MLB World Series Takes Top Honors In The Phil’s Picks 2014 List Of Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

The days are officially ticking away to the end of another year. That means that all of the critics out there are now putting out their annual “Best Of” lists. This critic is still working on some of those lists while others are official. The jury’s still out on some right now such as the year’s Best New Documentaries, Independent Movies, Re-Issues, and Best New Movies overall. The lists for all the new music are still in the works, too. So while those lists are being completed, Phil’s Picks offers to everyone to start off the year, a look at the Top 10 Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. This year’s list is capped by a box set featuring the entire 2014 World Series, courtesy of Lionsgate, A&E Home Video, and MLB Productions. Also on this year’s list are some blasts from the past and some imports from our neighbors across the pond, and one surprise entry in the Honorable Mention list. The box sets’ packaging, bonus material and more were collectively taken into account in building this (and the other lists to come). Only 15 titles total could make the list. So there were some that didn’t make the list such as the sixth and seventh seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation on Blu-ray or the full six-season run of Ancient Aliens among others. It goes without saying that this was not an easy list to build. But it feels right. So without further ado, here is the list of 2014’s Top 10 New Box Sets For Grown-Ups.

2014 Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

1. 2014 MLB World Series Collector’s Edition

2. Endeavour: Series 2

3. Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series

4. The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crackups

5. The Dean Martin Show: Fully Roasted

6. The Roosevelts

7. Inspector Lewis: Series 7

8. Psych: The Complete Series

9. Secret Agent (A.K.A. Danger Man): The Complete Series

10. The Wonder Years: Season 1

Honorable Mention

11. The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 – 1955

12. The Almighty Johnsons: Season 1

13. Hell on Wheels: Season 3

14. The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection

15. I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 (BD Re-Issue)

Tomorrow, Phil’s Picks looks into the list of the year’s best new box sets for Children and Families. Stay tuned! 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.

Inspector Lewis’ Seventh Series Is A Welcome Return For One Of Television’s Greatest Crime Dramas

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Never say never.  Famous words.  Everybody has said or heard these words at one time or another.  That includes the world of popular entertainment.  So it goes without saying that when itv wrapped Inspector Lewis in its sixth series in 2013 the instant reaction was for audiences to say never say never.  Low and behold Inspector Lewis returned earlier this year overseas for its seventh series.  And PBS brought in Series Seven this fall.  Now, for those that weren’t lucky enough to see Series Seven, PBS and ITV have made it available both on DVD and Blu-ray.  Inspector Lewis Series Seven is a welcome return for what has become over the years one of the greatest crime dramas on television.  The proof lies first and foremost in the writing behind each of the series’ episodes.  The writing even in these three episodes is just as strong as in earlier episodes.  The acting on the part of lead stars Kevin Whaley and Laurence Fox.  The same can be said of new addition Angela Griffin as DS Lizzie Maddox.  Whately and Fox haven’t lost a step.  And Griffin brings in a whole new dynamic to the program that makes it even more enjoyable.  The writing and acting are of equal importance to the overall presentation of Inspector Lewis Series Seven.  Also to be considered to the success and enjoyment of this installment of Inspector Lewis is the fact that it maintains the standard set by the show years ago when Inspector Lewis in terms of not using overt sex, blood, and violence unlike the crime dramas that dominate American television.  That the show’s heads would maintain that standard all these years later is a testament to their dedication to the show’s fan base.  It rounds out the whole thing, making it again well deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets.

