PBS’ New Bob Hope Profile Is A Masterful Portrait Of A True American Master

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Bob Hope is an American Master. From radio to the big screen and small and even to the frontlines of the nation’s major military conflicts, Hope gave America laughs and…well…hope throughout the course of his eight decade-long career. Now almost 15 years after the legendary entertainer died, PBS and Public Media Distribution have paid tribute to him in the form of a new episode of PBS’ hit bio series American Masters titled American Masters: This Is Bob Hope. Released January 9, 2018, this 2-hour documentary paints a vivid picture of what makes Hope a true American Master in part through its unbiased story of his life and career. That story forms a solid foundation for the program’s presentation, and will be discussed shortly. The program’s pacing directly connects to the story itself, making it just as important to discuss as the program’s story. It will be touched on later. The bonus material included with the program rounds out its most important elements. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of American Masters: This is Bob Hope. All things considered, they collectively make the program proof positive of why Bob Hope is an American Master and why this profile of the legendary entertainer is one of this year’s top new documentaries.

American Masters: This is Bob Hope, one of the latest entries in PBS’ hit biography series American Masters, is one of this year’s best new documentaries, hands down. It is a program that will appeal just as much to Hope aficionados as it will entertainment history buffs. This is proven in no small part through the profile presented of the legendary entertainer through the program’s story. The story presented here — largely through interviews with some of the biggest names in comedy (Woody Allen, Margaret Cho, Kermit the Frog, Dick Cavett, Conan O’Brien) is a fully unbiased profile of Hope that shows the good, the bad and even the ugly. Yes, there was some ugly in his life. It came in the form of his alleged issues with infidelity. Hope’s friends and family tackle the topic briefly, but do what they can to talk about it without completely sweeping it under the rug. Even though the discussion was not in-depth, it showed that those behind the lens wanted to make sure to show a full profile of the man who was Bob Hope. The good is the love that he had for his adopted children and his very real dedication to entertaining the men who served in America’s armed forces from World War II right through Vietnam as well as his pure dedication to entertaining audiences in general. Those are tidbits that any viewer will appreciate learning. That is because it makes Hope that much more beloved. Just as interesting to learn about is Hope’s friendship with fellow entertainer Bing Crosby. As comedian/actor Billy Crystal (Monsters Inc, Monsters U, Parental Control) notes as he reads Hope’s own words, the two had quite the chemistry on and off camera. Though, despite that friendship, Hope apparently got jealous when Crosby got an Academy Award. This is all very interesting, and only one part of the story that makes the whole of the story so interesting. The bad of Hope’s life and career adds just as much interest to the story as the good and even the ugly. The bad comes through the discussion on his connection to the Vietnam War. Audiences learn here that in what seemed like an attempt to stay relevent, Hope caused some controversy with his jokes in support of the Vietnam conflict and his political ties to the White House at the time. This upset both the military he entertained and those back in the United States with his comments. It’s just one more interesting piece of information that audiences learn in watching this in-depth look at Bob Hope’s life and career. The additional depth that this piece of information adds to the story shows even more why the story is so critical to the doc’s presentation. Of course for all of the interest that the story doc’s story generates, it is only one part of what makes this program an interesting watch. The program’s pacing, by connection is just as important to discuss.

