Slugterra: Return Of The Elementals Will Impress Any Anime Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Disney XD/Nerd Corps

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Disney XD/Nerd Corps

Disney X D’s Slugterra is one of the most popular series on the Disney Channel’s digital sister station today.  The CG-based series has drawn large numbers for the network and seen a handful of episode compilations since it first debuted.  This week, Shout! Factory released the series’ latest DVD, which is in fact the first non-compilation disc rom the series in the form of Slugterra: Return of the ElementalsSlugterra: The Return of the Elementals is the first “movie” spawned Disney X D’s series.  Those that might not be so familiar with this presentation will enjoy this story for more than one reason.   The first reason that audiences will enjoy this feature is the fact that while it is an anime series of sorts, it can only rightfully be compared to maybe one other series stylistically speaking.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this “movie” is its writing.  It is a bridge of sorts between the series’ previous episodes and those to come.  And unlike other features of its ilk, it doesn’t necessarily require viewers to come into the presentation with knowledge of the series up to this point.  Last to note of the note of the “movie” is the series’ exhibition of its stylistic difference from the likes of Beyblade, Pokemon, Digimon, Monsuno, and others within that realm.  All three factors taken into consideration, audiences will see in watching this latest release from Shout! Factory and Disney X D, that Slugterra actually proves worth watching by any anime fan.

Disney X D’s Slugterra has proven to be a big hit for the network in its now three seasons.  It is sure to grow in popularity now with the brand new release of its first full length “movie” Slugterra; Return of the Elementals.  The primary reason that this presentation will help increase Slugterra’s popularity is the fact that it can’t necessarily be compared to all of the other series out there today in terms of its look.  Series such as Monsuno, Pokemon, and Digimon have a very specific look about them.  The only series to which one could truly and justifiably compare Slugterra, as evidenced in this DVD, is the short-lived series Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.  This should come as no surprise as both series are produced by the Canadian animation studio Nerd Corps.  Viewers that are familiar with Hasbro Studios’ properties will see a similar trend among its series, too.  So the fact that Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals can be compared to only another series under the Nerd Corps umbrella and not other CG/anime hybrid series makes it stand out right from the start.  It’s only one aspect of this DVD that will impress especially audiences that are new to Slugterra, both in terms of the series and this DVD.

The look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals is an important part of this presentation especially among those audiences that are experiencing the series for the first time on this DVD.  Just as worth noting in this DVD is the writing behind the presentation’s story (I.E. its script).  The story behind this feature picks up where the events of the series’ second season leaves off.  The Shane Gang thought that they had gotten rid of Dr. Black and The Goon, and saved the caverns.  So, things seem okay at first.  But when all the slugs start essentially becoming possessed, Eli knows that something is very wrong.  It turns out that things are very bad and are about to get much worse as they didn’t finish the job after all at the end of the series’ second season.  It leads to a perilous hunt for the fabled Elementals, which are essentially the ancestors of all of the slugs in the caverns.  It makes for a fun story within itself and an equally enjoyable bridge between the events of the series’ first two seasons and the potential third season to come.   The inclusion of a series recap before the story even begins enhances the overall viewing experience even more both for viewers that are more familiar with the series than others.  It shows respect for those that might be coming on board for the first time and for those that had forgotten what had happened even having watched the series’ first two seasons.  It’s one more way that Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals proves to be worth the watch by any anime fan at least once.

The writing and the look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals are both important in considering the impact of this DVD among its key audiences.  They both help to set this movie apart from the extended features spawned from other series such as Digimon, Pokemon, and Monsuno just to name a few examples.  There is one more aspect of this presentation that makes it stand out from that crowd worth noting.  That last aspect is the “movie’s” stylistic approach.  The stylistic approach taken with Slugterra is rather different from those aforementioned series.  Whereas the series in question center on battles between characters, Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals presents a somewhat different approach.  The series’ characters do use super powered creatures and even keep them in their own special containers as with the other anime series out there.  But unlike those series, Eli and his friends in the Shane Gang, don’t necessarily engage in the same kind of battles per se.  Rather the slugs are used as part of the overall action of the story.  From saving Eli and company from a raging underground river by crafting a web to hold back rocks to protect them from evil attackers and even to heal a person, the slugs are more tools so to speak than the sort of creature used in the other anime series currently populating the television spectrum.   It’s one more aspect of this feature that makes it stand out and in turn makes it even more enjoyable for viewers new and old.  Together with the feature’s script and its overall style, all three elements collectively make Slugterra: the Return of the Elementals even more worth the watch by any anime fan.

