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.

Chuck & His Friends Return Next Month With Even More New Adventures

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Chuck and his friends are off for even more adventures this winter in the latest collection of episodes from Shout! Kids, Hasbro Studios, and Discovery Family (formerly Hub).

Shout! Kids, a division of Shout! Factory, will release The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Rev Your Engines on Tuesday, January 13th. The latest collection of episodes from Discovery Family, it sees everybody’s favorite little dump truck and his friends—Digger, Handy Rowdy, Biggs, Boomer, and Flip—taking off on ten more fun-filled episodes. Chuck and his friends have plenty of fun and learn even more valuable lessons about life in each of the set’s episodes; Lessons that parents and children alike will appreciate.

Along with all of the fun and lessons, The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Rev Your Engines also includes another brand new sing-along for little listeners.

The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Rev Your Engines will retail for MSRP of $12.99. Parents and teachers can pre-order the single-disc DVD now at a discounted price of $11.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/the-adventures-of-chuck-friends-rev-your-engines. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For NYPD Blue Season Eight

Courtesy:  Shout! FactoryABC

Courtesy: Shout! FactoryABC

ABC’s hit crime drama NYPD Blue was one of the biggest shows on television during the course of its twelve years on the air. And thanks to Shout! Factory, fans of the modern classic series have already been treated to seven of its seasons. Next month, Shout! Factory will continue that trend when it releases the series’ eighth season in its entirety on DVD.

NYPD Blue: Season Eight will be released on DVD Tuesday, January 13th. Next month’s release marks the first time that Season Eight has been made available to the public in its entirety. Season Eight will keep viewers just as much on the edge of their seats as the series’ previous seven seasons. Detective Danny Sorenson (Rick Schroeder) starts to show signs that the job is effecting him emotionally even more than ever. And new faces join the squad. But they aren’t necessarily trusted upon their arrival. The squad also says goodbye to its long-time leader Lieutenant Fancy (James MacDaniel) in this season.

NYPD Blue: Season Eight will retail for MSRP of $34.99. Fans can pre-order this season now for a discounted price of $29.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/crime/nypd-blue-season-eight. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.

Shout! Factory Finishes Off The Facts Of Life With Complete Series Set Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory will reach back into the vaults next month and release yet another beloved classic when it releases The Facts of Life: The Complete Series.

Shout! Factory will release The Facts of Life: The Complete Series on DVD on Tuesday, January 13th. Blair (Lisa Welchel), Tootie (Kim Fields), Natalie (Mindy Cohn), and Jo (Nancy McKeon) are all back along with Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) in the upcoming re-issue. Shout! Factory has previously released this classic series’ seasons in their own stand-alone box sets. Now audiences that have been waiting for a full series release will get their wish as all 201 episodes of the landmark series are presented across twenty-six discs. The trials, tribulations, and friendship shared by the girls are just as relevant to today’s young women as they were to its then young female audiences of the day.

Along with every one of the series’ original episodes, Shout! Factory has included a bonus disc loaded with bonus material. That bonus material in question includes the new-to-DVD 2014 Paley Center cast reunion and more. The complete set will retail for MSRP of $199.99. But those that pre-order the box now via Shout! Factory’s website can get it at a discounted price of $159.99. Customers that pre-order the box set now will also receive free shipping and receive the box set as early as December 16th. Audiences can pre-order the set now via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/the-facts-of-life-the-complete-series.

More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Boys From Brazil To Be Released On BD For The First Time In 2015

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has proven throughout 2014 to be one of the leading providers of quality home entertainment releases. That’s thanks to releases such as Mr. Ed: The Complete Series, Hey Arnold!: The Complete Series, and a number of stand-alone DVDs and Blu-rays for the whole family. With the start of the new year, Shout! Factory will pick up where it left off this year—at the top of the home entertainment world. On Tuesday, January 6th, Shout! Factory will re-issue on Blu-ray, the 1978 classic movie The Boys From Brazil. The movie is based on the novel by author Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby) and stars screen legends Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird, The Scarlet and the Black, Roman Holiday), Sir Laurence Olivier (Rebecca, Spartacus, Clash of the Titans), and James Mason (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, North By Northwest, Thunder Rock).

Olivier stars in the movie’s lead role as elderly Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman. Lieberman has spent the better part of his life hunting down the last remaining pockets of the Third Reich. Now in his waning years, Lieberman uncovers a secret plot to assassinate nearly one hundred unconnected men around the world as he hunts for any former Nazis. Having made the discovery, it’s up to Lieberman to stop the plot in question, which could have very bad results for the entire human race. His efforts to keep the plot from happening eventually leads to a confrontation with the man behind the plot, Dr. Josef Mengele (Peck).

The Boys From Brazil’s upcoming January re-issue marks the first time that the movie has ever been released on Blu-ray. It will retail for MSRP of 24.97. Audiences can pre-order the movie online via Shout! Factory’s online store for a discounter price of $19.97 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/the-boys-from-brazil. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.

Secret Agent: The Complete Series Is Another “Timeless” Hit

Courtesy;  Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group

Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group

Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have established themselves in recent years as two of the leading companies in the realm of home entertainment.  Releases ranging from the Power Rangers to The Gene Autry Show to Nickelodeon’s classic 90s Nicktoons and classic Red Skelton collections have put both companies at the forefront of home entertainment.  They will continue to maintain that mantle with next Tuesday’s release of Secret Agent: The Complete SeriesSecret Agent: The Complete Series is another hit for Timeless Media and Shout Factory in part for its writing. Unlike every one of today’s action based series (E.g. The Blacklist) this U.K. series shows even today that a show doesn’t need loads of explosions, overt sexuality and violence in general to be entertaining.  All it needs is good writing.  Another reason that this latest box set is such a hit for both companies is its collective packaging and its look.  A little more than five decades have passed since Secret Agent first came to U.K. audiences. Even with that span of time passing, the footage looks just as impressive as in its original broadcasts.  And while the series has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in their own collections, Timeless Media’s upcoming release of Secret Agent: The Complete Series marks the first time that the entire original U.K. Danger Man series has been released in one complete set.  Its half-hour and full-hour episodes have been released in separate sets over the years.  But this set marks the first time that the entire series has been released in one box.  And there is plenty to note in regards to that, too.  It still isn’t all that makes this box set so welcome for any fan of classic TV and real action series.  One more factor worth noting is the bonus interview with star Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine McGoohan.  It is a truly enlightening interview that reveals not just Steve McGoohan the celebrity, but the loving family man, too.  There are even some tidbits about his acting career late in his life that she reveals that might surprise a lot of people.  That’s not to discount the bonus commentary on select episodes, either.  The commentary adds its own touch to the presentation in whole, too.  All things considered, Secret Agent: The Complete Series is yet more proof of why Timeless Media and Shout! Factory remain today at the forefront of home entertainment.

Secret Agent (a.k.a. Danger Man) is a wonderful piece of television history.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, it proves to be a welcome escape from all of the overly violent and overtly sexualized action/drama series on television today.  One of the most important ways in which it proves this is through its writing.  From stopping an international drug ring in “Position of Trust” to uncovering who is blackmailing officials with the British Embassy in “The Black Book” to going toe-to-toe with an East German spymaster in “Fair Exchange,” and more, every episode is original and fun in its own right.  The series’ writers never required Drake to use a gun.  He always used his intelligence over any weapon.  He also used his suave demeanor to achieve his goals whether when dealing with men or women.  And at no point is there any overt sexuality or even unnecesary levels of violence thrown in, either.  Sure, it’s a product of its time.  But it’s too bad that such writing doesn’t exist in today’s action and drama series.  It’s just one part of what makes Secret Agent: The Complete Series another welcome addition to the collection of any classic TV lover or lover of truly great action series.

The writing that went into Secret Agent: The Complete Series is an important piece of the whole that makes this box set so welcome in the collection of any lover of classic television.  Just as important to the whole is the set’s overall packaging and the quality of the footage.  Timeless Media’s upcoming release marks the first time ever that this series has been released in one complete box set.  It has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in separate box sets over the years.  But none of them have ever been compiled into one box until now.  Timeless Media has done an outstanding job packaging the set into one box.  All seventeen discs that make up the series are packaged into three separate cases.  And within each case, the discs are placed on their own spindles and “leaves” inside the case, protecting the discs from one another.  This is a standard that was set by Timeless Media and Shout! Factory years ago.  it is a model that thankfully other companies adopted not too long after, either.  Making the packaging even better for audiences is a little history lesson on the show contained on the back of each of the three volumes.  Each volume also presents a full episode list on the back of its case.  That combination of elements proves yet again that the packaging for Secret Agent: The Complete Series is just as important as the writing behind the episodes themselves in the success of this box set. The positives still don’t end here, either.

The writing behind Secret Agent’s episodes and the packaging of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are both integral parts of the whole in their own way.  As important as they are to the whole, they would be moot points if the footage itself was not quality.  Luckily, that isn’t the case.  The footage contained throughout the set’s seventeen total discs looks just as good as it did in its original broadcasts in the 1960s.  Those that watch the series via a Blu-ray player will especially agree with that statement when they see the quality in its up-conversion.  Given, the series has been released previously by other companies.  But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality footage in their cases.  In the case of Timeless Media’s full series release, it is guaranteed from the series’ first episode to its last.  The same applies even for audiences watching the series through a DVD player.  Such quality restoration is one more reason that this latest full-series release from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory proves to be such a success.

The packaging and look of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are two of the most important factors in the set’s overall success.  They are just as important as the writing behind the show’s episodes.  As if that isn’t enough for audiences, there is a bonus interview with Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine that sheds quite a light on McGoohan the actor and the family man.  Audiences will be surprised to learn through her interview that McGoohan did his own stunts throughout Danger Man’s original run.  Just as intriguing is her note that her father was the antithesis of the typical TV star.  He was more focused on his family than his career.  She speaks so lovingly and warmly of him when she discusses her one-on-one talks with her father when she was young and his desire to maintain a strong bond with his whole family, thus the comment about him being married to her mother for almost sixty years before his passing.  She goes on to note near the interview’s end to also note very surprisingly that her father was (believe it or not) the first choice to play Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise and Professor Dumbledore in the hugely popular Harry Potter franchise.  Apparently, the reason he turned down both roles was his dedication to his family.  It’s really a deep statement.  It’s a refreshing statement that shows not every star is all about fame and fortune.  She discusses so much more throughout the course of her roughly half-hour interview.  But that is for audiences to see and hear for themselves when they purchase this box set.  Together with the set’s packaging, the quality of the footage, and the episodes’ writing, it all comes together to make Secret Agent: The Complete Series a big hit for any lover of classic television and action/drama series.

The bonus first-person interview with Catherine McGoohan is itself a true bonus for audiences in this set regardless of their familiarity with Danger Man or Secret Agent.  In the same vein, the commentary included with select episodes adds its own value to the set, too.  While not every episode boasts commentary, those that do include commentary are made all the more interesting thanks to said commentary.  It is commentary that at times even links to other episodes.  Taking that into account, it is the final touch to a series that in the end proves to be just as valuable for lovers of classic television as previous releases from Timeless Media and Shout! Factory.

Secret Agent: The Complete Series will be available Tuesday, December 9th on DVD in stores and online.  Audiences can order it online direct from Timeless Media’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/secret-agent-aka-danger-man-the-complete-series for a reduced priec of $63.97 versus the MSRP of $79.97.  More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364?ref=br_tf

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.

Mr. Ed: The Complete Series Is One Of 2014’s Best New Box Sets Of Course

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Veteran actor Alan Young celebrated his 95th birthday last Wednesday, November 19th.  For those that might not know, Young is best known for playing architect Wilbur Post in the beloved 1960s sitcom Mr. Ed.  And on Tuesday, December 9th, fans of the classic series will receive a special belated gift celebrating Young’s birthday in the form of Mr. Ed: The Complete Series.  Shout! Factory’s upcoming box set marks the culmination of what started roughly five years ago with the release of Mr. Ed: Season 1.  It also marks the first time that the complete series has ever been released in one collection in any format.  And that is just the beginning of what makes this box set well worth the price and the space on any classic TV fan’s DVD rack.  Whether or not audiences are familiar with Mr. Ed, audiences will agree that more than anything else the writing in this series is a prime example of what once made television so great.  It is also an example of what once made sitcoms in general great.  The bonus features that were added to the box are just as welcome.  And of course, one would be remiss to ignore the quality of the footage itself.  Each aspect plays its own important role to the whole presentation.  Each aspect combined with the other makes Mr. Ed: The Complete Series one of this year’s best new box set for grown-ups and the family in whole if not the best new box set overall.