The pacing of PBS’ new profile of Bob Hope is so important to discuss because of the sheer amount of material that is shared over the course of the program’s two hours. The program takes viewers from Hope’s childhood all the way up to the end of his career, when he was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. As noted already, Hope’s career is followed chronologically, from his early days in radio to his growing fame on the big screen and then on to the small screen. Throughout each stage of his career, audiences learn lots of information about his professional and personal life. That means that there was a lot of ground to cover. Thankfully, for all of the ground that is covered here, those behind the doc didn’t let the story get bogged down in itself. That was due in part to the insights from the guests and also in part simply to balance of each segment. That attention to detail resulted in each segment starting and ending at just the right point, focusing on the most important items in each part of Hope’s career. That attention to detail couples with the movement generated through the guest interviews to keep the program moving smoothly from beginning to end. While audiences know that two hours have passed by the time the story ends, they will still feel more fulfilled than exhausted. Again, that is a tribute to the attention to detail. The end effect is a program that moves fluidly from one segment to the next and ensures in itself maintained engagement just as much as the story itself. Keeping in mind the connection and importance of the doc’s story and pacing, audiences see even more why American Masters: This Is Bob Hope is another master profile from PBS. As important as they are to the whole of the program, they are not the only important elements to discuss here. The bonus material included in the program’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included with AM: This Is Bob Hope is primarily interview material that was ended up on the cutting room floor. One of the most interesting interview segments is that with Conan O’Brien as he talks about working on an episode of The Simpsons that incorporated Bob Hope. O’Brien talks here about Hope making a surprise appearance to actually voice himself for the brief cameo and his own gleeful surprise at Hope’s surprising appearance for the recording. There is also a reading by another interviewee of a letter that Hope wrote to one of his young fans early his career that adds even more depth to the overall story. It is real proof of the love that was discussed during the program that Hope had for his legions of fans. Tom Selleck’s (yes, Tom Selleck) anecdote about appearing on television opposite Hope offers its own enjoyment, and is sure to leave audiences with a laugh and a smile. Considering this, it comes as no surprise that it is saved as the last of the bonus materials. The opening bonus interview with O’Brien about Hope setting the standard for making even monologue foibles adds just as much enjoyment as Selleck’s interview and the other bonus interviews. Between the interviews noted here and those not directly noted, the bonus interviews included with this program add just as much to the program’s whole as the story and its pacing. When this is all considered together, the end result is an overall presentation that is certain to appeal to any Bob Hope aficionado just as much as it will to any entertainment history buff. With that in mind, it is easily a candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

American Masters: This Is Bob Hope is a masterful profile of a true master entertainer. This two-hour bio on Bob Hope is a work that is certain to appeal to any Bob Hope aficionado and to any entertainment history buff. As has been noted here, that is due in part to the program’s in-depth story. It is an unbiased story that presents the good, bad and ugly of Hope’s life and career equally. The story’s pacing ensures audiences’ engagement just as much as the story itself while the bonus interview segments put the finishing touch to the program’s presentation. Each element is important in its own right, as audiences will see when they watch this program. All things considered, they make American Masters: This Is Bob Hope another masterful presentation from PBS. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of American Masters is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSAmerMasters

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.

Advertisements

‘Milk Street: Season 1′ Will Leave A Relatively Good Taste In Viewers’ Mouths

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Chris Kimball, former host of PBS’ hit cooking series Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen has had quite the journey since 2015. From leaving both series to facing a lawsuit from the heads of one of the series to even facing controversy over the very name of his new show, Kimball has had a lot on his proverbial plate, no pun intended. Even through it all, he apparently managed to weather the storm and return to television late in 2017 with his new series Milk Street. Now thanks to Public Media Distribution and PBS, audiences can own the first season of this new series for themselves on DVD. Released on 2-DVD box set January 30, this 13-episode debut season presents Milk Street as an interesting new effort from Kimball and everyone else behind the show. That is due in part to the show’s presentation. It will be discussed shortly. One thing that detracts from the series’ debut season is the lack of printable recipes, but is luckily for its sake, the only negative to this presentation. The dishes that are presented round out the program’s most important elements. Each element is important in its own way to the season’s overall presentation, as will be pointed out in the coming discussion. All things considered, they make the debut season of Milk Street a good start for this new venture from Kimball and company.

