A Chef’s Life Should Be On Every Reality TV Fan’s “Menu”

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

This fall, PBS’ hit reality series A Chef’s Life returns for its third season. This is according to a post on the series’ official Facebook page. While it might not seem like it, that’s not too far away. Luckily though, there is still just enough time for fans of the only reality series really worth watching to catch up. Fans can do just that with the show’s first season. A Chef’s Life: Season One was released on DVD earlier this spring. The thirteen episode run offers audiences shows through a variety of reasons why it stands head and shoulders above all of the garbage out that claiming to be reality television beginning with the show itself. Unlike all of the commercial shows that populate the broadcast and cable ranks A Chef’s Life shows in its debut season to have none of the pretense that is all too common among those shows. In simpler terms, it actually feels real rather than scripted. In regards to the box set itself, audiences will appreciate that the episodes that make up Season One are separated out across both of its two discs. This is one of those rare cases in which it is okay that continuous play is not incorporated into a DVD, Blu-ray or box set. The reason for this will be discussed later. Last but most definitely not least of all that makes A Chef’s Life: Season One so enjoyable for audiences is that not only are the episodes separated out as standalone episodes but the cooking segments featured within the episodes are themselves separated out for audiences’ viewing. Even better is that PBS didn’t resort to using them as bonus features. Rather they were made standard with the episode selections. Whether for this reason, for the separation of the episodes, or for the very presentation of the episodes themselves, audiences will see in watching A Chef’s Life: Season One that this first season shows why it is the only reality TV series worth watching and in turn once again why PBS has proven itself to be the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.

PBS’ hit reality series A Chef’s Life is the only reality series worth watching today. It stands head and shoulders above all of the garbage out there today claiming to be “real” television. It stands so tall primarily because it lacks the pretense that marks all of those other shows (I.E. Welcome To Sweetie Pies, Cake Boss, American Chopper). Rather, it really does feel real. Star Vivian Howard and her husband are not the flashy figures that audiences are so accustomed to seeing in those shows. Nor are their daily lives the flashy type of stuff that is portrayed in those other, obviously scripted series. Everything that goes on in the lives of Vivian and her staff feels completely organic. So if there some clever editing that happens, the end result doesn’t feel like all of those other shows. What’s more, unlike those shows, A Chef’s Life includes throughout its lead season to have its own amount of educational content. For example, when Vivian wants to make the beloved southern treat called cracklins she goes to one of the local hog farms and learns how ham is cured, treated and generally prepared for market. Audiences learn the importance of keeping the meat in certain conditions versus the belief of having it in other conditions. It is a really enlightening moment. Audiences also learn the intricacies of properly cooking things like collard greens and proper growth of said products as well as what makes Muscadine grapes one of the most underappreciated of the grape family. Many audiences will be interested to discover that Muscadines are used often used for wine production. There is much more in terms of the show’s educational content that audiences will find quite intriguing. What is noted here is just a small sampling of the series’ educational content. That content, when partnered with series’ overall lack of pretense and feeling of true reality makes fully clear why the content that makes up the first season of A Chef’s Life makes it stand head and shoulders above all of the other series out there today claiming to be reality.

The overall content that makes up the body of A Chef’s Life in its first season is plenty of reason within itself for audiences to watch this collection of episodes. Collectively, they show the series to be one that stands head and shoulders above all of the other series claiming to be reality TV. In turn, the content presented here shows yet again why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today. The content presented here, as strong as it is, is only one of a handful of reasons that audiences will appreciate the first season of A Chef’s Life. The separation of the episodes throughout the set’s two discs is another reason that audiences will enjoy Season One. Unlike so many other DVDs, Blu-rays, and box sets out there, A Chef’s Life: Season One doesn’t have an autoplay function embedded within its discs. This means that after each episode’s end audiences are taken back to the title menu so as to choose which episode they want to watch after the chosen episode ends. To some viewers, the view has been that this is not necessarily a good thing. The reality though, is that it is actually a very good thing. It means that if audiences don’t want to have to sit through a certain number of episodes to get to the episodes that they want to see, they need not worry. The disc will take audiences right back to the title menu and let them choose if they want to watch a specific part of the given episodes such as the cooking segment (which will be discussed shortly) or a given chapter of the episode in question. Viewers can even do this before playing out the episode(s). Simply put, separating the episodes out without the autoplay function gives viewers more options. To that extent, this is definitely a good thing in the grand scheme of Season One. It still is not all that makes A Chef’s Life: Season One so enjoyable for audiences. There is still that matter of the episodes’ segmentation at yet another, deeper level.

