PBS Releasing New Episodes of Secrets of the Dead, NOVA In July

PBS Distribution has new episodes of PBS’ Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on the way this summer.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

On Tuesday, July 5th PBS Distribution will release new episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on DVD.  Up first is Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb.  Everybody knows the story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  Her story has eve been made into a major motion picture starring legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor in the movie’s starring role.  For all that people know about Cleopatra (both fact and fiction) one thing still remains unknown—the actual place where she is buried.  This episode of Secrets of the Dead follows lawyer turned archaeologist Kathleen Martinez as she endeavors to find the famed queen’s final resting place.  What happens over the course of the program is quite intriguing to say the least.  This latest episode of Secrets of the Dead is a must have for any living room and classroom.  It will be available Tuesday, July 5th.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The second of PBS Distribution’s July 5th titles is NOVA: Vikings Unearthed.  It is not the first of PBS’ programs ever centered on the infamous Norsemen.  But it is just as interesting as the network’s previous offerings centered on the Vikings.  This episode of NOVA follows researchers as they examine what may be the first new North American Viking site to be uncovered in half a century.  The last site to be discovered was in Newfoundland in the 1960s.  Now researchers have found another site in Newfoundland that they believe may be another Viking settlement.  The researchers–space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak (National Geographic Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and winner of the TED 2016 prize), archaeologist Douglas Bolender (University of Massachusetts, Boston), and historian Dan Snow—is joined by a number of other experts from around the globe as they excavate and examine the site at Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland.  Satellite imagery, CGI recreations, and more is used throughout the investigation.

The investigation of the site is just part of the program’s story.  Also included in this episode of NOVA is an examination of the Vikings’ history, from their expertise in sailing and trading to the myths surrounding their culture and more.  The program runs roughly one hour, counting opening and end credits.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online direct now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  Audiences can view a trailer for NOVA: Vikings Unearthed online now here.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

 

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

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS, http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

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Mr. Selfridge Goes Out On A High Note In Its Final Season

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

The end is finally here for Harry Selfridge.  What started a little more than three years ago on Britain’s itv finally wrapped earlier this year.  And this Tuesday, May 17th, the final season of the historically-based period drama will be available on DVD and Blu-ray.  For those that haven’t yet seen this season, hopefully those viewers have already seen the series’ previous three seasons.  That is the only way in which viewers will have any understanding of and appreciation for this season’s story.  Speaking of the story, the work put in to establish the story—that of the series’ writers—is the central element of this season’s presentation.  That will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to the season’s presentation as the writers’ contributions.  The collective work of those behind the cameras—the costume and set crew, editors, etc.—is just as important to note in the show’s presentation this season as that of the show’s writers and cast.  It rounds out the season’s most important elements and brings everything together in full.  Altogether, all three elements send this standout series out on just as much of a high note as that on which Mr. Selfridge went out (not to give away too much).

The fourth and final season of Mr. Selfridge is one of the series’ finest hours if not its finest.  It sends off the show on just as much of a high note as that on which Mr. Selfridge himself went out.  That is due in part to the work of the series’ writers.  On the surface, the writers have once again expertly woven together so many storylines from one episode to the next for the ensemble cast.  The connection between each storyline is so finely tuned that there is not even a need for a program in order to follow each one.  They are that well balanced.  Looking deeper at those storylines, each story is just as certain to keep viewers as entertained as the other beginning with the story of Harry Selfridge’s fall from grace so to speak.  What’s really interesting in this story is that Harry is such a sympathetic character here.  Yes, he continues his playboy lifestyle, spending money, wooing women, and more.  But that downward spiral happens as a result of having lost his mother not too long after having lost his wife.  When one loses so much over such a short period of time, it is easy to see how said person would fall so fast.  The speed at which he falls, and the work put in by star Jeremy Piven to help illustrate that fall, leaves viewers wanting things to turn around for Harry so badly.  In other words, their combined work ensures audience engagement from the season’s premiere to its finale.  It is just one example of the strength of the series’ writing this season.  The laughs and loss that are experienced over the course of this season’s ten episodes can also be cited in explaining the strength of the show’s writing this season.