The debut season of Christopher Kimball’s new cooking series Milk Street proves over the course of its thirteen episode run to be a good start for the show. That is evidenced in part to the series’ very presentation. Audiences familiar with Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen, the series that Kimball formerly fronted, will note that the series, in its presentation, takes the best elements of those series and mixes them with some new elements while also eliminating other elements for a whole new, interesting format. In regards to the best elements is the fact that Kimball once again serves only in a host role in this series, which is how the prior series were presented. The cooks were the real stars, and that is the case again here. Speaking of those cooks, Kimball has a new crop of cooks this time out, giving those new faces their own chance at making names for themselves. Also of note are the product and taste test segments. Unlike the segments in Kimball’s previous series, he handles those segments himself here. Instead of focusing on a number of products and comparing them — which is what those segments did (and that is not to talk garbage about them, either) — Kimball takes his time to focus on one item and one item only, making the most of the time for each segment. Love the approach or hate it, it is an interesting new approach. Also new to this series is the fact that instead of just talking about dishes before the segments, Kimball actually introduces the dishes with actual in-kitchen segments in other parts of the world. It’s as if Kimball and company merged elements of A Chef’s Life and Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern just without the really disgusting looking foods presented in the latter series to create this segment. It’s an interesting new take on a familiar approach. Even the studio segments have a whole new take with Kimball and company letting viewers know they are working in front of a studio audience. That was something, on the previous series, that was only made obvious during the taste test segments, so it is another interesting new approach taken here to break down that wall right off the bat. Considering the mix of the old and new presented here, it becomes obvious that Milk Street‘s presentation will appeal to longtime fans of Kimball’s previous series and his new venture. Keeping that in mind, it proves in whole why the general presentation is so important to this first outing for Milk Street. For all the good that the series’ presentation presents, its home release is not without at least one negative. That negative is the seeming lack of printable recipes.

In going through all 13 episodes of Milk Street‘s first season, it appears that none of the dishes presented are complimented with printable recipes. Instead, audiences who want to get the recipes for themselves have to go online to get them. This might not seem overly important on the surface, but when examined on a deeper level, it becomes clear why this is in fact very important to note. In seemingly placing the recipes online only, odds are they will only be available for a certain amount of time. That is because after a while they will have to be purged to make way for other recipes. This in turn creates a certain sense of urgency, and maybe not everyone who watches a series such as this even has access to the web. That makes having the recipes available to print from disc that much more important. It allows audiences to choose and print recipes on their own time. Keeping this in mind, seemingly not having the recipes available on disc does in fact prove pivotal to the presentation of Milk Street’s first season on DVD. It goes without saying that it definitely detracts from the season’s presentation on disc. Hopefully when and if a second season is produced and released, this will be amended, being the only major negative, but still a key negative. As much as it takes away from the season’s presentation, it is not enough to make it a fail. As a matter of fact, speaking of the recipes, the dishes that are featured this season are very similar to those presented in Cook’s Country and ATK. This familiarity rounds out the most important of the season’s elements.

The dishes that are presented throughout the course of Milk Street‘s first season are critical to its presentation because they are so easy to make by and large. This is something else that Kimball has brought over to this venture from his previous series. At the same time, they’re not just average, pedestrian dishes, either. From Fluffy Olive Oil Scrambled Eggs to Lemon-Buttermilk Poundcake to Georgian Chicken Soup (the country Georgia, not the state) to Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce and beyond, the dishes are easily made any night of the week as long as the ingredients can be found. By and large, they can be found with relative ease, too, considering the variety of grocery stores that are out there nowadays. What’s more, the dishes come from so many different nations. There are dishes from Mexico, the United States, Japan, Spain, The Middle East (Israeli Hummus in that case), Thailand, and again Georgia among so many other countries. In other words, this series presents audiences with dishes that they otherwise might not have ever tasted or tried to cook without making them inaccessible or too hard for the everyday cook. That is something that has continued to make ATK and CK hits with their fans, and is certain to resonate with fans who have come along for the ride in this series. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why this element is just as important to the presentation of Milk Street: Season 1 as its very presentation and even the issue with the seeming lack of printable recipes. Each element, as has been pointed out, plays its own important part to this series’ debut season. All things considered, this series debut season will not leave too much of a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store. More information on Milk Street is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.177milkstreet.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/177MilkStreet

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.