The general style or look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals is one that can only be compared to its fellow Nerd Corps counterpart in Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 much as the series under Hasbro Studios are quite similar to one another.  The story that makes up Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is full of action and even humor that audiences old and new will appreciate.  Whether viewers are jumping on board for the first time with this DVD or are more familiar with the series at this point, its series recap before the presentation serves as an excellent addition to the overall program.  And rounding out the whole presentation is the “movie’s” stylistic approach. While it is fantastic in its own right and bears a slight similarity to other anime series out there, it still maintains its own identity from those series in how the creatures are used.  All three factors alone make this feature rather interesting in their own right.  Collectively, they prove Slugterra: The Return of The Elementals is a “movie” worth at least one watch whether one is new to the world of anime or is far more a fan of the genre.  Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-animation/slugterra-return-of-the-elementals.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Rescue Bots Are Back On The Job With Another Fun DVD For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids

The latest compilation of episodes from Hasbro Studios’ Transformers Rescue Bots is another great collection for any fan of this kid friendly series.  The compilation, which was released last Tuesday, September 2nd, is especially well-timed considering the proximity of its release to Halloween.  That is primarily because of the five episodes featured in the disc.  The episodes presented on this disc offer their own not so scary stories that are still a good fit for any child’s Halloween party.  For those that might be new to this series (like this critic), said audiences will also appreciate the series’ animation.  Being another product of Hasbro studios, it should come as no surprise that the series’ animation plays a role in its enjoyment, too.  And last but not least of all worth noting in the overall presentation is the series’ list of voice talents.  The actors charged with putting a voice to the series’ characters are largely well-known figures.  They are figures that have quite the resume when it comes to animated programs, children’s programs, and sci-fi shows, too.  Some have experience in all three realms, making their acting all the more believable and in turn enjoyable.  The combination of those experienced voice talents and the series’ animation and writing makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue just as enjoyable for those that are new to this series as those that are more familiar with the show.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue is the fifth compilation of episodes from the Hub network’s hit children’s series.  The compilation was released just last week in stores.  Its timing could not have been better taking into account its episodes and the fact that Halloween is a little more than a month away.  The episodes collected for this compilation each present their own not so scary but still entertaining story for kids at their Halloween parties this year.  The DVD opens with a mystery that sees everyone in Griffin Rock suddenly disappearing after a horde of robotic bugs infests the town.  It’s up to Cody, his friends, and the Rescue Bots to solve the mystery.  The second episode sees some “ghosts” suddenly appearing.  It turns out though, that things aren’t always what they appear to be when Cody and the Rescue Bots investigate the “hauntings.”  There’s even a little twist that parents and kids alike will like, regardless of whether or not they are believers.  “Spellbound” is the third episode chosen for the DVD.  One could argue that this episode lifts lightly from Stephen King’s novel Cell as cell phones are being used to take over the minds of the Griffin Rock’s citizens.  This is an especially enjoyable episode not only for this reason, but for its emphasis on caring for the environment.  “Blame The Gremlins” is another great addition that parents and children will appreciate as it offers its own frightful fun.  When Cody’s big brother Kade (voiced by Jason Marsden) starts having nightmares about gremlins, those nightmares become reality and invade Griffin Rock.  Parents that are familiar with Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone series will appreciate the subtle homage to the episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” in this episode.  One could even argue that there’s a subtle reference to a certain gremlin from Warner Brothers’ beloved Looney Tunes franchise.  “Feed The Beast” closes out the DVD with a little tale of Griffin Rock’s own version of the legendary Sasquatch.  As with the discs other episodes, it offers its own frightful fun for younger viewers.  All of the episodes together will keep young viewers fully engaged from start to finish.

Of the stories included on this disc are not enough enjoyment by themselves, audiences that might be new to Transformers Rescue Bots will appreciate the fact that the episodes are kid friendly.  They don’t have the level of violence and deep, thought provoking material that makes up the original Transformers franchise or any of its offshoots over the years.  It makes for a fun and safe way to ease younger viewers into the Transformers universe.  It could be argued that to that extent, it actually takes a page from the likes of Tiny Toon Adventures, The Flintstone Kids, Taz-Mania and others that came from that era.  That’s because while many critics came down hard on the series, the reality was that they were in fact a way to slowly and gently bring younger viewers into the likes of Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and other classic franchises.  To that extent, the very concept of this franchise makes the writing all the more valuable and enjoyable to the overall presentation that is this latest compilation.

