PBS Kids’ ’15 Girl Power Adventures’ DVD Is Problematic, But Not A Complete Failure

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Kids is doing its part to honor its female viewers with a new DVD.  The DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures, was released Sept. 7 through PBS Distribution.  The episodes featured in this collection –15 in all as the DVD’s title notes – are the main strength for the presentation.  While the episodes are important in their own right, the very fact that they are centered on just female audiences detracts notably from the DVD’s presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  For those audiences willing to overlook this shortcoming, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  When it is considered along with the episodes featured herein, the DVD proves far from perfect, but still entertaining enough.

PBS Kids’ recently released compilation DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is an intriguing offering from the network.  The DVD’s primary strength comes in its featured episodes.  The episodes lift from the majority of PBS Kids’ series.  There are some omissions, though (E.g. Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, Curious George, etc.) but by and large, the episodes pull from a respectable amount of the networks’ shows.  Arthur is represented through the episode, “Muffy’s New Best Friend.”  The story here finds Muffy and Francine learning a valuable lesson about friendship even when two people have differing opinions on things, and that those differences can actually help friendships grow.  It is a familiar topic that will appeal not only to young females, but to audiences in general.  This leads to the aforementioned discussion on the DVD’s one main shortcoming, which will be addressed shortly.  Molly of Denali’s episode, “Stand Back Up” finds Molly learning a valuable lesson about pushing on through failings in any situation in life when she learns how to ski.  Once again, here is a show that yes, is centered on a female character, but with a lesson that applies to girls and boys, men and women alike.  Again, it leans toward the DVD’s noted concern.  On yet another note, Let Go Luna!’s episode, “Aren’t We A Pair” centers on Carmen and her Egyptian friend Leyla and their search for their pets.  The friendship element is there, but as with so many episodes of the family favorite series, the episode is more about promoting multiculturalism, which is wonderful in its own right.  The thing is that the series focuses not just on a girl, but a group of friends (two boys and a girl, plus Luna, who is female).  The story is a great way to teach and learn about culture in Egypt.  Again, it will appeal just as much to boys as it will girls.  It is one more way to show the importance of the DVD’s episodes to the disc’s presentation.  That is done as it pulls from yet another of so many PBS Kids series.  On the other hand it is yet another example of how problematic the DVD is in the bigger picture.

While the episodes featured in this disc make for plenty of appeal, the very fact that they will appeal to boys and girls alike as well as men and women alike, it makes the very presentation format extremely problematic.  As noted, the stories and lessons that are presented in the majority of this DVD’s featured episodes will appeal to and connect with boys as well as girls.  Add in that the fact that many of the shows from which the episodes are pulled are examples of PBS and PBS Kids’ long-running tradition of trying to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities and it just makes the whole presentation seem like a knee-jerk reaction from someone or some people at PBS and PBS Kids.  Given again, a show, such as Molly of Denali is centered on a young girl, but the stories and lessons involve her as well as her friends, who are male and female.  Even a “newer” series, such as Elinor Wonders Why is centered not on just its titular character, but on her and her friends, who are male and female alike.  Once again, the diversity is evident in the episodes and their lessons.  That has been a trademark of PBS Kids shows for such a long time.  It just leads one to wonder why someone would even take the time to try and release a collection of episodes that it claims are “Girl Power” adventures.  The very approach is counter to everything for which PBS Kids has come to be known.  It is really disconcerting.  Even with the concern raised by the DVD’s very presentation, there is at least one more positive to examine, and that is its pricing.

The average price point for 15 Girl Power Adventures is $8.22.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS.  The DVD was not listed through Books-A-Million at the time of the DVD’s review.  An average price point of less than $10 for a DVD that for the most part will appeal to boys just as much as girls and that pulls from so many of PBS Kids’ shows new and old alike is not bad at all.  Adding to the appeal is that for the most part, the separate listings are below that price point, save for PBS’ own listing of $9.99 and (surprisingly) that of Walmart, at $12.37.  Target actually has the least expensive listing this time out at only $4.99.  Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99 while Best Buy is not the best buy at $7.99.  So in looking at these prices, the overall pricing really is not bad.  It will not break any viewer’s budget.  So taking that into account with the DVD’s content, the whole makes for at least some appeal even despite the incongruous nature of the content with the DVD’s title.  Keeping this in mind, the DVD is problematic.  There is no denying this matter.  At the same time, it is not a complete failure.

PBS Kids/PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is hardly the best presentation that the company and its home distribution arm have ever released.  At the same time it is not the worst, either.  The DVD succeeds largely because of its episodes and their stories.  The episodes pull from a healthy cross section of PBS Kids’ shows.  The stories and their lessons will connect to boys just as much as girls because despite the DVD’s title, they are not centered just on females and will relate not only to girls, either.  This leads to the DVD’s one major shortcoming, its titling.  The DVD’s title markets the presentation as being “girl power,” but as noted the episodes are largely a continued display of PBS Kids’ successful efforts to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities without being preachy.  Keeping that in mind, there really was no reason for any branch of PBS to present such a DVD since it has always treated males and females, blacks, whites, and otherwise equally.  While this is clearly problematic, it is not enough to make the DVD a total failure.  The DVD’s overall pricing proves positive, considering the amount of content presented therein.  The pricing will, for the most part, not break any viewer’s budget.  That selling point (no pun intended) along with the content is just enough to save the DVD.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD problematic but not a total failure. 

15 Girl Power Adventures is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS Kids is available along with all of the network’s latest news at:

Website: https://pbskids.org

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbskids

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

‘NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race’ Is A “High Flying” Success

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

When the concept of mass transportation was first thought of in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the belief was that it would help reduce human created pollution.  As time has gone on, those views have increasingly changed, obviously.  They proved to be almost as problematic in terms of pollution as personal transportation.  Coal-burning steam engines that put so much smoke and other chemicals into the air have given way to much cleaner rail transport.  Many buses nationwide have switched over from gasoline and diesel to much cleaner power sources, too.  While those measures have done and are doing their part to reduce mankind’s impact on the naturally occurring process that is climate change, there is still much more to do even on their end.  While those mass transportation means continue to evolve and change for the better, one means of mass transportation that is sadly only now beginning to evolve is air transportation.  Jets and planes put pollution into the air every day, but thankfully, there is a growing number of companies out there whose work aims to eventually make mass air transportation cleaner.  Their work is the focus of another recently aired episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series, NOVA.  Having originally aired May 26 on PBS stations nationwide, it was released Aug. 3 on DVD, and is also streaming online now, too.  The noted “race” to develop “clean” air transportation is at the center of this episode.  It is quite interesting and will be discussed shortly.  The visual aids that are used to help tell the story add their own interest to the presentation and will be discussed a little later.  Considering all of that content, the DVD’s pricing rounds out its most important elements.  IT will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make this episode a presentation that (pardon the awful pun) is a high-flying success.

NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is another successful offering from PBS’ long-running, science-based series.  It is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  Its success comes in large part through its central story, that of the efforts underway to evolve mass air transportation in regards to its energy source and impact on climate change.  This revelation leads to the story’s most important aspect.  While the impact of air travel’s pollution on climate change serves as the basis for the bigger discussion, it remains just that.  So while this is hardly the first time in recent years that PBS programming has focused on climate change and humans’ impact thereon, it does not just preach about it nonstop.  Rather the story naturally grows from that topic to the innovations that are happening as a result of the efforts to make air travel cleaner.  At no point does the program ever try to lie to audiences, either.  It is pointed out multiple times throughout the almost hour-long program that the efforts to make air travel cleaner are in their infancy and that there is still a very long way to go.  To that end, that realistic view makes things interesting in itself.  The various ways in which the different startups and established companies are trying to use clean energy to power planes and jets is just as interesting to learn about.  It seems, in watching the whole, that the most feasible energy source at this point would be hydrogen.  That is just this critic’s own interpretation.  That is especially considering the note of how many pounds of batteries would be needed to replace approximately 40,000 pounds of fuel in a full-size jetliner in order for it to maintain its range.  On another hand though, the thought of batteries being recharged in-flight by the same propellers that they are powering is interesting in its own right.  Of course, that would seemingly only be feasible in small, one and two seat planes, but is still a potential upgrade that could work in that avenue.  That so many efforts are being made to reduce the carbon footprint of air transportation companies is just as interesting to learn about as the efforts being made to simply pull carbon from the atmosphere in another of PBS’ climate-related NOVA episodes.  It is just one part of what makes this episode interesting.  The visual aids that are used add their own interest to the episode’s presentation.

The visual aids in question are actual footage of the prototype planes and “helicopters” that are being developed by the noted startups.  This may seem minor on the surface.  However, being that there are so many visual learners out there and that television is, after all, a visual medium, actually getting to put a picture with the discussed concepts serves very well to keep viewers engaged and entertained.  What’s more, actually seeing the concept vehicles at work (both in reality and in concept videos) enhances the viewing experience even more.  One cannot help but wonder if a “helicopter” powered by as many as six propellers is really as efficient as a combustion-powered chopper (which uses only two rotors).  That such a clean-energy vehicle would need that much power shows that there certainly is a long way for clean energy air power to go before it is perfect, but at least the effort is being made.  On another note, watching another clean-energy air vehicle actually taking off and landing around the Hawaiian islands shows that some progress is happening.  Again, these visualizations may not seem like much on the surface, but when viewers actually see them as they take in the story, they will ensure those viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more.  That ensured engagement and entertainment will also ensure that viewers will better understand and appreciate the efforts taking place and why they are taking place.  Keeping all of that in mind, the overall content featured in this DVD does plenty to prove the appeal of the episode and DVD.  It is still just part of what makes the DVD and episode appealing.  The DVD’s pricing, again considering the content, proves important in its own right.

The average price point for NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is $21.49.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  While the average price point is a little bit high, some of the separate listings are more appealing by comparison.  Case in point is Amazon’s listing of $16.79, the leas expensive of the listings.  The only listings that exceed the noted average come from PBS, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-a-Million, at $24.99 each.  Best Buy offers the DVD at just under $20 at a price of $17.99 while Walmart’s listing is slightly more expensive at $19.17.  Given, with shipping, each listing’s price does go up, but  again by comparison to the three listings that exceed the average, those lower listings are still relatively affordable.  Considering again, the overall content featured in this episode of NOVA and its ability to ensure viewers’ engagement and entertainment, those less expensive listings are still money well spent.  To that end, the pricing and overall content featured in this episode of NOVA makes the episode in whole a fully successful presentation.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is a successful new offering from the company and its home distribution arm.  That is proven in part through the episode’s central story.  The story in question follows the efforts underway to progress air travel from a hugely polluting means of mass transportation to something much cleaner.  The visuals that are used throughout the episode add their own appeal to the whole.  That is because they make the episode more interesting for viewers.  That added interest ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  To that end, the pricing for the episode’s home DVD release proves mostly positive in its own right.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the episode and its DVD presentation a presentation that passes…with flying colors.  Yes, that awful pun was intended, too.

NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is available now.

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

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘NOVA: Ship That Changed The World’ Is A Presentation That Stays Afloat From Beginning To End

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Throughout the course of human history, there have been so many pivotal moments that have forever changed things for the world.  The creation of fire and the wheel, the development of electricity, the development of mass communications and recording technology are all prime examples of those key moments.  They are hardly the only key moments in human history.  In a recently aired episode of its long-running science-based series, NOVA dubbed Ship That Changed The World, PBS examines a key turning point in nautical history.  Having originally aired June 2 on PBS stations nationwide, it was released to DVD Aug. 17.  The story featured in the nearly hour-long episode creates a strong foundation for the program and will be discussed shortly.  The secondary story that accompanies the main presentation adds to the episode’s engagement in its own right.  It will be discussed a little later.  Keeping those two items in mind, the program’s pricing proves to be important in its own way, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from history buffs to nautical history lovers, to even those with any interest in engineering.

NOVA: Ship That Changed The World is an interesting new episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series.  Its interest comes in large part through its primary story.  The story in question follows a group of marine archaeologists who have located the remains of a ship off the Swiss coast known as the Griffin Dog.  That is the English translation for the ship’s name. As narrator Craig Sechler points out, the ship is important to the bigger picture of maritime history because of its construction.  Audiences who have any interest in that topic will remain engaged just as much as anyone with any interest in the history or maritime warfare and history in general.  Watching the group try to identify the ship and solve what caused it to sink (and succeed in the process) gives audiences reason enough to watch this episode of NOVA.  While that aspect of the episode is interesting in its own right, the episode’s secondary story (which could actually be argued to be the episode’s main story in its own right) makes for just as much engagement and entertainment.