When itv wrapped Series Six of Inspector Lewis, it wasn’t too much of a forgone conclusion that somewhere along the line, Inspector Lewis would be back in some form or fashion regardless of whether or not it would be part of the series that made him such a beloved figure.  That’s especially the case considering the success of the series’ prequel series Endeavour.  So seeing Inspector Lewis’ return for a seventh series was quite the welcome return albeit not too surprising.  It goes without saying that expectations were high when it was even announced that Inspector Lewis would in fact return for a seventh season.  And thankfully this series has lived up to the hype.  It has lived up to the hype primarily through the writing behind each of the series’ three episodes.  One of the key examples of how the writing this time out keeps Inspector Lewis such a fan favorite comes in the episode “The Lions of Nemea.”  There are more than enough twists and turns in this episode to keep audiences guessing right up to the end.  The mystery starts right off the top when a well-respected professor is intentionally hit by a mystery driver while on his bike.  From there, the murder of a student at the same university where that professor works deepens the mystery even more.  The revelations of illicit affairs, literary fraud, and murder will keep audiences on the edge of their seats trying to solve the mystery themselves.  In the series’ closer, audiences’ minds are left twisted when one of Lewis’ most notorious cases comes back to haunt him and even threaten his career.  Surprisingly enough, the story’s closing moments leave the door wide open for another collection of episodes should the show’s heads opt for it to happen.  Even in the series’ opening episode “Entry Wounds” audiences will agree to the strength of the show’s writing.  Lewis’ desire to return to the force is made entirely believable thanks to the show’s writers.  What’s more, the growing relationship between Lewis and Hathaway and their new partner make this series all the more enjoyable.  Audiences will laugh at little jokes tossed in here and there in regards to Maddox’s having to answer to both detectives.  At one point, Maddox is asked by another officer how things are going with her boss. Her response is a flat “which one?”  One can’t help but laugh at her deadpan delivery of that simple line.  Again, the writers put the line at just the right moment to make it a good lighthearted break from the seriousness of investigating the crime at hand.  It’s just one of a number of moments that along with the stories themselves, exemplifies the strength of this series’ episodes.

Lewis and Hathaway built a strong working relationship and an equally solid friendship throughout the course of Inspector Lewis’ first six series.  The addition of Lizzie Maddox adds a whole new dynamic to the pair’s relationship.  It is highlighted expertly throughout the course of all three episodes in this series.  In terms of the show’s writing, the trio’s partnership and their friendship play a big role in the success of the episodes’ writing.  If not for the acting on the part of the trio though, the writing in regards to the trio’s personal and professional relationship would be moot.  Luckily, the chemistry developed by Laurence Fox and Kevin Whaley during the duo’s original run together had not lost anything in these episodes.  Whether sharing a joke in one of their more lighthearted moments or handling a tougher topic in one of their more serious moments, both men are fully believable.  Fox and Laurence even make believable even the slight tension in Lewis’ return before their characters reconnect as if not a day had been missed.  Angela Griffin is just as believable even in what very quickly becomes more of a supporting role.  Should Inspector Lewis pull off a miracle and see an eighth series, it would be interesting to see Maddox develop even more into her own character.  If an eighth series is not in the books, then it can at least be said of Griffin that she adds her own enjoyment to the overall product thanks to her own acting.  All three together pull viewers into their world, making suspension of disbelief so simple along the way.  The end result of the trio’s acting, and its interpretation of the scripts, is total immersion in and enjoyment of all three ninety-minute episodes.  It serves to show yet again why Inspector Lewis is just as enjoyable in its seventh series as in its first.

The scripts behind Inspector Lewis’ seventh series and the acting on the part of its veteran cast both play pivotal roles in the success of this series’ episodes.  Fox, Whately, and newcomer Griffin expertly interpret each episode’s script and in turn fully immerses viewers in each story.  The scripts themselves will keep audiences fully engaged and guessing right up to their final moments.  As if that isn’t enough, the episodes that make up Series Seven maintain the high standard set by the show’s previous series.  Simply put, Inspector Lewis remained in its seventh series the polar opposite of the crime dramas that populate American commercial networks.  There is no overt sexuality.  There is no unnecessary violence, gunplay, etc.  And the amount of blood and gore is kept to the same minimum as in the show’s previous series.  Again, this is the total opposite of all of the crime dramas that are so popular on American television.  Rather, the show continued here to focus on story and character development as is evident in the episodes’ scripts and the acting on the part of the cast.  Those factors, together with the continued high standard of content overall, round out the reasons that Inspector Lewis remains such a hit in its seventh series.  They collectively show once more why this series is quite well-deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets.

Inspector Lewis: Series Seven is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=46782166&cp=&sr=1&kw=inspector+lewis&origkw=Inspector+Lewis&parentPage=search.  More information on Inspector Lewis is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/lewis/

Facebook: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

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

PBS Investigates Effects Of Climate Change On Arctic Ecosystem In New Episode Of Nature

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS is giving audiences another reason to stay indoors and stay warm next month with the release of another episode of its hit wildlife series Nature on DVD.

