Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series Is Loads Of Fun And Laughs

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/Lucille Ball Productions, Inc./gab entertainment

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/Lucille Ball Productions, Inc./gab entertainment

The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) used to be one of the greatest networks on television.  Classic dramas and sitcoms such as: Route 66, Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island, and I Love Lucy among so many other greats.  Compared to the glut of crime and medical procedurals that clutter CBS’ weekly programming schedule, as well as the largely boring sitcoms—save for perhaps Big Bang Theory—it is increasingly clear that CBS’ best days are sadly behind it.  Of course those that would argue against this are likely also the same audiences that are fans of the cookie cutter programming currently filling CBS’ weekly schedule.  Thankfully MPI Home Video has given fans of CBS’ golden era yet another piece of that era in the form of Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series.  The six-season box set was released on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014.  And it is a box set that is fully worth the $100+ price tag.  The primary reason for this is the show’s writing.  Audiences will notice a brand of comedy very similar to that of the comedy from I Love Lucy.  Yet despite this, they writers managed to keep from simply recycling episodes of I Love Lucy in this series.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this set is the bonus material included throughout each season.  And last but not least, audiences will especially appreciate the box’s packaging.  Each of these factors by themselves carry their own weight in the series’ success.  Together, they make Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series a must have for anyone that is looking for an escape from all of the oversexed, overly violent programming currently dominating the broadcast and cable ranks.

Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series is a welcome breath of fresh air from all of the oversexed and overly violent programming currently dominating so much of the broadcast and cable ranks today.  The main reason for this is the series’ writing.  The writing used throughout the series is quite similar to the writing that made I Love Lucy such a hit and keeps it a fan favorite today.  The physical comedy is there.  So are the wacky situations into which Lucy gets herself.  From losing an envelope full of money given to her by her boss and brother-in-law, and thinking her teenage daughter was going to get married to playing landlord and more, the scripts crafted for this show’s six season make for way more than their share of laughs.  Even more interesting about the writing is the fact that Lucy’s character, Lucille Carter, was a divorced, single mother.  It was a reflection of sorts of Lucy’s own personal life.  She and Desi had gotten divorced by the time that Here’s Lucy came on the air.  Even without Desi in the picture, the writers were able to find a fitting replacement for him in the part of Gale Gordon (Dennis The Menace).  Gale played Lucille Carter’s brother-in-law (and boss) Henry. So taking all of this into consideration, the writers behind Here’s Lucy clearly did their homework. The proverbial icing on the cake that is the series’ writing is the fact that the writers didn’t allow the series to become a serial. Lucy’s daily life working for Henry and her life at home are both chronicled throughout the series. But at no point do the writers allow the series to become a serial. In an era today when almost every series on television is a serial requiring people to watch every week, having such a stand-alone series is a breath of fresh air.

The solid and fully entertaining writing that went into Here’s Lucy is by itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up the recently released six-season box set. It isn’t the only reason that audiences will want to check out this standout series. The set’s bonus features make the set even more enjoyable for audiences, whether they may be new to the series or not. All six seasons include brand new video introductions by Lucy’s children, Lucie and Desi, Jr. There are also introductions by other well-known starts who made guest appearances throughout the seasons. And they aren’t just introductions, either. There are also extra shared in the introductions. One example comes in the introduction to “Lucy Visits Jack Benny.” Lucy’s daughter Lucile shares with audiences the friendship that Lucy had with Jack Benny and other little extras. There is much more shared in the introduction of each episode. And audiences will get just as much entertainment from the introductions as the episodes themselves.

Also included throughout each season set in the box are segments from Lucy’s radio show, “Let’s Talk To Lucy.” The show was an interview style program in which Lucy interviewed not some of the biggest stars of the day. The segments included throughout all six seasons focus primarily on Lucy’s co-stars from the series. Along with these bonuses, there are also slide shows, original syndication promos for the show and much more added as bonus material. The noted bonus material is just the tip of the iceberg and the most important. It makes the overall viewing experience all the more enjoyable and the box set all the more worth picking up by anyone that is a fan of true classic and family friendly programming.