The episode’s secondary story involves the history lesson on boats’ construction in comparison to that of the Griffin Dog.  Viewers will be interested to learn, for instance, that while Vikings’ construction of their longboats is legendary, it was in fact imperfect.  That is because as is noted in this episode, the longer the boats became, the more problematic was their mobility in the water.  On a different note, viewers will learn that by comparison, boats that were created in the Mediterranean region of the world had their own problem.  Their problem was not one of mobility, but of the ability to carry large cargo capacities.  As the secondary story progresses, viewers learn that the shipbuilders who created the Griffin Dog used the style of not one but both regions in creating the ship.  The result was that the creation and launching of the Griffin Dog was really that turning point in maritime history.  The ship was, as one interviewer called it, a castle of sorts, on the water.  It allowed for certain unique military advantages for the soldiers on board as well as the ability to carry extensive cargo loads and to provide certain comforts for the crew and passengers.  That aspect of the story is really just as interesting as the efforts to identify the Griffin Dog if not more so.  That is why, again, viewers can argue that this secondary story could also be the episode’s central story and vice versa.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD’s pricing proves to be a positive in its own right.

The average price point of NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is $21.38.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  Target did not list the DVD at the time of this review’s posting.  Amazon’s listing of $16.79 is the least expensive of the listings, while PBS, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million all had the most expensive listing, at $24.99.  Walmart listed the DVD at $18.52 while Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 is not the best buy, but is still well under the noted average point.  Short and simple, three of the listings are well above the average while the other three are all below that point, and are also less than $20.  To that end, those three less expensive listings will not break viewers’ budgets.  Considering the DVD’s content, again, that information proves its own positive in the bigger picture of the DVD’s presentation.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is an overall successful presentation.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is a largely successful presentation.  That is proven in part through its initial story.  That story in question follows the search for and discovery of a five century-old warship.  The warship in question, the Griffin Dog, changed the face and history of maritime warfare and history.  The explanation of how the ship incorporated different ship building techniques from two parts of the world thousands of miles apart from one another adds to the overall presentation.  That overall content makes the DVD’s pricing – average and separate – positive in its own right.  The DVD’s average price point and most of its listings are inexpensive and will not break viewers’ budgets.  Each item examined here, the whole makes the DVD a positive presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will definitely float.  NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is available now.

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

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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 Distribution Keeps Rolling Along Strong With Its Latest ‘Dinosaur Train’ DVD

Courtesy :PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Paramount Pictures’ Jurassic Park franchise is a hugely successful series of movies.  That goes without saying.  The property has spawned five movies with a sixth on the way next year.  There is also a lego-based series on Nickelodeon and a series of related kid-friendly video games.  It has even spawned any number of second-rate knock offs from so many independent studios that are anything but memorable.  It really speaks to the franchise’s popularity and longevity.  This past April, the franchise’s popularity was shown even more when PBS and PBS Kids aired a new Dinosaur Train “movie” in the form of Adventure Island.  Unlike all of those noted knock-offs, this take on the Jurassic Park franchise this take is completely entertaining.  That is thanks to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus episodes that accompany the “movie” make the movie’s home presentation appealing in their own right.  Considering that content featured in this DVD, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.

PBS Distribution’s home release of Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is a welcome new addition to the show’s ongoing series of DVDs.  It is so enjoyable that there is no doubt it deserves a spot on the list of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.  The DVD’s appeal comes in large part through its main feature, its almost hour-long “movie,” Adventure Island.  As has been noted, the “movie” is a spoof of the movies in the Jurassic Park franchise.  In this story, the Pteranodon family is invited to Adventure Island, a theme part island populated by a bunch of robot dinosaurs and filled with what are supposed to be fun rides.  The robotic dinosaurs are powered by steam, and when unexpectedly go wrong with some of the island’s systems, the dinosaurs get too hot and end up going haywire.  Fittingly, it is up to the Pteranodon kids – Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy – as well as the park’s employees to set things right and get the automatons working right again.  The head of the whole operation denies the problems at first, but eventually admits something is wrong, leading to the eventual happy ending.  While the story is clearly a lifting from the Jurassic Park franchise, it is still its own story.  That originality — and the very fact that unlike the Jurassic Park movies, this movie is family friendly – makes for even more appeal. 

The story’s pacing plays into the presentation, too.  It ensures the story plays out fluidly from beginning to end.  The result of the attention to that item is that it ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment in its own right.  Keeping that in mind along with the story’s very presentation, the whole shows clearly why this main feature is so important to the DVD’s presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the DVD so appealing.  The bonus episodes that accompany the main feature add their own enjoyment to the whole.

The bonus episode, “Junior Conductor’s Academy” stands out because it marks the first time that the series has taken on the issue of autism.  It joins the likes of Arthur, Hero Elementary, and Sesame Street to focus on the matter as the Pteranodon kids go to the Junior Conductor’s Academy and meet a new dino friend named Dennis.  Dennis is autistic, but at no point do the show’s writers bring extra attention to this matter.  Rather, they ensure that the Pteranodon kids treat Dennis just like he is one of them.  In other words, the writers have normalized the condition rather than pointing it out.  This is actually something hugely important.  It is important because in reality, pointing out such a condition and bringing that added attention can in fact do more emotional and mental harm than good for someone who is autistic.  It can actually be in advertently turned more into a stigma even if one’s attentions in pointing out the condition are honorable.  The same applies to anyone with any handicap, whether mental or physical.  Just like someone in a wheelchair does not want special attention or accommodations, but to be treated like a person first and foremost, so would a person with autism want to be treated as a person first and foremost.  That is exactly what the writers have done here.  The writers are to be highly commended for that approach, just like the writers on the other noted shows for their approaches.

The second bonus episode, “Rollin’ on the Riverboat,” is completely opposite from “Junior Conductor’s Academy.”  In the case of this episode, the Pteranodon family takes a trip along a river on a paddle wheel boat.  The kids learn about the animals that call the river ecosystem home.  This lesson stands out because for so much of the series, the focus on aquatic life has been in the ocean or at a beach setting.  So for the family to go down a more contained aquatic setting and learn about its ecosystem is a major change of pace for the series.  The show’s writers are to be commended just as much for this switch-up as for the approach taken to “Junior Conductor’s Academy.”  There is even a musical number that, in its own way, pays tribute to the one and only Tina Turner and one of her greatest songs.  Audiences will be left to take in this moment for themselves.  Along the way, the passengers even meet a giant dinosaur that they thought was only a myth, leading to a lesson about another dinosaur, which is sure to engage audiences of all ages even more.  The combination of these two fully engaging and entertaining bonus episodes enhances the viewing experience even more.  When that impact is considered along with the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the DVD’s main feature, the whole shows the DVD’s content as one large whole that makes the DVD well worth the purchase.  Considering the content featured in this DVD and its impact on the viewing experience, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right.