The separation of the episodes in the first season of A Chef’s Life is itself a very good thing despite what some viewers might have people think. The content within said episodes makes this season in whole even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Both elements together offer plenty of proof as to why A Chef’s Life is the best reality TV series out there today and in turn why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television in whole today. For all of the importance of the noted elements, there is still one aspect of the set worth noting that makes it enjoyable. That last remaining element of the set’s enjoyment is the segmentation of the episodes’ cooking segments as their own viewing option in each episode. PBS has given audiences the chance in this season to watch each episode’s cooking segment by themselves completely separate from the episodes. This means that those that want to try out the recipes features in each episode can do so at their own leisure. They don’t have to speed through the given episodes to get to said segments since they have been separated out along with being presented within the course of each episode. On yet another level, there is no sense of pretense in these segments either. It would be so easy for Vivian to be like all of the celebrity chef’s on Food Network and other networks. But she doesn’t take that opportunity, instead coming across just like a down home chef. She talks to audiences rather than at them or even down to them. It makes her more relatable to audiences and brings everything in this set full circle proving once and for all why A Chef’s Life: Season One is a great start for the series and why it is the best reality TV series out there today. In turn it proves once more without any doubt why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.

A Chef’s Life: Season One proves in plenty of ways why A Chef’s Life is the best reality TV series out there today. The lack of pretense in its overall content separates it clearly from its competitors (if one even wants to consider those other shows competition). The separation of the episodes within the course of the two-disc set makes it even more enjoyable despite what some might want to believe. The separation of the episodes’ cooking segments and the overall lack of pretense within said segments brings everything full circle proving once and for all just how what makes A Chef’s Life: Season One a great debut for a show that even now as it prepares to debut its third season, is the best show within its genre today. In turn, all three elements together show once more why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today. A Chef’s Life: Season One is available now on DVD and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=54994066&cp=&sr=1&kw=a+chefs+life&origkw=A+Chef%27s+Life&parentPage=search. More information on A Chef’s Life is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

Website: http://achefslifeseries.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chefsouth

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PBS Kids Set To Release New Super Why Episode Collection Next Month

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS Kids/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS Kids/PBS

PBS Kids will release a brand new collection of episode from the network’s hit series Super Why next month.

Officials with PBS Kids and PBS Distribution announced this week that Super WHY: Cinderella and Other Fairytale Adventures will be released on Tuesday, August 11th in stores and online. The DVD will feature five more episodes from the hit vocabulary-building series anchored by “Cinderella.” Also included in this collection are: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “Snow White,” “The Prince and the Pauper,” and a new take on Cinderella, “Cinderella: The Prince’s Side of the Story.” It is in this episode that Super Why and company must travel into the story of Cinderella once again, this time in order to solve another mystery—the mystery of Little Boy Blue’s disappearance. Only Prince Charming can help them because he has experience with a similar experience.

“Snow White” presents the classic fairytale and adds a modern twist that teaches an important lesson about overeating. The lesson is taught as Princess Pea and the Super Readers are at a carnival in this episode. Princess Pea has eaten so much that now she has a stomach ache. But then Goldilocks offers her some popcorn just like the evil queen tempted Snow White with the poisoned apple in the story of Snow White. Princess Pea is tempted to eat just a little bit of the popcorn offered to her by Goldilocks even though she knows that she shouldn’t. So it’s up to the Super Readers to convince her to not give in, leading to the trip into this story.

Whyatt and Princess Pea learn the age-old adage that the grass always seems greener on the other side in “The Prince and the Pauper,” the third of the collection’s five episodes. When Whyatt thinks that his house is too loud and Princess Pea thinks that hers is too quiet, the pair decides to trade places. First, the pair, along with the rest of the Super Readers, travel into the story of The Prince and the Pauper and discover that maybe trading places isn’t such a good idea after all.

“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” introduces young audiences to the episode’s namesake “fairytale” after Whyatt is the only one around when his baby sister Joy says her first words. In order to figure out how to get people to believe him, he and the rest of the Super Readers travel into the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and help its lead character convince everyone about the wolf.

In the last of the set’s episodes, Red is going to Sleeping Beauty’s princess party. The problem is that Red isn’t a princess. So she and the Super Readers jump into the story of Cinderella to find out how its main character dealt with her own princess problem. Parents will especially enjoy this episode as it teaches not only about the classic fairytale but also an important lesson about self-esteem.

