PBS Distribution To Release New ‘NOVA’ Episode On DVD Next Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution will bring another episode of its hit science-based series NOVA to DVD next month.

NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is scheduled for release Feb. 16. The program profiles the efforts made to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral following the fire that nearly destroyed the historic landmark. The cathedral caught fire in 2019, nearly losing more than 800 years of history in the process. The program follows the examinations and technology used in the efforts to restore the centuries-old structure and prevent another such incident in the future over the course of its 57-minute run time.

NOVA: Saving Notre Dame will retail for MSRP of $24.99. Pre-orders are open now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

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

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’ DVD Set Next Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release another collection of classic Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood episodes on DVD next month.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends is scheduled for release Feb. 9. Few details are available about the four disc collection as to the featured episodes and the set’s box art. It is known that the collection will span a total run time of 847 minutes. That is more than 14 hours of content for families to take in together.

The forthcoming collection is the third box set of episodes from the timeless series and fourth overall collection of the series’ episodes. It’s a Beautiful Day Collection was released in 2018 and followed up by the Would You Be Mine? Collection in 2019. The single-disc collection Mister Rogers & Making Mistakes followed that release in December 2019.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends will retail for MSRP of $19.99.

More information about the DVD set and all of the latest Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood news is available at:

Website: https://MisterRogers.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TVNeighbor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FredRogersPro

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

PBS Distribution To Release First-Ever ‘Hero Elementary’ DVD Next Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ new animated science-based series Hero Elementary is getting its first DVD release.

Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! is scheduled for release Feb. 9. The single-disc collection offers audiences more than two hours of entertainment.

One of the collection’s stories finds Sparks’ Crew working to reunite a newborn bird with its parents. Another of the stories featured in the collection finds the crew learning how animals use their tails to communicate with each other. Yet another episode features Sparks’ crew helping animals who are out of place around the city due to fog.

Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! will retail for MSRP of $9.99. Pre-orders are open.

More information on PBS Distribution’s new Hero Elementary DVD is available along with activities, printables, and more at:

Website: https://pbskids.org/heroelementary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeroElementary

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

PBS Distribution Announces Release Date, Specs For New ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ DVD Set

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution will bring a new collection of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes to DVD next month.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack is scheduled for release Feb. 9. The collection’s 50 total episodes are spread across three discs. One of the set’s featured stories features Daniel going to Baker Aker’s bakery to pick out a birthday cake. When the cake is damaged, Daniel learns the lesson that just because the cake is messed up, it is still edible and tasty.

In a throwback to one of the most beloved episodes of the original Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel and his friends visit the crayon factory in yet another of the set’s featured episodes. Daniel learns that going to the doctor for a checkup is not as scary as he thinks in yet another of the collection’s stories.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack will retail for MSRP of $19.99. Pre-orders are open.

More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

Websitehttp://pbskids.org/daniel

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

To keep up with the latest 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.

CBS All Access’ ‘The Twilight Zone’ Reboot Takes Another Step Back In Its Second Season

Courtesy: CBS All Access/PAramount

Remembering the past is critical to the present.  If one does not know one’s past, then how can one appreciate the present. This is noted as one takes into consideration the forthcoming home release of The Twilight Zone: Season 2.  The second season of CBS All Access’ latest iteration of the classic series is scheduled for release Tuesday exclusively on DVD.  For those who have not yet seen this season of the timeless series’ latest reboot, it sadly does little to improve from the first season of the series’ latest take.  That is proven in part through its stories.  The overt explicit content within the episodes is just as prevalent as in the first season.  It detracts even more from this season.  The general lack of bonus content is the final nail in the coffin of this season in its home release.  When it is considered with all of the set’s primary content, the collection in whole proves worth watching at most once, but sadly no more.

The second season of CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone does little if anything to improve on the series from its debut season.  In other words, it does little if anything to make this reboot of Rod Serling’s timeless original series worth watching.  That is proven in part through this season’s featured stories.  Ten more episodes are featured in this season.  The stories themselves are new in comparison to the stories in the original series (and even its 1980s reboot).  The problem is that while the stories are new, they are not necessarily original in content.  Audiences can link at least nine of the season’s stories to those in the original series.  Right from the season’s outset, “Meet in the Middle,” longtime audiences will recognize that all the show’s writers have done is re-imagine the classic episode “Penny For Your Thoughts.”  The difference between the two stories is their execution.  In the original story, Hector Poole (played by Bewitched star Dick York) develops telepathic ability and uses them for what he thinks is good, though things don’t go exactly as planned.  It is a warning about knowing whether what we are doing is really for the betterment of others.  On another level, it takes on the equally timeless topic of whether the “super power” of telepathy is really a good thing.

In the case of “Meet in the Middle,” what audiences get is lonely bachelor Phil (Jimmi Simpson – Date Night, Westworld, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home) developing a telepathic link with a woman in another town hundreds of miles away.  Yes, he gets ahead of himself in his own way, but in this case, the result is far worse, and the topic is more centered on the dangers of social media.  How the story ends will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The comparison between the two episodes is important in that where the message in the original episode is timeless, that of the latter episode is more timely.  Yes, being aware of the dangers of social media is important, but people should still be just as aware of simply getting ahead of themselves in any aspect in life.  That is where the original episode wins and this one falls short.  Simply put, this episode lifted liberally from a classic episode and basically just re-imagined it for the 21st century.  It, again, is an example of how this season’s stories are new but not necessarily original.

“Ovation,” which comes almost halfway through Season 2, is yet another story that while new is itself not original.  This episode is a direct lifting of the classic episode “A Nice Place to Visit.”  “A Nice Place to Visit” starred Larry Blyden (Cain’s Hundred, The Witness, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) as “Rocky,” a career criminal who ends up in what he thinks of a paradise of sorts after he is killed by police in an effort to flee the scene of a crime.  As things progress, he realizes that his paradise is anything but.

“Ovation,” which spoofs all of the karaoke singing competitions on television today, stars (Jurnee Smolllett – Underground, The Great Debaters, Lovecraft Country) as struggling singer-songwriter Jasmine.  Jasmine is given a coin one day by another famous young starlet (who then proceeds to commit suicide – happy thought, eh?) only to gain all the fame and fortune that she wanted and more.  That nonstop fame and fortune eventually leads jasmine to realize her heaven had in fact become her own hell.  Again here is that similarity.  What happens from there will be left for viewers to find out for themselves, but that personal hell becomes even more shocking as star Mynx’s fame increases while her own fades.  The ultimate outcome is Jasmine’s final punishment.  It will also be left for viewers to learn for themselves.  The overarching story here is one that is a direct lifting of the noted classic episode.  Yes the matter is timeless, in that desire that people have for fame and fortune, but it still is not necessarily original, once again.  Just as “Rocky” got all that he wanted in the original story, but ended up despising it, so did the same thing happen with Jasmine in the latter episode.  So again, this is yet another example of how the primary content featured in the second season of CBS All Access’ The Twilight Zone reboot comes up short.

“A Small Town,” the eighth of Season 2’s 10 total episodes is just one more example of how the reboot of The Twilight Zone continues to fall short o expectations in its primary content.  The very title “A Small Town” is a blatant rip-off of the title of the classic TZ episode “Stopover in a Quiet Town.”  That is just the tip of the iceberg here.  The story finds Jason (Damon Wayans, Jr. – The Other Guys, Big Hero 6, Let’s Be Cops) discovering the model of his town, Littleton, in the attic of the church that he attends.  He soon discovers that the changes he makes to the model also happen to the town itself.  This is a direct lifting of the little girl in the earlier episode as she played with the couple in her own model town.  The little girl was, of course an alien and the couple humans that were kidnapped by the girl and kept as pets.  That aside, Jason is still kind of the same way as he tries to improve the town. 

“Stopover in a Quiet Town” is not the only classic TZ episode that is featured in this episode.  The writers also incorporated an element of the equally classic episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” as mayor Conley (David Krumholtz – The Santa Claus 1-3, Numb3rs, The Deuce) accuses Emilio (Andrew Alvarez) of causing the unexplained events to happen.  This is a direct mirror image of the Maple Street residents accusing each other of being aliens and communists.  Keeping that in mind along with the direct lifting of the story’s primary story line, yet again here is another example of how the story might be new but still not necessarily original.  It is hardly the last example of how this season directly lifts from the original series, too, making for even more disappointment.

Even the one “original” story “8” is not entirely original.  In the case of this story, it focuses on a team of scientists in the Antarctic who face off against a killer octopus with the sentience of a human.  The very concept of a killer octopus feels like a direct lifting not of anything from The Twilight Zone, but the 1955 creature feature It Came From Beneath The Sea.  That movie centered on efforts to stop a giant mutant octopus that rises from the depths to try and take over the city of San Francisco.  What does throw back to the original Twilight Zone run is the discussion between two of the team members (one American and one Chinese) about using knowledge gained for good or for military use (I.E. democracy versus communism).  This was a classic theme from the original series.  Even while this episode is maybe slightly original at best in comparison to the original series, it also leads to another problem posed by this season, its overtly explicit general content.

The general content featured within Season 2 of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone is just as concerning as the general lack of originality in the episodes.  Once again, the episodes are rife with excessive foul language and violence.  One of the lowest moments when this happens comes halfway through the season in “Among the Untrodden.”  This episode, which itself can be likened somewhat to the classic episode “Mute,” and to a slightly lesser degree to “The Lonely,” features f-bombs and s-bombs in almost every line.  What’s more, hearing one of the characters talking about one of her friends performing oral sex on a 30-year old man, and another girl watching her own father pleasure himself is just disturbing to say the very least.  There is also the explicit drug and alcohol use by the teens.  This just is collectively not necessary.  On another note, “8” features one character’s eyeball popped out by the killer octopus.  Yeah, that really was not necessary.  “Ovation” features a scene in which a man undergoing open heart surgery starts clapping as he lays on the operating table.  Audiences can see all the blood and gore there.  This was just as unnecessary.  As if all of that is not enough, the way in which the girl commits suicide in the story’s opening is pretty harsh to say the least, as if the very act of suicide itself was not explicit enough.  Going all the way back to the season premiere “Meet in the Middle,” the final act features its own share of blatant explicit content.  It won’t be fully revealed, but it involves lots of blood and a very unsettling scene.  Along the way there are plenty of f-bombs and general cuss words to boot.  It’s just one more way in which the general content featured in these episodes hurts the season even more.  The rest of the season’s content is problematic in this aspect, too.  Yes, art is said to be a reflection of the times, but audiences who are familiar with the original run of The Twilight Zone will agree that said series remains timeless today more than 60 years after its premiere in part because it did not rely on that content in order to be so memorable.  It just relied on good writing, originality and accessibility.  To that end, why the writers behind the series’ latest reboot think that so much explicit content continues to be necessary (they used just as much explicit content in the reboot’s debut season) remains a mystery.  This aspect paired with the general lack of originality in the season’s stories weakens this season’s presentation even more.  The final nail in the coffin for this season’s presentation is its lack of bonus content.

The first season of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone offered audiences at least something to appreciate in its home release thanks to its bonus content.  This season is the polar opposite.  All audiences get in this season is a very small handful of deleted/extended scenes and a “gag reel” as bonus content.  The extra footage is not companion to every episode.  It is at the most, featured along with about three episodes.  One of those episodes is the blatant re-imagining of “The After Hours,” “Downtime.”  The scene that is featured is all of maybe three seconds at best.  Yes, it is that short.  It features star Morena Baccarin – Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Serenity – running to the rooftop of the hotel that she manages.  That is it.  There is nothing else.  When audiences watch the episode in whole, the overall scene is long that the shortness of the extra footage is largely forgotten.  To that end, that “bonus” footage proves more inconsequential than any bonus.  The other notable “bonus footage” comes with “Ovation.”  It shows Jasmine losing her cool so to speak when she discovers that Mynx had taken her fame.  Watching the episode in whole, it is understood that the story could have kept the footage or left it out.  It did not really matter.  Other than those two episodes, audiences really will not find much more bonus footage.  The only other extra content is the noted gag reel, which is short in its own right.  Keeping this in mind, this general lack of any redeeming bonus content works with the concerning general content and unoriginal stories to make the second season of The Twilight Zone’s latest reboot another disappointing offering from CBS All Access.  It is more proof that some things are just better left as they were.  It proves not everything needs to be rebooted.

The second season of CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone is a step backward for this series.  Where the reboot’s debut season offered at least some positives, this season fails to provide audiences much if anything to appreciate.  The stories that are featured in this season are new, but not necessarily original.  Like the episodes featured in Season 1, the stories in these episodes  once again lift liberally from the original, timeless series launched more than six decades ago by Rod Serling and CBS.  They just re-imagine so many of the original series’ episodes for their own presentations, rather than offering audiences anything truly original.  The general content featured within the stories is problematic, too.  The original series continues to be timeless today in part because it relied on good writing and acting, rather than a bunch of explicit foul language, blood and gore.  The lack of any worthwhile bonus content in the season’s forthcoming home release puts the final nail in this season’s coffin.  All things considered, this season falls even shorter than the rebooted season’s debut season.  It is worth at the most one watch if only for its stories, but sadly little more if at all.  The Twilight Zone: Season 2 is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD.

More information on this and other content from CBS All Access is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.cbs.com/all-acess

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CBSAllAccess

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/cbsallaccess

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

Lessons, Price Save PBS’ Latest ‘Pinkalicious & Peterrific’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

The 2020 holiday season has officially come and gone once again, and with the season in the rear window once again, the focus for lots of retailers and others is already turning to Valentine’s Day.  A glance around any store reveals that.  It is only fitting that with the attention already turning to Valentine’s Day that PBS Distribution released a Valentine’s Day-themed collection of Pinkalicious & Peterrific episodes this year on DVD.  Titled A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day, the single disc collection  features five episodes whose stories present lessons that will resonate with audiences of all ages.  While the lessons featured in the stories are of positive note, the stories themselves detract slightly from the DVD’s presentation.  This will be discussed a little later.  When the episodes and their connected lessons are considered together, they make the collection’s average price point its own important element.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a positive presentation, even with the negative of its episodes in mind.

PBS Distribution’s Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is a gift that the whole family will appreciate.  That is proven in part through the lessons presented in its featured stories.  The DVD opens with the familiar lesson that the best gifts are the ones that are made versus those that are bought in the episode “Pink Love.”  The episode, which is the disc’s only Valentine’s Day-themed episode, also teaches an important lesson about problem solving when the Valentine’s Day cards that Pinkalicious made are ruined.  She stresses at first about how to make new cards for her classmates, but eventually comes up with an answer to the problem.  Whether on Valentine’s Day or any other holiday (such as Mother’s Day, which is also addressed in one of the collection’s episodes) making a gift from the heart will always be better than just buying something.  What’s more, the matter of problem solving is important to every young person’s development, so having that lesson incorporated into the episode in such subtle fashion helps the DVD’s presentation in its own way.

Speaking of personal development, that matter is addressed again in the central lesson featured in “That Unicorn Feeling.”  The specific lesson tied to the matter is in this case, that of the importance of using one’s imagination.  When Pinkalicious, Peterrific and one of their friends are paying a game together involving their imaginations, another friend comes along who can’t see the unicorn that the others see.  Over time, that friend learns how to use her imagination and eventually sees the unicorn, too.  Learning how to use one’s imagination is important not only in a child’s formative years, but throughout life.  After all, imagination is what leads to the creation of some of the greatest stage plays, movies, and television shows of all time.  To that end, learning early on, that importance of developing imagination is a welcome lesson for every young viewer.

Another important lesson that is presented in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is that of pet adoption.  Peterrific points out at one point, that he and his sister’s mom told the pair at one point, people are not supposed to keep wild things.  In this case, the reference being made is to the fact that it is not wise for people to adopt any wild animal.  That includes even stray animals.  That is because there is no telling what medical or other conditions stray animals might have and the liability connected with owning them.  Again, the subtle way in which this lesson is delivered is deserving of applause.  It is completely unrelated to the other lessons featured in the DVD, showing even more, the diversity in the DVD’s featured lessons.  Together with the emotional lesson about children being a mother’s greatest gift in “Mother’s Day Surprise” and whatever lesson is delivered in “Whale of a Song” (that episode’s lesson is not made so clear, unless it is just about appreciating nature), the whole of the DVD’s featured lessons forms a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  If for no reason other than the lessons, the DVD proves worth watching at least occasionally.

While the lessons featured in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day do much for the DVD’s presentation, the stories to which the lessons are connected detract from that presentation to some point.  As has already been noted, the only Valentine’s Day-themed episode featured in this DVD is it lead episode, “Pink Love.”  The other featured stories are anything but Valentine’s Day-themed.  To that end, the stories that are featured in this collection leave the DVD’s title to be somewhat incorrect.  It’s basically false advertising to a point.  Now even with that in mind, it is not enough to completely disqualify the DVD.  The lessons tied to the stories make up for that negative at least to a point.  Hopefully this is something that those behind the DVD will take into account when and if another Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD is released.

