ESPN’s MNF Wins Monday’s Ratings Race

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Monday Night Football brought in some big numbers for ESPN Monday night. The matchup of the Steelers and Texans helped the worldwide leader in sports essentially run the table. The network won the night among all networks in viewers, households, and all key male and adult demographics. It came in as the top broadcast of the night across cable and broadcast among those key male demos, as well as adults 18 – 34 and 18 – 49.

Monday night’s matchup between the Steelers and Texans averaged an 8.1 household U.S. rating. That equals to 9,483,000 households and 13,275,000 viewers (P2+) according to Nielsen. The broadcast peaked from 9:45 – 10pm ET with a 9.1 rating and 15,124,000 viewers.

The battle between the AFC foes pulled in a 14.3 rating on ESPN and a 13.0 on KIAH-CW for a combined 27.3 rating for that market. Pittsburgh viewers pushed the game to a 10.8 rating on ESPN and a 27.8 on WTAE-ABC for a combined 3805 rating in the Pitttsburgh market. In Baltimore, home of the Steelers’ AFC North divisional foes the Ravens, Monday night’s broadcast pulled in a 12.1. Fellow AFC markets Indianapolis and Jacksonville brought in a 10.6 and 10.5 respectively. In the bigger picture of the nation’s top ten metered markets, Las Vegas brought in the highest ratings with a 15.1. It was followed by Sacramento and San Diego. Both pulled in a 12.2 rating. It brought in an 11.0 with San Antonio and Richmond bringing in a 10.8 and 10.7 respectively.

Monday Night Football is averaging an 8.3 household U.S. rating through the first seven weeks of the season for ESPN. That is the equivalent of 9,618,000 households and 13,355,000 viewers.

The numbers or ESPN’s digital broadcast of Monday night’s matchup between the Steelers and Texans was impressive in its own right. Monday’s game reached 313,000 unique visitors on WatchESPN. That is an increase of 87 percent compared to week 7 from last season. It logged 21.5 million minutes viewed. That is an increase of 76 percent from the same time last year. It had an average minute audience of 106,000. That, too is an increase of 76 percent. These combined numbers drove ESPN as the most social network for the seventh straight Monday. Additionally they pushed Monday Night Football to the position of the most social program for the day.

Spanish-speaking audiences helped push Monday night’s game to the top, too. Monday night’s game between the Steelers and Texans averaged a 0.4 average Hispanic household U.S. rating. That is the equivalent of 66,000 Hispanic Household impressions. This is an increase of fourteen percent over the same time last year. It brought in 86,000 Hispanic P2+ impressions. So far this season, ESPN Deportes is averaging a 0.4 Hispanic Household rating. That is a one hundred percent gain, with 59,000 Hispanic Household Impressions and 87,000 Hispanic P2+ impressions. That are increases of 73 percent and 85 percent respectively.

Next week on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington Redskins. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET. It will mark the sixteenth time that the NFC East rivals will face off on Monday night. That is second only to the Raiders and Broncos, who have faced one another seventeen times in the forty-five year history of ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

More information on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, its 2014 broadcast schedule and more is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf

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

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.

Wood’s Latest LP Is Caught Between Good And Great

Courtesy: HOLMZ Music/Andy Wood Music LLC

Courtesy: HOLMZ Music/Andy Wood Music LLC

Guitarist Andy Wood is most widely known for his work with Creed front man Scott Stapp when Stapp is not recording with his band mates in Creed.  Wood has displayed his own share of talent in his work with Stapp.  With the release of his latest solo album Caught Between The Truth and a Lie, Wood has displayed even more talent.  Throughout the course of the double-disc record, Wood displays his chops as a rock guitarist once more.  That is not the most interesting aspect of this record.  It is his talent within the worlds of country and bluegrass that will really catch audiences’ ears on this new release.  That span of musical talents is the key to the enjoyment of Caught Between The Truth and a Lie.  Throughout the course of the album, Wood mixes things multiple times, throwing instrumentals alongside full compositions.  That stylistic mix of music makes this record even more enjoyable for audiences whether or not said audiences are familiar with Wood’s solo work.  Last but not least worth noting in the album’s success is its sequencing.  Wood doesn’t just go from one genre to another.  He actually slowly transitions from bluegrass to rock to country and back to rock again.  The end result is a work that proves music truly is the universal language as it will most certainly bring together so many different audiences throughout the course of its twenty-four tracks.  By the end, audiences will agree that Between The Truth and a Lie is somewhere between good and great.