PBS will release Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales on Tuesday, January 20th. Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales focuses on a major change in the ecosystem of the Arctic. It is a change that has resulted from global warming and the gradual disappearance of Arctic ice. As the once massive amounts of ice that one populated the Arctic disappear, so does the number of killer whales inordinately increase. The number of killer whales increases because they are being provided with more territory in which to hunt. By contrast, it also means that there is less territory in which polar bears—the once kings of the arctic—have to hunt.

Audiences are presented interviews with native Inuit who discuss the increasing number of killer whales in the Arctic and how it has actually helped them. At the same time, the other side of the proverbial coin is presented as scientists discuss how both humans and killer whales hunting the narwhal is not necessarily a good thing as it increases competition for resources. They go on to argue that this could greatly and negatively affect the lifestyle of the Inuit people. They go on to argue how the decrease in Arctic ice could lead to drastically negative effects on the polar bear population, too.

Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales will retail for $19.99. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=51197006&cp=1378003.2831221&sr=1&origkw=nature&parentPage=family. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

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

PBS, PBS Kids Re-Issuing Compilations From Four Family Favorite Series

PBS Kids is starting off the new year with a bang.

On Tuesday, January 13th, PBS and PBS Kids will release four new DVDs—Caillou: Caillou’s Garden Adventures, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Welcome to the Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train: Eggstravaganza, and Super Why: Jack and the Beanstalk. Each of the DVDs listed has been previously released. However, in their upcoming re-issues, each one will come with a bonus puzzle for kids to assemble.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Caillou: Caillou’s Garden Adventure teaches young viewers about the importance of nature and ecological preservation. In this DVD, Caillou learns about the value of nature and the environment as he goes on a hike with his grandfather to Blueberry Point and helps his parents plant a tree in their garden. In features six episodes at a total run time of fifty minutes.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Welcome to the Neighborhood was the very first of the DVD releases from what is the first TV series inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The DVD features three episodes—“Daniel’s Birthday,” “Daniel’s Picnic,” and “Neighbor Day.” It runs a total of fifty minutes.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Dinosaur Train: Eggstravaganza features eight episodes from the family favorite hit series about a family of dinosaurs and the family’s many adventures. Among the eight episodes included on this disc are “The Egg Stealer?” and “Hatching Party.” In the first of that pair, Buddy and Don have a mystery to solve when they happen on a group of unhatched eggs on their beach. In “Hatching Party,” Buddy, Tiny and Mrs. Pteranodon ride the Dinosaur Train to an egg hatching party. These two episodes along with the disc’s remaining six bring its total run time to 100 minutes.

 

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Super Why: Jack and the Beanstalk sees Wyatt and his friends jump into the worlds of Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the Pea, The Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood. The total run time of the disc is 100 minutes.

More information on these and other titles from PBS Kids is available online at:

Website: http://pbskids.org

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

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.

Emperor’s Ghost Army Gives Audiences A Shocking, Surprising Look At China’s Terracotta Warriors

Courtesy: PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Ever since its original discovery in 1974, the terracotta army of emperor Qin Shi Huang Di has marveled people the world over.  From archaeologists to everyday people, the 2,200 year-old army has stood silent in the emperor’s massive underground mausoleum.   Even four decades after the army’s initial discovery, many questions have remained about the army.  Why was it built?  How was it constructed?  Was it built there in the mausoleum or moved there?  What did it look like originally?  Now thanks to PBS and its hit science-based series NOVA, at least some of those questions are finally being answered in NOVAEmperor’s Ghost Army.  Those answers in question are just a fraction of what makes NOVAEmperor’s Ghost Army such a worthwhile watch for any lover of history.  The study on the weaponry provided to the silent standing army is another piece of the program that will really surprise audiences.  Last but hardly least interesting in this program is the revelation concerning the human cost of building the army.  The information shared in regards to the human cost is shocking.  From the history behind the statues and their purpose to the story of their real weapons to the human cost, all three aspects of this episode of NOVA show once again why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.

