TMG Scores Big With The Debut Release Of The Saint: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group/itv

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/itv

Late this past May, Timeless Media Group, which is now officially part of the Shout! Factory corporate family, released the classic television series The Saint on DVD. The series’ release is significant because it marked the first time ever that the series had ever been released in its entirety in one complete set. It is safe to say of the recently released complete series set that with its release TMG has yet again lived up to its name and ever-growing reputation. Whether seeing the series and its new box set for the first time or seeing the series for the first time again, audiences will agree in purchasing it that it is a successful first time-release and potentially one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. The center point of the set’s success and enjoyment is the series’ writing. This includes both the stories penned for each of the series’ one hundred eighteen episodes and the deeper elements of the stories (E.g. the minimal amount of violence and overt sexual content). The packaging of this first-time release is also of note in regards to its success and enjoyment. On the surface the packaging seems bulky. But considering the fact that TMG was able to fit all one hundred-eighteen of the series’ episodes on thirty-three discs actually minimizes the set’s packaging to a point. That will be discussed later. Last but not least worth noting of the series in its recent re-issue is its overall look and sound (its production values). Both the series’ black-and-white episodes and its colorized episodes look and sound just as good as in their original broadcasts and their previous DVD releases. They sound just as good, too. Such positive production values make every single episode fully worth the watch. Being so worth the watch, audiences will in turn see for themselves the positives of the episodes’ writing and that of the set’s packaging. In appreciating all noted elements, viewers that pick up the set will agree that it is in fact a candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

The Saint: The Complete Series is an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. This is especially telling considering the fact that its release this past May marked the first time that the series had ever been released in its entirety in one complete box. The main way in which it proves itself such an enjoyable set is the writing behind each of the series’ one hundred eighteen episodes. The writing behind The Saint is so impressive in that it is completely unlike that of its fellow UK-based action/drama Danger Man or even the likes of I Spy, which would come to American audiences only three years after the debut of The Saint. One of the best examples of what makes this series’ writing so entertaining comes in the form of the Season Two episode “The Benevolent Burglary.” Originally airing on December 26th, 1963, this episode sees Simon Templar having to defend his reputation and at the same time, stop the burglary of a museum. Simon makes a bet with an old acquaintance that the museum would be burglarized within forty-eight hours but that it wouldn’t be himself that burglarizes the museum. He has the police on his heels every step of the way because they don’t believe he has changed. Those that have any knowledge of film history will especially appreciate the writing in this episode because it actually throws back to Cary Grant’s 1955 hit big screen thriller To Catch A Thief. It’s a fitting inclusion to the series considering that star Roger Moore would go on to star in equally similar adventures in the role of the famed spy James Bond after this series’ end. Later in the series’ run the writers set Simon in some more serious scenarios such as having to handle human traffickers in Season Six’s “The People Importers.” For those wanting something more familiar, there is a classic style story in Season Five’s “The Escape Route.” It is in that episode that Simon gets himself arrested so as to infiltrate a group of inmates and find out who is heading up a series of recent escapes from Princetown Prison. Very similar plots have been developed for other TV series both before and after. It has even been used as a plot element in a number of action and drama flicks on the big screen. It’s just one more example of why the writing behind The Saint is so important to its enjoyment and success here in its full series set. Simply put, the writing behind The Saint is so pivotal to its enjoyment and success because it didn’t stick to one style of story. It presented both fun, action packed stories as well as more serious story lines, too. That the writers would present such a variety of stories from the series premiere to its finale will keep audiences watching nonstop.

Thanks to the work of the writers behind The Saint, audiences are presented in the series’ first-ever full series set nonstop action and adventure from one episode to the next. The series’ writers show from one episode to the next that they never stick to just one style of story. There are timeless, classic storylines and more serious ones, too. The combination of so many different story styles will keep audiences watching from the series’ premiere to its finale. As important as the writing proves to be to the set’s enjoyment and success, it is just one element of the set that makes it so enjoyable. Examining the set on another level, its packaging should be noted, too. On the surface, the packaging of The Saint: The Complete Series looks rather bulky. However one must consider that the series ran for a total of six seasons and one hundred eighteen episodes. Considering this, TMG has taken it fully into account and given audiences the best possible packaging. Rather than just tossing in a bunch of standalone season sets, TMG has made the set as ergonomic as possible, combining together the series’ first and second seasons into one box, its third and fourth into another, and then its fifth and sixth season into their own standalone sets. Here is where things get just a little dicey. It is understandable that TMG’s people wanted to minimize the amount of space taken up within each set. But because of the set’s packaging, no fewer than seven spindles are left empty over three of the set’s boxes. One of those empty spindles is in the Season 3/4 box. Two more are in Season 5’s standalone set and four more are in Season Six’s box. Considering this, it would have seemed more logical to either eliminate those empty spindles or utilize them by combining part of Season Five into the Season 3/4 set and part of Season Six into the Season Five set. That would have ultimately reduced the size of Season Six’s box and cut down at least a little bit more. But as is, there is empty, unused space in three of the series’ four boxes. That aside, TMG’s people are still to be commended for having made the efforts that they did to maximize the use of the set’s space so as to minimize its space taken up on consumers’ DVD racks.