The average price point for Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is right at $8.00.  That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  Considering that the average price point is less than $10 speaks volumes, considering how much content is offered in this DVD and its ability to keep viewers engaged and entertained.  It is definitely something in itself that will encourage audiences to purchase the DVD.  The least expensive listing is through Amazon and Target, at only $5.89.  PBS, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD on the high end (so to speak) at $9.99.  Walmart lists the DVD at $6.27, just above that lowest listing from Amazon and Target.  Best Buy’s listing of $7.99 serves as the mid-range price.  Looking at all of these prices, only three exceed the average price point, and Best Buy’s listing is the only one that even reaches that point.  Walmart, Target, and Amazon all offer relatively affordable prices that will not break anyone’s budget by any means.  Again, considering the amount of content featured in this DVD and that content’s ability to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment, it makes those prices all the more appealing.  Keeping that in mind, it shows why it is just as important to examine as the DVD’s content.  All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.

PBS Distribution’s recently released Dinosaur Train DVD, Adventure Island is yet another impressive offering for the while family.  It continues to show why the series is such a beloved property in part through its main feature.  The main feature is a nearly hour-long story that uses the beloved Jurassic Park franchise as its inspiration, while keeping the story family friendly at the same time.  That blend of originality and familiarity pairs with the story’s family friendly nature to make the story so enjoyable in itself.  The two bonus episodes make for their own entertainment because they are unlike one another and unlike the main feature.  Considering the content and its impact, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  The pricing comes in largely at less than $10 both in terms of the average price point and the separate listings.  In other words, it will not break any viewer’s budget.  Keeping that in mind, the pricing works with the DVD’s content to offer audiences even more motivation to own this presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the year’s top new Family DVDs/BDs.

Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is available now. More information on Dinosaur Train is available online now along with lots of activities, printables, videos and more at:

Websitehttps://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘Finding Your Roots’ Proves Interesting But Once Again Imperfect In Its Seventh Season

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS’ hit genealogy based series Finding Your Roots wrapped its seventh season late this past May.  With the season officially wrapped, PBS Distribution released the season to home audiences late last month on a three-disc DVD set.  The discussions that host Henry Louis Gates Jr. has with his guests this season make for the majority of the season’s interest.  For all of the interest that those discussions offer, the season’s presentation in its new home release proves problematic.  This will be discussed a little later.  Keeping all of this in mind, it makes the set’s average price point and separate listings worth noting in their own right.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this season worth watching at least once.

The seventh season of PBS’ Finding Your Roots is an intriguing presentation that audiences will find worth watching at least once.  Its interest comes largely through the discussions that host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has with his guests.  Gates welcomes guests from across the entertainment world once more in this season.  Actors John Lithgow and Mandy Patinkin join journalist Nina Totenberg and Gretchen Carlson, as well as comedian Lewis Black and hip-hop star Pharrell Williams along so many others.  One of the most interesting interviews that Gates conducts is with filmmaker John Waters.  That is due to one point in particular in which the discussion turns (as Waters even notes that it so often does in Gates’ interviews) to the talk of a guest’s ancestors being slave owners.  Waters seemed irritated that the discussion turned to the matter, too.  As the discussion progresses, Waters says very briefly that “It’s always astounding when this kind of thing is found, but what can you do?”  That brief statement is so powerful.  Gates has made a habit of pointing out to certain interviewees that their ancestors were slave owners.  In the process, Gates seems to have a certain sense of schadenfreude as his guests react (normally in shock and disgust).  It is really discouraging to go back and see that happen time and again throughout the series, including in this season.  Waters’ comments are necessary because they speak to what so many people feel and think.  Yes, many people have ancestors who did bad things.  This critic’s own ancestors were on-board the Mayflower.  That means they were part of the group that persecuted the Native Americans in the region with that so-called treaty that essentially gave the Native Americans no rights against the Pilgrims.  This critic also has ancestors who fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War.  That does not make this critic a bad person.  At the same time, this critic also has ancestors who fought for America’s freedom from British rule.  This is a discussion that we as Americans must have just as much as the discussion on the white washing of America’s history, yet Gates even in this season does not seem to want to have the discussion on people’s ancestry.

Staying on that topic, Williams’ reaction at the revelation that his ancestors were slaves is powerful, as is his statement following that revelation.  Justifiably, he is shocked and angry.  At the same time, he stresses in his comments that while he would like to have a conversation with the descendants of the man who owned his ancestors, that conversation would not be to try and make them feel ashamed of themselves, but just to have that discussion on the white washing of America’s history.  That is a mature reaction and statement from Williams, even though it certainly seemed at times that Gates was trying to egg him on, telling him “You should be angry.  We should allbe angry.”  Yes, we should be angry, but we should also not allow that anger to divide ourselves.  It seemed here that Gates did not care about that.  He just wanted to get a reaction out of Williams, it seemed, which is so discouraging.

Williams’ discussion with Gates is just one more example of what makes this season’s discussions so interesting.  His discussion with Mandy Patinkin is one of the season’s most powerful.  That is Patinkin is known on and off screen for being very stoic and strong.  Yet his reaction at finding out the fates of his Jewish ancestors at the hands of the Nazis shows a completely different profile from him.  It shows a real human side from him.  What’s more, learning about his upbringing might also explain his inability or unwillingness to stick to one project for but so long.  It is just one more notable interview conducted in this season of Finding Your Roots.  Between these interviews and all of the others featured in this season, the whole makes the interviews a solid starting point for the season.  While the featured interviews do plenty to make this season of Finding Your Roots worth watching, the season’s DVD packaging proves problematic.

Once again, the packaging lacks any episode listing anywhere on the case or even on the three discs that make up the season.  This means that audiences are left to have to play each DVD to figure out which interviews are on which disc.  This in itself is problematic, too.  Instead of listing the celebrities in the episodes, the episodes have semi-cryptic titles, leaving audiences again to spend that extra time to figure out which episodes are on which discs.  Having to take that unnecessary extra time is an aesthetic element, but do not be confused, the frustration at having to take that extra time can and will discourage audiences from even wanting to take the time to try.  That means that it will decrease odds of audiences even wanting to watch, having to take that extra time going from one disc to the next.  This sadly, nothing new from the series in terms of its home releases.  In only one season so far have audiences had an episode guide.  It is just too bad that that only happened that one time.

