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

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

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

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

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

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

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy:  Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

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

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

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

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

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

StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date For Mama’s Family Sets

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/TimeLife

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/TimeLife

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a long time coming.  But comedian Vicki Lawrence’s sitcom spawned from The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, will finally see the light of day once more.  Earlier this year, Time Life and StarVista released Mama’s Family: The Complete Series.  And now for those that might not have managed to get their hands on the complete set, the two companies have announced that they will release the first two seasons of the hit sitcom this Summer.

Mamas Family Season One and Mamas Family Season Two will be released together on Tuesday, September 10th.  The first of the sets will be available for an MSRP of $22.95 and the second for $29.95.  The upcoming release of the show’s first two seasons marks the first time that they have ever been available to the public on DVD.  They feature the show exactly as it originally aired, as all material included in these sets was taken from the show’s original broadcast masters, otherwise known as the “Joe Hamilton” cuts.  Each episode is introduced by the late, great Harvey Korman as Alastair Quince (taking a playful stab at Alastair Cooke).  Audiences will be happy to see among the included bonus features, the DVD teleplay, “Eunice” and much more.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time life

The complete details of the sets’ bonus features is listed below.

BONUS FEATURES 

  • THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON – Featurette: Mama’s Family Tree: The Branches (All About Eunice and Ellen); Family History: A Classic “Family” Sketch from ‘The Carol Burnett Show’, featuring Betty White (Show #1012, December 11, 1976)
  • THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON – Movie: “Eunice” (Original Air Date: March 15, 1982); Featurette: Mama’s Family Tree: The Roots (All About Mama and Fran); Interviews: Vicki Lawrence interviews Mama, Vicki Lawrence interviews Carol Burnett, Betty White
Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Along with the first two full seasons, StarVista and Time Life will also release two “best of” compilations featuring some of the show’s best moments.  These compilations will also be available on September 10th.  They can all be ordered online direct at http://www.mamasfamilydvds.com.  The complete series can be ordered for an MSRP of $199.95.  The “Best of” compilations will be available for $12.95 each.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Audiences can find out more about these releases and more from StarVista and Time Life online at http://wwwStarVista.TimeLife.com, http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

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.

Annie Claus A Touching, Romantic Holiday Flick For Couples

Courtesy:  Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment/Sonar Entetainment/Hallmark Channel

Courtesy: Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment/Sonar Entetainment/Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel’s latest holiday movie, Annie Claus is Coming to Town is a good holiday romance movie for any young happy couples and hopeful happy couples to be.  The near ninety minute movie offers a new twist on the classic romance genre by giving it a holiday twist.  In this newest entry into the world of romance movies, audiences are introduced to young Annie Claus (played by Maria Thayer).  Annie’s story is set off when Mrs. Claus (Vicki Lawrence—Mama’s Family, The Carol Burnett Show) reveals that Santa is getting ready to retire and has to pass on the mantle of Santa to the next generation.  So being the next generation, Annie is sent out to try and find a love interest who could potentially become the next Santa.

As cheesy as it may be, it’s fitting that Annie ends up in a place that is the “polar” opposite (and yes that bad joke was fully intended) of the North Pole when she finds her way to sunny California.  Annie stays at the Candy Cane Inn (insert rim shot here), during her time in California. The inn is run by Lucy (Vivica A. Fox—Independence Day, Set It Off, Soul Food).  It doesn’t take long for the pair to become friends.  She also gets to know one of her soon to be love interests in Ted (Sam Page) when she takes a job at a small toy store that’s struggling to survive.  Of course, what story is complete without some conflict?  Another potential love interest comes into play.  But there’s a catch with this other man that at its roots hints back to certain other holiday movies.  Audiences will have to discover that catch on their own.  Of course, the second man who comes into the picture leads Annie to have to make a tough choice.  It’s a choice that could greatly impact the very fate of Christmas around the world.

Being that it’s a Hallmark Channel movie, audiences know that Annie Claus is Coming to Town will have a happy ending.  It’s that ending that makes it a good movie for any happy couple or hopeful happy couple to be during the holiday season.  It shows also the classic themes that love can be found in the most unlikely of places and that true love will always prevail.  One only needs to follow one’s own heart.  Annie Claus is Coming to Town is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via the Hallmark Channel online store at http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/shop/default.aspx.

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

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

Courtesy: Timelife/Star Vista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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