‘A Chef’s Life’ Continues To Cook Up Success In Its Fourth Season

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

PBS’ hit reality series A Chef’s Life has become one of the network’s most popular shows since it first debuted some years ago.  The show wrapped its fourth season in 2016 and saw that season released late last November on a two-disc DVD set.  For those who haven’t yet seen Season Four, the series’ fourth season is in itself an enjoyable human drama; so much better than all of the obviously scripted “reality” series on television today.  The story at the core of the series is once again its cornerstone.  However, its home release on DVD does present at least one negative, a lack of printable recipes.  Thankfully, it is the only truly noticeable of the season’s negatives in its recent home release.  The collective information presented throughout Season Four makes up for the season’s one glaring negative.  That information includes the history of the featured ingredients, the stories of the people around Eastern North Carolina and other general information.  When all of that material is coupled with the stories at the center of Season Four, the whole of those elements makes up for the set’s one negative, and in turn makes it another mostly enjoyable collection of episodes from this fan favorite series.

The fourth season of A Chef’s Life is a mostly enjoyable new collection of episodes from PBS’ hit reality series.  That is due in part to the fact that the stories presented throughout the season continue to keep this series completely apart from all of the clearly scripted reality series on television today.  There is no fake drama generated through sharp editing and producers who are aimed only at getting ratings.  Mrs. Howard’s struggle to balance her personal and business life and to maintain her humility through it all is clearly something very real.  Even as Sous Chef John leaves and has to be replaced, there are no alligator tears shed.  It would have been so easy for Howard and others at the restaurant to go that route.  But they didn’t.  They showed they really cared about John and his wife and wished them the best.  Their uncertainty moving forward was just as clearly real.  The emotional struggle going on within Mrs. Howard as she works to balance her life is also fully believable.  This makes Season Four all the easier to watch from one episode to the next.  Speaking of that entertainment that the stories offer, the whole of said stories shows why they are so integral to the season’s presentation in its recent DVD home release.  While there is plenty to appreciate in the stories this season, it is just one of the season’s positives.  While it clearly has positives, there is at least one negative that can’t be ignored in the season’s home release.  That one negative is its lack of printable recipes.

The true reality of the stories in the fourth season of A Chef’s Life is the cornerstone of the season’s enjoyable presentation.  It is clear in watching each of the season’s episodes that there is no fake drama at any point in any of the season’s episodes.  While the stories do plenty of good for the season’s overall presentation, not everything in this season’s home release is positive.  This season’s home release comes without the ability to print out the dishes presented throughout the season.  This is important to note because audiences have been able to print out the recipes for the featured dishes at least in the third season.  So to not have them available for print-out here is a little disheartening.  It forces audiences to either go online to find the recipes or to just buy Mrs. Howard’s new cookbook.  The sad reality is that the recipes were likely left out as a means to push her book since it took so much precedence throughout Season Four.  One can only hope that wasn’t the case.  If it was, then it is not the best way to promote her book.  Thankfully though, this issue is Season Four’s only negative.  The collective information that is presented throughout this season makes up for that negative.

The lack of printable recipes in this season’s home release is a negative about its presentation that cannot be ignored.  It takes away a significant amount from the season’s presentation in its home release.  Luckily though, it is the season’s only negative.  There is still one more positive that can and should be noted.  That positive is the collective information presented throughout the season.  The information in question involves the history of the given ingredients in each episode and the stories of and from the people of Eastern North Carolina.  Audiences will be interested, for instance, to learn of the lack of respect that catfish has as a seafood option.  Just as interesting to learn in this same moment is the southern take on the phrase “more than one way to skin a cat.”  The man who explains its root is partially right, but also partially wrong.  The root he gives is just one of many roots of the verbage.  There are also lessons about the difference between artichokes and sunchokes in “All Sunchoked Up” that will interest foodies and audiences in general.  As if that isn’t enough, the lessons on cabbage are just as interesting even for those who aren’t fans of cabbage.  When these tidbits of information and others are coupled with the season’s engaging stories, they do plenty to make up for the lack of printable recipes this time out.  Overall, they do so much that even with that one glaring negative, the home release of A Chef’s Life: Season Four still proves another enjoyable installment of PBS’ hit reality series.