The writing that went into each episode of Here’s Lucy and the bonus features included in this recently released box set are both of equal importance in the set’s overall enjoyment. There is one last factor to consider in the set that viewers will agree seals the deal for the entire package. That final factor is the set’s packaging. While the set seems a bit bulky on the surface having all six seasons contained in one box, audiences will change their minds in looking at the packaging of each season. Each of the series’ six seasons received their own four-disc boxes. The discs themselves are separated from one another inside the cases on their own plastic inserts. They are placed on either side of the inserts with one disc on the top of one side and the other on the bottom of that same insert’s other side. While this is typically the standard for multi-disc sets nowadays, there are still companies out there that do not follow this rather wise ergonomic packaging model. It protects the discs from scratching each other. The end result is that it maintains the discs’ quality and in turn preserves the show for potentially a whole new generation to enjoy years down the road. Keeping this in mind, it makes this final factor in Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series just as important as those already noted. And alongside those previously noted features, the trio together makes this box set a must see for every family and every fan of classic television.

Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered direct from MPI Home Video’s online store at More information on this and other releases from MPI Home Video is available online now at,, and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Breslin’s Latest Just As Enjoyable As Any Big Budget Paranormal Flick

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/MPI Media Group/IFC Films/IFC Midnight

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/MPI Media Group/IFC Films/IFC Midnight

IFC Midnight (a division of IFC Films) and its partner MPI Media Group will release their latest paranormal thriller next week.  Haunter will be released on Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, February 11th.  The movie, starring Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Ender’s Game) is quite a surprise for anyone that is a fan of movies in the paranormal genre.  It’s a surprise first and foremost because as audiences will discover of the movie, it is not so much a horror movie as it is a thriller of sorts.  It could even be argued to be a mystery,too.  By direct connection, the script behind the story makes it the thriller that it is.  That is another element of this piece that makes it well worth the watch.  One more factor to be taken into consideration with Haunter is its pacing.  The story’s pacing is factor that audiences will appreciate about it.  Its run time barely tops the ninety-minute mark.  But even with that relatively short run time, it doesn’t move too fast or too slow at any one given point.  It gets right to the point, instead of wasting unnecessary time building backstory or any unnecessary elements.  That factor is among the most important.  And along with the other mentioned factors, it makes Haunter a movie that any fan of the paranormal genre a must see.

The very first thing that viewers will notice about Haunter is that it is more paranormal thriller than a horror story per se.  One could even argue to a point that it is a paranormal mystery movie because Lisa (Breslin) is left to figure out the mystery of what is happening with her family and what happened to them for that matter.  It leads to an even bigger mystery that will be left for viewers to find out for themselves.  The trail that Lisa follows will have viewers literally on the edge of their seat, trying to figure out the mystery with her.  It’s nice to see that this movie is so easily able to walk that line of paranormal and mystery, all while keeping the blood and gore to a minimum.  This is just the first aspect of Haunter that makes it so enjoyable for any fan of the paranormal genre.  By direct connection, script writer Brian King’s script for this movie is just as impressive.

Writer Brian King’s script for Haunter is an important piece of the whole that makes the indie-paranormal thriller so enjoyable.  King’s script combines elements of The Lovely Bones and The Others to bring this story to life.  On the surface, the fact that he has combined those movies’ elements seems like a bad thing.  But in combining them, he was able to craft a wholly new story that turns the paranormal genre on its ear.  It is essentially a battle of good and bad that takes place in the spirit realm.  He throws in just enough twists and turns throughout the script to keep audiences engaged, but not confused.  The catch is that in order to not be confused, audiences must be completely engaged in the movie, and not otherwise distracted by anything.  Anyone that allows themselves to become distracted will become distracted and in turn, confused.  This will lead to less appreciation for King’s script.  It goes to show how well King balanced all of his script’s elements and eventually developed this impressive final product.

