‘Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’ Is An Interesting Piece Of ‘TMNT’ History

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Thirty two years ago Mirage Studios first introduced American audiences to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The “heroes on the half shell” were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  In the years since their creation, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo (and their rodent sensei Splinter) have gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon with various incarnations on both the silver screen and the small screen.  Some have been hugely popular such as the original 1987 animated series (perhaps the franchise’s most successful incarnation) and the 1990 big screen adaptation of the comic book.  That incarnation even spawned three sequels.  Other incarnations have not been so successful, such as the 2014 big screen reboot and its new sequel Out of the Shadows.  They are not the franchise’s only lesser installments.  In 1997 Saban tried its hand at its own take on the everyone’s favorite reptile heroes in the form of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  That incarnation ultimately proved to be a bust for the company.  It only lasted one season and a total of twenty-eight episodes.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory fans of this short-lived series can own it for themselves on DVD.  That is because Shout! Factory released the series in its entirety early this past May.  While the series was obviously one of the least successful of the TMNT franchise it still is a good addition to any hardcore TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it serves as a historical document of sorts showing everything that was done right and wrong with the series.  In examining those pros and cons in whole audiences will agree that while it might not be the best of the TMNT franchise’s installments it also is not its worst.  That (dis)honor still goes to Paramount and Nickelodeon’s 2014 big screen take on the turtles.  Keeping that in mind, this installment proves once more to be a worthwhile addition to any TMNT fan’s collection if only for historical purposes.

Saban’s 1997 live-action take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is by no means the franchise’s best incarnation.  In all fairness it is also not the franchise’s worst incarnation either.  Keeping that in mind, it is a welcome (and important) addition to any TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it shows through its twenty-eight total episodes that Saban, with all of its successes, was not invincible at the time of the series’ run.  That is not entirely the fault of the people at Saban, though.  In examining for instance the timing of the series’ debut it had a lot working against it.  The series was meant to follow the events of the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy.  The problem is that that trilogy wrapped in 1993 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.  Saban’s live action series didn’t start until four years later in 1997, which was also only a year after the original animated series came to its own end.  When the story lines presented in each are taken into consideration and the timing of their beginnings and endings, they worked wholly against Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  Had Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation come earlier—perhaps during the animated series’ run as an alternate universe series of sorts—then it might have had more of a fighting chance.  But because of the timing of its debut and its plot line it is clear why it failed in the long run.  That is just one important part of the show that should be noted in examining what the series in whole.  the series’ writing, in the bigger picture of its presentation, played its own integral part in the series’ failure.  The same can be said of the look and the feel of the series.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’s debut is a big part of what might have made the series’ run so short.  The timing of its release, when considered alongside the events of the franchises cinematic trilogy and its animated series, put a rather large nail in the series’ proverbial coffin.  The series’ writing is just as problematic as the timing of its release.  The series’ writers opened this series by introducing its key villain—Dragon Lord–early on.  The problem is that he wasn’t the series’ only villain starting out.  The writers incorporated Shredder into the story, too.  However, they wasted very little time taking him out of the story, too.  The way in which they wrote him out was rather anticlimactic to say the very least, too.  It almost leaves one asking why he was even used in the overall story considering how little impact his elimination had on the series’ overall story.  It could be argued that in so randomly eliminating Shredder, the writers were just throwing something out there just to see if it would work and make the series in whole anywhere near feasible.  While the overall story did work, it still ended up being relatively lackluster at best.  The same thing happened when the writers behind the TMNT animated series tried to keep that series going after the turtles eliminated Shredder.  They introduced a new villain—an alien from another world—but it just didn’t work, which ultimately led to the series’ end in Season Ten.  The same sort of mindset led to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’s failure, too.  With Shredder out of the way at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II it was as if the writers were asking where to go from there.  One can only assume that someone just said, “hey, let’s send them back in time on a quest and see how audiences react.”  While the end result was entertaining in its own right, it is still obvious that the movie’s writers struggled to come up with something to keep the movie (and the franchise) going.  This, again, goes back to the obvious practice of the writers behind Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  It is as if, again, the writers went into the series blindly and just threw in what they could as the series advanced.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and its writing are both key elements that worked against the series in its short run on FOX Kids from 1997 – 1998.  They are not the only elements that should be considered in examining what the series got right and what it got wrong.  The look and the feel of the series are just as important to note as the timing of its run and its writing.  The look of the series will be examined first.  The costumes and the sets that were used in Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation are a stark contrast to those used by Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time.  That series had come a long way in terms of its look from the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Some of the camp was still there in terms of its look.  But that look had also clearly evolved to a point since those days, too.  By comparison Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation took audiences back to the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers thanks to the campy look of its sets and costumes.  No effort was made by the people at Saban to make this series look anything like the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy, which again this series was supposed to be linked. Even the look of Shredder’s outfit barely made him look menacing.  He looked more like one of the then WWF’s costumed bad guys than any truly menacing villain.  That is thanks to the design of his outfit.  Even the look of the turtles was a complete change of pace from their look on the big screen and its previous small screen incarnation.  This is again even with the series’ alleged connection to the franchise’s cinematic trilogy.  The only part of the series that really bore any similarity (and that term is used very loosely here) to that trilogy is that of the turtles’ subway lair.  It is obvious that whoever designed their lair for this series did in fact make a concerted effort to connect the two universes.  Sadly it is about the only thing that actually connects the two universes in terms of the series’ look.  The rest of the sets and costumes are more akin to the MMPR series than anything seen on the big screen or any other TMNT incarnations.  By relation, the feel of the series is linked just as directly to MMPR as its look.