Andy Wood’s latest full length solo record Between The Truth and a Lie is, as noted, an album that sits somewhere between good and great. The main reason for this is the range of talent displayed throughout the course of the double album’s twenty-four total tracks.  Wood, who is known largely for his work with rocker Scott Stapp, displays expert bluegrass and country chops right alongside his talents as a rock guitarist throughout the course of the album.  Bluegrass fans will enjoy the old school style of ‘How Mountain Girls Can Love’ and the album’s opener ‘Everybody Loves You.’  Those whose leanings are more in the country realm will enjoy ‘The Ballad of Ricky and Cal’ and the album’s closer ‘the Cowboy Rides Away.’  There was nowhere for this song to go than at the album’s end considering its title.  And Wood’s gentle, bluesy guitar work shows why, too.  Rock fans aren’t left out, either.  Wood offers his rock fans ‘Of Elf and Man’ (perhaps paying homage to Metallica’s ‘Of Wolf and Man?’), ‘Got A Light’ and the toned down cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Fool in the Rain.’  There’s even a jazzy piece thrown in for good measure in the form of ‘Dracula and His Cooky, Spooky Band.’  The use of the horns and Latin percussion alongside Wood’s own talents will have audiences up and dancing on this track, especially with Halloween now just around the corner.  The songs noted here are just some examples of Wood’s versatility on this record.  It goes without saying that said versatility is displayed quite well.  The enjoyment doesn’t end there, either.  The sequencing of the songs throughout the record makes the journey from start to finish all the more enjoyable.

The variety of sounds that Wood includes throughout the course of new record is in itself more than enough reason for audiences to give this album at least one listen.  If audiences aren’t convinced by that aspect, then perhaps the stylistic differences in the songs will convince audiences.  Stylistically speaking, the songs that make up Between The Truth and a Lie are both full compositions complete with vocals and instrumental tracks.  Wood balanced that mix quite well, too making sure not to stay on the full compositions or the instrumental pieces for too long.  It shows that he and all involved behind the glass put a lot of thought into the album’s overall presentation.  Speaking of that thought, the mix of musical genres and styles together make for plenty of reason for audiences to check out Andy Wood’s new album.  If there is still anyone not convinced as to why they should check out Between The Truth and a Lie by now, then perhaps an examination of the album’s sequencing will convince said audiences.

The musical mix of genres and styles that make up Between The Truth and a Lie are equally important to the album in terms of its enjoyment.  They would be nothing without the album’s sequencing, though. It would have been so easy for Wood and those behind the glass to randomly toss the album’s songs in throughout the record.  But that didn’t happen.  Rather, the album gradually progress from Wood’s bluegrass sound to a more rock oriented sound and then back to a country sound.  It is done with such precision that the progression is almost unnoticeable to the untrained ear. Those that listen closely though, will hear the slow change.   It’s especially nice to hear that change happen gradually instead of suddenly.  That is because it makes the album in whole all the easier on the ears.  Combined with the songs themselves and their difference in style, it makes the album one that will bring audiences of all ages and interests together, proving true once more the adage that music truly is the universal language.  And that language is sure to bring together every person that gives this record a chance.

Caught Between The Truth and a Lie is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album, Wood’s tour dates and latest updates is available online at:

Website: http://www.andywoodmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andy-Wood/123741651016472

Twitter: http://twitter.com/awoodshreds

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/awoodshreds

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.