King’s script is definitely impressive, even having used elements of at least two other paranormal thrillers.  He was able to craft a balanced script that keeps viewers engaged straight to its end.  The script’s balance of elements is just part of what makes it a success.  Along with that balance, King is to be applauded for his script’s pacing.  He wastes no time getting right to the story.  It launches right from its outset.  There’s no overloaded backstory slowing things down.  And the twists and turns peppered throughout the story are placed at just the right points so as to not overwhelm viewers.  The same can be said of Lisa’s transitions between the spirit world and the human world as she tries to solve the mystery that she uncovers.  He sets the pacing so well that as with the writing, it requires audiences to engage themselves entirely in the story, and not let themselves be distracted by anything else.  THAT is the truest sign of this story’s success.  It requires audiences to pay attention.  Few movies do that today, either indie or mainstream.  And those that do pay full attention will agree that it is a paranormal thriller that is just as enjoyable–if not more so–than any major mainstream movie in the paranormal genre.  It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, February 11th.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

A Case Of You A Quirky, Fun Rom-Com For Today’s Thirty-Something Audiences

A Case of You Blu-ray

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFC Films

IFC’s new rom-com A Case of You is the first fun story of its type in 2014.  The story is one that has been told countless times.  But in the case of A Case of You, co-writers Justin and Christian Long have teamed up with Keir O’Donnell to craft a story that is more than just the standard boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end story.  Sure that standard story line is there.  But the execution of the story is what makes it worth the watch.  The writing is just one part of this roughly ninety-minute plus story.  Actor/writer Justin Long (Going The Distance, Live Free Or Die Hard, He’s Just Not The Into You) is fully believable as a desperate character looking for love.  His personal development over the course of the movie will keep viewers completely engaged.  And while it is usually not the most noticeable portion of any movie, the soundtrack used for the story gives it even more charm.  These three factors together make A Case of You a rom-com that any of today’s thirty-something audiences will enjoy.

A Case of You is a fun rom-com for today’s thirty-something audiences.  That is primarily thanks to the writing of Justin Long (who also stars in the movie), his brother Christian Long, and Keir O’Donnell.  Sitcom and movie writers have touched on the oft times ludicrous lengths to which men and women will go in order to attract the opposite sex.  But basing an entire movie on this concept is in its own right original.  That’s because few of said writers have ever actually taken the risk of doing so.  The primary update on the classic rom-com formula isn’t all in the writing that audiences will appreciate. O’Donnell and the brothers Long also collectively impress audiences in that they have taken the rom-com and turned it on its ear by mixing in elements of a stoner flick, too.  One wouldn’t think that a rom-com and a stoner flick would work.  But thanks to the teamwork of O’Donnell and the Long brothers, the stoner elements don’t manage to overpower the central story.  The end result is a story that is quirky but has enough charm to make it endearing at the same time.

The writing and the manner in which it was balanced is the biggest part of what makes A Case of You as enjoyable as it is.  In direct relation, Justin Long shows his ability to interpret his character quite well through his acting.  Many won’t want to publicly admit to it, but there are audiences that will say they too have used Facebook to try and land their love interest.  It’s a sign of the times.  But that’s a commentary for another time.  Sam’s personal growth as he gets to know Birdie even more is relatable to any viewer male or female.  Sam’s sudden fear of commitment when Birdie finally expresses her feelings for him is a classic rom-com and even romantic dramedy element. It’s been used time and again throughout the history of both genres.  But that moment, in relation to his attempts to woo Birdie, makes it an even more impactful moment.  It proves to be the pinnacle of his personal growth.  And it makes the movie’s final minutes all the more heartwarming.  On a side note, the Long brothers and their writing partner deserve even more kudos for not having gone the formulaic route and used the all too clichéd final airport scene that every other rom-com and romantic dramedy uses.  Rather, they actually pay tribute to Dustin Hoffman’s 1967 classic The Graduate.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess.  There is no commentary allowing for such insight.  But it is there regardless.  And it’s one more bonus that classic movie buffs will appreciate.  The positives don’t end here, either.