The fourth season of A Chef’s Life is another enjoyable installment of PBS’ hit reality series.  That is even despite the fact that audiences aren’t able to print out the recipes this time.  The stories make clearly evident that there is no generated drama from behind lens.  Everything that audiences see on camera is clearly real.  The information that is shared throughout the season adds even more interest to each episode.  Those elements are more than enough to make up for the lack of printable recipes this time out.  All things considered, this season proves to be worth at least one watch and gives hope for the series’ fifth season.  A Chef’s Life: Season Four is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and the series’ previous seasons is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.achefslifeseries.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chefsouth

 

 

 

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PBS Has “Dug Up” A Brilliant New Work In ‘AmEx: The Race Underground’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Mass transportation is one of the most important pieces of any metropolitan region’s infrastructure.  From the wheels on the bus to the wheels on the trolley to the wheels on the subway cars, moving the masses from place to place is just as important to any metro region and its neighbors as anything else.  So it only makes sense that eventually PBS would present a documentary on the history of one major mass transit method.  The last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television, it did just that earlier this week when it released to DVD American Experience: The Race Underground.  This lesson on the history of America’s subway systems will appeal to everyday audiences just as much as it will people who run America’s major metro regions.  That is due in no small part to its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The information presented within the story is just as important to discuss as the story itself.  The transitions used to keep the program moving rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays its own important piece in the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make American Experience: The Race Underground another welcome episode of PBS’ hit history-based series and one more of this year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: The Race Underground is a program that will appeal just as much to everyday audiences as it will the people who run America’s major metropolitan regions.  It is a presentation that those audiences will want to *ahem* race to see.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  The story at the center of the program is just one of the elements that makes it such an interesting presentation.  A close, analytical viewing of this episode of American Experience reveals to be a two-part tale.  The primary story presented in this program shows, of course, the birth and evolution of America’s subway systems.  On another level, it presents a story of one man’s dream realized and denied.

The primary story presented in this episode follows the evolution of America’s subway system from a mere dream in Frank Sprague’s mind to one of the most revolutionary means of transportation (if not the single most revolutionary) at the time.  That in itself is its own intriguing history lesson.  The secondary story shows how Sprague’s dream has obviously become realized through the growing evolution of subway transportation across the country (and even across the world) yet denied because he never got the full credit he deserved for his invention thanks to one Thomas Edison.  That story, when coupled with the program’s main story, becomes the stuff of major Hollywood blockbusters.  The combination of those two stories into one whole is just one part of what makes this episode of American Experience such an interesting documentary.  The information that is presented within those stories is just as important to note in examining the program’s presentation as the stories themselves.

The stories that form the foundation of American Experience: The Race Underground are in themselves key to this program’s overall presentation.  That is because they make the program just as interesting as any major historically-based blockbuster ever churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios.  While they are critical to the program’s presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The information provided within the stories is what makes the stories so interesting.  One of the most intriguing pieces of information that audiences learn over the course of the episode’s nearly hour-long run time is that even after Sprague’s idea was finally taken on by the city of Boston, it didn’t just fly right through.  Instead, there was a lot of opposition from the city’s residents.  That created quite a rift between the city’s residents and its government.  Just as interesting to learn is that for many people, their opposition was based on puritanical religious beliefs.  For others, the opposition rose from concerns about where the city wanted to run the subway.  Even more interesting to learn is that if not for Sprague’s success with his experiment in Richmond, there’s no telling how long it would have taken for America’s first subway station to be developed or where.  So really, while Boston had the first subway system, Richmond should really take credit for being the true birthplace of American’s first subway system.  It’s like the battle between North Carolina and Ohio over which is the true birthplace of aviation.  This is all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg with this story’s information.  Audiences will be shocked to learn that despite the eventual success of the new subway system, Sprague’s dream ultimately was denied thanks to his company being bought out by none other than Thomas Edison.  That ultimately denied Srpague the fame and wealth that he could have had, and shows yet again how Edison profited off of someone else’s success rather than his own.  Between this revelation, the others already noted and so many others, it becomes clear why the information shared throughout this program is so important to its presentation.  When all of that information is coupled with the program’s two-part story, the end result is one that will most definitely keep audiences enthralled right to the end.  Interestingly enough, it still is not the last element to note in examining the program’s overall presentation.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its stories and its breadth of information.

The stories shared throughout the course of American Experience: The Race Underground and their companion information are both key pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  Both by themselves and together, they are certain to keep audience engaged from beginning to end.  While they are both clearly important in their own right to the program’s presentation, one cannot ignore the importance of the program’s transitions in keeping audiences’ attention, too.  The transitions used to advance the story are clear and concise from one segment to the next.  They are basic fade-ins and fade-outs. Their placement comes at all of the proper spots, too, never leaving audiences hanging at the end of any segment.  They aren’t hard fades, either.  Rather, they are smooth fades, and in turn make stopping and starting between segments so easy.  The thought put into those transitions adds one more layer of enjoyment to the program’s presentation.  When set against the program’s equally interesting stories and companion information, the whole of the elements makes this program one to which audiences will “race” themselves to watch.  They combine to make it a work that will “race” up any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: The Race Underground is just the latest episode of PBS’ hit history-based series to be released so far in this still young year.  Even being so new to home release, it can be said that it is certain to “race” up any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  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

 

 

 

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PBS Announces Home Release Date For Upcoming ‘AmEx’ Mini-Series

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Public Media Distribution will release a special American Experience mini-series on DVD this Spring.