Eagle Rock’s Reputation Holds True, Strong With Its New Deep Purple Archived Live Recording

Courtesy:   Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment and Deep Purple are set to release the band’s latest live recording today.  Deep PurpleWith Orchestra Live in Verona is not the band’s first archived live recording released this year via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  It is however the best of the band’s live recordings released this year.  The performance, recorded three years ago, is highlighted by a set list that focuses largely on its older, more well-known songs.  The concert is also not the first time that Deep Purple has performed live with an orchestra.  The band also performed live with an orchestra when it performed at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival in 2011.  The two performances being recorded in the same year, were likely part of the same tour.  That fact is in itself another major positive to this brand new archived release.  As if these two factors are not enough for audiences, the audio and video mix collectively make the concert even more enjoyable for audiences.  Audiences will be hugely impressed at the camera work in this show and the balance of the band and its backing orchestra.  That factor along with everything already noted makes this latest live recording from Deep Purple even more enjoyable for audiences.  And that is not to discount the concert’s bonus liner notes, either.  The liner notes included in the recording add even more insight into the concert while noting all the parties involved.  Whether for its companion booklet, its outstanding audio and video mix, or even the set list included in this recording, all of the work that went into bringing this concert to audiences paid off.  That’s because it collectively makes Deep Purple: With Orchestra Live in Verona another example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings today.

Deep Purple: With Orchestra Live in Verona is a wonderful addition to the home collection of any Deep Purple fan.  It is another example of why Eagle Rock more than deservedly still maintains the label of the leader in live recordings.    The central reason for this is the concert’s set list.  Audiences will note that this concert, much as the band’s 2011 show in Montreux, focuses primarily on the band’s older material, going all the way back to its 1968 debut record Shades of Deep Purple.  The band’s landmark 1972 album Machine Head is very well represented in this recording, too.  Almost all of the songs from that album are included in this concert, including the rare b-side When A Blind Man CriesFireball is well represented as is Perfect Strangers and other.  The most recent work included in this performance is the band’s 2005 album Rapture of the Deep.  While not every one of the band’s albums are featured in this near two hour performance, the band does choose a relatively large swath of material for its audiences.  And it is that relatively wide array of songs from the band’s catalogue that sets the tone for this recording.  The tone in question is a positive one made even more positive when considering that this concert would appear to be one more from the band’s 2011 tour, which also included a recording of the band’s performance that year at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival.

The set list that makes up Deep Purple’s latest live recording is especially impressive as it covers largely the band’s older material instead of its more recent songs.  That set list is much the set list included in the band’s other 2011 Eagle Rock Entertainment recording from its performance at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival.  Simply put, audiences that don’t already own the recording of the band’s performance from that year’s Montreux Jazz Festival won’t be left out in this recording.  Odds are that this concert was part of the band’s larger tour that just so happened to include a show at Montreux.  This factor makes this recording even more a plus for any Deep Purple fans out there.  It shows that Eagle Rock Entertainment’s people were really thinking about the band’s fans.  It’s just one more way that Eagle Rock maintains the mantle of the industry’s leader in live recordings and one more reason that Deep Purple’s fans will appreciate this latest recording.

The set list included in Deep Purple’s new live recording goes a long way toward making this latest recording enjoyable for audiences.  The fact that it directly mirrors the band’s 2011 performance from Montreux, which was released that same year, is even more of a bonus for audiences.  As difficult as it may be to find the band’s Montreux performance, this recording can now take the place of that performance.  That makes this recording even more enjoyable and a bonus for fans in and of itself.  It still isn’t all that makes the recording such a great addition to any Deep Purple fan’s collection.  The audio and video mix that went into the recording is one more of so many positives that makes the recording enjoyable.  David Richards’ work balancing the levels throughout the show paid off in spades.  The orchestra—the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt—blends right in with the band to the point that it sounds like the orchestra isn’t even there.  That is a true sign of expertise.  Richards and his crew compensated for the venue’s acoustics just as expertly.  Being a venue of its size, it had to have been a challenge for Richards and company to keep the band and orchestra from overpowering one another and to keep the sound from overpowering the group in whole, washing out everything.  The end result is a performance from all involved that proves once again why Eagle Rock is the leader in live recordings.  Eagle Rock releases nothing but the finest especially in terms of the concert’s most important elements (I.E. audio and video).  The audio in this case is no different.  The same can be said of director Chris Cowey, editor Kyle Smart’s work, and that of the entire camera crew responsible for capturing the concert on camera.  The camera angles used throughout the show take audiences right up on stage with the band and out into the audiences. There are wonderful sweeping pans that show the sheer immensity of the venue.  Kyle Smart’s post-production work reveals the expert work of Cowey and his camera crew just as well.  All involved make the final product just as enjoyable as if audiences were there in person.