The writing and acting on the part of lead Justin Long go a long way toward making A Case of You a quirky yet fun flick for today’s thirty-something viewers. There is still one aspect of the story that is deserving of note here that makes everything complete.  That aspect is the movie’s soundtrack.  The music that makes up the movie’s soundtrack is just as quirky as the movie itself.  Included in the movie’s soundtrack are the likes of Spin Doctors, Joan Baez, Johnny Mathis, Fitz and the Tantrums, and so many other artists.  The musical spectrum that makes up the movie’s soundtrack runs the gamut.  As wide as that swath is, each song was a perfect fit for its companion scene.  And each song works just as well on its own on a soundtrack.  It’s the final touch on a movie that is a great fit for any younger couple this Valentine’s Day or another.  It will be available Tuesday, February 4th on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

MPI, IFC Announce Details For New Paranormal Thriller

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFM Midnight/IFC Films/MPI Media Group

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFM Midnight/IFC Films/MPI Media Group

Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Signs, Rango) returns this Winter with her latest film.  She stars in IFC Midnight’s new horror story, Haunter in which she plays the part of a spirit of a girl named Lisa.  The film co-stars veteran actor and director Stephen McHattie (300, Watchmen, The Fountain) Eleanor Zichy (Skins), Peter Outerbridge (Silent Hill: Revelation), Michelle Nolden (RED) and David Hewlett (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

In this new “reverse ghost story”, Breslin plays the spirit of a teen girl named Lisa whose family was killed by a mysterious figure in 1986.  Now over three decades after Lisa and her family were killed, Lisa must convince her family that they are no longer among the living.  Making things even more interesting, a new family has moved into the house that was once home to Lisa and her family.  Now this new family faces the same danger that led to the death of Lisa and her family.  So Lisa must do whatever she can to protect the new family living in the house.  Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Splice, The ABCs of Death 2, Cube)  and co-written by Brian King and Matthew Brian King, this movie is sure to impress fans of movies the likes of: The Lovely Bones, The Others, and Insidious).

Haunter will be available on DVD and Blu-ray via MPI Media Group and IFC Midnight on Tuesday February 11th.  The DVD will be available for SRP of $$29.98.  The Blu-ray presentation will be available for SRP of $24.98.  The trailer for the movie can be viewed online at  The DVD and Blu-ray can be ordered online via Amazon at  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Room 237 An Interesting Tribute to Kubrick’s Genius

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFC Films

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFC Films

Strange.  Twisted.  Bizarre.  Odd.  Any and every one of these terms are perfectly fitting for the new documentary Room 237.  The documentary, which focuses on director Stanley Kubrick’s vision of author Stephen King’s novel by the same name, has been met with relatively mixed reviews.  Most of those reviews have been anything but positive.  It’s easy to see just why the reactions to Room 237 would be so negative.  Those that share their thoughts throughout the near two hour documentary echo the idea that Kubrick’s idea not just with The Shining but with the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey was to make audiences think.  And just as those movies make audiences think, so does this latest release from IFC Films Midnight.  Yes, the ideas presented here are about as out there as those presented on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, but in the bigger picture of things, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, as out there as they might be, they really help to illustrate Kubrick’s brilliance.

Those that are familiar with Stephen King’s books (and the movies based on his books) know just how much distaste King had for Kubrick’s take on his book.  But in Kubrick’s defense, his adaptation of King’s book stood quite well on its own two feet even as its own work.  It stood so well that some three decades plus after its debut, conspiracy theories continue to abound over its imagery.  That is where Room 237 comes into play.  Fair warning to those that take the time to sit down and watch this documentary, the conspiracy theories that are bandied about throughout this program are pretty out there to say the least.  There are theories about the imagery in The Shining hiding secret holding meaning about the genocide of different groups.  There are crackpot theories centered on mythology, numerology and somehow even the supposed faking of the moon landing.  Yes, somehow, someone even found time to link The Shining to the conspiracy theory about whether or not the moon landing even happened.  These people obviously had far too much time on their hands.  But that’s beside the point.  In defense of the faceless conspiracy theorists, they do manage to defend their arguments, as wild as they may be.  That much can be said of them even if their theories are completely out there.