There is no denying that the lack of an episode guide once again detracts from Season 7’s home presentation.  In this case, that negative impact can and will be very notable.  Luckily for the same of those behind the show, there is at least one more positive.  That positive is the set’s average price point.  The set’s average price point is $32.70.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  That price is about on part with most other DVD sets of the same size.  The least expensive listing, $26.99 is at Amazon, Walmart, and Target.  That is well below that average.  Again, considering the average price of most other box sets of the same size, that price of less than $30 is welcoming to say the least.  Even Best Buy’s price of $27.99 is below that average.  Yes, it is more expensive than the other three retailers, but is still relatively affordable.  By comparison, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS each list the set far above the average at $39.99.  So considering those prices against the average price point and those of the other retailers, this is actually encouraging in its own right.  That is because it reminds audiences that there are some affordable prices for this set.  Keeping that in mind along with the interviews featured in this season and even the problems posed by the set’s packaging, the whole proves still worth watching at least once.

The seventh season of PBS’ Finding Your Roots is a presentation that audiences will find interesting and worth watching at least once.  That is even despite the problems posed by its packaging.  The interviews featured in this season are the main reason audiences will want to watch.  They are with celebrities from across the entertainment world.  They also serve as starting points for bigger discussions on race relations this time around.  While the interviews form a strong foundation for this season, the lack of an episode guide in the packaging detracts from the season’s engagement and entertainment.  The extra time that audiences will once again have to spend going from disc to disc in order to find specific episodes will detract notably from audiences’ enjoyment. Audiences do not want to have to take that extra time, and in turn, may end up just not watching any of the episodes.  As much as the issue of the packaging detracts from the enjoyment of this season, the average and separate pricing for the set makes for its own positive.  The set’s average price point is in line with most other DVD sets of its size.  Many of the separate listings are even below that point, too.  That is more encouragement for audiences to purchase the set even despite the packaging problems.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s set.  All things considered, they make the album neither a full success nor a total failure.  Finding Your Roots Season 7 is available now.

More information on Finding Your Roots is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/finding-your-roots

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HenryLouisGates

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘NOVA: Reef Rescue’ Will Hopefully Encourage Humans To Help Rescue Earth

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The urgency in understanding humans’ impact on the natural process that is climate change cannot be understated.  According to a brand new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, humans’ impact on climate change, is painting a very bleak, but not entirely hopeless, picture for the planet’s future.    The timing of the report’s release this week is interesting not only because of its revelations, but also because it came approximately one month after PBS and PBS Distribution released its ecologically-minded episode of NOVA, Reef Rescue.  Released July 6, only months after its original airing on PBS stations nationwide, the episode examines the impact of climate change on coral reefs and the efforts to restore the world’s reefs.  That story forms the foundation for this episode and will be discussed shortly.  The cinematography that accompanies the story adds even more appeal to the presentation and will be discussed a little later.  Considering the content featured in this episode of NOVA and its appeal, it makes the episode’s average price point in its home release appealing in its own right, too.  This will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make the episode another important reminder of why we need to take our impact on the planet more seriously.

NOVA: Reef Rescue is an interesting addition to PBS’ long-running science-based series.  It serves as a powerful reminder of why humans need to be better caretakers of what is currently our only home.  Its impact is shown mainly through its central story.  The story is a dual-pronged presentation.  On one side, the story shows viewers the impact of climate change on reefs around the world.  In the process, the story reminds audiences of just how important reefs are to the world.  They play a very distinct role in the world’s economy because so many fishers harvest their fish from reefs.  They also serve as a first defense against the impact of storm surge during hurricanes in specific regions of the world.  Without that defense, storm surge in those areas can and likely will wipe out life in those areas.  The introduction of that information helps this part of the story from becoming interpreted as being preachy, which is positive in its own right.  On the story’s other side, it presents the efforts being undertaken to help bring coral back from the brink.  Audiences learn there are those around the world who are working on what is known as “assisted evolution” to help coral survive and adapt the ongoing impact of climate change.  Yes, evolution is real as much as so many individuals out there might want to believe otherwise.  While the efforts show some hope for the future of corals (which again play a much bigger role in the world than people would like to believe), the efforts are not perfect.  As is revealed, warming waters around the world are still negatively impacting coral even despite efforts to help them adapt.  The whole story will be left for viewers to learn for themselves.  The story in whole movies fluidly (no pun intended), and that together with the discussions therein make for reason enough for audiences to take in this episode of NOVA.  It is just one part of what makes this episode engaging.  The episode’s cinematography adds another layer of appeal to the whole.

The cinematography presented in NOVA: Reef Rescue is of note because it does its own part to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  The cinematography shows the full and real impact of human-impacted climate change on corals, showing the stark whiteness of the bleached corals as they are pictured by those working to save them.  Audiences are also taken high above the reefs in aerial shots showing for instance, the immensity of the Great Barrier Reef, and even a simple aspect, such as the contrast of life above and below the waves.  Between these visuals, the examination of wave crests to help explain how reefs impact storm surges, and other items, the cinematography in whole proves to have its own important part in the overall presentation of NOVA: Reef Rescue.  Keeping in mind that importance and that of the episode’s story, the two elements form a fully engaging and entertaining whole.  The engagement and entertainment ensured by the episode’s content makes its average price point appealing in its own way, too.

The average price point for NOVA: Reef Rescue is $20.99.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  PBS’ store and Books-A-Million each list the DVD above that price point at $24.99.  All of the other retailers noted list the DVD well below that number, at $17.99 each.  Keeping that in mind, the separate listings and average prove largely affordable.  The listings will, for the most part, not break audiences’ budgets with their affordable point.  Keeping that in mind along with the appeal of the episode’s overall content, that whole makes the episode another positive offering from PBS and PBS Distribution.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of NOVA: Reef Rescue is a presentation that is worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story examines the impact of human-impacted climate change on coral reefs and the efforts by humans to help corals adapt and survive those impacts.  It is a well-balanced presentation in itself that will keep audiences engaged throughout the nearly hour-long feature.  The cinematography incorporated into the episode adds its own appeal because it shows audiences firsthand, the impact of warming ocean temperatures on corals.  That and the footage showing the work being done to help restore coral populations makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.  The collective content makes the DVD’s average price point positive in its own right.  The pricing for this DVD is largely affordable and will not break audiences’ budgets.  It puts the finishing touch to the DVD’s presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD another interesting episode of NOVA that audiences will find worth watching at least once.  NOVA: Reef Rescue is available now.