The look of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is an undeniably important part of the series’ life span.  That is because of how starkly it stands out from that of the rest of the offerings in the TMNT universes and even from that of Saban’s Power Rangers universes at the time.  The series’ feel is just as important to note as its look.  That is because its feel stands out just as starkly as its look.  The feel includes the series’ cinematography and the acting.  The cinematography throws back to the days of MMPR just as much as the costumes and sets that were used throughout this series.  That is evident in the scene transitions, the angles used within given scenes, and even the speed of the shot changes within the scenes, too.  The transitions from the general scenes to those of the dragons’ lair are key examples of that throwback look.  MMPR used very similar transitions when its scenes transitioned from Angel Grove to Rita (and later Zedd’s) moon base.  That is something that was gradually phased out as the Power Rangers franchise evolved over time.  The acting on the part of both Shredder and Dragon Lord plays its own part in the series’ feel.  The same can be said of those that brought Leo, Raph, Donnie, Mikey, and even Venus to life.  The camp in their collective work gives the series a fun, cheesy feel that interestingly enough will keep audiences entertained because of that cheese factor.  Again it is all a noticeable throwback to the days of MMPR.  Again in comparing this to the feel presented in the likes of Power Rangers in Space, the current installment of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time, it is a completely different feel.  Good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.  In all fairness it likely played its own part in the series’ downfall since few programs if any had that same campy feel at the time.  So that probably hurt the series even more.  Between that and the show’s equally campy look, it becomes even more evident why the series’ combined look and feel might have hurt the series more than it helped.  That is especially considering the time at which the series was on television.  Speaking of the time at which the series debuted, it plays its own part in the series’ problems.  The writing behind the series plays its own part in the series, too.  Each element plays its own part in the series’ short run.  That goes without saying.  All things considered it becomes wholly clear why Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is one of the least successful entries in the TMNT universe.  But when it is compared to those other entries in it still is not the franchise’s worst installment.  Keeping that in mind, it is still a welcome and important addition to any TMNT fan’s home collection if only for its historical value.