The theories thrown around throughout the course of Room 237 are definitely as out there as conspiracy theories can be.  This is the case even for theories brought about from a movie.  But the very fact that so many theories have been dreamed up makes an even bolder statement that audiences should consider.  It makes the statement that Stanley Kubrick really was the genius that everyone said he was behind the camera.  Even though he is no longer with us, it shows why he is still the respected individual today that he was today.  Not many directors have an eye like he did for details.  For that matter, few directors could generate so much discussion to this day.  Did Kubrick really intend for people to find everything that they have found?  Did he really have some hidden agenda in moving a chair or a sticker of one of the seven dwarves?  And really, did he intend to send a message about Jack being sexually confused?  What?  It’s all in Room 237.  Regardless of what one believes, the fact that Kubrick could lead so many people to come up with such wild ideas makes this a documentary entirely worth watching at least once.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from MPI Home Video and IFC Films.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

IFC Closes 2012 On A High Note With Why Stop Now

Courtesy:  IFC Films/mpi media group/BCDF Pictures/120 db films

Courtesy: IFC Films/mpi media group/BCDF Pictures/120 db films

IFC Films’ latest release, Why Stop Now is everything that makes indie flicks great.  This debut film from co-directors Philip Dorling and Ryan Nyswaner is quirky and zany.  At the same time, it has just enough heart to make it endearing and memorable among fans of the indie movie world.  The heart of the story comes in form of Eli Bloom’s (Jesse Eisenberg—The Social Network) attempt to break away from his own family’s dysfunctional world as he has been given the chance to audition for a major music conservatory in Boston, which would allow him to escape from said dysfunction.  At the same time that he’s trying to escape from that world, it is obvious that he has his own flaws, too.  But it’s that imperfection that makes Eli such a sympathetic character.  Ironically enough, one also can’t help but root for Eli’s mom, Penny (Melissa Leo—The Fighter).  Yes, Penny’s a drug addict, but she shows that she is trying to do the best that she can as a mother to Eli and his sister.  It’s Penny’s addiction that leads to everything that happens in this quirky yet heartfelt story.  From meeting his mom’s drug dealer (and his drug dealer) to trying to make his audition all while having to pick up his sister and so much more, the whole story keeps “rolling” and will keep audiences just as entertained both in the story’s funny and more moving moments.

The concept of a young person trying to break away and start his or her own life is nothing new to the movie industry.  But there is no denying that the manner in which this time honored story has been presented here is in itself quite original.  To that extent, those critics who….well…criticized it for this originality are likely the same ones who refused to see the story’s balance of comedy and drama.  Much of that balance comes from the rather dysfunctional relationship between Eli and Penny.  And it’s also that balance that makes it the underrated indie flick that it is.  The introduction later of Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan—30 Rock, SNL) adds even more comedy and drama to the already entertaining story.  When he’s funny, he’s funny.  But he also shows that he can be taken seriously as a dramatic actor thanks to this movie too when he talks to Eli about everything he’s given up.  He tries to point out to Eli that he still has his life ahead of him and to not give up.  It’s only a momentary dramatic moment.  But even in that moment, Morgan shines as a dramatic actor.  It shows that even he can bring his own amount of heart to a story.  It would be interesting considering this, to see how he would do if he were to take a risk and branch out into more serious roles.