Super Why: Cinderella and Other Fairytale Adventures will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, August 11th. It will retail for MSRP of $12.99 and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=66322776&cp=&sr=1&kw=super+why&origkw=Super+Why&parentPage=search&searchId=62950646. More information on this and other Super Why DVDs is available online now along with lots of Super WHY games, activities and more at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/superwhy

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

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PBS Kids Announces Release Date, Specs For New Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Next month, PBS Distribution will release its latest collection of episodes from the hit PBS Kids series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Officials with PBS and PBS Distribution announced recently that on Tuesday, August 18th, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Tiger Goes To School will be released in stores and online. It will feature eight more episodes from PBS Kids’ hit children’s series that will both entertain and educate young viewers including: “Be A Vegetable Taster!,” which teaches young viewers about the importance of eating healthy, “Problem Solver Daniel,” which teaches viewers about both working together and helps them develop problem solving skills, and “Safety Patrol,” which teaches about the different safety rules used to keep people safe around town.” There are plenty more episodes that will entertain and educate the whole family on this new DVD. The complete episode listing for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To School is listed below.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To School Episode List

“A Trip to the Crayon Factory”
Daniel Tiger, Miss Elaina, and Katerina Kittycat take a fun trip to the factory to see how crayons are made but, O the Owl can’t come because he’s sick. At the factory, the kids watch the crayons being made, and Daniel looks and listens closely. Daniel has an idea to take pictures at the factory and give them to O at the end of the day, so that O can learn about crayons too!

“Be a Vegetable Taster!”
Teacher Harriet introduces Daniel and his friends to the school’s vegetable garden and convinces them to pick out some healthy veggies for their snack. They explore the garden, picking and trying different vegetables…with mixed results!


“Line Leader Daniel”
The children are getting new classroom jobs at school. Daniel really wants to be line leader! When he doesn’t get the job he wanted, Daniel is disappointed. Soon he learns that all of the jobs are necessary to keep the classroom running smoothly.

“Problem Solver Daniel”
Daniel and Miss Elaina are playing with the blocks at school but they each want to build something different. They call Teacher Harriet over to help fix the problem, but she tells them to work out a solution without her. They do, and feel proud that they can figure things out all by themselves.


“The Class Votes”
At school, Daniel and his classmates get to choose their new class pet! Teacher Harriet explains that they can either get a bunny or a turtle. The kids learn what it means to “vote” and that sometimes it doesn’t always turn out your way. Luckily, ALL of the kids find something to love about their new pet, “Snowball”!


“O Builds a Tower”
In the block corner at school, O the Owl is determined to use all of the blocks to build the tallest tower in the world. After many failed attempts, he is frustrated, but Teacher Harriet and O’s friends encourage him to try once again.

“Play Pretend”
Teacher Harriet shows the children a big cardboard box and asks them what they think it could be. Daniel and Miss Elaina have fun pretending the box is a space ship and a jungle boat, but O the Owl just sees a big cardboard box. With a little help from his friends, O discovers how much fun it is to pretend!

“Safety Patrol”
Today at school, the children are learning about traffic signs. Prince Tuesday comes for a special visit, wearing his crossing guard uniform. He takes the class on a walk through the Neighborhood and they practice their safety rules all along the way.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To School will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, August 18th on DVD only. It will retail for MSRP of $12.99. It can be prdered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=64547196&cp=&sr=1&kw=daniel+tigers+neighborhood&origkw=Daniel+Tiger%27s+Neighborhood&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborood compilations is available online now along with lots of activities and games from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/daniel

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

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

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Curious George: The Complete First Season Is Complete In Name Only

Courtesy:  Universal Studios Home Entertainment/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: Universal Studios Home Entertainment/PBS/PBS Kids

Curious George is one of America’s most beloved literary figures. For generations everybody’s favorite curious little monkey has been entertaining readers and viewers of all ages with his adventures. From an extensive series of literary adventures to a classic animated series of sorts in the 1980s to his most recent series, which debuted in 2006, George’s adventures have been teaching important lessons and putting smiles on families’ faces for ages. And this past May fans of George’s most recent animated series were finally rewarded for their loyalty to the series as Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) finally released the series’ first season in its entirety on DVD. Its release marks the first time that this series’ first season has seen the light of day in whole on DVD. And as entertaining as it is, it has to be said that it isn’t a perfect release. On the good side, audiences get the entire sixty episode (yes, sixty episodes) run from Season One on just four discs. That equals to roughly ten hours of entertainment and education for audiences of all ages. This is especially important for a number of reasons and will be discussed shortly. Sixty episodes is a lot of episodes. So one would naturally think that an episode guide of some sort would have been included in this set. Sadly the exact opposite proved to be the case. There is no episode guide. And that’s just one of a handful of cons that weigh down the set. For all of the cons that weigh it down, there is at least one more positive to consider. that positive is in fact the writing that went into each of the set’s episodes. More simply put, the mix of entertainment and education incorporated into each episode offers its own value to the whole of Season One. That value set alongside the set’s cons and its one major positive, Curious George: The Complete First Season isn’t a total loss for audiences. It is one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families. Though, sadly it can’t be said that it is the year’s best.