The writing that went into the episodes on this DVD makes them (and the franchise in whole) a joy for both children and adults.  Its mix of family friendly stories and its more grown-up pop culture references will make watching them as a family a fun time.  And especially today, families need as much time as possible together.  It’s not all that makes this collection enjoyable, either.  The series’ animation also makes the episodes presented here fun, too.  Audiences that are familiar with Hasbro Studios’ properties will find it no surprise that this series’ animation bears a somewhat similar animation style to that of both Pound Puppies and Littlest Pet Shop.  It is safe to suffice that the same individuals charged with crafting the artwork for those series were also behind Transformers Rescue Bots, too simply by watching these episodes.  Even with its similarities to those series, it does bear its own identity apart from them.  The differences lie mainly in little things like the contours of the characters and the backgrounds and even the coloring. Other than that, this series’ animation lies in the same category as those others from Hasbro Studios already noted. Even as similar as its animation is to those series, it still is nice to see animation today that can look so much like it was hand drawn instead of all of the cookie cutter CGI shows out there for younger audiences today. It’s just one more part of what makes this new DVD so welcome in any family’s DVD library.

The animation in Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue and the writing in its episodes together make this latest collection of episodes welcome in any family’s DVD library. The last factor to note that makes it such a welcome addition to any family’s library is the series’ list of voice actors. Those behind the characters in this series are no strangers to voicing animated characters. The cast includes Jason Marsden, Kath Soucie, Levar Burton, Mauriche LaMarche, Tim Curry, Diamond White and so many others. While their episodes are not included in this DVD, Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman The Animated Series) and Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) even offer their talents in a couple of episodes, too. Having such a who’s who of actors lending their talents to this series is a tribute to its popularity and the popularity of the Transformers franchise in whole. Jason Marsden is known for his work on Nickelodeon’s The Fairly Odd Parents and as the voice of Nermal in Cartoon Network’s The Garfield Show. He has worked on a number of other series and movies, too. These are just a couple examples of his body of work. Kath Soucie and Levar Burton both worked together on Captain Planet and the Planeteers early in the 1990s. Soucie is also known as the voice of Phil and Lil DeVille in Nickelodeon’s beloved Nicktoon Rugrats. Not to omit Mauriche LeMarche or Tim Curry, the resume of these two actors could fill pages and pages. Needless to say they are quite the well trained and well-respected actors. And having them on this series’ cast is quite the statement. Newcomer Diamond White has already started building up her own resume with voice acting credits including work on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and Sophia the First. She also plays the role of Sophie in Nickelodeon’s teen-centric series The Haunted Hathaways. Needless to say, the cast that was tapped for the roles in Transformers Rescue Bots more than did its job with this latest collection of episodes. Their years of training and experience helped them to interpret each episode’s script and in turn make it each story all the more enjoyable. The end result is a collection of episodes that the whole family will enjoy again and again while they wait for the next collection of episodes from this surprisingly entertaining show.

The A-list voice cast tapped to voice the characters in this latest collection of episodes from Hub’s Transformers Rescue Bots goes a long way toward validating it and the series in whole. Parents will note the celebrities’ names and want to check out the actors’ work for themselves. They will also appreciate some of the subtle pop culture references thrown in for good measure in some of the episodes included on the DVD. Kids will enjoy the animation and stories in general. All things considered, there is a lot that makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue a hit for the whole family. So much in fact that it could potentially end up on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s website at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-mystery-rescue. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Denver The Last Dinosaur The Complete Series Was Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Children’s programming today is nothing like it was in its golden era.  One quick scan through any carrier’s channel lineup proves that.  Children’s programs of the 80s and 90s actually had heart.  They had substance, too.  By comparison, that heart and substance is nearly nonexistent in programs aimed at tweens and teens today.  Thank goodness some companies out there have stepped up and released those classic cartoons from the golden era of children’s programming to show today’s youth what real kids’ shows look and sound like.  Mill Creek has stepped up and released most of the original animated Dennis The Menace series.  Shout! Factory has more than stepped up in its own right with planet of classic kids’ shows.  And now Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment have stepped up and added their own contribution with the release of Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete SeriesDenver The Last Dinosaur didn’t last too long in its original broadcast.  It ran for a grand total of fifty-two episodes.  But even in that short run, it offered audiences so much enjoyment.  And audiences of all ages will see that for themselves when Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series is released September 16th on DVD box set.  The main factor in the overall enjoyment of this series is its writing.  As with so many children’s series of that era, the writers mixed fun adventures with subtly placed lessons for young viewers.  Also worth noting of this box set is the original presentation of the episodes.  And last but hardly least of all that makes this set so enjoyable is the companion booklet.  The booklet includes not only a full episode listing, but also a short summary of each episode from start to finish.  The companion booklet works alongside the full, proper presentation of the episodes and the episodes’ writing to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series an absolute must for viewers of any age.  That isn’t to discount the set’s packaging, its bonus interviews, or its bonus cartoons.  They are all well worth noting, too.  They round out the whole presentation to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series one of the definite best new box sets for children and families this year.

While it might not have lasted nearly as long as some of the other cartoons that made the 80s and 90s so great, Denver The Last Dinosaur was still an enjoyable piece in its own right.  The central reason for its success lies in tis writing.  WEP president Ted Koplar puts it best in his bonus interview that what really makes Denver The Last Dinosaur work so well is that presented here is a fish out of water story.  Denver is for all intents and purposes, an outsider trying to find his place in the world with all of its technology and its mores and values.  Even with the series being as old as it is, that theme of finding one’s own self and one’s  place in the world is one to which even today’s young audiences can relate.  And as Bob Koplar, WEP VP notes, kids can also relate to Denver because he is this figure that gets into so much trouble yet he gets away with it every time.  Koplar notes in his interview that every kid wishes that he or she could get away with Denver’s antics.  That couldn’t be more right, even today years after it ended its original run on television.  Add in the fact that these episodes have been endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA) for their nonviolent themes and general story, lines, and audiences see even more why the writing behind this series is so important and successful.  This is extremely important to consider especially when comparing this classic series to so much of what is available for younger viewers today.  Hopefully other parents out there will take all of this into consideration and give Denver The Last Dinosaur a try for the first time or for the first time again when it is released later this month. If the bonus interviews included in this set are any indication, the writing behind this series may very well entertain today’s younger viewers just as much as those other programs if not more so.

The writing behind Denver The Last Dinosaur is a solid starting point in the discussion regarding what makes the series’ new box set so enjoyable.  No discussion on the series is complete without a note on the set’s presentation.  A slate is included before the episodes noting that the episodes have been re-mastered for this presentation.  Those charged with re-mastering the footage are to be commended for their painstaking efforts.  That is first and foremost because their efforts resulted in no footage being lost in the process.  This means that every single episode from the series’ original broadcast has been included in this box set.  And every episode is presented in its original video format, too.  They haven’t been squeezed down.  And they are just as bright and vibrant as ever.  The audio is just as clear, too.  To some the re-mastering of a show’s video and audio is a minor issue.  But the reality of the situation is that there are some companies out there that don’t put the necessary effort into properly re-working various shows to make them appear as they appeared in their original broadcasts.   The end result is a product hardly worth the purchase. VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are not among those companies in this case.  It’s one more factor that makes the set in whole all the more enjoyable for viewers of all ages.  There is still more that has gone into this set making it worth the purchase by any now grown-up child of the 80s, including the companion booklet.

The writing and re-mastering work undertaken by those at VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are both equally integral parts of the whole that is Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series.  Eve having taken these factors into consideration, VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm didn’t stop there.  They paid great tribute to the series’ original fans in so many ways with this set.  Those are two a couple ways in which they did so.  Another way in which the companies paid tribute to the show’s original fans is in the inclusion of a companion booklet.  The booklet outlines the series’ entire episode list from start to finish.  It shows the set includes the episodes here are presented exactly as they originally ran on television.  It also gives a short summary of every episode.  This allows viewers to look back and say, “Oh, I remember this episode” or “that episode.”  So not only does this allow audiences to decide which episode(s) that they want to watch, but it even helps maintain that sense of nostalgia already full established thanks to the full, proper re-mastering of the episodes and the inclusion of every episode.  It still isn’t the end of what makes Denver The last Dinosaur: The Complete Series such a hit for audiences.  There are the bonus interviews, which have been noted in small part already.  And there are even bonus episodes culled from other VCI Entertainment collections included as bonus material.  They give a glance into other series with which some viewers might or might not be familiar, adding even more of a sense of nostalgia.  It makes the set complete and a complete joy.

VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm have gone to painstaking efforts to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series the release that fans of this classic series have wanted for so many years.  Needless to say, their efforts were definitely not in vain.  The writing proves even to this day to be enjoyable and relatable for audiences of all ages.  The painstaking efforts taken to bring back to life every episode of the series makes things even better.  And the full, proper episode guide included in the set’s companion booklet is a fitting final piece to the presentation.  That is not to discount the in-depth bonus interviews and the bonus episodes of other releases from VCI Entertainment.  They add their own enjoyment to the set in whole, too.  All things considered, Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series proves in the long run to be a wonderful alternative to all of the material claiming today to be children’s programming.  It is everything that the series’ original fans have waited for so long to hold in their hands and watch on their televisions once again.  Simply put, this box set proves itself in the end to be one of the best new box sets for children and families this year.

Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series will be available on DVD, Tuesday, September 16th.  It can be ordered online direct from VCI Entertainment’s website at http://www.vcientertainment.com/DENVER-THE-LAST-DINOSAUR-COMPLETE-SERIES/Film-Categories?keyword=denver.  More information on this and other releases from VCI Entertainment is available online at http://www.vcientertainment.com, http://www.facebook.com/VCIClassicMovies, and http://twitter.com/vciclassicfilms.  All the latest news from Cinedigm is available online at http://www.cinedigm.com and http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm.  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.

Transformers Cybertron Offers Entertainment For Fans Of All Ages

Courtesy:  Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Hasbro Studios/Shout! Factory

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

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

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

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

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

Power Rangers In Space Volume One Is Another Out Of This World Box Set For Every Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands/FOX

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands/FOX

The final chapter in Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise is also one of the franchise’s best installments.  And thanks to the partnership between Saban and Shout! Factory, the first half of that final chapter is finally available on DVD in the form of Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One.  Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One is one of the best of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise first and foremost because of its writing.  All of the elements that made the Power Rangers franchise so beloved early on in its run are still present.  Making things better is the expansion of the Rangers’ world so to speak.  For the first time ever, the Rangers’ adventures aren’t limited to just Angel Grove and Earth.  There’s even a crossover with Saban’s  short-lived live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series in this volume to sweeten the deal.  The episodes’ presentation is just as important to the overall success of this box set as the writing of each episode.  That is also worth noting concerning this box set.  And last but not least is the set’s packaging.  As with Shout! Factory’s previous Power Rangers box sets, this set has also been packaged in a manner that saves space on audiences’ racks.  All things considered, Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One proves in the end to be one more welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan.

Power Rangers In SpaceVolume One is a welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection especially if said fan doesn’t already own Shout! Factory’s previously released twenty-one disc megaset containing the full original seven-season Power Rangers run.  The primary reason for this is the writing incorporated into this half of Season Six.  All of the elements that made the franchise’s first five seasons so enjoyable are still present in these episodes including both the life lessons incorporated into each episode and the comic relief on the part of Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull). In “A Ranger Among Thieves,” Andros (and viewers) learn an important lesson about right and wrong and the consequences connected to doing wrong. The season’s two-part premiere incorporates the familiar lesson of teamwork into the story.  These are just a couple of the lessons included in this season.  There are plenty more included across the episodes spread throughout all three of the discs that make up Power Rangers in SpaceVolume One. And those lessons are not all that the show’s long-time fans will appreciate in this latest installment.  Just as welcome, is the inclusion once again of the comic relief from Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy as Bulk and Skull.  Having left behind their short-lived careers as junior police officers and then aids to Detective Bullock at his own private eye office, Bulk and Skull are now assisting a crazy professor in his search for alien life.  The duo’s Laurel & Hardy style comic routines are just as funny as ever this season, and help to lighten the mood anytime that the pair is on screen.  The comic relief provided by Narvy and Schrier does just as much as the lessons taught throughout each episode, leading the two factors collectively to show solidly just why the writing in this half of Season Six continues to be just as impressive as in past seasons of the Power Rangers franchise.

The writing that went into each of the episodes presented in Power Rangers in Space: Volume One is highly important to the success of this latest Power Rangers release.  Just as worth noting is that the episodes presented here are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcast on FOX’s weekday afternoon FOX Kids programming block.  Unlike so many other series that see changes and edits here and there, none of the seasons of Power Rangers released so far by Shout! Factory have seen those edits.  It’s one more reason that Shout! Factory has continued to remain at the forefront of home releases for so long.  Audiences will see for themselves when they purchase this three-disc box set for themselves.

The writing and general presentation of the episodes contained in Power Rangers in Space: Volume One are both of high importance to the set’s success and enjoyment.  The last factor to examine in the success and enjoyment of this set is its packaging.  Just as Shout! Factory has made a tradition of presenting the Power Rangers’ episodes in their entirety, so has Shout! Factory also made a tradition of proper and respectful packaging.  While there are only three discs in this set, each one is placed on its own spindle inside the standard single-disc DVD case.  Two of the discs are placed on either side of a single insert while the third rests on its own spindle on the back of the case.  As with every previous Power Rangers release, this protects the discs from one another, thus preserving them and allowing for enjoyment for quite some time.  It is the final piece of the whole that makes Power Rangers in Space: Volume One a welcome addition overall for any true fan of this landmark franchise.

Power Rangers in Space: Volume One is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-space-vol-1.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hey Arnold! The Complete Series A Must Have For Any Nicktoons Nostalgic

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon released the final season of Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoon Hey Arnold! last year. It was the culmination of a process that started in 2011. And thanks again to Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory, those classic Nicktoons fans that didn’t have the chance to pick up any of the series’ stand-alone box sets in their original releases will have the chance to own the entire series in one complete box set. Hey Arnold! The Complete Series will be distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19th. Audiences that pick up the box set will note that in comparison to the previously released stand-alone sets, this box set actually is a space saver on any DVD rack. That is the starting point of what makes the set a win for any fan of Hey Arnold! Another positive for fans to consider is the fact that this box set also contains every episode from the original series. Unlike box sets from other companies (those companies will remain nameless), nothing has been left out here. And last but not least is the box’s pricing. Considering that this box set contains ninety-nine episodes spread across two boxes and sixteen discs, it is relatively affordable. That affordable pricing combines with the inclusion of every one of the series’ episodes and the box’s overall packaging to make Hey Arnold! The Complete Series a must have for any Nicktoons Nostalgic yearning for Nickelodeon’s golden era and a set that is one of this year’s best new box set for children and their parents.

The very first thing that audiences will note of Hey Arnold! The Complete Series is its packaging. The series was already released over the course of two years and six box sets. Season Two was split into two separate volumes. This box set has taken every one of the series’ ninety-nine episodes and spread them over sixteen discs and two boxes. What’s more, the discs contained within each box were packaged in exactly the same fashion as the discs in the previously released stand-alone box sets. The end result is a set that is far more ergonomic than the series’ previously released stand-alone box sets. In other words, it actually saves space on any fan’s DVD rack. And being that space is increasingly a premium for any viewer today, the space afforded by this set will make any fan of Hey Arnold! want to pick up this box set.

The space that Hey Arnold! The Complete Series saves on any viewer’s DVD rack is but one reason that audiences will appreciate this box set. Another reason that fans of this modern classic will appreciate its complete series release is the fact that it actually includes every single episode aired in the series’ original run. Audiences take for granted far too often that certain companies will give everything hoped for in the box sets released by said companies. However, as at least one company has shown in recent years, it is possible to release box sets (and movies) that are severely lacking in content. The company in question is NOT Shout! Factory, thank goodness. Rather, Shout! Factory remains the leader in DVD and Blu-ray box sets and movies. And they show just why once again here, as audiences will note. Every episode that aired in Hey Arnold!’s original run is included here. Nothing has been left out. Though one can only hope that with the release of every episode in one box set, Shout! Factory will next re-issue Hey Arnold! The Movie to completely finish off this modern classic series once and for all. In the meantime though, the release of this box set will definitely do for anyone yearning to add the series to their own home collection and re-live a piece of their own childhood.

Hey Arnold! the Complete Series will resonate with audiences both for its ergonomic packaging and for the fact that it doesn’t short change audiences that grew up with the series. Those two factors alone are more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this brand new box set. As impressive as these factors are, there is still one more reason for audiences to pick up Hey Arnold! The Complete Series. That reason is the box’s pricing. Its list price is roughly thirty dollars. However, audiences will note on Wal-Mart’s website (as the series will be available exclusively via Wal-Mart), that it will be available for twenty-seven dollars (plus shipping and handling of course). There is another modern classic children’s series being released in its entirety soon that has far fewer episodes than this box set. It is listing at double the list price for this box set. Keeping that in mind, audiences will hopefully see that Hey Arnold! The Complete Series is actually quite affordable by comparison. The affordability of this box set compared to that of so many others is the final touch on this set. Taken into consideration with the set’s packaging and its inclusion of the series’ complete run, it makes Hey Arnold! The Complete Series an absolute must have for any Nicktoons Nostalgic and one of the best new box sets for children and their parents this year.

More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

A Haunting Season 6 Offers Plenty Of Frights For Audiences

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

August is almost at its halfway point.  That means that as the month passes, the annual wave of Halloween-themed releases will start to make their presence known on store shelves.  There are just as many releases, it would seem, for Halloween as there are for Christmas each year from which audiences can choose to get their fear fix every year.  This year is no different.  Already, Timeless Media will offer audiences one of those early options next Tuesday, August 19th in the form of A Haunting: Season 6.  This season only ran for a total of four seasons on Destination America, which is part of Discovery Communications.  Even with only four episodes, anyone looking for a good fright will appreciate this season and the fact that the series has been picked up for a complete seventh season.  That will all be discussed later.  The stories that make up the sixth season of A Haunting are the crux of this season’s success.  They are not all that is worth noting, either.  The re-enactments should be noted here, too as should the bonus features.  The bonus features included on this disc show that as scary as the re-enactments were, the actors had their share of fun bringing the stories to life.  Audiences will see that in the included gag reel.  The same can be said of those responsible for the stories’ special effects.  There is a short bonus feature focusing on that factor, too.  These bonuses along with the stories included on the disc and their re-enactments will give any horror fan the frights and fun that any Halloween party needs.

The sixth season of A Haunting only lasted a total of four episodes.  According to the rumors, the reason for that is in relation to the numbers for the series’ fifth season.  However, Destination America has allegedly renewed the series for a full seventh season as the numbers for Season Six were impressive enough to renew it.  And now with its upcoming release on DVD, audiences will see for themselves just why officials with Destination America opted to renew the series.  The stories included in Season Six each offer their own frights.  The season’s opener sees a woman who is haunted by an evil spirit conjured by a jilted admirer.  Episode two, “Well From Hell” involves a house haunted by spirits coming from a well that is essentially a doorway to the other side.  A family is haunted by some not so nice spirits in “Black Magic” after a young ward of the family’s matriarch starts practicing black magic.  And in the season finale, “Haunted Victorian,” a young couple has found the home of their dreams.  But it soon turns into the home of their nightmares not long after. All four stories will have viewers on the edge of their collective seats, wanting to know what happens next. And not to give away too much information, they don’t all have the happy ending that some might hope for or expect. Those slightly surprising endings are reason enough to watch these episodes. And they’re not the only reason, either. Another reason for audiences to check out this upcoming DVD is the re-enactments used to help tell each of the four stories on the disc.

The stories that are included in the sixth season of Destination America’s A Haunting are by themselves reason enough for lovers of ghost stories to purchase this season’s DVD. Another reason for audiences to check out this DVD is the collective re-enactments used to help tell each of the stories included on the disc. The actors hired to help re-tell each of this season’s stories are impressive in their own right. The best of the re-enactments comes in the season finale. The couple that re-enacts the story of the young couple that had bought the Victorian House is quite the pair. The way that the young woman portrays having been somewhat possessed by the deceased maid is creepy in its own right. And the actors that helped tell the story of “Black Magic” do just enough to make that story believable, too. The actors in this season’s remaining two episodes do their own part to make said episodes worth at least one watch, too. Audiences will see this for themselves when they order or purchase the DVD for themselves.

The re-enactments and stories that are featured in the sixth season of A Haunting work in tandem to make this season just as enjoyable as the series’ previous season. Having noted them, these is only one more factor to consider in the overall success of A Haunting: Season 6. That final factor is the bonus material included on the DVD. All four of the episodes included on this disc offer their own frights for audiences. On the exact opposite side of the coin, the gag reel offers its own laughs, too. It helps to lighten the mood a little bit. And those with any interest in production and special effects will appreciate the bonus special effects reel. This reel gives just a slight glimpse behind the scenes of the show in regards to how the ghosts were *brought to life* (bad pun fully intended here). They are the final touch to a DVD that any horror fan will welcome in their home horror collection whether for Halloween or any other time.

A Haunting: Season 6 will be available on DVD Tuesday, August 19th. It can be pre-ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/haunting-season-6. More information on this and other new releases from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.timelessvideo.com, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364, http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.