Keeping in mind the value of the lessons featured in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day, they in themselves make the collection’s average price point its own positive.  The average price point for A Pinkalicious Valentine’s Day is $5.96.  That point is obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  It was not listed at Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  The least expensive of the noted listings is $3.99.  It shows up twice, at Amazon and Best Buy.  The most expensive listing — $7.84 – is at Walmart while PBS’ online store and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99.  Considering again, that the majority of the DVD’s value rests in its lessons, that aspect makes the less than $10 average price point acceptable.  That is not to say that the stories in which the lessons are presented are bad by any means.  They are okay and are themselves worth watching occasionally.  But that only one of the stories follows the theme of the DVD’s title, it does detract the overall appeal.  To that end, the listings, which will not break any family’s bank, is worth paying even with the one noted negative.  It works with the content to make the DVD at least somewhat more appealing presentation for the whole family.

PBS Distribution’s Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is a presentation that is at least somewhat appealing.  The lessons that are tied into the disc’s five featured stories play largely into that appeal.  They are life lessons that are accessible for boys and girls alike and viewers of all ages.  The stories themselves are slightly problematic in that only one of the stories follows the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  That creates a sense of false advertising for audiences.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point of less than $10 is a point that audiences will agree is worth paying for the content even with its one negative.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, the DVD proves itself worth watching at least occasionally.  It is available now.  More information on the DVD is available along with games, activities, printables and more at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/pinkalicious

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


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

ESPN To Air Annual Heisman Trophy Ceremony Tuesday

Courtesy: ESPN

The Heisman Trophy ceremony is now only days away.

This year’s ceremony will take place Tuesday live from ESPN’s Bristol, CT studios. The network is scheduled to broadcast the ceremony live at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Chris Fowler will anchor the one-hour broadcast. Reporter Maria Taylor will provide additional commentary from this year’s finalists — Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Alabama Wide Receiver DeVonta Smith, and Florida QB Kyle Trask. Analysts and former Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard (1991) and Tim Tebow (2007) will provide additional commentary remotely.

Leading up to Tuesday night’s ceremony, ESPN’s digital and social platforms will stream The Heisman Show presented by Nissan. The half-hour stream is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET. Christine Williamson and Harry Lyles. Jr. will co-anchor the stream.

ESPN has been the exclusive home of the Heisman Trophy ceremony since 1994.

More information on Tuesday evening’s broadcasts and all of the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/espncfb

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, WNET’s New Titanic Documentary Stays Afloat From Beginning To End Despite Its Setup

Courtesy: PBS/WNET

More than 100 years have passed since the R.M.S. Titanic sank in the waters of the North Atlantic.  In the century-plus since that tragedy happened, leading to the deaths of approximately 1,500 people, much has been said and written of the events of April 15, 1912.  From examinations off the Titanic’s construction, to the action (and possible inaction) of its Captain, to the accuracy of the descriptions of its sinking, so much ground has been covered about what is among the worst maritime disasters in modern history.  Early this past October, PBS and WNET added another topic to that list of discussions with the new episode of Secrets of the Dead: Abandoning the Titanic.  It is unknown at this point whether the program will see a home release anytime soon, but regardless the program is streaming free in the meantime.  The nearly hour-long program is a presentation that while imperfect, will still appeal to a wide range of viewers.  That is due in part to its central discussion, that of whether the passengers and crew of the Titanic were in fact abandoned and if so, by which ship.  This will be discussed shortly.  While that discussion, which takes up the second half of the program, ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment, the program’s first half detracts somewhat from the episode’s overall presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The visual effects and recordings used to help tell the story round out the doc’s most important elements.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the program.  All things considered, they make Secrets of the Dead: Abandoning The Titanic a presentation that while imperfect, is still well worth watching.