Smithsonian Channel’s African-American Aviation History Doc Is A “Soaring” Success

Courtesy: Smithsonian Channel/Public Media Distribution

African-Americans have made so many great contributions to this nation throughout the course of its now 242 years. They have also made great accomplishments over that time both for themselves and that have opened roads for those who have come after them. From agriculture to business and even to politics and beyond, those contributions and accomplishments are innumerable. Now thanks to Public Media Distribution and Smithsonian Channel, yet another area in which African-Americans have made great (or in this case soaring) accomplishments has been brought to light as we mark Black History Month in the form of the documentary program Black Wings. This program is an important addition to the ongoing study of African-Americans’ contributions and accomplishments because of its story first and foremost. This will be discussed shortly. Its pacing is just as important to discuss in examining its whole, and will be touched on later. The companion interviews and vintage material used to help tell the story rounds out the doc’s most important elements. Each element is important in its own way to the program’s overall presentation. All things considered, they make Black Wings a welcome addition to the ongoing celebration of African-Americans’ contributions to America and their accomplishments throughout its history.

Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary Black Wings is a high-flying success for Smithsonian Channel. That is because the almost hour-long program brings to light a part of African-American history that doesn’t seem to be typically addressed when discussing African-American history — the contributions to and accomplishments within the aviation industry. This applies both during Black History Month and at other times of the year. Yes, it is addressed, but not to the extent of African-Americans’ role in the nation’s business industry, education system and other major areas. The story presented here presents African-Americans’ accomplishments and contributions not just through one aspect of the aviation industry, but in general. From their role in World War I and World War II to the commercial flight industry and even the private industry, the story covers as much ground as possible without allowing itself to get bogged down. What’s really impressive here is the fact that those who helped tell the story are largely everyday people, save for perhaps one well-known female astronaut. Other famed figures such as James Banning and Thomas Allen — The Flying Hobos — and Marlon Green –Continental Airlines’ first African-American pilot — get the recognition that they deserve, hopefully setting the ground to make them the celebrities that they should be. Green’s hiring by Continental would also make him the first African-American to be hired as a pilot for a major American airline. His story, and that of the “Flying Hobos,” couples with the stories of the everyday figures who themselves have done such great things for African-American (and American history in whole) to make the story overall one that will appeal to any aviation history buff. While the story forms a solid foundation for the program’s overall presentation, it is only one of the doc’s most important elements. Its pacing is just as important to discuss as the story itself.

The pacing of Black Wings‘ story is so important to its presentation because of the amount of ground that is covered over its nearly hour-long run time. There are discussions on African-American accomplishments within and contributions to the nation’s aviation history in regards to the military, commercial, private and even governmental (NASA). That being the case, it would be so easy for the program to get lost in itself and in turn to get bogged down. Luckily that was not the case here. From one story to the next, those behind the doc’s creation keep the transitions smooth and the story moving fluidly. Just enough time is given to each smaller story within the program’s bigger story to ensure viewers’ maintained engagement. From one to the next, this makes each smaller story memorable and impactful. Even up to the program’s end, the pacing is so solid, audiences won’t even have realized that roughly 51 minutes have elapsed. That is a tribute to the work put in to this aspect, and in turn proves why the pacing is so important to the program’s whole. It still is not the last of the program’s most important elements. The vintage footage and pictures and the interviews used to tell the overall story are collectively just as important as anything else to this story’s whole.

The visual and audio elements used to help tell Black Wings‘ story are so important because of the depth that they add to the doc’s presentation. The pics and footage of the “Flying Hobos'” cross country journey couple with the narration and stories from those familiar with the story, to make this a story that could so easily be made into a major blockbuster, or at least the subject of their own documentary. This critic personally would like to see them receive their own doc more so than an over embellished biopic based on actual events so as to properly pay tribute to them.

Much the same can be said of Thomas Hudner Jr.’s first hand account of Jesse Brown’s death in Korea. His personal account of Brown being shot down and the efforts taken to try to save Brown couples with footage of the air war over the continent to make it just as hard-hitting a story. That can even be said of the footage, pictures and interviews used to tell Marlon Green’s story. Audiences get to hear firsthand from Green’s daughter and other family and friends about his efforts to move from a military aviation career to a commercial career. Hearing his daughter speak of how proud she was of Green breaking the racial barrier that had for so long been held is itself moving. Seeing the applications that were discussed in his story adds even more depth to the words of those who told his story, making his story just as interesting as all of the others shared throughout the story.

Considering how much material is presented within Green’s story, that of Brown and of the Flying Hobos, one can easily go back to the program’s pacing and see again in hindsight how easy it would have been for the pacing to be problematic in this program. That’s especially considering that the program clocks in at just under an hour. Luckily though, that was — again — not the case. Taking all of this into consideration, not only does the pacing once again prove pivotal to the program, but so do the interviews, footage and pictures used to tell each of the program’s many stories. They are collectively what really make the stories and make them interesting. The pacing serves to keep them interesting. When this is all considered alongside the very selection of stories featured in this collection, the whole of these elements makes Black Wings a *ahem* “soaring” success (yes, that awful pun was intended) for Smithsonian Channel.

Smithsonian Channel’s new tribute to African-Americans’ accomplishments within and contributions to America’s aviation industry is a high-flying success of a program that succeeds during Black History Month and other times of the year. As has been noted already, that is due in part to its very focus and stories. African-American aviation history is one of those areas that has for decades been largely ignored when talking about African-American history. So, it is nice to see a presentation that covers not just the specific topic, but the topic in whole from one avenue to another. The program’s pacing insures viewers’ maintained engagement, especially with how much ground is covered here. The interviews, vintage footage and pictures that are used to tell the stories are the finishing touch to the program. They bring everything full circle. Each element is obviously important to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make Black Wings a work that will appeal to aviation history buffs, black history buffs and history buffs in general. In other words, it is a profile that deserves as much attention as any other African-American history profile. It is available now. It can be purchased direct online via Smithsonian Channel’s website and via PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other titles from Smithsonian Channel is available online now at:

Website: http://www.smithsonianchannel.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SmithsonianChan

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.

Rodriguez, Vasgersian To Replace Shulman, Boone On ESPN’s ‘SNB’ Broadcasts

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will have some new, but well-known new faces this spring when its Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts return.

The worldwide leader in sports announced this week that Yankee great Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian will join the program’s broadcast team.  Jessica Mendoza will return, too.  Vasgersian will be the program’s new play-by-play announcer, taking the place of Dan Shulman while Rodriguez will serve as analyst, taking over from Aaron Boone.

ESPN announced last summer that Shulman would be leaving the program after last season.  While he stepped away from ESPN’s flagship MLB program, he is still working with ESPN covering Major League Baseball on its ESPN Radio broadcasts.  He is also busy covering college basketball for ESPN.

Boone meanwhile will go from the broadcast booth to the dugout after being named the Yankees new manager during the off-season. Both Rodriguez and Vasgersian said in interviews that they were looking forward to joining ESPN’s MLB broadcast team.

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my broadcasting career,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s an exciting time in baseball, and now I get that front row seat to tell that story every Sunday night on ESPN as well as calling my fourth post season on Fox where I started this journey.”

Vasgersian agreed.

“Jon and Dan set the bar super high for Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play, so it’s a real thrill for someone who still remembers his first Minor League bus trip in 1991 to have a chair like this one,” he said. “I know firsthand how passionate both Alex and Jessica are about baseball, and I can’t wait to get started with them.”

Mendoza said she was looking forward to working with her new broadcast partners.

“I am incredibly excited to work with both Alex and Matt,” Mendoza said.  “Matt has been a friend for a long time and someone whose work I’ve long admired. Alex’s achievements as a player speak for themselves, and I’ve been greatly impressed by the passion and dedication he has put into his broadcasting career. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President of events and studio production said the new broadcast team was the right fit for ESPN because of its collective experience.

“Alex is one of the most recognizable personalities in all of sports, and he’s made a well-documented impact on the sports media landscape. His dynamic personality and incredible baseball knowledge, combined with Matt Vasgersian’s expertise, enthusiasm and poise, make for terrific additions to Sunday Night Baseball, with existing commentators Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney,” Druley said.  “We’re excited about the potential for this team and we’re appreciative to our MLB Network and Fox Sports counterparts, as all parties were more than willing to collaborate in order to serve Major League Baseball fans.”

ESPN’s current Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is noted below.

Schedule:

Date Telecast
Apr. 1 San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 8 New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Apr. 15 Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
Apr. 22 Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 29 New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels** – Olney’s Pick!
May 6 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
May 13 Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks
May 20 Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
May 27* San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
July 1 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 22 New York Mets at New York Yankees
July 29 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 19 MLB Little League Classic

*Telecast to air on ESPN2.

Additional Sunday Night Baseball selections for June through September will be made up to two weeks prior to the dates.

This year marks the 29th year of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.  Each game will be preceded at 7 p.m. on ESPN by Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.

More information on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at http://www.espn.com/mlb.

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.

 

 

Warriors, Celtics Face Off Saturday In “Battle Of The Best” Live On ABC

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by YouTube TV continues its 2018 broadcast season this Saturday night with another cross-conference matchup.

The Boston Celtics will be on the road Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors in a “Battle of the Best.”  Each team leads its respective conference and has an equal chance of taking the win in Saturday’s game, going by the numbers.

Both teams will come into Saturday’s matchup well-rested, having last played Tuesday, January 23.  Each won its respective game, too.  The Celtics have been almost as good on the road so far this season as they have been at home, going 17 – 6 on the road so far versus going 18 – 8 at home.  The team is 6 – 4 in its last 10 games, again with its most recent game ending in a win for the team.

Golden State meanwhile has proven to be slightly better on the road so far this season than at home, going 21 – 4 on the road and 17 – 6 at home.  The team has gone 8 – 2 in its last 10 games, with its most recent game also resulting in a win.

Again, looking at the numbers, Saturday’s match is sure to be a hard-fought battle that will be well worth the watch by any NBA fan.  Coverage is currently scheduled to start at 830 p.m. ET on ABC with Mike Breen on the call.  Analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will also be on hand for additional commentary alongside officiating analyst Steve Javie and sideline reporter Israel Gutierrez.

Saturday night’s broadcast will be preceded by NBA Countdown presented by Straight Talk beginning at 8 p.m. ET.  Michelle Beadle will anchor the broadcast, and will be joined by analysts Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce for additional commentary.

More information on Saturday night’s broadcast is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/nba

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNBA

 

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.

ESPN Announces NFL Pro Bowl Coverage Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy: ESPN

The stage is officially set for this year’s Super Bowl, but before the big game, there will be one more game for NFL fans — the NFL’s annual Pro Bowl, and ESPN will carry full coverage of the annual NFL superstar showcase game.

This year’s NFL Pro Bowl will be played this Sunday, January 28 live from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.  ESPN’s coverage of the game is scheduled to start at 2:50 p.m. ET, with coverage being simulcast on television on ABC and ESPN Deportes.  It will also stream online via the ESPN app.

ESPN Deportes’ coverage is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET with a special edition of SportsCenter.  Eduardo Varela and analyst Pablo Viruega will have the call for the network.

ESPN and ABC’s pre-game coverage is also scheduled to start at 1 p.m. with a special Postseason NFL Countdown pregame show.  The program will air live from Camping World Stadium.  Analysts Randy Moss and Charles Woodson will join host Suzy Kolber for additional commentary alongside ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and reporter Michele Steele.