Harry’s downward spiral this season is a powerful and engaging storyline that will most certainly keep viewers engaged from Episode One to Episode Ten.  It is just one of the many storylines that make this season so entertaining and engaging. There are plenty of laughs and even some painful losses presented throughout this season.  The store suffers a terrible loss late in the season as one of its own passes away somewhat unexpectedly.  The emphasis is on somewhat as it ties in to a diagnosis that had given character more time.  It’s an interesting twist to the story to say the least.  On a related note, another key character from the past returns, leading to a wedding.  There is also a whodunit element that helps move the series on to its finale and even yet another conflict for Harry with Lord Loxley out of the picture.  This time it’s with an unscrupulous newspaper man who is set on destroying Harry’s empire.  There’s also a birth and a divorce for good measure.  It sounds like a lot.  And it is, too.  But again, the manner in which the series’ writers balance each of the storylines will keep viewers engaged from one episode to the next, like a good book that one can’t stop reading.  All things considered here the writing proves in the end to be a hugely important part of Season Four’s presentation.  It is not the season’s only important element, though.  The cast’s work in interpreting the scripts is just as important to note as that of the show’s writers.

The writing behind Mr. Selfridge in its fourth season is immeasurably important to its overall presentation.  That is the case especially considering just how many storylines have once again been incorporated into the season’s overall story and their balance.  There is so much power in each storyline due to the season’s mix of joy and sadness within each one.  While the writing behind this season proves to be of the utmost importance to its presentation it is hardly the season’s only important element.  The cast’s work in interpreting each episode’s script is just as important as the stories that were crafted for the cast.  It has already been noted that star Jeremy Piven is just as on point here as in the series’ previous seasons.  His emotional display upon Harry’s discovery of his mother’s death hits all the right notes.  This sort of scene is nothing new in the realm of TV dramas.  It goes way back to television’s golden age.  Keeping this in mind, it would have been so easy for him to over emote and really ham it up.  But he didn’t go that route.  Rather he managed to keep Harry’s reaction controlled just enough to make the moment (and Harry’s pain) believable.  His eventual emotional breakdown following her death is just as believable.

On another note, the growing friendship between Mr. Grove’s daughter Meryl (Lottie Tolhurst) and seamstress Tilly Brockless (Mimi Ndiweni) is another example of the power and importance of the cast’s work.  It’s interesting to see how the pair’s friendship grows despite the difference in skin color.  On the surface their friendship serves to illustrate the growing progressive nature of the world in that era.  The changes experienced by African-Americans weren’t limited to just America, obviously.  They were evident in other parts of the world, too.  On a deeper level, the pair’s friendship served to show changes in both women.  On another level it serves to show both women’s personal development.  They grew both personally and together thanks to their friendship.  And the manner in which both women handled their roles was just as impressive as those of their cast mates.  Considering how new both women were to being in the limelight that is saying quite a bit.  If that isn’t enough of an example of the importance of the cast’s work, Vincent Riotta’s take on Harry’s gambling agent (I.E. bookie) is just as impressive despite being just a temporary cast member.

Riotta’s work as D’Ancona conjures thoughts of Marlon Brando’s Don Vito Corleone from the famed Godfather franchise.  While he may not be on camera anywhere near as much as Brando was so many decades ago he is just as solid in his role.  That is because of the attitude and self-confidence that he brings to D’Ancona.  Even as D’Ancona sits in his car, silently giving orders to destroy the windows at Selfridge’s, there is something about the subtlety of his simple action that makes him a great gangster-style figure.  It’s just one more way in which the cast’s acting proves important to Season Four’s overall presentation.  Emma Hamilton and Zoe Richards are just as fun to watch as the gold-digging Dolly Sisters.  They make audiences love to hate them as they bring the selfish, money-grubbing pair to life.  There are plenty of other examples that could be cited here.  Those examples, alongside the ones more directly noted here, serve to show in whole why the acting presented in Season Four is just as important to the series this time out as the writing.  Both elements are equally important to Season Four.  However they are still not this season’s only important elements.  The work of the show’s crew is just as important to note as its cast and its writers.

The work of Mr. Selfridge’s writers and cast in the show’s fourth season is undeniably important to the show’s presentation.  Both elements work in tandem to make Season Four’s overall quite impressive in its own right.  As important as both elements prove to be in the long run, they are not the season’s only important elements.  The work of the show’s crew is just as important as its cast and writers.  The transitions between scenes, and even from the opening credits to each episode’s opening scene are a credit to the work of the show’s editors.  In the same vein the camera and audio crew is to be applauded just as much for their work.  The different angles and shots presented by the camera crew play their own part in illustrating each scene’s emotion.  This applies not just to the wider shots but to the closer shots that require a certain amount of emoting from the cast and even from general exteriors and interiors.  In the same vein, those responsible for handling the show’s audio elements deserve just as much credit for their work.  Between what this critic has come to term as “whisper scenes”—which are exactly what they sound like—the blowouts, the moodier moments, and points in between, the audio engineers captured the emotion of each scene just as well as the camera crew.  They caught the emotion in each actor’s voice just as well as the camera crew did in the cast’s faces.  On another level, the balance of those moments with the show’s musical audio adds even more depth to the show’s presentation.  Believe it or not there are still shows out there today whose audio engineers don’t know how to balance said shows’ music with the cast’s lines from one scene to the mix.  The end result is a presentation in each case that is anything but easy on the ears at either end of the volume.  Luckily that wasn’t the case here.  That being the case the work of all involved joins together to make Season Four just as aesthetically pleasing for audiences as the writing and acting does in ever y other avenue.  All things considered, each of the elements noted here is important in its own right to the presentation of Mr. Selfridge: Season Four.  In total they send this season out on just as much of a high note as that on which harry himself went out.