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is hardly the best offering in the TMNT universe.  It is not the franchise’s worst offering, either.  That (dis) honor belongs, to this day, to Paramount and Nickelodeon Studios’ 2016 big screen reboot of the original cinematic franchise.  Given, this series had (and has) a lot working against it.  But still in comparison to other offerings from the TMNT universe it could have been a lot worse.  Considering all of this it is still a welcome addition to any true TMNT fan’s collection whether for entertainment or for historical value.  It is available exclusively via Wal-Mart and can be ordered online via Wal-Mart at http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ninja-Turtles-The-Next-Mutation-The-Complete-Series/51301759.   More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Wild Force Is One Of The Power Rangers’ Most Intriguing Installments

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Disney Enterprises

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Disney Enterprises

Earlier this week Shout! Factory released yet another installment of the Power Rangers franchise when it released Power Rangers Wild ForceThe Complete Series.  While not the first time that this tenth “season” of Power Rangers has been released it is the first time that it has been released in its own standalone season set.  Compared to it first nine “seasons” this installment of the Power Rangers franchise is noticeably different.  One area in which that is most obvious is the “season’s” writing.  This includes its story and the elements therein.  The “season’s” overall look is quite different in comparison to previous seasons of the Power Rangers, too.  That will be discussed later.  Last but hardly least of note about this season is the work of the “season’s” cast.  While a lot had changed in this season from the franchise’s previous installments the cast’s acting boasts its own balance of camp and class.  It rounds out the “season’s” most important elements.  Together with the “season’s” writing and its look, all three elements combine to make this “season” of the Power Rangers franchise one of its most important love it or hate it.

Power Rangers Wild Force: The Complete Series is an important addition to every hardcore Power Rangers fan’s home DVD library.  This is the case because in comparison to every previous “season” of Power Rangers this “season” stands out unlike any of them all the way around.  That begins with the “season’s” writing.  The writing includes the “season’s” story and the elements therein.  The “season’s” story marks the first time in the franchise’s history that any of its installments had gone full on fantasy.  By comparison every season that came before was either largely science fiction or a hybrid sci-fi/fantasy hybrid in terms of their stories.  In the case of this “season,” the story centers on the Rangers’ conflict with the resurrected spirit of one Master Org and its org minions.  Master Org was originally defeated three thousand years prior to the story’s setting.  But thanks to the jealousy of a character who turns out to be close to Red Ranger Cole Evans, Master Org is essentially resurrected and made able to carry out its evil ways once again.  Again, this is a story that is completely unlike that of any previous season of Power Rangers.  It’s just one way in which the “season’s” writing proves to be so important to its presentation.  The smaller, more intricate details of the “season’s” writing are just as important to its presentation as the story itself.

Looking at the story’s smaller, more intricate details, it is even clearer just how much this “season” of Power Rangers stands out from its predecessors in regards to its writing.  Cole’s relationship to the man playing host to Master Org’s spirit is just one of those smaller, yet still important elements of the “season’s” writing.  The pair’s surprising relationship is so important to note to the “season’s” writing because it is another first for the franchise.  It marked the first time that one of the franchise’s main villains had presented such a close relationship to any of the franchise’s protagonists.  On a related note, the “season’s” multi-part “Lunar Wolf” story arc is just as important to note in the “season’s” writing.  That is because of its ability to balance the arc’s own identity with its obvious throwback to the Green Ranger story arc from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the series that started it all for the Power Rangers franchise. On yet another note, this “season” of the Power Rangers also marked the first time that the Rangers were given so many options for zords and all within the course of a single run.  It has since gone on to become the precedent for every “season” to come after in terms of the Rangers’ wide array of zords from which to choose.  It’s just one more way in which the smaller details of the “season’s” writing proves so important to its presentation.  Together with the story itself all, the writing incorporated into PRWF proves to be hugely important to its presentation.  It is noticeably different from that of any of the previous installments of the Power Rangers.  But that clearly noticeable difference is a big part of what makes this installment of the Power Rangers so interesting. It is just one part of what makes PRWF such an interesting addition to the Power Rangers legacy.  The “season’s” look is just as important to note in regards to its presentation as its writing.