PBS and WNET’s recently debuted Secrets of the Dead episode Abandoning The Titanic is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  Students and lovers of maritime history and those of history in general will find something to like about this program.  That is due in part to its central discussion.  The discussion in question is that of whether the Titanic’s passengers and crew were abandoned by another ship that was in range of the doomed liner, and if so, which ship abandoned them.  This discussion takes up the second half of the nearly hour-long program.  This aspect will be discussed a little more at length shortly.  While it only takes up the second half of the program, the depth of that discussion ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  The exact location of the Titanic at the time of its sinking is examined in comparison to that of other ships in the area.  That examination is provided to show proximity of the closest ships, of which there were two:  the Californian and the Mount Temple.  As the examination proceeds, viewers are taken briefly into World War I history to learn that one of the two ships did indeed abandon the Titanic, and that had the ship in question responded to the emergency, every life on board the “unsinkable” giant might have actually been saved.  Even more interesting is that the examination concludes by exonerating the Captain of the other ship while also firmly pointing the ultimate blame on the Captain of the Titanic for his inaction early on that led to the fateful collision.

There is no denying that the investigation of which ship abandoned the passengers and crew of the Titanic is in itself engaging.  It alone makes this recently debuted episode of Secrets of the Dead worth watching.  For all that this element does for the overall episode’s presentation, the episode’s first half counters that success.  The first half of Abandoning The Titanic is spent telling the same story that audiences have heard countless times.  It is just the story of how the Titanic made its way into the North Atlantic ice field that ultimately led to the collision that sank the ship.  The already known matters of how warnings about the ice field from other ships were ignored and the alleged inaction of the ship’s Captain are raised once more.  For the most part, the first half of the program does little more than set the stage once again.  So while maybe it does play some kind of part to the bigger story, it is a part of the program that audiences can largely skip past while streaming the episode.  Perhaps the most interesting part of the story that is even noteworthy is that of the examination of the bilge pumps.  It is revealed in the initial set up that the Titanic’s bilge pumps were not set up to handle the widespread flooding that the Titanic took on following its collision.  Rather they were set up for “localized” flooding, as one of the interviewed “experts” explains.  That is a topic that has rarely if ever been addressed in previous docs from other sources about the Titanic.  It adds yet another layer to that story.  Other than that aspect though, there is little else to really interest audiences.  The mention of the ship on the horizon is brief at best and is not even really re-visited in depth until approximately 32 minutes into the 55-minute program.  To that end, audiences will be encouraged to watch the one noted brief discussion about the bilge pumps in the first half, but skip through everything else featured in that portion of the program.  The real engaging portion of the program comes, again, approximately 32 minutes into its run time.  That portion of the program, along with the visuals used to help tell the story, make the whole worth watching at least occasionally.

The visualizations that are used to help tell the story of the Titanic’s abandonment are obviously aesthetic elements, but they do help ensure viewers’ engagement and entertainment, even through the first half of the program.  There is a lot of footage used from vintage movies focused on the Titanic to help show how people reacted as the ship sank.  The morse code messages sent between ships leading up to Titanic’s sinking help are superimposed on screen.  It drives home the lack of action taken on the part of Titanic’s crew.  Also used are photos of the crews from the ships and even photos of the hearings that were held following Titanic’s sinking to help illustrate the story.  There are even CG depictions of how the Titanic collided with the noted iceberg and slowly fell beneath the cold waters of the North Atlantic.  The one thing that these depictions get wrong is how high the ship’s back end rose as the bow went below the water line.  It has already been proven in past documentaries that the Titanic’s back end never rose as high as so many depictions show.  Rather, it only rose a few feet above the water than the hugely inverted angle so often shown.  That aside, the CG depictions in general work with all of the other noted visualizations to help tell the story of the ship’s sinking and abandonment, stressing what could have been.  It all collectively works with the story (including the first half) to add even more appeal to the overall presentation and make it worth watching at least occasionally.

Secrets of the Dead: Abandoning The Titanic is an interesting addition to the long-running series that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That is proven in part through the program’s examination of whether in fact the passengers and crew of the ship were abandoned by another ship’s crew, and if so, which ship and its crew.  That examination comes in the second half of the nearly hour-long presentation.  The first half of the program is largely able to be ignored, since it sets up the second half, telling a story that most everyone knows.  The one positive to the first half of the program comes in the brief discussion about the failings of the ship’s bilge pumps.  Other than that one aspect, audiences can largely just avoid the program’s first half.  The visualizations that are used to help tell the story are aesthetic, but they do their own share to keep viewers engaged and entertained.  They make sure that audiences will be able to see the words spoken and written rather than just hear them.  They also personalize the story by showing the pictures of the figures involved in the story.  What’s more, they also give glimpses into the events that followed the Titanic’s sinking, as well as much more.  Between this aspect, the in-depth examination of the Titanic’s abandonment, and even the one detail added to the first half of the program, the overall presentation of Secrets of the Dead: Abandoning the Titanic makes itself a show that stays well afloat from start to end.  The documentary is streaming now.

More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

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.

Mercari Texas Bowl Cancelled

Courtesy: ESPN

Less than a week after getting a new title sponsor, the Texas Bowl is now a no-go

The Mercari Texas Bowl will not happen this year. ESPN made the announcement Tuesday through a press release. According to information provided by ESPN, the cancellation — now the 16th on the year — is due to “an increased number of positive COVID-19 tests and other circumstances within the TCU football team.”

This year’s Texas Bowl was scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 31 on ESPN from NRG stadium. It was going to feature a matchup of TCU and Arkansas.

Texas Bowl Executive Director David Fletcher addressed the cancellation in a prepared statement.

“While we are disappointed in canceling this year’s game, we look forward to hosting both the Texas Kickoff and Texas Bowl next season,” said Fletcher. “We appreciate everyone’s support, including our new title sponsor, Mercari.”

Refunds are available for all ticketholders through the outlets through which they purchased tickets.

Tuesday’s announcement is now the fifth this month as well as being the 16th this season. The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl was cancelled Dec. 23.

The list of bowl games cancelled is noted below.

  1. Bahamas Bowl (C-USA vs. MAC)
  2. Celebration Bowl (MEAC vs. SWAC)
  3. Fenway Bowl (AAC vs. ACC)
  4. Hawaii Bowl (AAC vs. Mountain West)
  5. Holiday Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)
  6. Las Vegas Bowl (Pac-12 vs. SEC)
  7. Los Angeles Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Mountain West)
  8. Pinstripe Bowl (ACC vs. Big Ten)
  9. Quick Lane Bowl (ACC, Big Ten, MAC)
  10. Redbox Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
  11. Sun Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)
  12. Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (AAC vs. WAC)
  13. Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl (SEC vs. AAC)
  14. Perspecta Military Bowl (AAC vs. ACC)
  15. Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl (SEC vs. C-USA)
  16. Mercari Texas Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC)

The remaining schedule for Capital One Bowl Mania is noted below.

DateTime (ET)Event/CommentatorsNetwork
Tue, Dec. 295:30 p.m.Cheez-It Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Miami
Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Fla.
Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George
Radio: Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones
ESPN and ESPN Radio / ESPN Deportes
 9 p.m.Valero Alamo Bowl
Texas vs. Colorado
Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas
Dave Pasch, Mike Golic Sr., Kris Budden
Radio: Marc Kestecher, Trevor Matich
ESPN and ESPN Radio / ESPN Deportes
Wed, Dec. 30NoonDuke’s Mayo Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin
Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Marty Smith
ESPN / ESPN Deportes
 4 p.m.TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Iowa vs. Missouri
Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tenn.
Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic
Radio: Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones
ESPN and ESPN Radio / ESPN Deportes
Thu, Dec. 31NoonLockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl*
Tulsa vs. Mississippi State
Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, Texas
Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich, Ian Fitzsimmons
ESPN / ESPN Deportes
 4 p.m.AutoZone Liberty Bowl
West Virginia vs. Tennessee
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium – Memphis, Tenn.
Wes Durham, Roddy Jones, Eric Wood
Radio: Jay Alter, Brad Edwards
ESPN and ESPN Radio / ESPN Deportes
 1 p.m.Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Auburn vs. Northwestern
Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Fla.
Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore, Paul Carcaterra
ABC
Fri, Jan. 1NoonTaxSlayer Gator Bowl
N.C. State vs. Kentucky
TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville, Fla.
Anish Shroff, Tom Luginbill, Lericia Harris
ESPN
Sat, Jan. 212:30 p.m.Outback Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Indiana
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.
Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic
ABC
    

* — ESPN owned and operated event

More information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available online along with all of the latest college football news at:

Websitehttp://www.espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/espncfb

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.

Nominees Announced For ‘The Home Depot College Football Awards’

Courtesy: ESPN

And the nominees are….