The fourth and final season of Mr. Selfridge is quite the sendoff for the series.  Thanks to the work of the show’s writers, its cast, and even its crew, the series goes out on just as much of a high note as that on which Harry himself went out.  The writing is so powerful as it presents Harry at his lowest point, struggling to regain some normalcy to his life and business.  In the same vein, the show’s other interweaving storylines prove their own share of interest all while maintaining their separation from one another.  The cast’s work in interpreting each episode’s script plays just as much of an important part in proving this.  From the leads to the lesser appearing characters, all involved present their own impressive performances.  The show’s crew is just as deserving of credit and applause for their work as the cast and writers.  That is because they work together to fully capture the emotion of each scene and heighten it in all of the right ways and moments.  Each element plays its own important part in the whole of the Season Four.  Even the bonus material included in Season Four’s new home release plays its own part.  That’s a story for another time.  All things considered, this final installment of episodes from Mr. Selfridge sends the series off on just as much of a high note as the on which Harry himself went out.  together with the series’ previous seasons, it shows one last time exactly why it is one of the best dramas on television in recent years and why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It will be available this Tuesday, May 17th in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store both on DVD and Blu-ray at http://www.shoppbs.org/family/index.jsp?categoryId=20384186&sr=1&origkw=Mr.%20Selfridge.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece programs is available online now at:

 

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Ken Burns, PBS Hit A Home Run With New Jackie Robinson Retrospective

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Sixty-nine years ago this year Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to join the ranks of Major League Baseball.  When he first signed on with the then Brooklyn Dodgers he did more than just break down a color barrier.  He became an important catalyst for change in America.  He opened the door for countless other African-American baseball players.  He also served as an example for so many civil rights activists around the nation.  He was Rocky before there was Rocky.  He was Atlas on Earth.  In the decades since he first picked up bat and ball, no fewer than two big screen features have been crafted about him, the most recent being 2013’s 42.  Major League Baseball even stops to honor his legacy every year on what has become known as “Jackie Robinson Day.”  Any number of documentaries has been produced about him and his legacy, too.  The thing is that few have ever focused on anything more than his career on the field.  Enter documentarian Ken Burns and his new Robinson retrospective, simply titled Jackie Robinson.  The four-hour presentation is not the first on which Burns has partnered with PBS.  He has also produced documentaries on the history of baseball in America, Jazz, and perhaps his most well-known documentary, The Civil War.  This production is no less enjoyable than his previous offerings.  As a matter of fact it is more proof of why Burns is one of the leading names in his field and why PBS still stands today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  Its story is the main element in supporting both arguments.  That will be discussed shortly.  The elements that were used to help advance the story are just as important to note.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the program in its new home release round out the program’s presentation.  Each element proves clearly important in its own way to the program.  Altogether they make Jackie Robinson one of the year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s top new overall documentaries.

Ken Burns’ new documentary centering on legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s best new overall documentaries, too.  It is more proof as to why Burns is one of the leaders in his field.  In the same vein, it is also more proof as to why PBS still stands today as the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  The program’s central story proves both arguments.  Unlike so many Robinson retrospectives that have come before, this presentation focuses on more than just Robinson’s on-field impact.  Yes, that is there.  But it also focuses on Robinson’s lifeafter baseball.  That portion of the program is just as eye-opening as the rest of the presentation.  Audiences will be surprised to learn that after leaving baseball, Robinson had quite the career change.  He transitioned into the private sector, joining the coffee company Chock Full O’ Nuts.  He also became quite active in the political realm, even shocking many as a supporter of Richard Nixon.  That discussion is one of the program’s most intriguing considering Nixon’s record on civil rights.  Though, interestingly enough, it is also revealed that JFK wasn’t exactly a supporter of civil rights early on, either.  This is just a tiny portion of what makes the program’s story so enthralling.  The story of his career and impact on the field is just as in-depth as the story of his life away from the ball field.
The story of Robinson’s life off the field is in itself very enlightening.  It displays a part of Robinson’s life that is rarely if ever discussed by other documentaries.  It is just part of what makes hits program’s story so engaging.  The story of Robinson’s career and impact on the field is just as important to the story’s whole as its second half.  Most audiences know Robinson from his days as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  But as audiences learn in the first half of the documentary, his time with the Dodgers wasn’t his first professional baseball experience.  He started in the Negro League before moving on to the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ then top AAA team.  In other words, it shows that Robinson’s time in the spotlight might have started in 1947, but his impact was being made felt long before then.  William Branch Rickey’s support of Robinson is equally powerful to note.  Viewers will be interested to learn here of the close relationship between the pair.  It was more mentor/student than owner/player.  There was a reason that Rickey only let Robinson speak his mind after had had truly established himself.  He wasn’t trying to make Robinson a “good black man.”  Rather, he was helping Robinson prove himself to the country.  Because of that, Robinson did indeed change people’s views, essentially—again—making himself Rocky decades before there was Rocky.  Both the story of Robinson’s life and career on the field and off are important in their own right to the story of Jackie Robinson.  Collectively, they show the program’s central story is key to the program’s presentation.  They are only a portion of what makes the story in whole so engaging.  The elements that were used to tell the story are just as important to note in the story’s success.

The story at the heart of Ken Burns’ new Jackie Robinson documentary in itself shows why it is a wholly engaging piece for history buffs and baseball history buffs alike.  That is because it presents not just Robinson’s career and impact on the field, but off of the field, too.  As engaging as the story is in itself, the elements that were used to help tell Robinson’s story are just as important to note as his story.  The elements in question involve vintage footage from Robinson’s playing days and his post-baseball life and photos that are just as old.  Most important to note are the interviews that are used to help illustrate Robinson’s story.  Burns interviewed a number of academics and sports writers to help make clear the importance of Robinson’s accomplishments and other things that he did both on and off the field.  He also interviewed a number of Robinson’s former teammates, his widow, and his daughter in connection with the story.  The first-hand accounts that are shared by all involved make even richer the profile of Robinson painted by the story.  They make Robinson even more of a sympathetic figure.  That is because they collectively show the odds that he faced not just from whites but eventually even other African-Americans.  That included not only his fellow ball players but fans and other members of the African-American community.  Despite people’s view of him he still stood his ground and stood for what he believed in.  Hearing those stories from those that knew him best serves to make the overall picture painted in this program all the richer and more valuable both for history buffs and baseball history buffs.  It’s just one more way in which Jackie Robinson proves itself to be one of the year’s best new sports documentaries and best new documentaries overall.  It still is not the last way in which this presentation proves itself so entertaining and engaging.  The bonus material that is included in the program is just as valuable to the program as its story and the elements that advance the story.

The story at the center of Jackie Robinson and the elements used to advance the story are both important in their own right to the whole of this documentary.  While both are equally important in keeping audiences engaged and entertained, they are not the program’s only important elements.  Now that Jackie Robinson is available on DVD and Blu-ray it also includes a small handful of bonus features.  Audiences get a glimpse into an inner city baseball team known as The Anderson Monarchs in one of those features.  The team is made up largely of African American youths.  The team members discuss the relation of the team’s name to Robinson’s own history.  One of the team’s members—Mon’e Davis—will be very familiar to many viewers.  She discusses being the only female on the team and how that related to Robinson being the only African-American on his team originally.  This is just one of the bonuses included in Jackie Robinson’s home release.  There are also some little outtakes to enjoy and the most important of the program’s bonuses, “A conversation with the filmmakers.”  This program features discussions with Ken Burns and others who worked on Jackie Robinson.  Burns and company share their thoughts on the importance of making this documentary in this feature as well as what Robinson’s accomplishments mean to them personally.  Most notable of the comments shared throughout this feature is the sentiment that Robinson’s widow and daughter had to be included in the presentation.  Every person interviewed noted that it would be wrong to not include her.  Looking back on the program audiences will find themselves agreeing with that sentiment.  She shares some of the deepest insight of anyone interviewed for the end product.  All in all the discussions that are shared in the “conversation with the filmmakers” offer just as much insight and interest to Jackie Robinson as its central story and the elements that advance and illustrate that story.  All things considered, the documentary proves in the end to be more proof of why Ken Burns is one of the leaders in his field.  They also serve to make this documentary more proof of why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.

Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries and one of the year’s best new documentaries overall.  It shows once again why Ken Burns is one of the leading names in his field and why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  That is because it paints a picture through its story that far outshines the biopics and other documentaries centered on his life and career.  The elements that are used to illustrate and advance the story help solidify that argument, too.  They include first-hand interviews with those closest to Robinson during his life and those that have quite a deep knowledge of him.  The bonus material that has been included in the program’s home release rounds out the program’s overall presentation.  It shows in its own way to be just as important as the program’s story and related elements.  By itself, each element proves to be hugely important to Jackie Robinson’s presentation.  Altogether they show why every history buff and sports history buff should see this most in-depth Robinson retrospective to date.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=jackie%20robinson&origkw=jackie+robinson&sr=1.  More on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

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Caillou’s Latest Collection Will Entertain Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Caillou is officially on DVD again.  PBS Distribution and PBS Kids released the latest collection of Caillou’s episodes last week.  The DVD features thirteen more episodes from the Canadian import.  And in looking at those episodes in whole the episodes are just part of the collection’s presentation.  The writing within the featured episodes are just as important to note in this collection as the episodes themselves.  Last but not least of note is the work of the series’ voice cast.  More specifically, the work of the actors behind Caillou’s parents is especially of note.  Each element is important to the DVD’s presentation.  Altogether, all three elements make this DVD another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.

PBS Kids’ latest collection of Caillou episodes is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  This is thanks at least in part to the episodes that are featured in the collection.  It might not seem all that important.  But a closer examination and comparison to many other children’s compilation DVDs reveals that it is in fact quite important to the DVD’s presentation.  Older audiences with children will agree that there is any number of children’s DVDs out there whose titles hardly match their titles.  The compilations in question may bear a specific title.  But of its given episodes (regardless of how many) perhaps one or two might match up with the theme presented in the compilation’s title.  Viewers of all ages will be happy to know that in the case of this DVD, that is not the case.  All thirteen of the compilation’s featured episodes match up precisely and near precisely with the set’s title.  Each one is in fact centered on animals and how Caillou and his friends handle different animal situations.  There is no deviation from those central themes unlike so many other random children’s compilation DVDs out there.  Considering how rare this is (at least for children’s DVDs). it shows why the DVD’s featured episodes are in fact far more important to the set than audiences might think.  The episodes themselves are collectively just one of the DVD’s most important elements.  The writing within the episodes is just as important as the episodes.

The episodes that are featured in PBS Kids’ new Caillou DVD are important to the collection in their own right.  Unlike so many children’s DVDs before its thirteen total episodes actually remain largely in line with the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  This bears its own importance in the DVD’s overall presentation.  But it is not the DVD’s only important element.  The writing within the episodes is just as important as the episodes themselves.  What audiences get in terms of the episodes’ writing are very real situations to which children and adults alike will be able to relate in terms of children’s interactions with animals.  “Caillou is Scared of Dogs” is a prime example of that.  This episode presents Caillou in one of his early meetings with a dog.  Many children, in their first interactions with given animals, can be very cautious and even scared of said animals.  This is commonly the case with dogs for some odd reason.  The situation was presented very much as it would indeed happen in the real world.  This includes how the situation was handled, too.  “Follow That Sound” is another good example of the importance of the episodes’ writing.  This episode does center on an animal (which won’t be revealed here).  But in the bigger picture of the episode, it presents a situation in which Caillou has to use problem solving so to speak.  That is because he is searching for a mystery sound in his house.  He has to follow the sound throughout his house until he finally discovers the source of the sound.  So what audiences get here is a story not only centered on an animal but an episode that is also educational and helps promote children’s personal growth.  There is even a story that teaches an important lesson about responsibility in “Leo’s Hamster.”  The lesson here is taught as Caillou takes care of his friend Leo’s hamster “Buddy” over the weekend.   After accidentally letting Buddy loose in his house Caillou has to get his parents to help him catch Buddy and get him back in his habitat.  Caillou’s parents remind him that it is his responsibility to look after Buddy and keep him safe.  Once again this is a very real scenario that plays out every day across the country.  And the manner in which the whole situation unfolded is just as realistic.  It shows even more why the writing behind this episode is so crucial to the DVD’s overall presentation.  It is hardly the only remaining example of the importance of the episodes’ writing.  “Caillou Goes Birdwatching” sees Caillou going to the park with his grandmother to feed birds.  He learns about patience and even about respecting animals in this episode.  This is another important part of every child’s personal development.  Once more it is presented in a wholly realistic fashion, making it all the more believable and in turn engaging.  As if that isn’t enough for audiences, “Caillou Walks A Dog” teaches young audiences an important lesson about appreciating what they have rather than just being reactionary.  The lesson is taught as Caillou is walking a dog that belongs to Grandma’s friend.  He enjoys walking the dog so much that later he bugs his own parents about getting a dog.  But they remind him that he already has his cat Gilbert.  Parents will be able to relate to this situation all too well.  IT doesn’t have to necessarily be a pet in the situation.  It can be a child begging for a toy at the store even though he or she might already have loads of toys that he or she probably barely even plays with.  Children need to learn that they can’t always have everything that they want.  They need to learn that lesson about appreciating the things that they already have before just replacing them with more stuff.  It’s just one more example of how the writing proves so crucial to the overall presentation of Caillou’s new episode compilation.  Even with these episodes noted there are still plenty of other episodes that could be cited in proving the importance of the show’s writing here.  All things considered, the writing proves, regardless of the episode, to be just as important to this DVD’s presentation as the episodes themselves.  Even with its undeniable importance, it still is not the last remaining element that should be noted in examining this latest collection of episodes from Caillou.  The work of the show’s voice cast is just as worth noting.

The episodes that make up the body of Caillou’s Pet Parade and their writing are both key elements in the DVD’s presentation.  From start to finish each of the DVD’s thirteen total episodes never stray from the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  The writing is just as important because it presents real life scenarios.  What’s more, it does so in a fashion that makes it accessible to audiences of all ages.  While both elements are important in their own right to the DVD’s presentation, they are not the collection’s only notable elements.  The work of the show’s voice cast is just as important to note.  More specifically, the work of those behind Caillou and his parents is important to note.  Pat Fry and Jennifer Seguin voice the roles of Caillou’s parents while Annie Bovaird fills the role of the precocious preschooler after whom the series is named.  Fry and Seguin are impressive throughout each episode as they take a gentle approach with Bovaird’s Caillou every time.  It doesn’t even matter if Caillou has gotten himself in a really tight spot or done something really bad.  His parents are still completely calm with him.  It might not seem important on the surface.  But in this day and age it is an approach that so many parents should learn to take with their children rather than certain other methods.  In the same vein, Bovaird is just as engaging as Caillou.  There is a little bit of over the top here and there.  But in large part she presents Caillou in a fashion that most adult audiences will agree is pretty spot on.  Maybe that’s why so many parents can’t stand Caillou; Bovaird’s portrayal is just that precise.  Regardless, it can be said that between the three of them, their work in bringing to life Caillou and his parents will keep viewers just as engaged as the episodes’ stories and the episodes themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, each element proves to be important in its own right, again, to the overall presentation of Caillou’s Pet Parade.  Collectively, they show the collection to be another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  That is especially the case for those families whose children are fans of the series.

Caillou’s Pet Parade is yet another good addition to any family’s home DVD library.  This is especially the case for families whose children are fans of the series.  It proves to be such a welcome addition to families’ libraries in part due to its episodes.  The episodes stay in line with the theme of the collection’s title.  The stories contained within the episodes are just as certain to keep audiences engaged because of the fact that they are so real in their situations.  The work of the series’ core voice cast is just as important.  That is because it shows how parents should at least strive to handle their children.  In the same vein, Annie Bovaird’s portrayal of Caillou is just as precise as that of her cast mates.  Each element proves to be important in its own right to this latest collection of Caillou episodes.  Altogether they show clearly why it is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library; especially families whose children are fans of the series.  It is available now exclusively on DVD and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other Caillou compilation DVDs is available online now along with more information on the series, games, activities, and more at:

 

Website: http://PBSKIDS.org/caillou

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cailloudhx

 

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PBS Investigates One Of America’s Greatest Mysteries In New Episode Of ‘Secrets Of The Dead’

Secrets of the Dead - The Alccatraz Escape Box ArtNext month, PBS and PBS Distribution will release another episode of its history-based series Secrets of the Dead to DVD.

Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape will be released Tuesday, June 7th on DVD.  Ironically, its release will come almost fifty-four years to the day that Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin broke out of Alcatraz Prison.  That was June 11th, 1962.  The men broke out of what was supposed to be an inescapable fortress of a prison and then floated away on a raft made of raincoats that they had personally assembled during their incarceration.  In the five-plus decades that have passed since the men escaped, one thing has remained a mystery—the fates of the men.  Now in this new episode of Secrets of the Dead a trio f Dutch scientists has assembled to try and solve once and for all the lingering mystery.

The story of the men’s escape is told via interviews with just some of those close to the cold case and others.  Among those close to the case featured in the program are: Jolene Babyak, US Marshal Michael Dyke, and Patrick Mahoney.  Babyak is the daughter of one of Alcatraz’s associate wardens, thus leading her to spend much of her youth at the prison.  She was present at Alcatraz the night of the men’s escape.  Dyke is the Marshal currently in charge of the still-open cold case.  Mahoney was a guard at Alcatraz from 1956 – 1963.

The scientists tapped to try and solve the mystery of the escapees—Olivier Hoes, Rolf Hut, and Fedor Baart—use maps, charts, 3D computer modeling, and even a makeshift mockup of the raft crafted by the inmates to determine if they could have survived the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay after their initial jailbreak.

Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape will be available Tuesday, June 7th.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

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PBS Distribution Releasing Another New Kate & Mim-Mim DVD Next Month

Courtesy:  Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Disney Junior’s hit series Kate & Mim-Mim will get its second home release of the year next month.

PBS Distribution will release Kate & Mim-Mim: Balloon Buddies on Tuesday, May 24th.  The DVD, which will feature three more episodes from the hit Disney Junior series, will be available in stores and online.  In the first of the disc’s featured episodes—the disc’s title episode—Kate wants to make a balloon buddy for Mim-Mim.  This is tied in to a big balloon parade in Mimiloo.  When Kate goes to Mimiloo she and her friends find a balloon tree, but all of the tree’s balloons are deflated.  So they have to figure out how to re-inflate them for the parade.

“Cloud Castle” is the disc’s second episode.  Kate’s head is in the clouds both figuratively and literally in this episode.  As she cloud gazes with her parents, Kate tells them that one of the clouds looks like Mim-Mim to her.  But her dad doesn’t see it.  Meanwhile when Kate goes to Mimiloo, she, Mim-Mim, and their friends pull clouds from the sky to make their own bouncy castle.  But their fun is short-lived  as the castle starts to float away

“Clean Sweep” rounds out this collection.  This episode is all about the importance of keeping things clean.  Kate is trying to clean up her room.  But it feels to her like it is taking forever to get it done.  Over in Mimiloo Kate and her friends want to have a picnic.  But their picnic basket is lost in a pile of Tack’s inventions.  Tack tries to clean up his mess, but he takes the quick way, which doesn’t end so well for him.  So unless they can get everything cleaned up it looks like the picnic might get canceled.

Kate & Mim-Mim: Balloon Buddies will be available in stores Tuesday, May 24th.  It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=93347026&cp=&sr=1&kw=kate++mim-mim&origkw=kate+%26amp%3B+Mim-Mim&parentPage=search.  More information on Kate & Mim-Mim is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.kateandmimmim.com

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

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

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Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant Will Be A Giant Hit With Dinosaur Lovers Of All Ages

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

A few years ago, a farmer in Argentina was hunting for one of his sheep when he stumbled upon one of quite the surprising find. What the farmer found was the tip of a giant fossil bone sticking out of the ground. It was just the first of what became a massive excavation that unearthed some 200 other bones. The bones in question belonged to a group of plant-eating dinosaurs, or herbivores, that had previously been unknown. Now thanks to PBS and PBS Distribution audiences will get to learn about the find and the dinosaurs, which have yet to be named in a special new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature titled Raising The Giant Dinosaur.  The program is presented in partnership with BBC Earth.  It will be available Tuesday, April 26th.  This latest episode of Nature is a wonderful watch for audiences of all ages and interests, in both the living room and the classroom.  The central reason for this is the story at the center of the episode.  It presents the story of the dinosaur’s discovery and the process undertaken to remove its bones and reconstruct its skeleton so as to better visualize just how enormous it was.  The special effects that are used to help resurrect the creature so to speak are just as notable in the program’s overall presentation.  Audiences actually get to see the titanosaur come to life one element after another before their eyes as well as see how the dinosaur’s bones (and possibly those of other titanosurs) got to their final resting place.  Simply put, the CG is used in the utmost moderation here.  Because of this it actually adds to the program’s positives.  It is not the program’s last notable element either.  Its collective editing and pacing rounds out its presentation.  Together with the program’s central story and its minimalist use of computer graphics all three elements come together to make NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series.  They also combine to once more show why PBS remains today the very last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.

NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant is yet another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series.  Yes, one would think that being about a dinosaur discovery this episode would be better suited as an episode of NOVA.  But it technically is about an animal, thus making it a fit albeit an intriguing one, for this series.  That is evident in part due to its story.  The story follows researchers’ efforts to uncover the skeleton of what is now known to be the biggest dinosaur species ever discovered to date.  Along the way host and narrator Sir David Attenborough reveals that the remains found were not just of one of the species but of at least seven separate dinosaurs, all of that same species.  He also takes viewers to a massive breeding ground for the dinosaurs, even showing respect for the creatures as he replaces a piece of egg shell that he discusses with one of the researchers studying the new species of titanosaur.  There is even a discussion during the course of the story’s presentation on how the bones ended up where they did.  It is presented in fully scientific fashion eventually coming to one final conclusion that will leave viewers just as surprised as the very revelation of the dinosaur’s size.  There is much more that could be discussed in terms of what makes the program’s story so interesting.  Viewers will be left to discover all of that remaining material for themselves when they order the DVD from PBS’ online store.  Of course it is just one part of the program that makes it well worth the watch. The program’s use of CG is just as important to note as its central story.