The writing behind PRWF is in itself a rather important part of the “season’s” presentation.  That is because it shows the clearly different route taken by the show’s creative heads this time out in comparison to the previous Power Rangers “seasons.”  Love it or hate it there is no denying that the writers and creative heads are to be commended for even taking the risk and changing things up so much this time out.  It’s just one part of what makes this installment of the famed franchise stand out.  The “season’s” look makes it stand out just as much.  Audiences will note in viewing this “season” that being that its footage is taken in large part from its source in the Japanese action series Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, there is also even more reliance on CG elements in this “season” than in any previous “season” of Power Rangers.  Yes, the live action material is still just as prevalent here with the models and explosions.  But there seems to be even more focus on CG special effects incorporated into the writing than ever before.  As with the “season’s” writing that increased of computer graphics even within the course of the show’s major fight scenes this is a brave step both in terms of the program’s source material and in the bigger picture of the Power Rangers universe.  It definitely gives the show a different feel as well as look in comparison to its predecessors.  Again to that end, this “season” of Power Rangers is just as worth the watch as any of the Power Rangers previous installments if not more so.  Even as important as the look and feel of the show is to its presentation it still is not the last of its most notable elements.  The work of the “season’s” cast plays its own part in the show’s presentation, too.  It rounds out the “season’s” most notable elements as a matter of fact.

Both the writing behind PRWF and the show’s production values present their own value to the program’s presentation.  Both elements are so important to note because they present an installment of the long-running Power Rangers franchise that is largely unlike any that has come before.  Even with so much changed exhibited in this “season” of Power Rangers not everything has changed.  The cast’s take on the scripts is just as entertaining as that of previous casts in their respective installments.  Jack Guzman is wonderfully entertaining as the gentle giant type figure Danny.  Here is this really built figure who looks like he could effortlessly break a person.  Yet he is the total opposite.  Instead he is just a kind, gentle soul with a somewhat childlike sense of humor.  In the same vein Alyson Sullivan is just as impressive as Taylor Earhardt.  Taylor is a strong female lead that even today’s female viewers will appreciate watching.  What’s really impressive about Sullivan’s take on Earhardt is that she was just as believable in the role as Erin Cahill was as Jennifer in Power Rangers Time Force.  The two characters are very similar in their strong personalities.  On another note, Philip Andrew is a little bit over the top in his take on Merrick, the conflicted three-thousand year-old Wild Force Ranger.  But there is good reason for that.  The actor that originally filled the role on Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger was just as much over the top.  Now whether that was intentional or not is anyone’s guess.  Even as campy as Andrew’s acting seems there’s something endearing about it that still makes it entertaining in its own right surprisingly enough.  Whether through Andrew’s acting or that of Guzman, Sullivan, or any of their cast mates, an examination of each cast member’s work on camera shows why the cast’s work in whole is so important to this “season’s” presentation.  Together with the work of the “season’s” writers and those behind its special effects, all three elements combine to show in whole what makes this installment of the Power Rangers stand out from both the shows that came before and after.  Keeping that in mind, they serve to show why this installment of the Power Rangers is just as worth the watch as the franchise’s other offerings if not more worth the watch.

Power Rangers Wild Force is one of the most interesting offerings from the Power Rangers universe to be released to date.  This is proven in part through the show’s writing, which includes both the show’s story and the story’s smaller details.  The show’s special effects stand out just as much from other Power Rangers offerings.  That is because there is a noticeable increase in the use of CG elements within this show as any other from the Power Rangers.  The work of the show’s cast is just as notable as its writing and special effects.  There are some quite believable portrayals in this season and some that are just as enjoyable for their entertainment value.  Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Power Rangers Wild Force: The Complete Series.  Altogether they present this full series/season set as one of the most interesting of the Power Rangers series/seasons to date.  In turn this makes it just as worth the watch  as its counterparts if not more worth the watch.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-wild-force-the-complete-series.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.   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.

Shout! