lover of all things extraterrestrial. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. It will be available tomorrow, November 11th in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/ancient-aliens-seasons-1-6-dvd/detail.php?p=700074&v=history_show_ancient-aliens. More information on this and other History Channel Series is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.history.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/History

 

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.

History Detectives Impresses Again With Its Special Investigations

Courtesy: PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS has proven time and again in recent years that it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile educational programming.  While History Channel, Discovery Channel, and others of their ilk have continued to fall victim to their heads’ lust for reality TV programming, PBS has held its guns and stood its ground, becoming the gold standard for educational programming.  One show that has helped to make PBS the gold standard is its fan favorite series History Detectives.  PBS recently released a new History Detectives special to DVD titled History Detectives: Special Investigations.  Not that PBS needs it at this point, but this DVD is more proof of why the series is such a fan favorite and why PBS continues to help make PBS the leader in quality educational programming.  Audiences, whether they be new to the series or are more familiar with it, will appreciate that the series delves into some of history’s greatest mysteries in this new special.  That’s a change from its normal format.  Those that are less familiar with History Detectives will appreciate that it uses a rather familiar format in investigating each of the special’s mysteries.  And last but hardly least of all, in none of the cases studied in this special does the team try to prove or disprove any theory set forth.  The team merely investigates the facts and leaves the rest up to viewers.  When audiences take into consideration all three of the factors noted here, they will agree that this DVD proves once more why History Detectives is one of the best series on television for educators and lovers of history, and why PBS remains today the gold standard in quality educational programming.

History Detectives is one of PBS’ best programs.  It is a favorite among educators and lovers of history.  The main reason for this is that it presents history at its purest.  It has never attempted to over-glorify history and make it sexy for the sake of eyeballs to put it bluntly.  It takes the road far less traveled today in comparison to programs on the likes of History, Discovery, Destination America and others under those corporate umbrellas.  This latest release from History Detectives proves why that approach has–and continues to–make it a fan favorite.  Normally, History Detectives focuses on the history behind items and documents owned by ordinary people.  This time though, it turns the focus to a pair of history’s greatest mysteries and a couple that while not as well-known are just as interesting.  The two more well-known of the mysteries presented here center on famed band leader Glenn Miller and Jimmy Hoffa.  The lesser known of the mysteries presented here focus on the river boat Sultana and on a group of servant girls from Texas.  The study on Glenn Miller is exactly what audiences expect.  It examines the possible fate of the famed band leader.  The findings from the study are pretty interesting to say the least.  That’s because they leave just as many questions as answers.  Unlike the study on Miller, the study on Hoffa isn’t what audiences might think.  Instead of focusing on his fate–as so many do–this episode focuses on who might have been responsible for his disappearance.  The findings here are just as eye opening as the theories concerning where he may be.  Some may be surprised to learn that apparently Hoffa even had a link to none other than President Richard Nixon.  That’s just one of many rather interesting facts that audiences will learn from this episode. As if this isn’t enough, the episode centering on the riverboat Sultana brings up thoughts of the Maine and its controversy.  It might event raise thoughts of the Titanic disaster.  And the story centering on the murders of the young Teas servant girls will engage audiences just as much.  As should be evident by now, these stories by themselves more than make History Detectives: Special Investigations worth the watch by any educator or history lover in general.

The stories that make up History Detectives: Special Investigations are by themselves more than enough reason for audiences to check out this new DVD.  The manner in which the team approaches each investigation is another reason that audiences will appreciate this special.  Whether or not they are familiar with this series, audiences will recognize the manner in which the team approaches each case.  It is a formula that was once used in Discovery’s Mythbusters before the team of Kari, Grant and Tory was let go.  The only difference is that unlike Mythbusters, the show’s heads and hosts don’t try to make the investigations sexy for the sake of eyeballs.  It’s a welcome breath of fresh air.  It proves that history doesn’t have to be sexy to be interesting.  It’s just one more way that this latest release from PBS and History Detectives prove the value of both collectively.