Curious George: The Complete First Season has been a long time coming. Ever since the series made its debut nine years ago, audiences have waited patiently for its release. Yet for some reason the people at USHE instead started with the series’ sixth and seventh seasons and only now released its first season. Why USHE would take that route is anyone’s guess. Getting back on track, audiences will appreciate that while it is complete in name only, Curious George: The Complete First Season is complete at least in terms of its episode listing. Season One boasts a total of sixty (yes, sixty) episodes. Those episodes are spread across a total of four discs that are packaged wisely inside a standard DVD case. The inclusion of all sixty original Season One episodes here is a positive in that it replaces a number of USHE’s previously released standalone Curious George compilation discs. This critic alone owns no fewer than a dozen of those standalone DVD compilations. That means that no less than half of those DVDs can now be eliminated. In other words, that means less DVDs cluttering up the house. Any parent will welcome less clutter. What’s more, owning sixty episodes in one set means that much less worry about missing George when it comes on TV regardless of whether it be on PBS or a family’s local PBS Kids affiliate. Keeping all of this in mind, the inclusion of all sixty Season One episodes in a wisely packaged four-disc set definitely makes Curious George Season:  The Complete First Season worth the addition to any family’s home DVD library.

The presentation of all sixty episodes from Curious George’s first season is within tiself plenty of reason for families to add this box set to their home DVD library. It potentially eliminates clutter from families’ homes. And it means that much less worry about missing Curious George when it comes on TV. Those are all great aspects of Season One. For every positive there is always at least one negative, though. Sadly, Curious George: The Complete First Season has its share of cons. The most glaring of those cons is linked directly to the season’s sixty-episode run. It is the lack of an episode guide of any kind. Considering that Season One boasts so many episodes, one would have thought it common sense that some thing as simple as an episode guide outlining which episodes are on which disc would be included in the set. Apparently someone at USHE thought otherwise. So audiences essentially have to either memorize the episode listing or write up an episode listing themselves and add it into the box. It’s sad that that was apparently an afterthought for the people at USHE. It is just one of a number of cons that weigh down this set, too. Along with that con, audiences will also note that there are no bonus features to speak of anywhere in the set.

The “mid-show” segments that feature kids doing what George did in the corresponding episode are nowhere to be found, either. The “mid-show” segments are commonplace with each broadcast on television. They are even there on the series’ standalone sets. So why not here? It’s doubtful having them in each episode would force an extra disc or even more to the set. So why not have them here? It seems a trivial aspect. But in reality those segments help to drive home the concepts being taught in each episode. They drive home the presented concepts because they present children doing the things that George did in the corresponding episodes. This makes them that much more relatable for young viewers and in turn more capable of reaching them. So not having them included here yet again weighs down the set even more. It means that parents and teachers have to find ways to keep those audiences engaged after the episodes are over and figuring out how to drive the lessons home themselves. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it would have been nice to have that starting point regardless. Because it isn’t there audiences are actually losing out by not having them included here. The same can be said of the lack of bonus features.

The bonus features that are so commonplace in the series’ standalone compilations also help to drive home the concepts being taught in the presented episode. They, too are starting points for bigger lessons that can be taught on the presented topics. A prime example is the rocket building game that corresponds with “Curious George’s Rocket Ride.” That game is included in the standalone DVD which features said episode as its focal point. That game in nowhere to be found anywhere on this set. It keeps children interested in rockets and space all while teaching a basic lesson about shapes. It’s just one of so many games and other activities not included in this set that could have been included. Because it and the others from other Curious George DVDs aren’t here, it means teachers and parents having to figure out how to come up with a cost-effective way to present the same games on their own. Yet again, that’s not a total loss. But still it would have been nice to have at least something there. Not having any bonus games, “mid-show” segments, or episode guide to go by, so much enjoyment and even education that could have been had is potentially lost from this set. Considering this, Curious George: The Complete First Season loses a lot of points and shows even more to be in reality complete in name only.