The audio and video mixes that make up Deep Purple: With Orchestra Live in Verona were handled with the utmost expertise from all involved.  Together with the concert’s set list and the fact that it serves as a companion to the band’s 2011 performance at Montreux, all three factors together show why this recording is another wonderful addition to the home library of any Deep Purple fan.  Collectively, they show why Eagle Rock remains today the leader in live recordings.  It releases what are only the best possible recordings from one to the next, from the shows’ set lists to their production values.  Even something as minute as the recording’s companion booklet plays its own part in the overall presentation and its success.  The companion booklet included here adds even more enjoyment to the recordings as it offers extra insight into the concert from the vantage point of writer Malcom Dome.  Dome writes of the 12,000 people in attendance and how the band and orchestra worked so well together on its tour that year among much more.  While brief, it adds its own element of enjoyment to the whole; an element that along with the set list and production values makes Deep Purple: With Orchestra Live in Verona another hugely successful recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Deep Purple: With Orchestra Live in Verona is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

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.

ESPN Announces Women’s College Basketball Broadcast Schedule For 2014 – 2015 Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN announced its broadcast schedule for the upcoming 2014 – 2015 Women’s College Basketball season over the weekend.

ESPN and its family of networks will cover a total of 131 games in the upcoming 2014 – 2015 Women’s College Basketball season. Coverage on the women’s side includes coverage on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, the SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Audiences will also be able to catch a number of those games online via ESPN3 and via Satellite on ESPN Full Court. Fans can also catch games online via WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com via the WatchESPN app. The breakdown of the upcoming season’s coverage is as follows:

ESPN will carry coverage of the annual Jimmy V. Women’s Classic presented by Corona on Saturday, December 6th. The lady Huskies will take on Number 5 Notre Dame in that game in a rematch of last season’s Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

ESPN2 will carry thirty-six of those 131 games. ESPN will carry every Big Monday matchup as well as most Sunday games throughout the season. It all starts with an opening day doubleheader November 17th featuring four ranked teams. Those teams are: two-time defending champion Connecticut,  Number 20 Stanford, Number 13 Baylor, and Number 6 Kentucky.

ESPNU will carry nineteen of the season’s games, most of which will be Sunday double headers during the conference season. It will also carry the annual Play 4 Kay tournament alongside ESPN2. The tournament brings attention to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. It is held in partnership with The V Foundation and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). That tournament is scheduled to begin February 22nd, 2015.

The SEC Network will dedicate its time to carrying more than sixty games. That schedule includes a double head every Thursday and a game of the week every Monday.

The Longhorn Network will have thirteen games. Of those thirteen games, seven will feature the Longhorns taking on a Big 12 opponent.

The information noted above is just part of the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2014 – 2015 Women’s College Basketball season. The current full schedule of games and networks is included below.