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

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘Nature: Sharks Of Hawaii’ Succeeds Through Its Story, Cinematography

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Sharks are awe-inspiring creatures.  They have inspired fear and respect among people around the world for centuries.  They have remained such a force in the natural world that they have led to a series of big screen horror flicks and even a long-running week of programming simply titled, “Shark Week” on Discovery Channel.  Even Disney has gotten in on the popularity of sharks by adding its own programming on Disney XD and National Geographic. Even PBS has jumped on board this year with a recent episode of Nature that examines The Sharks of Hawaii.  The penultimate episode of the series’ 39th season, it aired April 21 and was released on DVD July 6.  The episode offers plenty to appreciate in the way of its story.  At the same time, that story makes the episode’s title somewhat incorrect.  This will be discussed a little later.  The episode’s cinematography puts the real accent to its presentation, which should come as no surprise.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s DVD presentation.  All things considered, they make Nature: Sharks of Hawaii another largely enjoyable episode of PBS’ long-running wildlife series.

Nature has, for almost 40 seasons, proven to be one of the top wildlife series on television, if not the top series of its kind.  The recently aired penultimate episode of its 39th season, Sharks of Hawaii serves well to support the noted statements.  That is proven in part through its featured story.  As the episode’s title infers, it examines the various species of sharks that call the waters around the Hawaiin islands home.  There are shale sharks, black tipped and white tipped reef sharks, tiger sharks and others that populate the region, as the story shows.  Even rays, the sharks’ “cousins,” enjoy the warm, Pacific waters around Hawaii’s islands.  Audiences will be interested to learn that while sharks are technically predators, some can in fact be prey to others, such as the white-tipped reef sharks.  According to the story, tiger sharks in the region actually hunt the white tipped reef sharks.  Just as interesting is the revelation that in some cases, some sharks in the region who might otherwise hunt whales actually follow them instead, so they can find food.  This leads into another intriguing aspect of this episode.  That aspect in question is the bigger picture here of the undersea ecosystem that exists around the Hawaiian islands.  The sharks and their connection to the rest of the region’s undersea life is examined as well as the interconnection of those organisms.  A lot of time is spent examining this matter, if not more than the sharks themselves.  The whole makes for a nearly hour-long episode (52 minutes to be exact) that is worth watching.  It also leads to the episode’s one negative, its title.


As already noted, the title of this episode is Sharks of Hawaii.  Yes, some time is spent examining the different species of sharks that call the waters around the Hawaiian islands home.  At the same time, a lot of time is spent examining not just the region’s shark species, but the region’s overall undersea ecosystem.  To that end, the episode’s title is somewhat misleading.  This critic will admit to not being able to develop another title at this point.  However, considering how much time is spent focusing on the rest of the region’s fauna versus just the sharks, the episode’s title simply does not fit well.  That aside, the episode is still worth watching because it does focus on so much of the region’s undersea ecosystem.  To that end, the mistitling is not enough to make the episode a failure.  It is just a minor issue that audiences cannot ignore.

Knowing that the issue with this episode’s title is only minimal in its negative impact, there is one more positive to examine here.  It comes in the form of the episode’s cinematography.  As with so many episodes of Nature, this episode’s cinematography is second to none.  The aerial shots of the islands are among some of the episode’s best.  That is because of the richness in the contrast of the blue waters and the green of the plants and trees that line the islands.  The contrast is so stark and rich.  On another avenue, the camera work that takes audiences below the waves is memorable in its own right.  Audiences will find themselves fully engaged as they watch a group of sharks feast on the carcass of a dead sperm whale.  That is because despite the common belief about sharks and feeding frenzies, that is not what viewers see here.  Rather, the sharks seem rather patient and social.  On a related note, the aerial shots of another breed of sharks working together to basically corral a school of fish before they go in for the kill.  It really shows a side of sharks, once again, that audiences rarely see.  Between these shots and so many others featured throughout the episode, the whole of the episode’s cinematography offers so much for audiences to appreciate.  Taking that into account, it and the episode’s story pair to make this episode of Nature another enjoyable addition to the series’ long-running history.  That is the case even with the episode clearly bearing a misleading title.

Nature: Sharks of Hawaii is a mostly enjoyable addition to the 39th season of PBS’ hit, long-running wildlife series.  Its enjoyment comes in large part through its central story.  The story aims to focus on the various shark species that call the waters around Hawaii home.  The thing is that it branches out beyond that, also focusing on their role in the bigger, overall undersea ecosystem in those waters.  This leads to the episode’s one notable negative, its title.  The title is somewhat incorrect, considering everything that the episode’s story presents.  It is problematic, but hardly enough to make the episode a failure.  The episode’s cinematography once again stands out, offering more than its share of engagement and entertainment throughout.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make Sharks of Hawaii a program that while certainly incorrectly titled, is still enjoyable in its own way.  Nature: Sharks of Hawaii is available now. 

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

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/PBSNature

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PBSNature

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘Wild Kratts: Cats And Dogs’ Will Get Two Thumbs And Four Paws Up

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Fans of the hit PBS Kids series, Wild Kratts, got a special treat late last month.  The surprise came in the form of the new DVD, Cats and Dogs.  Released July 27, the single-disc compilation is another positive new offering for the series’ fans from PBS Distribution, PBS, and PBS Kids.  The DVD’s success comes in no small part through its featured episodes’ stories, which will be discussed shortly.  The lessons tied in to the stories add their own appeal to the DVD’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  All of this writing content makes for plenty of reason for audiences to take in this recently released DVD.  Taking into account the engagement and entertainment ensured through all of that writing, it makes the DVD’s average price point its own positive worth noting.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs a presentation that will appeal just as much to every Wild Kratts fan as to cat and dog lovers.

PBS Distribution’s latest Wild Kratts DVD release, Cats and Dogs will unite lovers of each furry, four-legged friend and fans of the series.  That is proven in part through its featured episodes’ stories.  The stories, four in all, each stay true to the theme of the DVD’s title.  The DVD’s nearly hour-long title feature finds Chris and Martin presenting the many breeds of canines and felines that inhabit so many parts of the world while Aviva tries to make up her mind if she is on “team cat” or “team dog.”  Audiences who have not yet seen this feature will be left to find out her decision for themselves.  “Spots in the Desert,” the DVD’s second episode find Chris and Martin following a mother Ocelot and her cubs in the Sonoran Desert.  Ocelots, for those who might not know, are part of the cat family, proving again how the stories follow the theme of the DVD’s title.  Dog lovers get their turn here in “Adapto The Coyote” as the guys find out all of the places where coyotes call home while also dealing once again with the vile Zack Varmitech as he tries to shoo coyotes from near his mansion.  “Little Howler,” the DVD’s closing episode, follows its titular character, a baby wolf (wolves are in the dog family), as it grows up.  The episodes are lifted from the series’ first, sixth, and 18th seasons, making for a nice cross section of the series over the course of its run.  Keeping all of this in mind, the episode featured in this set and their stories form a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  Building on that foundation are the lessons tied to the episodes.

For the most part, the lessons that the stories teach are basic biology lessons.  As already noted, “Adapto The Coyote” finds Chris, Martin, and their friends learning about all of the places in which coyotes live around the world.  This is a lesson about how coyotes have adapted to the changes in the world around them in order to survive.  At the same time, audiences also learn here about how coyotes communicate with one another through their various calls.  “Spots in the Desert” presents another very basic lesson that will connect easily with younger audiences.  It is a lesson about ocelots’ habitats, much like the lesson presented in “Adapto The Coyote.”  “Little Howler” also presents a basic lesson, this time about how wolves socialize.  The big lesson here comes in the form of the DVD’s title presentation.  In the case here, the guys have to stop Zack once again.  This time, they have to stop him from taking a bunch of big dog and cat cubs and trying to sell them to people as pets.  The illegality of selling wild and exotic animals is no joke, and this “movie” brooches that subject on a very basic level that, again, young audiences can understand.  It does that while also introducing the very many breeds and wild cats and dogs that inhabit the world.  This is not the first time that Zack has ever trapped animals for his own nefarious means.  One of the series’ holiday episodes found him kidnapping various animals to use as decorations on a giant metal Christmas tree.  He has also tried kidnapping animals to help one of his fellow villains, Donita Donata.  In this case though, again, is that all important message about the illegality of capturing and selling exotic animals.  This is a topic that is in the news countless times every year.  To that end, it is a subject on which audiences need to be educated even at a young age so that as they get older, they will have that understanding instilled.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is no doubt as to the importance of the stories’ lessons.  Considering the importance of the stories and their lessons, there is a lot of positive content to like here.  That content makes the DVD’s fully affordable average price point its own positive.

The average price point for Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is $5.60.  that price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, PBS’ store, and VideoETA.  For those who might be unfamiliar with VideoETA, it is a very reliable source.  Its listing of $3.85 is in fact the least expensive of all of the listings.  Books-A-Million does not have the DVD listed.  PBS and Barnes & Noble Booksellers have the most expensive listings, at $6.99.  Looking at this, the prices do not even come close to the $10 mark.  Even buying online, shipping and handling likely will not push the DVD’s price to that point, either, regardless of retailer.  So to that point, this DVD is an affordable offering regardless of the retailer.  The price that consumers will pay regardless of retailers is also worth it considering the content featured within the DVD.  All things considered, the DVD proves to be a work that will unite lovers of cats, dogs, and Wild Kratts alike.

Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is another positive collection of Wild Kratts episodes from PBS Distribution, PBS, and PBS Kids.  Its success comes in part through the stories presented in its featured episodes.  The stories each follow the DVD’s title theme.  The lessons that are connected to the stories make for their own appeal.  That is because they are easily accessible for younger audiences.  Considering the content featured in this DVD and its depth, the whole makes the DVD’s average price point appealing in its own right.  That price point will not break any consumer’s budget, even taking into account shipping and handling for those who prefer to buy the DVD online.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will get two thumbs and four paws up.  Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is available now.

More information on Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is available online along with all of the latest Wild Kratts news and games online at:

Websitehttps://pbskids.org/wildkratts

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/wildkrattsofficial

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘Human: The World Within’ Is A Fully Accessible Look At How Our Bodies Work

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The human body is such an interesting structure.  That is because it is so contradictory in itself.  It is made of thousands of miles of nerves, veins, and full of fluids and organs (at least two of which – tonsils and the appendix – are not even needed).  For all of its immense complexity, the human body is so frail and fragile.  As the past year-plus has shown, it is so simple for humans to fall sick and worse.  All it takes is one virus for the human body to fail, even being so complex.  PBS examines that contradicting duality of the human body in its recently released documentary, Human: The World Within, showing just how deep it runs.  Having originally aired May 5, the six-part program was released on DVD June 22 through PBS Distribution.  This five and a half hour documentary will appeal widely to medical students, those of the biological sciences, and anyone with any interest in said topics.  That is due in no small part to its content, which will be discussed shortly.  The presentation of said content adds to the documentary’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the documentary just as appealing to the noted audiences in its home release as in its recent TV presentation.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s Human: The World Within is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That is due in large part to its topic.  As the documentary’s title suggests, it focuses on all of the inner workings of the human body.  More specifically, it examines each of the body’s systems – circulatory, reproductive, digestive, immune, nervous, and sensory – and how each does its own part to make the human body work.  One of the most interesting of the segments focuses on the circulatory system.  Viewers will find interesting, that the circulatory system can actually be “trained” in a manner of speaking.  This is explained through a profile of a woman living in Colorado who spends her free time scaling ice walls.  It is explained here that because of her choice of free-time activity, her circulatory system works differently than that of most other people.  It can handle environments in which oxygen levels are lower, whereas more “normal” people would have far less chance of survival in such situations.  As another example of the interest in the segments, “Birth” — which focuses on the reproductive system — is more than just a refresher on how the system works.  It explains that sometimes the body’s reproductive system can and does fail, leading to an issue, such as a miscarriage.  It is an emotionally difficult incident, but understanding it from a biological aspect might help some families make better sense of those sad events, leading to more ability to cope.  “React,” which opens the documentary, presents its own interesting explanations of how the body’s nervous system works.  It helps understand how back pain is connected to the nervous system, for instance, and how the so-called funny bone is also connected to the body’s nervous system.  It is just one more way in which the content proves so important to the documentary’s presentation.

Staying on the matter of the content, it is delivered through a mix of narration, discussion from medical professionals, and average, everyday people.  From a cell phone technician, to a distance runner, to a boxer, to the noted ice climber and more, the discussions from these noted everyday figures will connect with viewers.  That is because viewers will see themselves in these figures even more than the medical professionals. The medical professionals who are also featured here present their discussion in simple terms, rather than trying to use complex language.  This ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  Making for even more engagement and entertainment is the general fashion in which the documentary is presented.

The documentary is presented through six separate segments.  Each segment runs just under an hour.  The separation of the segments encourages audiences to watch the documentary at their own pace.  This means that as audiences do watch each segment, they are more inclined to remain engaged in each discussion.  The segments’ run times create their own psychological impact.  The impact in question is that audiences will be more comfortable take the time to watch.  That overall encouragement to watch will ensure viewers will catch everything discussed in each, especially considering the segments’ pacing.  Taking that into account along with the content itself, this proves even more, just how much the program has to offer viewers.