As funny and heartwarming as Morgan is throughout his time on camera, it’s the relationship between Eli and Penny that really gives Why Stop Now the heart and laughs that viewers will appreciate and enjoy most of all.  It’s obvious that Eli cares about Penny being his mother.  But he also sees that she seriously needs help.  Ironically enough, he needs his own help.  And even Penny points that out late in the movie in a conflict between the two.  Penny yells at Eli, pointing out his issues with alcohol.  But the thing of it is that it seems hinted that Eli’s problem with alcohol is a result of having to deal with his mother and sister.  Despite that, audiences are left with a warm feeling as Eli and his mother finally come to terms with everything and with each other by the story’s finale.  They are left knowing that the pair will be just fine, as will his sister.

Perhaps the main reason that the relationship between Eli and his mother works is the chemistry between Eisenberg and Leo.  Audiences will note in the movie’s “behind-the-scenes featurette how much the cast enjoyed working together.  While the movie doesn’t necessarily need bonus features to make it any better, viewers will enjoy hearing the cast’s take on their parts and on the story as a whole.  There is no commentary directly connected to the main feature.  But again, as enjoyable and original as the story is, it doesn’t really need that either, to make the overall viewing experience any better.  The story itself is really all audiences need in this movie.  It is simply put, a story that anyone looking for an original script will enjoy.  It is available now in stores and online on DVD and Blu-ray.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it or its companion page,  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Radnor’s Directorial Debut A Story “Ahead Of Its Years”

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFM Films

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFM Films

Josh Radnor’s (CBS’ How I Met Your Mother) directorial and writing debut is a story of personal growth and acceptance.  It is for all intents and purposes a coming-of-age story for today’s thirty something generation.  What audiences are presented within this movie is the story of a man who is in denial about getting older.  The man in question is Jesse Fisher (Josh Radnor).  Jesse is in denial about his aging until a series of occurrences leads him to begin seeing the light and sets him on his path of self-realization.  That path is started when he attends the retirement party of a former professor at his old university.  It’s his visit to his alma mater that leads him to meet a group of current students–including one 19-year old named Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen)–with whom he starts a friendship that becomes a semi-romantic relationship.  It’s his interactions with her that help set off a chain of events which eventually make Jesse realize some difficult truths.

As intriguing as the discussion is in Liberal Arts, the discussion makes the movie come across as a movie that’s not exactly for everybody.  Its biggest problem is its pacing.  Because of the manner in which the discussion takes place, the story ends up moving rather slowly.  To add to it, the manner in which the entire discussion is presented makes it come across as being too ambitious.  It may alienate some viewers.  It’s not to say that the discussion on getting older and accepting it is a bad idea for the basis of a movie.  Quite the opposite.  Rather, the problem with this discussion is its placement.  Had this discussion on acceptance of getting older been placed within the confines of another story, it might have translated better to mainstream audiences.

Don’t be mistaken.  Liberal Arts is not a terrible movie by any means.  It is simply a niche film that unlike other recent releases from IFC Films, will appeal more to a smaller, more specific set of viewers.  But then again, it may not have been intended for all audiences to begin with.  That being the case, those who enjoy this movie will know that they are the specifically intended audiences, while others will know the opposite.  Regardless, because of its discussion on acceptance of aging, it’s a story that is original and is worth at least one watch.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it or its companion page,  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Entertainment One brings fans another family friendly classic in Babar Season One

Courtest: Entertainment One

2012 has been a good year for classic television fans.  Thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of the classic Nicktoons have seen even more seasons of the classic 90’s Nicktoons get proper releases.  Fans of Dark Shadows have seen the release of the full series thanks to MPI Home Video.  And a much wider release of that series will be coming out soon, too.  Now, thanks to Entertainment One, fans of another classic have reason to be happy.  That classic is HBO’s classic animated series, Babar.  That’s right.  “Babar:  The Classic Series Season One” was released just last week thanks to Entertainment One.  In an era when so much programming is anything but kid and family friendly, this season is a welcome addition to any family’shome library.