PBS’ NOVA has shown time and again throughout its time on TV why it has remained so popular among audiences.  It has covered so many different topics throughout its life all without allowing itself to fall victim to the trappings of so many other history based series on television’s commercial networks.  NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army is no exception to that rule.  It proves this primarily through the information provided throughout the program, starting with explanations of the terracotta army’s creation and its cultural significance.  The program answers a number of questions that have puzzled researchers and others ever since the “army” was first discovered some forty-years ago.  Audiences learn that China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang Di (after whom China is named) had the army (and his mausoleum) constructed well before his death.  The obvious intention was for his afterlife, which is in itself interesting to consider as that sounds very much like Egyptian culture.  Audiences learn in watching the program that the army was built as a means to protect the emperor from his enemies even in the afterlife.  Just as interesting to note is that through research, it is revealed that no two warrior statues look the same.  The fact that such painstaking efforts were taken by laborers to send such a grand “force” along with the emperor into his afterlife is incredible.  Just as incredible is how the warriors were built and the revelation that they were even fully painted and designed in their original creation.  While the Pharoahs of Egypt made sure people remembered them eons after their deaths, they didn’t go to such lengths as Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di.  It’s quite the statement to his view of himself in regards to his place in history.  And that along with all of the other information shared on the “army” in whole is only the starting point of what makes NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army such an interesting feature.

The overall information shared in regards to the emperor’s “army” is an eye opener for anyone that has ever had any interest in its history and its legend.  The history presented about the terracotta warriors is itself an eye opener.  Even more of an eye opener is the revelation that the emperor was so serious about his “army of the afterlife” that he even made sure the warriors were armed with real weapons.  Audiences will learn in watching the program that the halberds, crossbows, and others were not just ceremonial.  They were the real deal.  They were meant to take down any enemies of the emperor even in the afterlife.  Again, even the greatest pharoahs of Egypt didn’t go to such lengths in preparing for life after they left their bodies.  That and the discussion on the warriors’ cultural significance are together the starting point for a whole other discussion-a dsicussion on the emperor himself and what would lead him to go to such lengths.  It’s yet another reason that NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army proves to be another wonderful addition to PBS’ hit science-based series.

The history of the famed terracotta warriors and their cultural significance prove to be more than a little bit enlightening.  The revelation concerning the warriors’ weaponry is even more eye-opening.  As if that isn’t enough, audiences will be shocked to learn of the human cost of making the emperor’s army.  It is revealed that the workers, which included both women and children, were governed with an iron fist.  Even the slightest error in the production of the warriors and their weaponry was allegedly punished harshly.  The workers were even forced to sign their names to each weapon solely for the purpose of accountability.  It made it easier to trace back who made each weapon if any weapon was imperfect.  As if the very creation of the army and its weaponry wasn’t enough to present the emperor as a figure with a god complex, then this factor most certainly drives home that thought.  It heightens even more the mystery around the emperor and makes even more worthwhile the discussion on an episode of NOVA that focuses solely on him.  It is that much of an accent to the presentation in whole.  Together with the discussions on the warriors themselves and their weaponry, it makes for a good final discussion point for another episode of NOVA that every lover of history will enjoy.

NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50703636&cp=&kw=emperors+ghost+army&origkw=emperor%27s+ghost+army&sr=1.  More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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

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.

ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search. More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:

Website: http://acltv.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

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

PBS Kids Sets Sail This Month With Peg + Cat’s Second DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Ahoy, Matey! Peg + Cat returns this month with its second ever DVD release.

PBS and PBS Kids will release Peg + Cat: Pirates Ahoy! And Other Really Big Problems on Tuesday, December 23rd. Whether as a last-minute gift idea or an idea for a way to teach kids during their holiday break, this new DVD is a great fit for any family with young learners. It features seven new episodes and five printable activities—The Pirates’ Fruit Salad Recipe, Pirates + Peaches Board Game, directions to make a Cat sock beanie, Peg + Cat stick puppets, and four flipbooks. The episodes featured in this DVD include: The Pirate Puzzle Problem, The Pirate Problem, The Sleepover Problem, The Buried Treasure Problem, The Scrap of Map Problem, The Perfect Ten Problem, and The Pizza Pirate Problem. Peg + Cat: Pirates Ahoy! And Other Really Big Problems will retail for MSRP of $12.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=45475016&cp=&kw=peg++cat+pirates+ahoy&origkw=Peg+%2B+Cat+Pirates+Ahoy!&sr=1.

Each of the seven episodes featured in the new Peg + Cat collection teaches important basic math skills in their own creative fashion. Also featured in this collection is a pair of episodes showing how to use maps, which helps build problem solving skills. There is also a good piece for pre-school age children in The Pirate Puzzle Problem that teaches shapes and also builds problem solving skills in its own way, too.

Parents and children can get more information on Peg + Cat, play Peg + Cat-themed games, and download more activities online at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/peg

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

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.