The cases presented here and the manner in which each one is investigated together make History Detectives: Special Investigations solid proof of why this series is so belived by fans and why it makes PBS so invaluable to audiences today.  While both of the factors noted here play their own important role to the enjoyment of this presentation, there is one more aspect of this DVD that makes it so enjoyable for audiences.  That last aspect is the fact that within the course of the investigations, at no point does the team of Wes Cowan, Kaiama Glover, and Tukufu Zuberi try to prove or disprove any of the theories around which each case centers.  Rather they merely investigate each case, presenting the facts as they find them.  The rest is left up to audiences to decide for themselves.  In the case of Glenn Miller’s disappearance, audiences are left with a strong probability in terms of what might have actually happened.  But because his body was never recovered, audiences are still left to decide for themselves if the facts gathered actually lead to anything solid.  And in the case of Hoffa’s disappearance, audiences are left just as much to decide for themselves if the mob actually played a role in his disappearance or if in fact Nixon himself might have played a role.  The team never tries to actually say yeah or nay in the end.  They just gather the information needed to make educated guesses in each case.  Such approach serves to make each case all the more enthralling that each already was to begin with.  The end result is a special that leaves audiences wanting History Detectives to investigate some of history’s other major mysteries between its regular investgations.

Next to PBS’ History Detectives, the only other history based series on television today that present any real value anymore are Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum and History’s American Pickers.  While both series offer their own value to audiences, History Detectives still comes in first.  Special Investigations is more proof of that.  The cases and the team’s approach to each case more than make this series a joy for viewers.  The fact that it never really sets out to prove or disprove any theory, but rather simply investigates each one makes these episodes even more enthralling.  Altogether, all three factors together make this collection of investigations one that every educator and lover of history should have in their own personal collection.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=38349276&cp=&sr=1&kw=history+detectives+special+investigations&origkw=History+Detectives+Special+Investigations&parentPage=search.  More information on this release and all of the latest news from History Detectives is available online at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/historydetectives

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/historydetectives

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.

The World Wars Is One Of 2014’s Top New Documentaries

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/History Channel

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/History Channel

History Channel’s new powerhouse documentary The World Wars is easily one of this year’s best new documentaries hands down.  It is the proverbial icing on the cake that the network started baking earlier this year with the release of 100 Years of WWI and continued working this summer with 75 Years of World War II.  And along with the PBS documentary Day of Days: June 6th, 1945, it makes complete the collection of any history and military history buff this year. The first and most important aspect of this double-disc set that audiences will appreciate is its depth of information.  100 Years of WWI and 75 Years of WWII were specifically directed at the technology and battles of WWI and WWII.  This presentation is far broader in its content.  It focuses on the history of both wars and more specifically how the events of WWI would lead four specific figures to be the most important individuals of World War II.  The combination of re-enactors and footage of the wars together heightens the content provided across the presentation.  That is the second factor that audiences will appreciate in this documentary.  And last but not least worth noting is the breadth of bonus material included in the program.  The bonus material included in the Blu-ray and DVD presentation of The World Wars gives even more depth to not just the history of the wars but to those most important figures of the wars—Patton, Stalin, Hitler, and Churchill.  Each figure receives special attention in its own bonus special feature.  These bonuses are just some of the many bonuses added to the DVD and Blu-ray to enhance the overall viewing experience.  And they do just that.  The bonus material together with the rich content and the focus on the wars’ primary figures make this program an absolute must have for any lover of history whether it be military or history in general.  It is just as invaluable a tool in the classroom or in the living room.  It proves that much more just why this presentation is one of the year’s best new documentaries.