ESPN officials announced the nominees Tuesday, for the network’s annual Home Depot College Football Awards. the nominees for each category are noted below.

The Home Depot College Football Awards Finalists

NCFAA awards announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards:

Chuck Bednarik Award
College Defensive Player of the Year  
Zaven Collins, Tulsa (Jr.)
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (Sr.) Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (Jr.)
Biletnikoff Award
Outstanding Receiver
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (Jr.)
Kyle Pitts, Florida (Jr.)
DeVonta Smith, Alabama (Sr.)
Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award
Nation’s Outstanding Placekicker  
Jose Borregales, Miami (Sr.)
Jake Oldroyd, BYU (So.)
Will Reichard, Alabama (So.)
Ray Guy Award
College Punter of the Year  
Jake Camarda, Georgia (Jr.)
Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech (Sr.)
Lou Hedley, Miami (Jr.)
Maxwell Award
College Player of the Year  
Mac Jones, Alabama (Jr.)
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (Jr.)
DeVonta Smith, Alabama (Sr.)
Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award
Nation’s Best Quarterback  
Mac Jones, Alabama (Jr.)
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (Jr.)
Kyle Trask, Florida (Sr.)
Outland Trophy
Nation’s Most Outstanding Interior Lineman  
Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame (Gr.)
Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (Sr.)
Daviyon Nixon, Iowa (Jr.)
Paycom Jim Thorpe Award
Nation’s Best Defensive Back  
Richie Grant, UCF (Sr.)
Trevon Moehrig, TCU (Jr.)
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (Jr.)
Doak Walker Award
Nation’s Premier Running Back  
Travis Etienne, Clemson (Sr.)
Breece Hall, Iowa State (So.)
Najee Harris, Alabama (Sr.)

Additional honors recognized during The Home Depot College Football Awards:

The Home Depot Coach of the YearWinner announced January 5
William V. Campbell Trophy Presented By Mazda
Scholar-Athlete
Full list of finalists available here.
Disney Spirit Award
Most Inspirational Player or Team
Darien Rencher, Clemson (Sr.)
The Allstate AFCA Good Works TeamFull list of team members available here.
Walter Camp All America Team Full team announced on January 7.
John Mackey Award
Outstanding Tight End
Charlie Kolar, Iowa State (Jr.)
Kyle Pitts, Florida (Jr.)
Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M (So.)
Rimington Trophy
Outstanding Center
Landon Dickerson, Alabama (Sr.)
Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (So.)
Josh Myers, Ohio State (Jr.)
Wuerffel Trophy
Community Service
Sam Ehlinger, Texas (Sr.)
Teton Saltes, New Mexico (Sr.)
Shai Werts, Georgia Southern (Sr.)  

 Other awards given this postseason:

Broyles Award
Assistant Coach of the Year
Marcus Freeman, Cincinnati
Jeff Grimes, BYU
Mike Hankwitz, Northwestern
Steve Sarkisian, Alabama
Kane Wommack, Indiana 
Burlsworth Trophy
College football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on
Dax Milne, BYU (Jr.)
Grant Morgan, Arkansas (Sr.)
Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt (Sr.)

The Home Depot College Football Awards is scheduled to broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 7 on ESPN. The 90-minute broadcast will honor the accomplishments of some of the game’s top student-athletes.

Chris Fowler will anchor the broadcast. Reporter Holly Rowe will provide additional stories and commentary for the program.

Pete Derzis, ESPN Senior Vice President of College Sports Programming and Events said in a prepared statement, the upcoming broadcast will not feature a live audience, but stressed that will not lessen the program’s content.

The Home Depot College Football Awards will continue to be what they have always been, and that is a celebration of elite performances in college football,” said Derzis.  “While the award show will look different this year due to COVID-19, the spirit of the show remains the same. We look forward to honoring the stellar performances produced by these student-athletes this season.”

National College Football Awards Association President Mark Wolpert added to Derzis’ statements with his own comments.

“With all of the challenges faced in the 2020 season, we are looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate the game, its players, coaches and the amazing performances that have taken place,” said Wolpert. “This season’s award show will truly be a recognition of not only the top players, but more importantly the incredible efforts involved in making this season possible.”

More information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available online along with all of the latest college football news at:

Websitehttp://www.espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/espncfb

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.