American Experience: The Great War will be released on Tuesday, May 16th.  The six-hour event will be spread across three discs and will retail for MSRP of $34.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $29.99.

The mini-series follow’s America’s neutrality to its eventual entry into what was then known as “The Great War.”  It tells the story of the nation’s involvement from a variety of angles.  Those angles include the experiences of African-Americans, Native American Code Talkers, Latino soldiers, suffragists and others.

The program also examines the leadership of then President Woodrow Wilson as he led America during the world’s first major global conflict.  This angle also examines how the nation’s entry in to the war led to one of the biggest crackdowns on Americans’ civil liberties in the nation’s history along with other items.

American Experience: The Great War premieres on PBS stations nationwide on Monday, April 10 and runs through Wednesday April 12.  Each of the mini-series’ two-hour episodes will run from 9 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET.  Audiences should check their local listings for variations in those times.

A trailer for the upcoming event is streaming online now here.  More information on this extended episode of American Experience is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

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

PBS Distribution Announces New ‘Dinosaur Train’ DVD Release Date

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train will take families beneath the Earth’s surface this winter on a brand new DVD.

Dinosaur Train: What’s At The Center of the Earth? will be released on Tuesday, Feb. 21 exclusively on DVD – one day after it is scheduled to premiere on PBS Kids stations nationwide.  It will feature four more episodes that will focus on various geological topics from fossils to minerals and more.

The collection will also feature some fun other episodes for a total run time of two hours.  It will retail for MSRP of $12.99  The disc’s episode listing is noted below.

DINOSAUR TRAIN: WHAT’S AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH? EPISODE LIST

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Layers

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Fossils

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Troglobites

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Minerals

Dinosaur Train: What’s at the Center of the Earth? can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on the new DVD is available online now along with more Dinosaur Train episodes, games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain

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

 

 

 

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PBS Presents The History of America’s First Subway System In New ‘AmEx’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Public Media Distribution has announced it has another new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series American Experience due out later this month.

American Experience: The Race Underground will be released on Tuesday, February 28.  Based on the book by author Doug Most, this episode of American Experience takes audiences back in time to one of the most important eras of the nation’s transportation history—the advent of Boston’s first subway system.

Boston was America’s most crowded city during the 1800s, with almost 400,000 crammed into a downtown region of less than a single square mile.  More than 8,000 horses filled the streets, pulling people around the city.  Between the nuisance of their waste, the general crowding and noise caused lots of problems.

Frank Sprague changed everything when he developed the first model for a modern subway that rivaled that of London.  It wasn’t without its detractors, either.  The subway would eventually be constructed, and lead to the construction of subway systems in New York and Philadelphia, revolutionizing transportation in some of America’s biggest cities.

This episode of American Experience follows the story of how Sprague’s revolutionary idea laid the groundwork for what has become a primary means of mass transportation in those and other cities.  The hour-long program will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $19.99.  It is also available in a bundle pack with Most’s book for $31.99.

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 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.

‘Command And Control’ Is An “Explosive” New Episode Of ‘American Experience’

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

On September 18, 1980 America narrowly escaped what could have been one of the worst nuclear disasters that it has ever experienced when a Titan II ballistic missile exploded in its silo in Damascus, Arkansas.  PBS recently profiled the near catastrophic event in a new episode of its history-based series American Experience titled American Experience: Command And Control.  This two-hour program is a visualization of author Eric Schlosser’s book by the same name.  It is a powerful presentation, too that is certain to keep its audiences enthralled just as easily as any big screen action thriller.  That is due in part to its story, its most important element.  The information that is provided within the story is just as important to note as the story itself in examining the program’s overall presentation.  The program’s dual presentation rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays its own important part in the program’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this episode of American Experience a documentary that is certain to command and control any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: Command And Control is the first great documentary of 2017.  This two-hour program is certain to command and control any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries all year.  That is due in no small part to the story at the center of the program.  The story at the center of this program follows the events that unfolded on September 18, 1980.  It follows the events almost hour-by-hour from the events ahead of the near catastrophe to the fallout (no pun intended) that followed from the event.  It is right up there with some of the biggest action flicks of the 20th century.  In fact, being a real life event and not overly embellished by Hollywood writers, it is even more enthralling. Speaking of Hollywood blockbusters, the story’s transitions are just like something that would be used in a major Hollywood production.  It is a minor element, but even as small as it is, it does so much to keep viewers entertained and engaged in the story.  It should also be noted that the story includes a rather scathing indictment of the military and its protocol as the story is told.  That indictment comes direct from those involved in the event.  It also presents a warning about the dangers of nuclear weapons and relying on nuclear buildup as it provides a history on the nuclear weapons accidents that happened before the Damascus accident.  It should be noted that considering the discussions that are raised by those involved in the accident, not every viewer will want to watch this story because of their views.  But those who are not so set in their ways will enjoy and appreciate this story and all of its elements.  Speaking of those elements, they lead into another important piece of the program’s whole, its information content.

The story at the center of AE: Command and Control is in its own way a key piece of the program’s presentation.  It is a story that is just as engaging as any Hollywood blockbuster of its kind, if not even better.  It is just one of the program’s key elements. The information that is presented throughout the story is just as important to note as the story itself.  Audiences learn over the course of the program’s two-hour run time that the 1980 incident was just one of a number of accident that had happened since the end of World War II.  There is mention of the H-Bomb incident in North Carolina and other accidents that happened before and after.  At the story’s end, audiences learn that between the Damascus incident and others, thousands of incidents had been reported by the military but not made public.  It is even revealed here that the Air Force tried to cover up the Damascus incident, which luckily didn’t turn out to be as bad as it could have been, but still could have been.  Thousands of people could have died not just in Arkansas but across the country had it been worse.  That the military didn’t initially tell the public about what was happening as it happened is understandable to a point.  It is also very troubling considering how bad the situation could have been and how many lives could have been lost.  Audiences also learn of how poorly the men involved in trying to stop the incident were treated by the military after the event as part of the presented informational content.  It probably wasn’t the first time the military has done its officers so wrongly, and definitely not the last time it has ever acted so wrongly toward those who wear the assigned uniform.  Between those revelations and other items presented throughout the program, audiences will find that the information presented throughout this program is indeed just as important to its presentation as its story.  It is not the last important element to note, either.  The program’s dual presentation rounds out its most important elements.

The story at the center of AE: Command and Control and the information that makes up the story are both key elements to the program’s presentation.  That is because of their ability to keep viewers engaged, informed, and entertained.  They combine make the program just as gripping as any big screen presentation crafted by any Hollywood screen writer.  As important as they are to the program’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  PBS Distribution presents the program in both a standard hour-long presentation and a full two-hour presentation.  Why PBS Distribution would even go that route is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps that has to do with its use at certain levels in high school and beyond.  It is possible maybe younger high school-age viewers would only have an attention span for an hour-long presentation while older audiences would be more apt to sit the entire two-hours.  It would be interesting to find out why exactly the company went this route.  Regardless, giving audiences the option of the program’s hour or two-hour-long presentation is certain to be beneficial in one way or another depending on the setting in which each is used.  When this is set alongside the program’s story and its rich depth of information, it rounds out the program’s most important elements.  It joins with them to show once and for all why this program is such an interesting watch.  It is a piece that students and lovers of military history and history in general will appreciate.  All things considered, it is a program that will command and control any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: Command and Control is a work that students and lovers of military history and history in general will appreciate.  It is a work that is certain to command and control any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  That is due to its wholly engaging story.  The story presented here is just as enthralling as any major Hollywood action thriller with a similar plot.  Being that it is real life, it is even more enthralling than those movies.  The information that makes up the body of the program adds even more depth to the viewing experience.  It will educate audiences and potentially shock them at the same time.  That is because of the revelations that are made throughout the program.  That audiences are given the choice to watch the program in its abbreviated, hour-long presentation and its full two-hour theatrical presentation makes the experience even more engaging.  Each element plays its own important part to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this episode of American Experience a program that will command and control any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  It is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered online now via PBS’ store both by itself and in a bundle pack with Schlosser’s book.  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.

PBS Bringing ‘Odd Squad: The Movie’ Home Later This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Things are going to get a little bit “odd” for lots of families later this month thanks to PBS Distribution.

PBS Distribution will release Odd Squad: The Movie Jan. 24 exclusively on DVD.  It marks the first time that the movie has ever been released since airing late last year on PBS Kids stations nationwide.  In its biggest adventure yet, the Odd Squad has to deal with a new group of problem solvers called The Weird Team.

The Weird Team is led by Weird Tom (Jack McBrayer—30 Rock, Despicable Me, Wreck-It Ralph) and has a gadget to solve any problem.  This forces the Odd Squad to call it quits and go back to their normal lives.  However, a discovery about that gadget leads the Odd Squad’s down time to be short-lived.

Instead of fixing problems, The Weird Team’s gadget only covers up problems instead of fixing them.  When this is revealed, the Odd Squad has to team back up to save the world from utter destruction.  Audiences can view a trailer for the movie online now here.

Odd Squad: The Movie will be released Jan. 24 exclusively on DVD.  It will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  More information on this and other Odd Squad DVDs is available online now along with games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/oddsquad

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

 

 

 

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