ESPN Monday Night Football voice Sean McDonough will anchor the ESPN/ABC broadcast of the NFL Pro Bowl. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Matt Hasselbeck for a special one-time appearance.  Field analyst Louis Riddick and reporter Lisa Salters will also be on hand for additional commentary.

Among the stars expected to play in Sunday’s game are Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams), Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders), Jarvis Landry (Miami Dolphins) and others.

Before Brees and the rest of the NFL’s elite take to the field for the Pro Bowl, they will take part tonight, in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.  Coverage is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET.  McDonough and the rest of the MNF team will call the competition, which will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The competition sees the stars competing in events such as the Drone Drop, Precision passing drill (for quarterbacks), Gridiron Gauntlet (relay race) and Pro Bowl Dodgeball (exactly what it sounds like) as well as other events.

Those who miss tonight’s broadcast will get more chances to see it as it will re-air on ESPN, ABC and even Disney XD.  the current schedule of events leading up to the ESPN networks’ Pro Bowl broadcast is noted below.

ESPN Programs at 2018 NFL Pro Bowl:
DATE TIME (ET) SHOW & COMMENTATORS NETWORK(S)
Thurs,

Jan 25
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. SportsCenter and NFL Live *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)
Wendi Nix, Darren Woodson, Jac Collinsworth and Steele
ESPN/ESPN2
9 p.m. Pro Bowl Skills Showdown

(ESPN’s Wide World of Sports)
Sean McDonough, Matt Hasselbeck and Lisa Salters
ESPN
Fri,

Jan 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. SportsCenter and NFL Live *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)
Nix, Woodson, Collinsworth and Steele
ESPN/ESPN2
Sat,

Jan 27
7-11 a.m. SportsCenter *

(Pro Bowl practices – ESPN Wide World of Sports)
Steele
ESPN

Sun,

Jan 28
6:30 a.m. –

12 p.m.
 
SportsCenter *

(Pro Bowl – Camping World Stadium)
Steele
ESPN
1-2:50 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown

(Camping World Stadium)
Suzy Kolber, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, Adam Schefter and Steele
ESPN

ABC
2:50 p.m. NFL Pro Bowl

(Camping World Stadium)
McDonough, Hasselbeck, Riddick and Salters
ESPN

ESPN Deportes
ABC
* show segments

More information on the ESPN networks’ NFL coverage is available online along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/nfl

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNFL

 

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.

‘AmEx: Into The Amazon’ Is A Gripping Real-Life Adventure For All Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Theodore Roosevelt is known to Americans as one of the most polarizing figures in the nation’s history. Two terms as the nation’s head resulted in the Square Deal, the construction of the Panama Canal, protection of America’s national parks and so much more. While Roosevelt accomplished so many great deeds during his time in office, his time away from office produced its own share of intriguing accomplishments and stories. One of the most notable of those stories is his journey down the River of Doubt in the Amazon jungle, which would eventually go on to be called the Rio Roosevelt. The river is a tributary of the Amazon, and hundreds of miles long. Now thanks to PBS and Public Media Distribution, the story of Roosevelt’s harrowing journey along the river is finally being told in the form of the new American Experience episode Into The Amazon. Released just last week of DVD and Digital HD, the two-hour program tells the story, which forms the foundation of the program’s presentation. That story will be discussed shortly. The story’s pacing is just as important to note considering its length and how much content is shared throughout. It will be discussed later. Its pictures, footage and cinematography — its aesthetic elements — round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make American Experience: Into The Amazon a story that is just as gripping as any major Hollywood blockbuster.

American Experience: Into The Amazon, one of the first episodes of PBS’ hit history-based series to be released so far this new year, is a wonderful start to the year for the network. It is just as wonderful for audiences. That is because this program proves over the course of its two-hour run time to be just as gripping as anything that could be (and has been) churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six.” That is proven in no small part through the program’s central story. The story follows Theodore Roosevelt’s journey down the River of Doubt, which would go on to be dubbed the Rio Roosevelt in the course of that journey. What makes the story so interesting is that it proves to be fraught with all of the dangers and tensions that one would find, again, in any major Hollywood blockbuster. From hostile natives to the dangers of the river (and the jungle itself) to Roosevelt and Rondon never fully seeing eye to eye — causing plenty of tensions throughout — the story of Roosevelt’s journey offers all of the action and drama that one would ever want. Even more interesting is the revelation that Roosevelt’s desire to travel the river’s length was just because he wanted to escape the emotion of losing out in his bid for a third term as President of the United States. As narrator Oliver Platt points out early on, that decision was not an isolated event. He notes through his narration that Roosevelt made such decisions even earlier in his life. That means it was all part of a pattern of behavior for him. This alone would make this journey a wonderful case study for any psychology student, especially considering that three men — and even Rondon’s dog — died along the way. Roosevelt survived the perilous journey, which is why famed actor Alec Baldwin was able to read his writings an why Platt shared the story. Keeping all of this in mind, this program’s story alone is more than enough reason for audiences to watch this presentation. It has all of the elements of a major Hollywood Blockbuster without all of the falsehoods and over embellishments. It is only one of the elements that makes this episode of American Experience so powerful. The program’s pacing is directly connected to the story, and in turn just as important to note as the story itself.

Into The Amazon‘s pacing is so important to consider in examining this program because there is so much information to take in throughout the course of the story. Considering how much material is shared from start to finish, those behind the program’s creation are to be commended for the manner in which everything was balanced. That includes Roosevelt’s back story and that of Rondon. Even as the group’s journey progresses, the program never allows itself to get too sidetracked by those moments. Instead, it balances them with the rest of the story, maintaining its fluidity. This, again, is one of those areas where far too many fictional Hollywood blockbusters get it wrong, and in turn bog themselves down. No one part of the story or another ever gets too much time here. The result is a story that insures audiences’ engagement from start to end. Keeping that in mind, the pairing of the program’s story with its solid pacing gives audiences plenty to appreciate. Even with this in mind, there is still one more item to discuss in examining the program’s presentation. That item is its collective aesthetic elements (I.E. its pictures, footage, cinematography and even journal readings).

The collective footage, pictures, cinematography and journal readings incorporated into Into The Amazon are so important to its whole because of the fine touch that they add to the program’s viewing experience. The vintage footage and pictures serve to illustrate the story shared by Platt while Baldwin’s readings from Roosevelt’s notes pull viewers even deeper into the story. The modern cinematography that rests alongside the other noted elements makes the story even more engaging because of its sharp look and its angles. The aerials and the water level shots more than prove this. As Platt discusses one member of the party killing another and running away, the camera points at the ground as the man, who is supposed to be the killer, flees. This simple moment adds its own tension (and in turn engagement) to the story, making it that much more enthralling. It is just one of the so many moments when the cinematography shines, too. From one moment to another, the cinematography alone rivals that of so many blockbuster man v. nature movies that have ever been created. When this impressive cinematography couples with the program’s equally important footage, pictures and readings, the whole of these aesthetic elements makes the program’s presentation all the stronger. When they are joined with the story itself and the story’s pacing, the whole of everything proves Into The Amazon this year’s first great documentary, and a work that easily rivals any major Hollywood blockbuster.

American Experience: Into The Amazon is an impressive start for PBS’ already growing list of new home releases this year. Over the course of its two-hour run time, this gripping man versus nature/man versus man story is the first great documentary of the year, and proves once more why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television. It also proves that it is just as good (if not better than) any major Hollywood blockbuster that has ever been crafted. As noted already, that is due in no small part to the program’s story. The story proves it doesn’t need embellishments and half-truths to be engaging and entertaining. The story’s pacing insures even more the program’s strength as do its collective aesthetic elements (cinematography, vintage photos and footage, journal readings). Each element is important in its own right to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make American Experience: Into the Amazon a journey that history buffs and action flick fans alike will appreciate, and that rivals its blockbuster counterparts. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now 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 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.