History Channel’s new military history documentary The World Wars is one of this year’s best new documentaries.  The central reasoning for this argument is the documentary’s sheer breadth of information.  The network already released earlier this year a pair of documentaries centered on the World Wars in the form of 100 Years of WWI and 75 Years of WWII.  Those documentaries presented more directed content than this presentation.  Where 100 Years of WWI and 75 Years of WWII focused on more directed content—they focused primarily on the technology that was developed as a result of the wars and a couple of the wars’ more important battles—The World Wars offers audiences a far more broad picture.  It leaves absolutely no stone unturned in its telling of how both wars started.  From the political and economic causes of the wars to their political and economic ramifications and much more, audiences might find themselves shocked at some of the material included in this four-and-a-half hour presentation.  Among the most interesting facts to learn in watching the program is that then President Woodrow Wilson actually tried to prevent the League of Nations from forcing economic penalties on Germany as he and others knew the potential problems with doing so.  Audiences will be just as surprised to learn that Hitler actually escaped death three separate times throughout his time in the German army in WWI.  One of the academics tapped to help add to the story explains that the very first of those times was a showdown between himself and a fully armed British soldier.  He asks hypothetically can audiences imagine how much the world’s history would have changed had that first encounter led to Hitler’s death.  It’s definitely a mind twist when one really sits down and thinks about it.  There is even mention of how the Japanese, despite having contributed troops to the Allied efforts in WWI were shut out at the conference that led to the crafting of the Treaty of Versailles.  It goes without saying that the representatives at the conference were probably a bit upset over this, potentially leading to part of the motivation behind Japan’s negative feelings toward the U.S. before its attack on Pearl Harbor.  These are just some of the examples of how much content is shared throughout The World Wars’ near five-hour run time.  There is far more material and information proving how much depth this program possesses and why that depth is key to the program’s success.

The amount of information shared throughout The World Wars’ four-and-a-half-hour run time is key to the presentation’s overall success.  The amount of information included throughout this program could rival any college level history course.  The additional combination of actual footage from both wars alongside re-enactors goes a long way towards helping viewers grasp the material being discussed in each segment of the program.  The actors make it clear through their portrayals that they understood the importance of what they were doing, too. They did so by not overacting. It showed that they understood they weren’t in a “based on actual events” major Hollywood blockbuster, but a still professionally produced piece nonetheless. It just so happened that the piece in question is a straight forward historical documentary.

The in-depth content provided throughout The World Wars by itself makes this historical documentary well worth the watch by itself. That content would have been nothing without the addition of the program’s actual wartime footage and re-enactments. The World Wars would have been a success if it had only been highlighted by these factors. Of course, those behind the semi-mini-series didn’t rest on those laurels. They also included a bevy of bonus material that puts the presentation over the top. Included as bonus material is a collection of profiles on the most important figures of World War I and World War II, and a pair of short features on both the technology developed in the wars and life in the trenches. There is also an in-depth piece that adds even more background on the wars in which one of the most important statements is made. One of the historians interviewed for the program notes here that the Treaty of Versailles was essentially the catalyst for the start of WWII because of its language. She goes on to note that WWI and WWII were in reality not two wars, but two parts of one global conflict. It’s just that the world rested for two decades before the second part of that conflict re-ignited. It’s really an interesting concept to consider. And in hindsight, watching The World Wars in whole, her statement makes quite a bit of sense. It becomes perhaps one of the most important statements of the entire presentation. There are plenty of other important notes and facts shared throughout the bonus features included in The World Wars. Whether it be those notes and facts, the profiles or the other bonus material included in the package, the bonus features are collectively a final fitting touch to a documentary that is one of the year’s best new documentaries if not the best of the year.

The bonus material included in The World Wars by themselves are impressive in their own right. They offer their own depth and enjoyment for any military history buff or history buff in general. Along with the content of the primary presentation, and the footage and re-enactments, the bonus material included in the package makes the entire presentation that is The World Wars complete. Collectively, everything noted here proves that its various reality TV series aside, History Channel does in fact still offer quality content worthy of being called one of the year’s best new documentaries if not the year’s best new documentary. The World Wars is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/the-world-wars-blu-ray/detail.php?p=567846&v=history_show_world-wars. More information on this and other History Channel programs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/History. 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.

Educators, History Lovers Alike Will Enjoy History Channel’s New WWII Documentary Set

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/History Channel

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/History Channel

History Channel’s new military documentary 75 Years of WWII is scheduled to be released this week.  The double-disc documentary is another nice addition to the library of any military history buff out there. Unlike its partner documentary, 100 Years of WWI was somewhat mistitled, the title of this feature actually works to a point.  That is because it actually takes into account the start of WWII in Europe, rather than from the point of the United States’ entry into the war.  So it is actually factually correct.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this program is that while it does not present the depth of documentaries such as WWII in HD and Vietnam in HD, it is a good starting point for any discussion on World War II especially for any military history class or even history class in general.  And last but not least of all worth noting is the packaging for the double-disc presentation.  That packaging alongside the program’s content and smart title work together to make 75 Years of WWII another welcome addition to the library of any teacher, professor, or history lover in general.

The very first aspect of 75 Years of WWII that makes this latest set from History Channel work is its title.  Most audiences take far too often for granted the title of a given box set, movie, etc.  But the title of this release is quite important.  It is actually so important because this September marks the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII.  That is the 75th anniversary of the start of the war in Europe, not since America joined the war.  So it is a factually correct title.  Some might ask why this matter.  It matters in that unlike so many DVDs out there already, it doesn’t end up misleading audiences.  On another level, that factual certification also serves in itself as the basis for its own history lesson that is broadened quite well by History Channel’s other recent World War II documentary, WWII in HD and the network’s other WWII-based series, one of which sees a two-part episode included on this disc.  That inclusion plays its own part in the overall success of this set, too.

As subtle as it is, the title of 75 Years of WWII is an important piece of the whole that makes this latest release from History Channel enjoyable for history lovers, teachers, and military history lovers alike.  It is a subtle yet important starting point for any discussion point on World War II whether in the classroom or the living room.  Just as important as the presentation’s title is the actual content contained on the set’s two discs.  The material included on this presentation may not be as in-depth as History Channel’s previously released WWII box set WWII in HD.  However, it does collectively offer its own share of in-depth information making for even more solid starting points for many more discussions on the history of World War II.  It all begins with the two-part special D-Day in HD on the set’s first disc.  More than likely, this was chosen as the world stopped and observed the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the end of World War II this year.  It’s a fitting starting point for viewers considering the timeliness of the set’s release.  Disc II is anchored by the two-part Battle 360 episode that focuses on the U.S.S. Enterprise and its role in the battle of Guadal Canal.  There is also a short feature on the Top 10 most important pieces of military hardware that were developed over the course of World War II. This ties directly into History Channel’s previously released programs World War II from Space and 100 Years of WWI, which focused primarily on the military tech developed in World War I, rather than the war’s history.  The Germans, Japanese, and Americans are all featured in this countdown, from land to sea to air.  It’s a fitting finishing piece for a grouping of content that any history lover, military history lover and educator will appreciate.

Both the content included on 75 Years of WWII and its very title are key to the set’s overall presentation and enjoyment.  As important as both factors remain, there is still one remaining factor that audiences should consider when purchasing the double-disc set.  That remaining factor is the set’s packaging.  There are only two discs in this package.  But both discs are placed on their own spindle inside the case.  Disc one is placed on its own insert inside the case while disc two has been placed on a spindle on the back inside portion of the case.  This protects the discs from one another all while making them easily accessible.  The end result is a pair of discs that audiences will be able to enjoy time and again for years to come.

The packaging used to house the discs in 75 Years of WWII rounds out History Channel’s new presentation.  Together with the set’s equally important content and factually accurate title, the three factors noted here make 75 Years of WWII an even more welcome addition to any classroom or living room.  It can be ordered online now direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=577134&SESSID=a067958912a6f2c2d1ab21dca48b384a&v=history.  More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at http://www.facebook.com/History and http://www.history.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.

History Channel’s New WWI Program A Must See For Any Military, History Buff

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

History Channel released this week its new military documentary 100 Years of World War I.  The documentary is a perfect fit for any high school and college level history course.  It is just as fitting for a class at any military academy.  The in-depth program spans two discs and eight separate segments.  The first four segments are the meat and potatoes of the program and are contained entirely on the set’s first disc.  That separation of material is the second part of this set that audiences will appreciate.  And rounding out the whole presentation is the incorporation of vintage footage and pictures, actual writings from those involved in combat, and computer simulations to help illustrate each segment’s topic.  These extras alongside the set’s organization and its expansive information collectively make 100 years Of WWI a viable candidate for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

The primary factor that audiences will appreciate about this new documentary “series” is the depth of material included across each of its segments.  Audiences are treated to a history lesson primarily on the military tech that was first developed for use in World War I.  It all starts with a lesson of sorts on the evolution of a British farm tractor into the first tanks.  Audiences will be interested to see just how tight things were inside the tanks and the dangers that tank crews faced in those earliest versions of tanks.  What’s more, audiences will be interested to see just how imperfect they were despite their strengths.  From tanks, the main feature moves on to the development of the first chemical warfare and to the advent of aerial and submersible technology.  The program’s narrator explains that things weren’t perfect with any of this tech at first.  For instance, the gas used actually would blow back into the faces of the soldiers, leading many to be killed by accident.  And even the use of submarines was largely ineffective at first for British forces.  Even more interesting, audiences will learn that for the longest time, the U.S. actually stayed out of the war, until the German forces didn’t keep their word about not sinking American ships.  If all of this isn’t enough for audiences, there is even a history lesson of sorts on some of the most integral air battles in the history of World War I in the set’s bonus second disc.  These are just some examples of the extent of the in-depth information shared throughout the course of this program’s two discs.  The history shared throughout the course of this set’s two discs is central to its overall enjoyment.  The manner in which the overall program was separated is another reason that audiences will appreciate this set.

The organization of 100 Years of WWI is another important aspect of this set’s overall enjoyment.  Each of the four primary segments that comprise the main feature is presented in and of itself rather than all of them being jumbled together as one big program. This applies to the features included on the bonus second disc, too. The end result of this full separation of features is that viewers will be more apt to actually sit and watch through each one’s roughly forty plus minute run time. The only real connection per se that each of the features have to one another is the opening sequence. It tells audiences what the program covers in each part. The overall impact of this organization alongside the depth of material presented makes both aspects equally important. Together, they make this box set even more enjoyable for any history buff or military history buff.

The organization of 100 Years of WWI and the information included within each of the set’s eight total features together make this set well worth the purchase by any military history buff and history buff in general. There is one more factor to consider in this set’s enjoyment. That factor is its collective interviews, vintage footage and pictures, and computer simulations. Each one helps in its own way to make each discussion more accessible for viewers. There are computer generated clips showing how the blimps crafted by the German forces bombed England. There are also computer simulations used in the features centered on WWI’s most well-known dogfights. And the footage and pictures of the men fighting on the front lines drives home just how horrible it must have been to have been in those trenches. This is merely some of what audiences can expect from this program. Audiences will see much more when they order 100 Years of WWI for themselves. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=562013. More information on this and other releases from History Channel is available online at http://www.history.com, http://shop.history.com, and http://www.facebook.com/History. 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.

Bruce Lee Documentary Worth The Watch For Fans

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory released a little more than a year ago, a new documentary centered on martial arts legend Bruce Lee titled I Am Bruce Lee.  Lee’s career was not the longest of any star foreign or American.  But as audiences will see in this latest documentary, the short time that he spent on screen was only part of the reason that he was so revered.  He remains today one of the most influential figures in martial arts whether it be on television, in movies or in general.  That information shared through the course of the documentary’s ninety-four minute run time is one part of what makes the documentary well worth the watch for anyone that is a fan of martial arts in all of its avenues.  Also to be taken into consideration in this documentary is the editing.  Editor Tony Kent expertly assembled the different bits and pieces of the documentary in such fashion as to keep viewers completely engaged throughout the program.  The editing and information shared throughout the program are accompanied by additional footage that didn’t make the primary program.  That bonus footage of Lee’s “Backyard Training” and deeper discussions on Lee’s continued influence on the world make I Am Bruce Lee complete.  That bonus material partners with the primary program and its editing to once again make this documentary one that any of Bruce Lee’s legions of fans will appreciate.