The story at the center of NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant is an important part of the program’s whole.  However it isn’t the only important part of the program’s presentation.  The elements used to tell the story are just as important as the story itself.  In the case of this episode the CG elements that are used are the most notable.  The CG is used very minimally throughout the course of the episode’s roughly hour-long run time.  It is used to illustrate the theories of how the dinosaurs’ bones reached their final resting place and the sheer immensity of their nesting grounds, and most importantly to bring the dinosaur to life beyond just its skeleton.  As Attenborough discusses each aspect of the dinosaur’s makeup, a different part of it is revealed.  It starts with the dinosaur’s skeleton.  From there, Attenborough discusses the connection between the its size and its ability to pump enough blood throughout its body.  So its circulatory system is then added to the dinosaur’s skeleton.  Eventually audiences get to see the dinosaur in its full glory even to the point of seeing it with its skin, completely in tact.  Simply put those behind this episode of Nature kept its CG limited to only the important parts of the program whereas it would have been so easy to go full-on CG.  So it is nice to see that they didn’t.  That extreme moderation, when set alongside the episode’s central story, double the reason for educators and audiences in general to see this episode of Nature.  Even with the importance displayed by each element they still are not the episode’s only important elements.  The program’s collective pacing and editing combine to present the last of the program’s most important elements.

The story at the heart of Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant and its minimalist use of CG are both key elements in the program’s overall presentation.  While both elements are undeniably important to its presentation they are not its only important elements.  Its collective pacing and editing are just as important to the program as its story and special effects.  The program’s pacing is so important to note because the program covers so much ground (or uncovers in this case.  And, yes that bad pun as fully intended).  From figuring out how the dinosaur and its fellow titanosaurs ended up at their final resting place, to figuring out how the bones go together to figuring out the dinosaur’s diet and more there is a lot that is presented over the course of the program’s near hour-long presentation.  Thankfully the program offers just enough time to each element of the story; so much so that viewers will never feel lost.  In regards to the program’s editing, it is obvious that Attenborough covered a number of topics in each area of the program’s presentation both figuratively and literally.  Over the course of the program, it is clear in his attire that he didn’t just visit the place and record one little part.  He did a lot in terms of narration and more.  The end result, thanks to those that assembled the final product, is a presentation that moves seamlessly and fluidly from beginning to end even as each different topic is tackled.  The fashion in which the shots of Attenborough next to the dinosaur’s skeleton were edited together is just as impressive.  They fully capture the creature’s size versus that of humans.  Although, in comparison to the likes of say the diplodocus, which lived in the end of the Jurassic era, there might be some discussion there.  The largest ever found Diplodocus, which is a sauropod, just like the unnamed titanosaur was found to be roughly 171 feet long (longer than a football field) and a little more than 26 feet high.  The titanosaur found in 2014 however, was about 130 feet long and 66 feet tall.  Though, it did weigh quite a bit more—77 metric tons—than the noted biggest diplodocus ever found.  Even with this in mind, it could be argued that this titanosaur was the biggest dinosaur on earth at the time of its existence (the Cretaceous Period) but not of all time.  But that is a discussion for another time.  Getting back on the subject, just seeing its size, thanks to the work of those that edited the final project, serves to drive home just how massive the unnamed dinosaur was.  It’s just one of so many in ways in which the editing behind this episode of Nature proves to be such an enjoyable watch.  Together with the program’s pacing, its story, and its minimal use of special effects (which far too few shows across the board do) it rounds out the program’s noted positives and shows one last time just what makes it a program that is sure to impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types.

Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant is a program that will impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types.  The central story presented in this episode is one that uncovers an introduces one of the biggest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth.  And it does so in a fashion that is accessible to a wide range of viewers thanks to its topic and the approach to said topic.  The program’s minimal use of CGin comparison to the over-the-top amount used by certain other networks (which will remain unnamed here)—is just as important to the presentation.  That is because it shows the ability of those behind the program to tell an enthralling story without having to overdo it so to speak.  The collective pacing and editing incorporated into the program rounds out its positives.  Even with so much material to discuss, the pacing never leaves viewers feeling lost.  The editing does much the same.  It seamlessly ties everything together and solidifies the program’s place as one of this year’s top new documentaries.  That is the case even with the discussions that may well be raised in comparing the newly found titanosaur to other sauropods.  Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant will be available Tuesday, April 26th and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=88167686&cp=&kw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&origkw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&sr=1.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

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