2014-15 ESPN Network’s Women’s Basketball Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Sat, Nov 15 TBD UT San Antonio at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Nov 16 8 p.m. Duke at Alabama SEC Network
Mon, Nov 17 7 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish: Baylor at Kentucky ESPN2
  9 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish: Connecticut at Stanford ESPN2
Thu, Nov 20 7 p.m. Clemson at South Carolina SEC Network
Wed, Nov 26 8 p.m. Texas Pan American at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Nov 30 1 p.m. Duke at Texas A&M SEC Network
Mon, Dec 1 9 p.m. Virginia Tech at Florida SEC Network
Wed, Dec 3 7 p.m. Louisiana Tech at LSU SEC Network
  8 p.m. New Mexico at Texas Longhorn Network
Thu, Dec 4 8 p.m. Charlotte at South Carolina SEC Network
Sat, Dec 6 3:15 p.m. Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona: Connecticut at Notre Dame ESPN
Sun, Dec 7 1 p.m. South Carolina at Duke ESPN2
  4 p.m. Michigan State at Georgia SEC Network
Mon, Dec 8 Noon Southern at Texas Longhorn Network
Wed, Dec 10 7 p.m. Wisconsin at Florida SEC Network
Fri, Dec 12 9 p.m. Middle Tennessee State at Kentucky SEC Network
Sun, Dec 14 1 p.m. Mercer at Alabama SEC Network
  3 p.m. Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: Tennessee at Rutgers ESPN2
  Northwestern State at Texas Longhorn Network
  6 p.m. Belmont at Kentucky SEC Network
Tue, Dec 16 7 p.m. Wichita State at Tennessee SEC Network
Wed, Dec 17 8 p.m. McNeese State at Texas Longhorn Network
Sat, Dec 20 1 p.m. Stanford at Tennessee SEC Network
Sun, Dec 21 1:30 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Texas vs. Texas A&M (Little Rock, Ark.) SEC Network
3 p.m. Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: Kentucky at Duke ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Oklahoma vs. Arkansas (Little Rock, Ark.) SEC Network
  5 p.m. Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Holiday Showcase as part of Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: UCLA vs. Connecticut (Uncasville, Conn.) ESPN2
Sun, Dec 28 Noon East Carolina at USF ESPNU
  1 p.m. Oregon State at Tennessee SEC Network
  8:30 p.m. Temple at Memphis ESPNU
Mon, Dec 29 9 p.m. Duke at Connecticut ESPN2
Tue, Dec 30 8 p.m. Rice at Texas Longhorn Network
Fri, Jan 2 7 p.m. Auburn at South Carolina SEC Network
  9 p.m. Missouri at Tennessee SEC Network
Sat, Jan 3 8 p.m. Kansas at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Jan 4 1 p.m. Maggie Dixon Classic: Connecticut vs. St. John’s (New York, N.Y.) ESPN2
  1:30 p.m. Texas A&M at Arkansas ESPNU
  2 p.m. Ole Miss at Kentucky SEC Network
  3 p.m. South Carolina at LSU ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. George Washington at Dayton ESPNU
  4 p.m. Florida at Auburn

 

 

More information on this season’s coverage is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

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

A Haunting: The Television Series Is One Wonderfully Fright-Filled Box Set

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory/Discovery Channel/Discovery Communications/Destination America

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory/Discovery Channel/Discovery Communications/Destination America

Halloween is a little over a week away. Many stores have already stored away their Halloween decorations and have replaced them with their Christmas decorations. Others are even already pumping the annual stream of Christmas music over their speakers. It’s sad. But worry not Halloween lovers. Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have not fallen victim to that trend just yet. Timeless Media and Shout! Factory released A Haunting: The Television Series last Tuesday. This nine-disc box set is a good fit for any fan of the paranormal whether on Halloween or any other time of the year. The main reason for that is that it has compiled the series’ first six seasons into one complete set. The inclusion of the series’ first six seasons in one place is its own positive in that it means not having to hunt from box to box for one episode or another. It just means hunting through one full box. This is only one positive to this set. Another positive to the box in whole is that one box versus multiple boxes saves space on anyone’s DVD rack o in said persons’ cabinets (depending on which one a person uses). And last but hardly least of all worth noting of this set is the stories themselves. What examination of this set would be complete without a look at the stories that make up the set? They offer plenty of frights for audiences. This is the case both on Halloween and any time of the year. Together with the box’s packaging and its associated factors, the stories included in this set complete the box and make it one that anyone looking for a good scare will appreciate whether it be on Halloween or any other time of the year.

A Haunting is one of the more interesting paranormal series on television in recent years. Unlike its counterparts on Syfy, LMN, and Travel Channel, it never seemed to really fit in with the other programs on Discovery or even Destination America. Yet somehow it has continued to maintain a healthy fan base. It has gone on to see a number of episode compilations released throughout the years as well as stand-alone single season sets for said fan base. Now, fans have been rewarded for their loyalty to the series with this complete nine-disc set that encompasses the series’ first six seasons. Having all six previously released seasons put into one complete set is a reward as those single-season stand-alone sets and compilation discs are not easy to find. Now audiences won’t have to hunt for each one. They can have all six previously released seasons in a single box. Those that do have any of said previous releases will appreciate this set as having all six seasons in one set also means no more fumbling through their other boxes for one episode or another. They need only open the box and flip through the discs to find their favorite episodes. It’s a major positive and possibly the most important to the box set in terms of what does and doesn’t work about it.

Timeless Media and Shout! Factory’s newly released A Haunting: The Television Series succeeds so strongly primarily because of the inclusion of all six of the series’ previous seasons in one box. Their inclusion means no more hunting in stores, online and through DVD racks for one season or another. It’s all right there in one box set. Having everything in one single box set is a positive not just for the content but also for the matter of space, speaking of DVD racks. Any number of stand-alone compilation discs has been spawned from A Haunting. And each of the series’ previous seasons have been released as stand-alone sets, too. All of those compilation discs and stand-alone seas sets take up a lot of room on DVD racks. Now audiences can trade in all of those noted releases in favor of this ergonomically packaged nine-disc set. All nine discs that make up the series’ previous seasons are here. They have been packaged in exactly the same fashion as other releases from Timeless Media and Shout! Factory. That packaging means has become the standard seemingly across the board. However not every company out there utilizes that standard even today, believe it or not. It’s sad. Thankfully fans of A Haunting don’t have to worry about that. It’s one more reason that the partnership between Timeless Media and Shout! Factory has made both leaders in home releases of TV series and movies. And it’s one more reason that audiences will appreciate this latest release from their partnership.

The overall packaging of A Haunting: The Television Series and the inclusion of the series’ full six season run—prior to its now seventh season airing on Destination America—couple to make the box set even more enjoyable for audiences than it would have been in lacking one factor or the other. As important as those factors are, the stories that make up each season are just as important if not more so. Without interesting and gripping tales of terror, there would be nothing to watch. In “Hungry Ghosts,” audiences are taken to Japan where an American family is haunted by ancient spirits when the family moves into a posh new home upon the father accepting a high-ranking position in his company. “Nightmare Upstairs” sees an Arkansas family scared out of its house when it is revealed that it is haunted by demons and possibly evil incarnate itself. Viewers are also taken to Ireland for a heart wrenching story about a house haunted by the spirit of a murdered child in “A Haunting in Ireland.” These are just a few of the terror-filled tales that make up A Haunting’s six-season run in this set. There are far more tales from which viewers can choose their own favorite(s). Needless to say, having so many stories to take in, there are plenty of frights to be had. And after watching the stories that make up A Haunting: The Television Series, audiences might not be going to sleep anytime soon. Some might even find themselves checking under their beds and even turning on that night light when they go to bed. Who knows? There might…or might not….be something there….Or maybe they’re all just stories. Audiences can choose for themselves when they purchase A Haunting: The Television Series for themselves. It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct via the Timeless Media website at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group. More information on this and other releases from Timeless Media is available online now at:

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364

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.

History Detectives Impresses Again With Its Special Investigations

Courtesy: PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS has proven time and again in recent years that it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile educational programming.  While History Channel, Discovery Channel, and others of their ilk have continued to fall victim to their heads’ lust for reality TV programming, PBS has held its guns and stood its ground, becoming the gold standard for educational programming.  One show that has helped to make PBS the gold standard is its fan favorite series History Detectives.  PBS recently released a new History Detectives special to DVD titled History Detectives: Special Investigations.  Not that PBS needs it at this point, but this DVD is more proof of why the series is such a fan favorite and why PBS continues to help make PBS the leader in quality educational programming.  Audiences, whether they be new to the series or are more familiar with it, will appreciate that the series delves into some of history’s greatest mysteries in this new special.  That’s a change from its normal format.  Those that are less familiar with History Detectives will appreciate that it uses a rather familiar format in investigating each of the special’s mysteries.  And last but hardly least of all, in none of the cases studied in this special does the team try to prove or disprove any theory set forth.  The team merely investigates the facts and leaves the rest up to viewers.  When audiences take into consideration all three of the factors noted here, they will agree that this DVD proves once more why History Detectives is one of the best series on television for educators and lovers of history, and why PBS remains today the gold standard in quality educational programming.