TMG and its employees are to be commended by and large for the packaging of The Saint: The Complete Series. Even though it looks bulky on the surface, it is actually a relatively wise manner of packaging. It actually saves a certain amount of space on consumers’ DVD racks. On another note, the work of the series’ writers makes this collection enjoyable in its own right. The writers behind this series crafted over its six seasons one hundred eighteen episodes that ran the gamut from classic action fare to more serious episodes throughout. As enjoyable as every episode proves to be, they would not be worth mentioning if not for the work of those charged with restoring the series’ footage for its presentation here. Thanks to the efforts of those individuals every episode looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original broadcast. Each episode maintains its original look complete with that grainy feel. Yet it is obvious that the footage has been meticulously handled so that the grainy feel in question didn’t become overpowering at the same time. On a related note, the sound is just as impressive, too. The audio in each episode has been tweaked just enough to the point that any volume adjustments made from episode to episode and from scene to scene are minimal at best. Yet again, those charged with restoring the footage even in this arena are to be commended for their efforts. The end result of their efforts is one hundred eighteen episodes that look and sound just as wonderful as they did in their original broadcast. because they look and sound so good, audiences will in turn be able to appreciate the work of the series’ writers throughout. Both of these elements set alongside the series’ smart packaging prove together once and for all clearly why The Saint: The Complete Series is yet another hit from Timeless Media Group and why it is also a clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

The Saint: The Complete Series is yet another hit from Timeless Media Group. The recently released box set presents solid, entertaining writing from the series’ premiere to its finale. The packaging minimizes the amount of space used up on consumers’ DVD racks to the best of its ability. Those charged with handling its packaging are to be commended for their efforts here especially considering the fact that the series ran for six seasons and one hundred eighteen episodes. The work of those charged with restoring the footage for its presentation here are to be just as highly commended. It is thanks to their efforts that every one of those one hundred eighteen episodes looks and sounds just as good as they did in their original broadcasts, if not better. All things considered, The Saint: The Complete Series proves in the end to be yet another hit for Timeless Media Group and one more candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/the-saint-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online now at:

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

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

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NOVA: Nazi Attack On America Is One Of 2015’s Top New Documentaries

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

From 1939 – 1945, the world faced one of its greatest challenges when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime rose to power in Germany and started their efforts to take over the world. The stories that came from those that rose to the challenge are some of the greatest in the world’s modern history. They are numerous to say the least. There are so many stories in fact that many have yet to be told. Sadly, just as many likely will never be told. That is because so few people that fought and served in World War II are still around today to tell their stories. Thanks to PBS and its hit science-based series NOVA though, at least one more story from the Greatest Generation has been told in the recent episode Nazi Attack on America. The story presented in this episode centers on the actions of Navy officer Commander Herbert Claudius. Commander Claudius was responsible for heading the operation that sunk a German U-boat right off the coast of the United States during WWII. However, it would not be until decades later that he would receive the credit and honor that he so rightly deserved. It was all thanks to the efforts of one Robert Ballard, the same man that discovered the final resting place of the RMS Titanic. It is that story that serves as the centerpiece of this episode’s enjoyment and its success. The re-enactments and footage of Ballard’s search for the elusive sunken U-boat together add even more interest to the episode. Rounding out the whole thing is the episode’s pacing. The combination of all three elements together presents yet another story from WWII that audiences will be thankful to have experienced in the end. They prove it to be a story that also will hopefully be passed down at the very least to the next generation now that it will be released on DVD later in July.