“Babar:  The Classic Series Season One” has all thirteen of the first season’s original episodes.  It follows Babar’s family from the very first episode, in which he has to explain to Alexander about what happened to his mother right to the episode about a phantom.  As a fair warning, that very first episode may be difficult for some younger viewers as it does depict Babar’s mother being shot by The Hunter.  However, it’s necessary in Babar’s story explaining his lesson to Alexander.  This is the onl difficult moment in season one as the lessons imparted on the children in each episode are something that both kids and kids at heart will enjoy.

In the opening episode of Season One, Babar tells his children the story of how his journey to becoming king of Celesteville began.  The story goes all the way back to when Babar was just a baby elephant.  His name is chosen as it was actually his first word.  Babar explains, as he narrates the story, how emotionally difficult it was to have lost his mother because of a hunter.  However, because of what The Hunter did, Babar knew that there were things that he didn’t want to do.  Though, he knew he had to do them.  What he meant was that he had to face The Hunter.  And he does just that when The Hunter returns.  He gets The Hunter to chase him, and tricks him, making him fall into the hole left by the trunk that he had pulled up.  The Hunter loses his gun, and Babar grabs it and throws it away.  He explains that he was then on his own, and had to find the rest of the elephants.  He does just that, and eventually defeats the Hunter as Season One goes on.  But that first powerful episode also teaches an important life lesson.  It teaches we all have to do things we might not want to do at times.

In another of the first season’s great moments, Babar teaches the children that “The Show Must Go On”.  He tells them about how he tried to put on a ballet once, when he was a young king.  He invited the famed prima ballerina Madame Soretoza to perform in the ballet.  At first, everyone was excited.  But when she runs everybody off with her bad attitude, Babar has enough and tells Madame Soretoza that she is no longer needed and they are going to run the ballet on their own.  The ballet turns out to be a success, too.  As a result, the children learn that it’s better to work together than trying to act like they’re better than others.  In short, it’s a lesson about team work and having a good attitude.

Babar teaches many great lessons in Season One.  That’s already been noted.  Another of the great lessons shared in Season One is to never assume and falsely accuse someone.  He teaches this in “The Missing Crown Affair.”  When the children are arguing over whether or not a diary has been stolen, Babar sits them down and tells them the story of the time that his crown went missing on the first anniversary of his coronation.  When it’s suddenly taken in the middle of the night, Babar and his friend Sephir go on a hunt to see if they can figure out the mystery.  Sephir and Babar begin to assume that his own friends are trying to have him dethroned.  Of course, he doesn’t have solid proof of that.  In the end, he discovers that everything was just an attempt to set up a huge anniversary party to celebrate the big day.  The point of his lesson was that just because soemthing went msising doesn’t mean that assumptions should be made, nor should accusations be tossed aroudn without solid proof.  In the end, the diary is located, and apologies are shared.  Even Babr finds out in the end that it was Celeste who took his crown that fateful night.  She put an engraving on it declaring her love for him.  It leaves everyone with a great feeling.

Babar has wonderful life lessons in all thirteen episodes of Season One.  But that’s not all that makes this set so impressive.  The packaging for the double disc set is equally impressive.  It would seem that more companies are beginning to use Shout! Factory’s example, as the two discs in the set each get their own spot in the case, thus protecting the discs and preserving their longevity.  So kudos to Entertainment one for the slim and safe packaging for the discs.

Babar was originally aired on HBO in its heydey.  So not everyone was able to get it.  But now that it’s on dvd, audiences everywhere have the opportunity to share in this classic family friendly cartoon.  From the thirteen wonderful lesson filled episodes to the packaging, “Babar:  The Classic Series Season One” is one more wonderful addition to every family’s home library.  It’s one of those programs that just as it’s already transcended generations, will continue to do so for even more generations, if this collection is any indication.