History Detectives is one of PBS’ best programs.  It is a favorite among educators and lovers of history.  The main reason for this is that it presents history at its purest.  It has never attempted to over-glorify history and make it sexy for the sake of eyeballs to put it bluntly.  It takes the road far less traveled today in comparison to programs on the likes of History, Discovery, Destination America and others under those corporate umbrellas.  This latest release from History Detectives proves why that approach has–and continues to–make it a fan favorite.  Normally, History Detectives focuses on the history behind items and documents owned by ordinary people.  This time though, it turns the focus to a pair of history’s greatest mysteries and a couple that while not as well-known are just as interesting.  The two more well-known of the mysteries presented here center on famed band leader Glenn Miller and Jimmy Hoffa.  The lesser known of the mysteries presented here focus on the river boat Sultana and on a group of servant girls from Texas.  The study on Glenn Miller is exactly what audiences expect.  It examines the possible fate of the famed band leader.  The findings from the study are pretty interesting to say the least.  That’s because they leave just as many questions as answers.  Unlike the study on Miller, the study on Hoffa isn’t what audiences might think.  Instead of focusing on his fate–as so many do–this episode focuses on who might have been responsible for his disappearance.  The findings here are just as eye opening as the theories concerning where he may be.  Some may be surprised to learn that apparently Hoffa even had a link to none other than President Richard Nixon.  That’s just one of many rather interesting facts that audiences will learn from this episode. As if this isn’t enough, the episode centering on the riverboat Sultana brings up thoughts of the Maine and its controversy.  It might event raise thoughts of the Titanic disaster.  And the story centering on the murders of the young Teas servant girls will engage audiences just as much.  As should be evident by now, these stories by themselves more than make History Detectives: Special Investigations worth the watch by any educator or history lover in general.

The stories that make up History Detectives: Special Investigations are by themselves more than enough reason for audiences to check out this new DVD.  The manner in which the team approaches each investigation is another reason that audiences will appreciate this special.  Whether or not they are familiar with this series, audiences will recognize the manner in which the team approaches each case.  It is a formula that was once used in Discovery’s Mythbusters before the team of Kari, Grant and Tory was let go.  The only difference is that unlike Mythbusters, the show’s heads and hosts don’t try to make the investigations sexy for the sake of eyeballs.  It’s a welcome breath of fresh air.  It proves that history doesn’t have to be sexy to be interesting.  It’s just one more way that this latest release from PBS and History Detectives prove the value of both collectively.

The cases presented here and the manner in which each one is investigated together make History Detectives: Special Investigations solid proof of why this series is so belived by fans and why it makes PBS so invaluable to audiences today.  While both of the factors noted here play their own important role to the enjoyment of this presentation, there is one more aspect of this DVD that makes it so enjoyable for audiences.  That last aspect is the fact that within the course of the investigations, at no point does the team of Wes Cowan, Kaiama Glover, and Tukufu Zuberi try to prove or disprove any of the theories around which each case centers.  Rather they merely investigate each case, presenting the facts as they find them.  The rest is left up to audiences to decide for themselves.  In the case of Glenn Miller’s disappearance, audiences are left with a strong probability in terms of what might have actually happened.  But because his body was never recovered, audiences are still left to decide for themselves if the facts gathered actually lead to anything solid.  And in the case of Hoffa’s disappearance, audiences are left just as much to decide for themselves if the mob actually played a role in his disappearance or if in fact Nixon himself might have played a role.  The team never tries to actually say yeah or nay in the end.  They just gather the information needed to make educated guesses in each case.  Such approach serves to make each case all the more enthralling that each already was to begin with.  The end result is a special that leaves audiences wanting History Detectives to investigate some of history’s other major mysteries between its regular investgations.

Next to PBS’ History Detectives, the only other history based series on television today that present any real value anymore are Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum and History’s American Pickers.  While both series offer their own value to audiences, History Detectives still comes in first.  Special Investigations is more proof of that.  The cases and the team’s approach to each case more than make this series a joy for viewers.  The fact that it never really sets out to prove or disprove any theory, but rather simply investigates each one makes these episodes even more enthralling.  Altogether, all three factors together make this collection of investigations one that every educator and lover of history should have in their own personal collection.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=38349276&cp=&sr=1&kw=history+detectives+special+investigations&origkw=History+Detectives+Special+Investigations&parentPage=search.  More information on this release and all of the latest news from History Detectives is available online at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/historydetectives

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

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.

Animal Tales Is An Invaluable, Enjoyable Album For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Worm Hole Productions

Courtesy: Worm Hole Productions

Children’s entertainers Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke will release their latest album Animal Tales next Tuesday, October 21st.  The new album is the fifth for the British duo.  And it is a wonderful companion piece to The Whizpops’ latest full length studio effort Sea Blue Sea.  Whereas The Whizpops take audiences below the waves in Sea Blue Sea, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke bring audiences back to the land for a journey around the world that teaches audiences about all the different animals that populate Earth’s different regions.  Along the way, they also teach a valuable lesson about ecological conservation that it very subtly mixed in.  So it doesn’t come across as being preachy.  The end result is an album that adults will find just as entertaining and valuable as children.

Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke have crafted an album in Animal Tales that adults will value just as much as children.  One of the main reasons for this is its accessibility in terms of its writing.  The elementary biology lessons prove to be just as enlightening for children as for adults believe it or not.  One prime example of that accessibility comes in the form of ‘Bear Song.’  The song introduces audiences of all ages to just some of the different species of bears that live around the world.  The duo introduces audiences to polar bears, black bears, and koalas, pandas, and even the different species of brown bears including the kodiac and the standard brown bear. Along the way, the duo makes note of pandas being endangered but keeps the mood light by making a light hearted joke about pandas not wanting to have babies in captivity.  It’s a light hearted joke.  But there is also a certain element of seriousness to this statement.  It shows the importance of trying to breed pandas especially in zoos as a means to hopefully one day take them off of the endangered species list.  The song’s semi country-folk sound adds to its enjoyment.  It’s just one of so many different musical styles presented throughout the album.  That variety of musical elements is another aspect of Animal Tales that makes this album such a joy for audiences.

The musical trip on which Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke take listeners on the duo’s new album is the central point of this record’s enjoyment.  Speaking of the album’s music, its musical side is another reason that audiences of all ages will enjoy the album.  Wilde and Clarke present each of the record’s songs in a different musical style from the others.  ‘Armando Armadillo’ is presented accordingly against a decidedly Tex-Mex sound.  ‘The Buck Stops Here’, clocks in at just under two minutes.  But in that short time, its semi-bluegrass feel proves to be just as perfect a fit.  By direct contrast, ‘Platypus’ is presented against a playful Dixieland style musical backing.  The song’s lyrical content makes that sound even more fun for audiences.  And the laid back, bluesy sound of ‘Alligator Get-Together’ fits this song just as well as alligators are so commonly seen mostly just relaxing on the banks of rivers or swimming easily up and down said bodies of water.  It’s one more example of how the musical variety presented throughout this record makes it even more enjoyable for audiences.  What’s more, the variety of musical styles presented on this record also serves as a great starting point in terms of introducing young audiences to different musical styles.  So not only does this album serve as a great elementary level lesson on biology and conservation, but it also serves as a solid introduction for music classes, too.  Once again, audiences are presented with another reason that this record is so enjoyable.

Animal Tales offers so much enjoyment for audiences.  As noted, it is an entertaining and easily accessible musical lesson on biology and conservation.  It also serves as an equally enjoyable elementary level introduction to a number of different genres of music.  Simply put, Animal Tales is more than just a bunch of songs about animals.  It is a multi-purpose teaching tool that can be used in both an elementary level science class and a music class at the same level.  That is actually a much wider expanse of uses than some might think.  Young audiences could even use it as a learning tool at home as it does offer a number of pneumonic devices throughout each song.  That multi-purpose educational use is just as important as the record’s general entertainment value.  When both of those factors are examined in depth as has been done here, they prove once more why this record is just as entertaining and valuable in the classroom as the living room.  It is an album that adults will find just as valuable and entertaining and children.

Animal Tales will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, October 21st.  It can be ordered online direct from Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke’s website.  More information on this album, all of the latest news from Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke, and all of the duo’s latest tour updates is available online at:

Website: http://keywildeandmrclarke.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Key-Wilde-Mr-Clarke/112784651164

Twitter: http://twitter.com/wildeclarke

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.