Curious George: The Complete First Season is sadly complete in name only. That is because despite having its full complement of sixty episodes, it is lacking in a number of other areas, as has been pointed out. For all of its cons, there is at least one more important pro that should be noted here that is directly related to the cons. That pro is the actual writing that went into this season’s episodes. The writers expertly balanced the series’ entertainment value with its educational content in every episode without fail. From one episode to the next there are various lessons that teach problem-solving skills, basic math and science skills, and so much more. For example, in “From Scratch,” George teaches viewers about using deductive reasoning by trying to solve what made scratches on the furniture at Chef Pisghetti’s restaurant and clear Gnocci’s name. Young viewers won’t even realize that they are being taught thanks to the fact that the series’ writers made the episode a whodunit sort of story with George playing the detective. “Zero To Donuts” teaches viewers basic math skills as George accidentally orders one hundred dozen donuts when he should have only ordered one dozen. So he has to learn about the values of certain numbers. And in “The All Animal Recycled Band” kids learn both about music and conservation as George wants to make a band of his own. The problem is that he has to figure out how to make his instruments and who will play them. His decision on who will play makes for plenty of laughs for the whole family. The lesson about conservation taught through George’s development of his instruments is just as important to the episode. It’s another example of the writers’ ability to balance important educational content with entertainment throughout Season One. There are plenty of other episodes that could be used as examples of how the writers’ ability to balance educational and entertainment content make Season One’s episodes makes them so enjoyable. There just is neither enough time nor space for a discussion on each one. Needless to say, the talent of the writers to balance both elements set along with the fact that all sixty episodes are finally presented in one complete set makes Curious George: The Complete First Season a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. This is the case even with all of its negatives. Those negatives make this season enjoyable but sadly complete in name only.

Curious George: The Complete First Season is a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. The fact that al slixty of its episodes have been presented together here for the first time is just one reason that it is such a welcome addition. The balance of educational and entertaining content within each episode makes for even more reason for families to add this box set to their home DVD library. Sadly there are some glaring issues with the set including the lack of something as basic as an episode guide, the “mid-show” segments that are commonplace in the series’ TV broadcasts and its standalone DVDs, and any bonus features that are common on those same standalone DVDs. Even with those cons noted, they don’t make Curious George: The Complete First Season a total loss. They only make it complete in name only. All things considered, Curious George: The Complete First Season is one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families. But it is hardly the best. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other available Curious George DVDs is available online along with the latest Curious George news at:

Website: http://www.curiousgeorge.com

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

Audiences can also get more information on Curious George, print out coloring pages, and play Curious George games at http://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge. 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’ NOVA Tackles A Major Talker In Its Next DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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 Takes Audiences Down Under This Summer In New 3-Part Series

Courtesy:  PBS/Northern Pictures

Courtesy: PBS/Northern Pictures

This summer, PBS is taking audiences down under to one of the world’s seven natural wonders of the world when it presents the three-part documentary Life on the Reef.

Life on the Reef will be released on Tuesday, July 28th on DVD and Blu-ray. The documentary takes viewers both above and below the waves of the Great Barrier Reef, examining what makes it great and what continues to threaten not only its existence but that of the creatures that call it home, too. The first of the program’s three segments takes viewers along the reef during Australia’s tourist-heavy winter season. It shows rescue crews responding to both a human and ecological emergency in what is one of the most sensitive regions of the reef as they work to save the planet’s largest turtle rookery.

The second episode of Life on the Reef moves from winter into spring just as the reef really begins coming to life once again. Audiences are taken below the waves in this episode where they will get to see coral spawning and rays returning. On the dry side, viewers will see sea birds returning to the reef to nest and alligators protecting their own nests. Also in this episode, viewers will see rangers and scientists work to stop thorn starfish from creating a potential ecological catastrophe.

In the final of the program’s three segments, spring turns to summer but the threats to the reef don’t end. The entire North Queensland coast hunkers down as a Category Five cyclone bears down on the region. There are also other dangers such as shipping accidents and oil spills to deal with. Even through it all, life still goes on as countless turtles hatch and begin their lives.

Life on the Reef will be available on DVD Tuesday, July 28th. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99. the Blu-ray presentation will go for $29.99. Audiences can check out a trailer for Life on the Reef online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgFY16bloUs. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=65244396&cp=&sr=1&kw=life+on+the+reef&origkw=Life+on+the+Reef&parentPage=search. More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

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.