On Tuesday, July 14th, PBS will bring to audiences another new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA. The episode in question is one that viewers of all ages should watch. That is because the episode in question tells one of the countless stories from The Greatest Generation that needed to be told. Had it not been presented by PBS, this surprising story of service might have otherwise faded into history without ever being given the proper respect that it deserves. The story in question centers on Navy Commander Herbert Claudius’ sinking of the German U-boat U-166. As audiences learn via this episode, despite sinking a U-boat that was lying in wait right off of the Gulf Coast, he was never given the respect that he so rightfully deserved. That is because his superiors did not believe him. Rather the credit for the sinking, again as audiences will learn, was given to another U.S. Navy officer in a later operation. More than seven decades would pass before Claudius would get his due credit. That is thanks to the efforts of one Robert Ballard, the same man that discovered the final resting place of the RMS Titanic. Thanks to the work done by Ballard and his fellow researchers, Claudius finally received the posthumous recognition that he had for so long deserved but never lived to see. Anyone that has any interest in military history in general or more specifically that of naval combat will take great pleasure in experiencing Claudius’ story. Those viewers will be shocked to learn of the original disregard and disbelief that Claudius’ superiors had towards his actions; actions that likely saved countless American lives. They will watch in awe as Ballard discovers U-166 and confirms without a doubt that it was in fact Claudius who deserved credit for stopping the long-elusive U-boat. The story in whole is one that not only needed to be told but deserved to be told. It is one more story from The Greatest Generation that hopefully will also be passed down to not just the next generation but generations to come so that the world will know of the service of one more great American.

The story that lies at the center of NOVA: Nazi Attack on America is a gripping story in its own right. It is one of so many stories that in having experienced it, audiences will agree far more than proves to be a story has needed and deserved to be told. The story itself is only one aspect of the presentation that makes it worth the watch. The collective re-enactments and the footage of Ballard’s discovery of U-166 add even more interest to the program. In regards to Ballard’s discovery, audiences actually get to see U-166 first-hand. The shocker comes as U-166 is revealed to be largely intact. So viewers will see, as Ballard and his companions discuss, where the depth charges must have hit the sub and ultimately doomed it. In the same breath, the re-enactments provide an equally clear view of the showdown that led to Claudius’ sinking of U-166. The sepia tone effect that is used ever so sparsely in the re-enactments are a nice touch. They help to establish that classic vibe even though audiences know that they are watching re-enactments. Getting to see the actual sub as it lies in its watery grave along with re-enactments, audiences will in turn have even more appreciation of the story that lies at the center of NOVA: Nazi Attack on America.

The re-enactments used in partner with the footage of Ballard’s discovery of U-166 go a long way toward making NOVA: Nazi Attack on America a truly intriguing presentation. They and the story itself are still collectively not all that audiences will appreciate about this episode of NOVA. The program’s pacing is solid from beginning to end of the nearly hour-long program. It wastes no time on any one element of its story. Yet at the same time, it doesn’t rush through any one aspect of the presentation or another. The resultant effect of this solid pacing is an easier and better grip on the story. It makes the story easier to follow and in turn makes for more appreciation for the story itself. That solid pacing coupled with all of the previously noted factors makes NOVA: Nazi Attack on America even more gripping, proving entirely why this episode of NOVA is one of the year’s best new documentaries.

NOVA: Nazi Attack on America is one of this year’s best new documentaries. Its central story is itself plenty of reason to watch it. The re-enactments and companion footage of Ballard’s hunt for U-166 offer even more interest to the whole of the episode. The program’s pacing brings everything together, making NOVA: Nazi Attack on America a program that every history buff and military history buff alike will want to see. In watching it, those same viewers will agree that it is one of this year’s best new documentaries. NOVA: Nazi Attack on America will be released on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015. It can be ordered online now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=61808026&cp=&kw=nova+nazi+attack+on+america&origkw=NOVA%3A+Nazi+Attack+on+America&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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

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

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

The Dead Rise Again This Summer

Courtesy:  AMC/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: AMC/Anchor Bay Entertainment

The Walking Dead rises again this summer!

Anchor Bay Entertainment has just announced that the fifth season of AMC’s hit zombie drama will be released on DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack on Tuesday, August 25th. Season Five opens with Rick and company having to make their way out of Terminus after it is revealed that its inhabitants are murderous cannibals. Of course the zombie hordes are there, too. Gareth is hot on the group’s trail, too. Along the way, loyalties are once again tested as are the wills of the survivors in a number of situations. Season Five will come complete with roughly three hours of bonus material for true diehard fans. Those bonuses are listed below.

Bonus Features on the Blu-ray™ + Digital HD and DVD include:

Audio commentaries featuring Showrunner/Executive Producer/Writer Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer Tom Luse, Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor /Director Greg Nicotero, Director Julius Ramsay; Actors Lauren Cohan, Chad L. Coleman, Michael Cudlitz, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Gurira, Alana Masterson, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Norman Reedus, Christian Serratos and Steven Yuen.

Deleted Scenes
Inside “The Walking Dead”
The Making of “The Walking Dead”
The Making of Alexandria
Beth’s Journey
Bob’s Journey
Noah’s Journey
Tyreese’s Journey
A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz
A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt
Rotters in the Flesh

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season will retail for MSRP of $79.99 on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and $69.98 on DVD. More information on The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season as well as the series’ upcoming sixth season is available online now at:

Website: http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking/dead

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

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS’ NOVA Tackles A Major Talker In Its Next DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

This summer, PBS will release a deep, insightful episode of its hit science-based series NOVA on DVD when it releases NOVA: Lethal Seas.

NOVA: Lethal Seas will be released on DVD on Tuesday, July 21st. The episode centers on the effects of carbon dioxide on the earth’s oceans. It points out that the rising amount of carbon emissions being released into the earth’s atmosphere are also being absorbed by the earth’s oceans. The result of that absorption is that the oceans’ acidity is increasing, thus having an equally negative and far-reaching effect on the creatures that live beneath the waves. In outlining these problems, the program follows a group of scientists that is searching for answers to the problem including a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that exhibits what the world’s oceans could potentially look like in the next fifty years. Audiences can check out a trailer for NOVA: Lethal Seas online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpIOk3ew8bc.

NOVA: Lethal Seas will be available on DVD on Tuesday, July 21st. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=62105326&cp=&kw=nova+lethal+seas&origkw=NOVA+Lethal+seas&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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

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

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Live At Shea Stadium Another Candidate For This Year’s List Of Best New Live DVDs and Blu-rays

The Who Live at Shea Stadium 1982 Box Art

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

In 2014, the legendary rock band The Who marked a major milestone as it reached its fiftieth anniversary. In honor of the anniversary, the veteran British band has been making its way around the world, sharing its decades of music with generations of fans. While it is currently in the midst of that tour, not every city has been or will be lucky enough to see the band as it shares its timeless tunes with the masses. Thankfully for the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leader in live recordings, audiences have been treated with one of The Who’s most classic concerts in the form of Live at Shea Stadium 1982. Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a pivotal point in The Who’s career as it would be the last time that the band would be joined by Kenney Jones on drums. It would also mark the last time that the band would perform live until 1989. That is a span of some seven years. In the music world, seven years is an eternity. Until now, this concert had never been released in its entirety on one platform. Being the first time ever that the concert–the second of The Who’s shows from its 2-night stand at Shea Stadium in October, 1982–it is a wonderful debut. It proves itself so impressive primarily through its set list. The main set list featured in this concert runs twenty-five songs and just over two hours. The songs included in that list solidly represent the band’s career up to that point. The quartet’s performance of said songs is just as enjoyable as the songs themselves. Considering that it would be the last time that the band would perform live for a span of seven years, the band definitely went out on a high note albeit temporarily. Last but not least to note is the concert’s collective production values. Being that the concert contained in Live at Shea Stadium was originally recorded nearly thirty-three years ago, the footage has stood the test of time quite well. Even more impressive is the work of those that resurrected its footage and re-mastered it for its presentation here. Thanks to the work of those individuals, the concert maintains the look that it boasted in its original recording yet boasts a sound that is just as clear as any show recorded today. The combination of all three noted elements shows clearly why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a great replacement for those that won’t get to see The Who on its current tour. It shows just as clearly why this recording is one more of the year’s best new live DVD and Blu-ray recordings.

Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a defining moment for The Who. It marked the last time that audiences would get to see the band live for another seven years after its completion. It would also be the last time that the band’s then drummer Kenney Jones would perform with the band. And until now, it has never been released in its entirety on one platform. Considering this and the fact that the band’s current tour may be the last for the band, it becomes an even more important recording for fans of The Who to own. It shows itself to be such a lasting concert for audiences first and foremost through its extensive set list. The set list presented here runs twenty-five songs deep and just over two hours long. That is not even counting the five performances included as bonuses. Added to the main set list, they push the overall run time of the recording to a little more than two hours and twenty-five minutes. That’s a lot of music to say the least. And that’s a lot of live for fans that won’t get to see the band on its current tour. On a related note, the songs that make up the show’s set list represent a relatively healthy cross-section of the band’s section up to that point. It reaches all the way back to the band’s third studio release, 1967’s The Who Sell Out and even includes hits such as ‘Pinball Wizard,’ from the band’s hugely popular 1969 album Tommy, ‘Baba O’Reily’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes,’ both from 1971’s Who’s Next as well as ‘I’m One,’ ‘The Punk and the Godfather,’ ‘5:15,’ and ‘Drowned’ all from another of the band’s biggest releases of all time, 1973’s Quadrophenia among so many other major hits. For all of the importance of the noted hits, their sequencing is just as important to the enjoyment of the show. The first five songs offer up a solid, driving energy that is soon followed up by a slightly more reserved vibe in ‘It’s Hard.’ That is followed up by the ‘Sledgehammer’-esque vibe of ‘Eminence Front’ before the band really pulls back on ‘Behind Blue Eyes,’ another of its biggest hits. That is just the first six of the show’s twenty-five song set. The remainder of the show’s songs exhibit just as much balance right up to the show’s finale. That balance of energy and drive from one song to the next coupled with the show’s overall set list shows clearly why as with any live show, the set list in whole is central to its enjoyment and overall success.

Live at Shea Stadium 1982’s set list and its overall arrangement give audiences plenty to like about the recording. The balance of energy and drive from one song to the mix coupled with an equally solid mix of the band’s hits up to that point will keep audiences’ attention from beginning to end. Much the same can be said of the band’s stage performance throughout the course of the two-hour plus concert. Front man Roger Daltry shows time and again why he is one of the greatest front men in rock’s modern history with his balance of charisma and energy from one song to the next and even in-between as audiences will see for themselves. When the crowd gets too close to the stage, Daltry very calmly and politely asks the audience to back up and make room. Even having to do this more than once he never loses his cool. As minor as it seems, it goes a long way toward showing the type of person that he is. It is truly impressive to see such demeanor. That demeanor coupled with his minimal yet still energetic performance is a clear example of why the band’s performance in this show is so impotrant to its enjoyment and success. Daltry’s band mates John Entwhistle, Pete Townshend, and Kelley Jones each provide their own entertainment throughout the show. Guitarist Pete Townshend’s classic airplane playing is there. Jones’ drumming generates its own energy throughout each song. Even Entwhistle’s own unassuming demeanor as he provides the songs’ low end is entertaining in its own right. Whether in the concert’s biggest moments or its more reserved moments, none of the band members really seem to exert that much energy, rather letting the music exert most of the energy for them. That energy translates perfectly to the audience and will translate just as well to home viewers. In turn, it will lead audiences to appreciate the band members’ talents both as musicians and song writers. That appreciation reveals in one more way why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is such an enjoyable and successful new recording from one of rock’s greatest acts.

The set list that makes up the body of Live at Shea Stadium 1982 and the band’s performance of said songs do plenty to show why this concert is so enjoyable. They are only two parts of the presentation that makes it whole. The concert’s collective production values round out the ways in which it proves itself so enjoyable. Considering the fact that the concert was originally recorded some thirty-two years ago, it can be said that the footage has stood the test of time rather well. Of course the work of those charged with re-mastering the concert’s audio and video is just as much to credit for how well it looks and sounds. It maintains the look that it boasted in its original standard def recording. Even with that look it is clear that it has been cleaned up and brought back to life. Through it all the fact that it still maintains that look is deserving of praise. It shows the high quality results of the painstaking efforts of those individuals charged with handling the footage. The same can be said in regards to the concert’s audio mix. It is obvious that just as much work was put into remastering the concert’s audio. That is because it sounds clearer than most concerts recorded so long ago. Thanks to the work done on both ends, the band’s performance and the show’s set list both become that much more enjoyable. In conjunction with the work of those that resurrected and re-worked the footage, all three elements show together just why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is another entirely enjoyable and successful from one of rock’s biggest bands and why it is also one of this year’s best new live DVD and Blu-ray recordings.

Live at Shea Stadium 1982 shows in plenty of ways to be another entirely enjoyable and successful recordings from a group that is one of rock’s biggest and most respected acts. It shows just as much why it is one of the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now in a variety of formats both in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

More information on The Who’s current tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.thewho.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheWho

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

CBS DVD, Paramount Announce Release Date, Specs For I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two

Courtesy:  Paramount/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount/CBS DVD

America’s favorite redhead will return again this summer when Paramount and CBS DVD release I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two.

Paramount and CBS DVD have announced that I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two will be released on Blu-ray on Tuesday, August 4th. The upcoming re-issue will include many of the features that were also included in the series’ previously released Season One Blu-ray box set. They include all thirty-one Season Two episodes spread across five discs complete with their original sponsor openings and closings. Audiences will have the option of watching each episode with the series’ original “heart” openings and closings without commercial interruption. As if that isn’t enough, audiences will also have the option of watching one of the most famed episodes of I Love Lucy in a variety of formats. The episode in question is the famed “Job Switching” episode in which Lucy and Ethel get a job at a chocolate factory and ends up struggling at a conveyor belt carrying chocolates. Audiences will have the option of watching this timeless episode in its original black-and-white presentation or its newly colorized presentation. It can be viewed with or without commentary. There is even an option to watch the episode in its French Canadian presentation, which included its own special opening and closing graphics and French-Canadian audio track.

“Job Switching” is just one of the most notable episodes featured in I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two. This season also features the equally famed “pregnancy episodes.” The episodes were controversial at the time of their original broadcast because of the view of talking publicly about pregnancy and sex. It made having an actual pregnancy on-air that much more taboo. So it made the “pregnancy episodes” groundbreaking moments in television history. Now audiences will get to see each of the episodes in their entirety along with the more light-hearted “Job Switching.”

AS if all of the noted episodes are not enough for audiences, I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two also includes I Love Lucy: The Movie, which was made up of three episodes from the series’ first season. The episodes in question were spliced together with some extra material to make one seamless storyline. Its presentation here marks the first time ever that I Love Lucy: The Movie has ever seen the light on day on DVD or Blu-ray. Also included among the set’s bonus features are: Scenes from Stars in the Eye–a CBS special that originally aired in November 1952–which featured the cast of I Love Lucy, an original I Lov Lucy sketch original aired on The Red Skelton Show in May 1953, select episode galleries, production notes, radio broadcasts, guest cast profiles and more.

I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two will be available Tuesday, August 4th and will retail for MSRP of $130.00 in the United States and $150.00 in Canada. Every episode will be presented in full 1080p high-definition with subtitles in both English SDH and Latin American. The episodes’ audio will be English Mono Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.0 Dolby Digital.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Audiences Of All Ages Will Applaud Littlest Pet Shop: Paws For Applause

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory Kids’ latest collection of Littlest Pet Shop episodes, Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause is yet another fun-filled collection for any fan of the hit Discovery Family series. The newly-released collection boats five more episodes from the family friendly series that will entertain not just the series’ target young female audiences but their parents, too. That is thanks in large part to the writing behind each of the collection’s five episodes. That is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable. On a related note, audiences will appreciate that at least one of the episodes included in this collection is largely a musical episode of sorts. This is different from most of the episodes features in the series’ previous DVD collections. It’s actually entertaining in its own right, too. The bonus sing-a-long that has remained commonplace among previous Littlest Pet Shop collections is present here, too. Even as short as it may be it proves to be one more part of the whole of the collection that makes it one more enjoyable set of episodes for audiences of all ages.

Littlest Pet Shop: Paw for Applause is not the first collection of episodes from the hit Discovery Family series to see the light of day. It is however, just as enjoyable as the series’ previous collections in its own right. The central way in which it proves itself to be just as enjoyable as its predecessors is the writing that went into its featured episodes. The writing presented in the featured episodes presents both heart and comic element that will put a smile on any viewer’s face. The heart is evident in the episode “Super Sunil.” This episode teaches young viewers the timeless lesson about believing themselves. It teaches viewers that they don’t have to be superheroes to do great things. It does this presenting a story that sees Sunil having to face his fears. It is not until Penny Ling develops “super suit” for Sunil and makes the pair a “super duo” that he thinks he can overcome his fears. He eventually comes to realize in the long run that he doesn’t need the super suit to overcome his fears and do great things. It’s a lesson from which audiences of all ages can take something. For all of its heart, it also presents its own share of comedy as Penny Ling comes to realize that she’s bitten off more than she can chew (no pun intended). She has to deal with Sunil’s delusions when he puts on the super suit. Given, the whole concept behind the episode is familiar as it has been used in some form or another by other animated (and live action) series any number of times in the past. But that doesn’t take away from its enjoyment here.

Staying on the element of the writing’s comic elements, older audiences will be entertained by the nonstop Alfred Hitchcock references in the collection’s closer “Back Window.” The episode’s very title is a reference to Hitchcock’s gripping 1954 thriller Rear Window in which photographer L.B. Jeff Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) discovers a crime in a building right across from his as he sits wheelchair-bound in his apartment. The story presented in “Back Window” even plays off of that story as Russell the hedgehog ends up in a body cast after being injured. Russell swears he sees Blythe’s friend Josh Sharp stealing her discarded designs and giving them to her arch enemies, the Biskit Twins. The difference here is that Russell didn’t actually see what he thought he saw (not to give away too much). That aside, there are references to The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, North By Northwest and other Hitchcock hits throughout the episode that older audiences will especially enjoy. Those combined references show the comic element clearly in this set. It’s just one example of the laughs that are offered up in the episodes featured in this collection just as “Super Sunil” is just one example of the heart presented in the episodes’ writing. The remaining three episodes—“Missing Blythe,” “Blythe’s Big Idea,” and “Some Assistance Required”—each offer their own share of heart and entertainment in their own right, too. Regardless of which episode(s) audiences choose, the writing in each of the featured episodes proves equally enjoyable both for its heart and its comic timing. It shows exactly why the writing behind Littlest Pet Shop makes it a hit for audiences of all ages. It shows even more specifically why the writing behind this set of episodes makes it one more hit for audiences of all ages, too. Of course it is hardly the only element that makes the episodes featured on Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause such a hit. At least two of the episodes featured in this collection offer up quite a bit of musical content. That is rare for this series. So it goes without saying that it makes these episodes stand out even more.

The writing that went into each of the episodes featured on Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause is key to the DVD’s enjoyment. It offers more than enough laughs and heart throughout each episode to put a smile on any viewer’s face. This includes both younger and older audiences. It’s just one way in which Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause shows itself to be another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. The inclusion of the “musical” episode “Missing Blythe” is another way that it impresses. This episode follows up on Blythe’s joining a prestigious fashion academy while her animal friends remain at the pet store, awaiting her return. Audiences get at least two full-on musical numbers in this episode–one from Blythe and the other from the animals—that is sure to have young viewers singing along happily. It may even find them dancing as they sing along, too. Speaking of singing and dancing, Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause boasts not only five fun, well-written episodes but a bonus sing-a-long, too. That is nothing new to this DVD and its predecessors each also presented their own sing-a-longs. While it is relatively short it will still have viewers singing and dancing along, rounding out the ways in which the DVD shows itself to be yet another impressive addition to Littlest Pet Shop’s already extensive series of DVDs.

The bonus sing-a-long that is included with Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause rounds out the ways in which the DVD shows itself to be one more enjoyable addition to the series’ already relatively extensive series of DVD releases. It focuses on Blythe’s “F.U.N. Song” from the disc’s opening episode “Missing Blythe.” It is in the course of this song that Blythe eventually realizes that she’s not as happy as she thought she would be. It isn’t all down as viewers that watch the episode will recall. Its catchy chorus and equally infectious harmonies are sure to have any young viewer singing and dancing along even up to Blythe’s realization that she misses her pet shop pals. Even with the song reaching that moment it still doesn’t take away from the rest of the song. Because it doesn’t, it proves once and for all why it is indeed a bonus feature and a fitting final piece to the whole of Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause. Together with the episodes’ solid, fun writing and the musical numbers incorporated into disc’s lead episode, all three elements combine to make this new DVD yet another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.

In case it hasn’t already been made clear, Littlest Pet Shop: Paws for Applause is yet another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. The solid mix of heart and comic timing in each episode’s writing makes for its own share of enjoyment. The “musical” episode that opens the set is enjoyable in itself. The bonus sing-a-long included in the presentation rounds out the whole thing. All three elements taken into consideration, it becomes crystal clear why this latest collection of Littlest Pet Shop episodes is such a joy for any family to have. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/littlest-pet-shop-paws-for-applause. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

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