Shout! Factory, Sesame Workshop To Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of ‘Sesame Street’ With New Collection

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Sesame Workshop

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop are celebrating Sesame Street‘s 50th anniversary with a new collection of episodes.

Sesame Street50 Years and Counting is scheduled for release Oct. 1 on DVD.  The two-disc set features some of the series’ most beloved and memorable moments from its half-century of programming in its first disc.  Segments, such as “Ladybug Picnic,” “Pinball Number Count” and Kermit The Frog’s beloved performance of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ are among those moments.

The set’s second disc features a variety of the series’ most beloved “live action” segments.  Among those multiple moments are the heartbreaking “Goodbye to Mr. Hooper,” the debut of Julia, the first member of the Sesame Street gang with autism and the introduction of the one and only Snuffleupagus.

As if all of that is not, viewers of all ages get to enjoy Super Grover’s many crash landings, Bert and Ernie’s best moments and more than five-and-a-half hours of other content from the series’ half-century run.

The collection’s release in stores will feature the inclusion of a 2X3 picture that features the series’ most notable figures.  The collection can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.sesameworkshop.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

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.

‘Space: 1999 — The Complete Series’ Is A “Universal” Hit For Science Fiction Fans Everywhere

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is resurrecting the cult classic sci-fi series Space: 1999.  Due out July 16 on DVD and Blu-ray, the upcoming re-issue marks the first time that the series has received a full domestic release.  It was released most recently released in a full set overseas via Network in 2017.  Spread across 13 discs on DVD and Blu-ray, the collection is a must have for the most devout fans of the short-lived British import.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content, which is expansive to say the least, is another key addition to the collection.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set, rounds out the set’s most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Space: 1999The Complete Series.  All things considered, they make this first-ever domestic home release of the series one that will be difficult to top for any future re-issues domestic or otherwise.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a collection that the cult classic series’ most devoted fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  The series’ 48-episode run is spread across 13 discs in two separate Blu-ray boxes.  The discs are placed on either side of a series of plates inside each box.  While the series’ two seasons are separated out into boxes, the packaging manner for the discs actually minimizes the bulk of each box.  Even with the main bonus features being placed on their own disc inside its own third case, the set’s overall Blu-ray box size is conservative on its size because of how the discs are packaged within the cases and because Blbu-ray boxes are themselves smaller than DVD boxes.

The actual packaging of the discs is just one key item to note in examining the overall packaging of Space: 1999’s Blu-ray set.  Audiences will note that on the back of each of the collection’s main two cases is an episode listing for that season.  The episodes are specifically aligned with their respective discs.  This might not seem overly important on the surface, but in reality it is very important.  Having the episodes listed specifically on their discs saves time for viewers in deciding which disc and episode to watch.  Of course, this is nothing new for Shout! Factory’s home releases, but it is still worth noting since it is another example of that continued effort by the people at Shout! Factory to give viewers the best experience possible with each of its multi-disc sets.  While the episode summaries are not included inside or outside the cases, Shout! Factory’s people did not forget those, either.  They will be discussed a little later.  Moving on, the packaging of Space: 1999The Complete Series is just one part of what makes the collection stand out for the series’ fans.  The bonus content featured throughout the set adds even more to the set’s presentation.

The bonus content featured in this first-ever domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is spread across the set’s 13-discs with the main discs featuring picture galleries from each episode.  The main bonus content is a series of featurettes and a mix of old and new interview segments.  Star Barbara Bain’s interview features her talking about her draw to the series despite not being a science fiction fan at the time that she tried out for a role on the series, but coming to enjoy her time on the show.  Bain also mentions in her interview, her interest in the show’s premise and its set.  There is also an entertaining anecdote shared by Bain here, about working with Christopher Lee in one episode of Season One.  She joked about his height and how the show’s creative heads wanted to make him even taller than his natural 6-foot 4-inch height.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.  The discussions on the series’ concept and creation features discussions with the series’ creator Gerry Anderson – who also created other classic series, such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90 – as well as other members of the series’ creative team discussion the series’ creation.  Anderson discusses the role that ITC had in the importing of the series to the United States while others discuss the things that went on behind the scenes.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing discussions is that of show runner Fred Freiberger, who came into the show near the end of its first season.  Anderson’s wife Sylvia speaks one way of Freiberger – essentially saying he did not understand the difference between British television and American – while cast member Nick Tate spoke a little more warmly of Freiberger.  As if all of that is not enough for viewers, there is also a look into the models that were used   That look is key because it reminds people about how groundbreaking Anderson’s series were then and are now in hindsight.  As another interviewee noted in another segment, shows of this series’ caliber can only be made in this era using CG.  Between these discussions, so many others featured in the bonus content, the bonus picture galleries and the audio commentaries also featured throughout the set, audiences get here a full and fully immersive viewing experience.  It takes the foundation formed by the set’s packaging and strengthens it even more than one could even imagine.  That foundation is strengthened more still through the companion booklet that is also featured as part of the collection’s whole.

The companion booklet that is featured with Space: 1999The Complete Series opens with a brief but concise look at the history of Space: 1999 by pop culture historian and Shout! Factory Associate Producer Russell Dyball.  The history is also an appreciation for the series, with Dyball discussing the series’ theme music, its stylistic approach, which was far different from that of Star Trek – but common for Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s series – and the expansive merchandising associated with the show.  From there, the booklet features a full rundown of the series’ episodes with brief, but concise summaries of each episode.  There is even a note ahead of the episode summaries stating that the lineup is based on the series’ episode production order, the most commonly accepted episode order.  Considering that there was not enough space inside and outside the series’ cases for episode summaries, the people at Shout! Factory are to be commended for taking the time to make sure even that element was still included in one way or another with the set.  Audiences will likely end up using this episode guide even more than the episode guides printed on the backs of the cases.  It’s just one more positive to an already positive presentation that the most devoted fans of this classic series will appreciate.  When it is considered along with the previously noted positives – the packaging and the bonus content – the set in whole becomes a presentation that every Space: 1999 fan will want to add to their home library.

Shout! Factory and itv’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999The Complete Series is a presentation that the most devoted fans of the series and the most devoted science fiction fans will appreciate.  That is due in part to the set’s packaging.  Once again, Shout! Factory has set the bar for multi-disc packaging with this Blu-ray set.  The bonus content featured with the set adds even more interest to its whole, as it includes audio commentaries, interviews, retrospectives and picture galleries throughout the set’s 13 discs.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the set rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this collection a “universal” hit among science fiction audiences, not just fans of this series.  More information on this and other titles is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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 Appeal For ‘The Andromeda Strain’ BD Re-Issue Will Spread Like A Virus Among Audiences

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/Universal Pictures

Michael Crichton was one of the greatest literary minds of his time during his life.  He was, for all intents and purposes, the second coming of Jules Verne.  That is because his novels, like those of Verne, told stories that were so far ahead of their time.  Jurassic Park, for instance was not so much about a bunch of dinosaurs living on an island, but rather the issue of cloning before it become a major topic for scientists and news agencies to talk about daily.  Now it is everywhere.  Next focused on genetics and government control thereof before the news ever picked up on the issues, such as drug companies using people’s blood types to control the drug industry and people being able to pick the gender of their babies with their doctors.  In The Andromeda Strain, one of his earliest works, Crichton addressed the issue of germ warfare and the issue of what constitutes “intelligent” life from other worlds other than our own.  That book was adapted to the silver screen in 1971, and subsequently released (and re-issued multiple times) to home viewers.  Early last month, Arrow Video re-issued the movie again, this time on Blu-ray, resurrecting the chilling plague outbreak story for a whole new generation of sci-fi and horror fans.  The noted audiences are certain to appreciate the noted story, which forms the foundation of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s latest re-issue adds even more to its presentation.  The companion booklet that is also featured with the movie’s re-issue is yet another positive touch to its overall presentation.  Each item noted here plays its own key part in the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  They certainly are not the only key elements that one can examine.  One could also examine additional items, such as the movie’s cinematography, its casting and even the work of the movie’s cast by relation.  All things considered, they make The Andromeda Strain an welcome addition to the home library of any science fiction (and more specifically Michael Crichton) fan.

Plague outbreak stories seem to be a favorite go-to for Hollywood’s major studios.  From the likes of The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Masque of the Red Death (1989) and Outbreak (1995) to the likes of And The Band Played On (1993), 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Andromeda Strain (1971) and so many others, Hollywood’s major studios seem to love stories about plagues.  To that end, it makes sense that early last month, the latter of the noted group of movies – The Andromeda Strain – would re-issue that movie.  Released June 4, it was re-issued this time on Blu-ray.  Fans of the outbreak genre, fans of Michael Crichton’s works and sci-fi fans in general have plenty to appreciate in this latest re-issue, starting with the movie’s story. The story at the center of The Andromeda Strain follows a group of scientists that is working to contain a space-borne virus brought back to Earth on a satellite that mysteriously crashed to Earth in a quiet town in the American Southwest.  As the story progresses, it is eventually discovered — not to give away too much — that the virus being aboard the satellite might not have been quite as coincidental as originally thought.  The antidote (of sorts) is eventually discovered, thanks to two lone survivors from the town – an old man and a baby.  The story in whole harkens back to the sci-fi flicks of the 1950s and 60s turned out by Universal Pictures, whose stories centered on the military’s atomic testing leading to all kinds of problems for mankind.  Again, not to give away too much, but there is a very close similarity between those stories and this work.  It is also addressed in the bonus features included in The Andromeda Strain’s bonus material.  That will be addressed a little later.  Keeping that in mind, this story will appeal to a wide range of viewers, even despite its pacing issues.

It becomes clear through everything  noted so far, that the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain builds a strong foundation for Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of the movie.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent re-issue strengthens that foundation even more.  That is because this re-issue features some previously presented bonus content and some new material in one setting.  Among the most notable of the new bonus content is the discussion by critic Kim Newman.  Newman discusses in his commentary, The Andromeda Strain’s place in the bigger picture of the plague/virus outbreak genre, citing the movies already cited in this review, and others.  Newman’s discussion might not seem like much  on the surface, but in the bigger picture, the roughly 10-minute presentation brings new light to the fact that said genre is in fact so expansive.  The previously presented “making off” featurette, which was featured in the movie’s 2001 re-issue, is another notable addition to this re-issue.  That is because some viewers have not previously seen this featurette while others perhaps have not seen it in a long time and forgotten what was discussed in the mini-doc.  Audiences get discussions here on topics, such as the then groundbreaking special effects used in the movie, the deliberate choice of cast members who were not at the time, well-known  and the faux bibliography featured in The Andromeda Strain and its connection to it cinematic adaptation.  That discussion, with the movie’s script writer Nelson Gidding, makes for its own share of insight and entertainment.  There are also vintage interview segments with Crichton himself featured within the “making of” documentary in which he talks about his connection between his medical education and the book.  Those discussions are expanded even more in yet another of the movie’s key features, “A Portrait of Michael Crichton.”  The late, great author talks in this presentation, about his decision to author his original novels under a fake name and why he decided on going to medical school first among other topics.  As if everything in this and the other noted featurettes is not enough, the new feature-length audio commentary will entertain and engage viewers just as much if not even more than those featurettes.  All things considered here, the bonus content – new and old alike – does just as much to keep viewers engaged and entertained as the story at the center of The Andromeda Strain.  The two elements together are just part of what makes this latest re-issue of the classic sci-fi flick such a welcome addition to audiences’ home movie libraries.  The companion booklet that is featured as yet another extra with this re-issue is notable in its own right to the movie’s whole.

The companion booklet that comes with  the latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain adds its own touch to the movie’s presentation, as its liner notes – penned by author Peter Tonguette – discuss not only the movie’s place in the grand scheme of the cinematic universe, but also that of its director, Robert Wise.  Tonguette states in his notes, that Wise and the movie both deserve far more credit than they have been given.  He notes Wise’s work on so many b-flicks prior to helming The Andromeda Strain as a big part of the reason that Wise has never gotten the credit that he believes the director has deserved.  Additionally, Tonguette discusses Wise’s approach to the Andromeda, crediting that approach for items, such as the dialogue and effect of the cinematography.  Along with Tonguette’s brief, but concise discussion on Wise’s work on The Andromeda Strain, the companion booklet also offers a starting point for discussions on the movie within the context of a film appreciation class, clearly outlining a set series of discussion topics; topics such as the nature of the deaths in Piedmont, the President’s decision whether to drop an atomic bomb on Piedmont, and the impact of the virus’ mutation.  There are also focuses on items, such as recent real life scientific breakthroughs in comparison to the topics discussed in the movie, whether The Andromeda Strain is in fact science fiction or science fact, and Werner Von Braun’s statement decades prior about the very topic on which Crichton centered his book.  Even more interesting is that all of these discussion topics were featured in a 1971 educational guide sent to schools nationwide to help promote the movie.  That guide is still just as relevant today as it was in 1971.  To that end, it is another key addition to the companion booklet included with this latest re-issue of The Andromeda Strain.  Keeping this in mind, the vast expanse of content (and the depth thereof) within the booklet proves to be just as important to the re-issue’s presentation as the bonus content and the story itself.  When all three elements are considered together, they make The Andromeda Strain a movie that, again, sci-fi fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Michael Crichton and those of the plague/virus outbreak genre.

Arrow Video’s re-issue of Universal Pictures’ The Andromeda Strain is a strong new offering for fans of Hollywood’s plague/virus outbreak genre just as much as for fans of Michael Crichton and of science fiction in general.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  While maybe not the first movie of its kind when it was originally released in 1971, its story is one that still rings true for audiences to this day.  It is far more believable than most other movies within its realm.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s recent re-issue adds even more engagement and entertainment to the re-issue’s presentation.  That is because the content balances new and old for viewers of all ages.  The companion booklet that also come with the re-issue adds even more interest to the re-issue.  Each item noted in this review is important in its own way to the whole of The Andromeda Strain.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a work that is one more of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.arrowfilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

 

 

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.

PBS Taking Audiences To The Dead Sea In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The Dead Sea is dying, but not everybody is ready to let one of the planet’s great natural wonders go dry.

In a new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA, the slow decline in the sea’s level is examined along with the efforts to save the sea.  Scientists, engineers and political leaders have devised a way to try and save the Dead Sea — construction of a large desalination plant.

If the plant works, it will connect the Dead Sea with the Red Sea.  Success would not only save the Dead Sea but also play a crucial role in political tensions and water shortages in the Dead Sea region.

NOVASaving The Dead Sea is scheduled for release July 16 on DVD and Digital.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 through PBS’ online store.

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/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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 Taking Viewers “Back To The Moon” In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission nearing, PBS and PBS Distribution are marking the occasion with a new episode of NOVA.

NOVABack to the Moon is scheduled for release July 30 on DVD and Digital.  the program focuses on the future of space travel while also looking back at the history of the efforts to reach the final frontier.  It looks at the missions planned for the future of space flight, from the moon to the asteroid belt.

The program also also looks at the resources that might be available in space as mankind looks to the stars.

NOVABack to the Moon will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 at PBS’ online store.  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/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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.

New ‘NOVA’ Episode To Tell New Military History Story

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS has added another new story to the history of warfare with a new episode of its hit series NOVA.

NOVAThe First Horse Warriors is scheduled for release July 16 on DVD and Digital.  The story at the center of this episode of NOVA examines the history of horses in combat.  While horses were originally used for trade purposes and to herd livestock, they eventually became a key part of warfare around the world.

This new episode of NOVA examines when horses first became so crucial to military campaigns.  It does so by taking viewers to the grassy plains of Kazakhstan, where wild horses still roam free today and nomadic herders follow their traditional way of life.

Researchers using archaeology, and genetics work to solve the question of when horses first went from peaceful purposes to those of war.  In the process, the research also uncovers a once lost group of warriors who used horses in their campaign across Europe. That same group, the research finds, is the ancestors of millions of people worldwide today.

NOVAThe First Horse Warriors will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  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/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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 Celebrating Moon Landing Anniversary With New ‘AmEx’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

July 20, 1969 is one of the most important dates in the history of space flight.  It was on that day that the first human stepped foot on the moon.  This year marks 50 years since that landmark even happened, and to celebrate the history-making event, PBS Distribution will release a new episode of American Experience in the form of American ExperienceChasing The Moon.

American ExperienceChasing The Moon is scheduled for release July 9 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The three-part, 360-minute (six-hour) story is spread across three discs on each platform.  brings the story of the moon landing to a whole new generation of viewers.  It does so without any narration, using instead, real, vintage footage and interviews with those who played key roles in the moon landing, such as Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Poppy Northcutt to tell the story.

American ExperienceChasing the Moon will retail for MSRP of $34.99 (DVD) and $39.99 (Blu-ray), but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $29.99 (DVD) and $34.99 (Blu-ray) through PBS’ online store. A bundle package featuring the program on Blu-ray, a coffee table book and mug is also available for $74.99.

More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online at:

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

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.