Nearly five decades have passed since Mr. Ed aired its last episode; forty-eight years to be exact. That episode, “Ed Goes to College,” aired on February 6th, 1966.  Since that time, the series hass run in synidcation on a variety of networks.  One of its best runs was on Nickelodeon in the late 80s and early 90s.  That was long before TV Land had become its own network.  It currently runs on Antenna TV as part of the network’s weekend programming lineup.  Throughout all of the syndicated runs on various networks and its current run on Antenna TV, Mr. Ed has never gotten a proper full release whether on VHS or DVD.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory the prayers of Mr. Ed fans everywhere have been answered.  Shout! Factory’s upcoming complete series release of Mr. Ed marks the first time that this classic CBS hit has ever gotten a full, proper release in any format.  That its upcoming complete series set will be the first ever for the series is more than enough reason for any fan of the show to add this box set to their collection.  Far too often, movies and TV shows are released, re-issued and sometimes re-issued again with litle to nothing different from said releases and re-issues from one to the next.  It makes them worth purchasing only for those that don’t already own said titles from one release to the next.  This release is worth picking up for every fan since until now, only the first five seasons have been released.  And even they have not been easy to find.  This box set will likely be just as difficult to find after a certain amount of time.  That makes thisfirst-ever release all the more worth purchasing upon its release.  It’s not all that audiences will appreciate about this box set, either.

The very fact that Shout! Factory will release Mr. Ed in its complete six-season run next month is in itself more than enough reason for fans of this classic to pick up the box set.  That’s because its release will mark the first time ever that the series will have been released in its entirety in one complete collection.  Examining this upcoming release a little closer, another reason that audiences will appreciate this box set is the series’ writing.  In comparison to the sitcoms that dominate the television spectrum today, the writing behind Mr. Ed is actually family friendly for the most part. The jokes and stories were obviously aimed more at grown-ups.  But it was still tame enough that even children could enjoy the show if only for Wilbur and Ed’s antics.  While younger audiences will enjoy their antics and the show’s physical comedy, grown-ups will enjoy the classic story lines.  From Ed helping Wilbur get a construction contract to making another man think his wife is having an affair with Wilbur to winning himself a television on a radio game show and much more, Ed is either helping Wilbur, getting him in trouble, or getting him out of the messes that he himself makes.  The formula is one that sadly, writers have long since abandoned.  It’s just classic feel good buddy comedy writing that the world needs more than ever today.  And audiences will agree in watching any of the episodes from this classic series just how welcome a return that formula is in comparison to the sophomoric, over sexed series that call themselves comedies today. Whether it be the series’ first season, its sixth, or those in between, every season more than proves that argument.

The writing behind Mr. Ed is the polar opposite of that behind every one of today’s sitcoms. While it is aimed more at grown-ups, the comedy is tame enough for grown-ups and younger audiences alike.  The fact that audiences will be able to enjoy this largely family friendly brand of comedy in its entirety for the first time makes this set even more worth the purchase.  The companion interviews and commentary included with the set are just as important as those aspects to the overall presentation that is Mr. Ed: The Complete Series.  Right off the top, audiences are treated to the pilot episode to Mr. Ed complete with bonus commentary from Alan Young and co-star Connie Hines.  Audiences get some interesting insight in the bonus commentary including the real name of the horse that played Mr. Ed.  That name won’t be given away for the sake of those that don’t yet know the horse’sname.  There are also two bonus radio interviews and an extended interview with Alan Young and Connie Hines that explains the rise and fall of the show over the course of its six seasons.  Audiences will be interested to learn that Studabaker originally wanted to sponsor the series but then gave in to pressure before an employee of CBS brokered a deal that would bring Mr. Ed to CBS for the course of its six-season run.  That and much more is offered throughout each of the interviews and the bonus commentary.  And together with the aforementioned factors, it makes this box set even more deserving of the top spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups and families alike.

The bonus material included in as part of Mr. Ed: The Complete Series, the series’ writing, and the fact that the series has never been released in its entirety until now collectively make this box set far more than deserving of the top sopt on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups and families alike.  For all of those positives, the box set would be nothing without quality footage. And quality footage is exactly what audiences get from every last episode fromSeason 1 to season 6.  Since Shout! Factory had already released the series’ first five seasons prior to this box set, all that had to be done was to take those transfers and put them in new boxes.  The next step was to transfer the original masters for Season 6 onto DVD and the process was done.  The end result is six seasons that look just as good today as they did so long ago both in their original broadcasts and their syndicated re-airings.  It pushes this box set over the top and makes it without a shadow of a doubt, the best new box set for grown-ups and families alike and a viable candidate for the best new box set of the year overall.

Mr. Ed: The Complete Series will be available Tuesday, December 9th on DVD in stores and online.  It can be pre-ordered online now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/mister-ed-the-complete-series.  And anyone that pre-orders it online now will get free U.S. standard shipping.  More information on Mr. Ed: The Complete Series and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

 

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.