The content featured in Human: The World Within and its overall delivery style does much to make this documentary appealing.  It is, collectively just a portion of what makes the program so appealing.  The documentary’s packaging in its home release rounds out its most important elements.  The packaging finds the documentary split into two discs, with three segments each on each disc.  The discs are placed on their own spindle separate from one another inside the standard size DVD case.  The separation of the discs inside the case ensures the discs will not get marred in any way since they cannot touch one another at any point.  The use of a standard size DVD case saves space on viewers’ DVD/BD racks.  This creates its own appeal.  These two items are each positive aesthetic elements.  When they are considered along with the documentary’s content and its overall presentation, the documentary in whole proves a complete success.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released documentary Human: The World Within is a program that proves a successful presentation that its targeted audiences will enjoy.  Its appeal comes in large part through its content.  The content in question focuses on the body’s systems and how they make the body work in their various ways.  The relatively simple way in which each is examined makes that content accessible for any viewer.  The separation of the content into segments – each of which runs less than an hour – adds to the appeal.  That is because it will encourage audiences to watch each portion that much more.  The documentary’s packaging will appeal to audiences because of its aesthetic value.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make the documentary just as appealing on DVD as in its TV premiere.  Human: The World Within is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS and PBS Distribution is available at:

Website: https://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbs


To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

Audiences Will Enjoy PBS, BBC’s Latest Trip To Africa In Their New Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/BBC

PBS and the BBC apparently have a thing for Africa.  The networks have taken viewers to Africa and its many nations multiple times over the years.  The networks’ trips have taken viewers to countries across the continent while examining the vast multitude of species that call the continent home.  This past May, the networks partnered again for yet another trip back to Africa in the new documentary, Life at the Waterhole.  As the title infers, the nearly three hour documentary focuses in this case on how various species interact at a water hole.  PBS Distribution released the show on DVD last month.  It is just as appealing in its home presentation as its television presentation.  That is due in no small part to the general presentation.  The cinematography that is featured throughout the show makes for its own appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted its important in its own way to the whole of Life at the Waterhole.  All things considered, they make this program its own interesting presentation that is worth watching.

PBS and the BBC’s wildlife documentary, Life at the Waterhole, is a presentation that plenty of audiences will find worth watching.  That is especially the case with the nearly three-hour program’s recent DVD release.  It’s appeal comes in large part through its general presentation.  The general presentation finds the program, which runs two hours, 45 minutes, separated into three separate segments, two of which run approximately 55 minutes and the third of which runs approximately 56 minutes.  The segments follow host Dr. M. Sanjayan as he observes the role of watering holes for ecosystems in Africa.  In this case, the waterhole is a man-made structure in a wildlife preserve in Tanzania.  Over the course of six months, audiences join Dr. Sanjayan as he and his team of scientists as they observe the social habits of various animals who come to the waterhole.  Viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn how animals change their habits with the changing seasons and their conditions.  Additionally, viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn about the diversity of the species who utilize the waterhole.  There are water buffalo, various species of birds, elephants, hyenas, giraffes, and so many others.  According to Dr. Sanjayan, he and his cohorts record more than 100 species of animals over the course of six months at the waterhole. The changes in prey animals’ habits at the waterhole in relation to predators’ introduction is also engaging.  Getting back to the story’s segmentation, this aspect works with the story to form a solid starting point for the program.  That is because it allows audiences to follow all of the changes at their own pace.  This is important to note because as simple as the story is, there is a lot of information in each segment.  Anyone who tries to binge all three segments will find themselves mentally drained.  To that end, this general presentation will encourage viewers’ engagement and in turn entertainment to a certain extent.  That positive starting point is just one part of what makes this story worth watching.  The cinematography is of its own importance to the show.

The cinematography featured in Life at the Waterhole is important because of its aesthetic value.  Audiences are taken up close and personal at times thanks to cameras mounted in and around the waterhole.  One is actually encased in a watertight dome at the water level.  That allows for those up close views from that vantage point.  The footage from that camera is unique just as is the footage from the cameras located above the waterhole and at its edge.  There is even a camera mounted inside the blind that allows viewers to see what Sanjayan and company see – a paper wasp nest and even a swallow nest.  As if that is not enough, the cameras even have night vision capability, thus allowing audiences to see how the animals interact at night.  The footage is so vivid and rich in its color while the varied angles give audiences plenty of equally wonderful vantage points from which to take in the story.  That expansive visual aid from the cinematography helps drive home everything that Sanjayan discusses in all three segments, ensuring even more, viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  This aesthetic element pairs with the program’s general presentation to enhance the viewing experience even more.  It is just one more aspect that makes the program worth watching.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

Life at the Waterhole’s pacing is important to examine because, again, of the program’s content and run time.  As already noted, there is a lot of content to sort through over the course of two hours and 45 minutes.  Thankfully, as in-depth as the content is in each segment, Sanjayan and company ensure that the breadth of information is not overpowering.  Rather, they keep the story moving fluidly within each segment, connecting discussions on say, the weather and animals’ behavior smoothly.  As a result, viewers who watch the program one segment at a time will find each segment so easy to follow.  The engagement and entertainment ensured through the positive impact of the pacing pairs eventually creates an appreciation for the story, its general presentation and cinematography, too.  That overall appreciation will leave viewers agreeing that as extensive as Life at the Waterhole is while another visit to Africa, still a visit worth taking.

PBS and the BBC’s new documentary, Life at the Waterhole is hardly the first time that either network has presented any wildlife program centered on animal life in Africa.  Despite that, it is still a presentation that audiences will agree is worth watching.  That is due in part to the documentary’s general presentation.  In regards to the presentation, the nearly three-hour program is separated into three segments.  Each segment clocks in at less than an hour.  Even as in-depth as each segment is in terms of its information, that limited time and separation does its own part to encourage viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  The cinematography featured in the program adds its own layer of appeal.  That is because of how up close it brings audiences to the animals being observed by Dr. Sanjayan and his team of researchers.  The editing used in the cinematography increases that appeal, too.  Each segment’s pacing rounds out the most important aspects of this presentation.  Considering the depth of content in each segment, the pacing was especially important to track.  That is because of how easy it would have been for the program to get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully that did not happen.  Rather, the pacing remains fluid and solid in each segment, ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  When this aspect is considered along with the impact of the program’s cinematography, story, and general presentation, the whole makes Life at the Waterhole a presentation that is another worthwhile trip to Africa from PBS and the BBC.  Life at the Waterhole is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available at:

Website: https://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PBS

More information on this and other programs from the BBC is available at:

Website: https://bbc.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bbc

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