I Am Bruce Lee is not the first documentary to focus on the legendary star of film and television.  Warner Home Video released Bruce LeeA Warrior’s Journey in 2001.  That documentary was followed up in 2009 with History Channel’s How Bruce Lee Changed The World in 2009.  The amount of time that has passed since each documentary was released means that chances are great that both are going to be very difficult to find.  That being the case, I Am Bruce Lee becomes an even more valuable piece for any martial arts enthusiast and fan of Bruce Lee.  That’s because so little time has passed since this documentary was released early last year.  The information shared throughout the course of the program is quite similar to that of both of the aforementioned documentaries. Audiences will appreciate learning that as much of a star as Lee became in his life, he apparently wasn’t always fond of his stardom.  His wife notes in her interview that he actually got to the point that he hated going out because he was followed so much.  On another note, audiences not so familiar with Lee’s life will find just as interesting how little stigma Lee and his wife experienced despite the views on inter-racial marriage at the time that they were wed.  Even more interesting to learn, is the contrast of Lee’s own view of his success versus its reality.  The comparison to Jimi Hendrix having to go to London to become famous is an excellent illustrator of what Lee ended up having to face, despite his early beliefs of how successful he would become in America.  This and so much more shared throughout the program makes for a solid foundation on which the documentary rests.

The information shared throughout the course of I Am Bruce Lee is the foundation for the success of this latest Bruce lee documentary.  Just as important to the program’s success is the editing.  Editor Tony Kent expertly and seamlessly assembled the entire feature.  The skill that Kent exhibited in this piece keeps viewers fully engaged from start to finish.  Most notable of his editing is his ability to use vintage clips from Lee’s movies to semi-playfully add to certain discussions. Such technique is not necessarily anything new for any documentary. But Kent uses the technique sparingly whereas other editors might have taken it over the top and overdone it. So for that, Kent is more than deserving of his due credit. Kent is also to be applauded for his seamless editing in terms of the discussions by the features celebrity guests on how Lee influenced them. The guests, which include some of the biggest names in MMA, acting, and even sports discuss what makes Lee so influential to this very day. They use very specific examples of what continues to make him the iconic figure that he remains today. Kent cuts directly to the vintage footage of Lee both from his film career and from personal interviews that he conducted to illustrate those discussions. His editing makes the discussion perfectly clear. Audiences will see that for themselves and more when they purchase the documentary for themselves.

The editing and overall content that collectively make up I Am Bruce Lee are both important factors in the overall success of the feature. The finishing touch to the whole thing is the additional material included as bonus features. The vintage footage of Lee’s “Backyard Training” is the best of the bonus features. It is the best of the bonus material because it completes the material shown in the main feature. Audiences get a glimpse into Lee’s own home training setup in the main feature. This bonus material expands on the glimpse given into that training. It is essentially material that likely ended up on the cutting room floor as it might have made the main feature too long in the eyes of those at the film’s helm.

The second feature, “Inspiration – Bruce Lee’s Global Impact,” is a bonus in that it expands on the snippets of the interviews used in the presentation’s main feature. As with the bonus “Backyard Training” featurette, odds are that these snippets were material that ended up on the cutting room floor for time’s sake. As audiences will see and hear for themselves in the expanded interview footage, Lee’s influence on the world today is as strong as it has ever been. It will be even stronger when audiences take in this material and everything else presented in I Am Brice Lee for themselves. Audiences will agree in watching everything included in this documentary that I Am Bruce Lee is a welcome addition to the home library of any martial arts enthusiast and Bruce Lee devotee.

I Am Bruce Lee is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered via Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/i-am-bruce-lee. 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.