To keep up with all the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to and “Like” it or its companion page at  Fans can also keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news at

MPI Home Video gives fans “The Best of Barnabas” in new compilation

Director Tim Burton and superstar Johnny Depp have teamed up for a remake of the classic gothic daytime drama, Dark Shadows. The big screen remake will hit theaters May 11th. In celebration, MPI Home Video has released two single disc compilations dubbed, “The Greatest Episodes Collection.” Yesterday, we focused on the first of that pair in the “Fan favorites” compilation. Today, we focus on “The Best of Barnabas” collection. This collection boasts nine of the best episodes centered on Barnabas. One of those episodes sees Barnabas prematurely age as a result of Dr. Julia Hoffman’s attempts to cure him of his vampirism. In another of the compilation’s best episodes, Barnabas’ love interest, Victoria, is having a bad dream that centers on Barnabas, after Angelique comes back into the picture as Cassandra. This leads Barnabas to confront Victoria, and take matters into his own hands. And in another of the compilation’s best episodes, Barnabas travels back to 1897 to solve a mystery of Collinwood. Yet again, Angelique is there to cause trouble for Barnabas. Together with the remaining episodes in this set, “The Best of Barnabas” is one more great addition to any Dark Shadows fan’s library. Episode 349 sees Barnabas prematurely aging as a result of Dr. Hoffman’s attempts to cure him of his vampirism. Because her attempts backfired, Barnabas blames her. He starts to think that the only solution is for him to return to his vampire state. Victoria shows up while Barnabas and Dr. Hoffman are talking. Fearing her reaction, Barnabas sends Victoria back to Collinwood. After Victoria leaves, Dr. Hoffman suggests that Barnabas use Victoria to return to his vampire state. But he refuses to do that. Dr. Hoffman keeps pushing Barnabas as much as he keeps telling her he won’t do it. When Victoria returns, Carolyn comes in to talk to her. When Carolyn goes out with her male companion, she tells him she wants to investigate the claims against Barnabas, but he convinces her to leave it alone. Later that night, Barnabas gives in to the pressure of using Victoria, or so it would seem. He turns into a bat and flies to Collinwood and slips into her room. When he enters her room, he’s still unable to bring himself to bite her. Then, Carolyn comes to check on Victoria after hearing a noise, which causes Barnabas to turn back into a bat and slip out of Victoria’s room. As the pair is talking, they hear a noise and turn to see a bat outside the window, ending the episode. The way in which Episode 349 ends is just one example of what made Dark Shadows such a great show. It always found great cliffhangers to keep audiences coming back. though the cliffhangers were only one part of the whole story that made each story so great. The stories themselves were the real stars of Dark Shadows. And another of the great stories included in this set is in Episode 535. In Episode 535, Victoria is having a bad dream that is centered on Barnabas. But she refuses to tell anyone, including Barnabas, what she sees in her dream. That is until Barnabas confronts her about it. When she tells him about her dream, Barnabas takes matters into his own hands, and puts himself into a dream state to confront Angelique, who is now under the guise of Cassandra. Even after having gone through the dream state, Barnabas tells Julia that he still has a lot of questions; perhaps more questions than answers. Speaking of questions, questions surrounding the past history of Collinwood lead Barnabas to travel back in time to the year 1897 to investigate one of the mysteries of Collinwood’s past. Yet again, Angelique is there to cause problems for Barnabas. She keeps making advances on Barnabas. But he keeps spurning her advances. So she shows him a vision of someone putting a stake through someone in a coffin. She hints to Barnabas that its him being killed. While this is going on, Quentin convinces Jamison to get information on Barnabas, and what he’s doing there. Quentin believes Barnabas cursed him. It all makes for a really great story for audiences. Dark Shadows is loaded with great episodes. Whether the episodes in the “Fan Favorites” compilation, or any of the episodes included in the “Best of Barnabas” compilation, fans of this classic daytime drama have eighteen total classic episodes to enjoy all at an affordable price. This pair of compilations may not have all the episodes from the show. But at roughly six hundred dollars for the entire set, which ran five-years, paying about ten dollars per compilation is just as worth the money. In the meantime, one can only hope that certain television networks will resurrect this classic for a whole new generation, just as these dvd’s will definitely do, too.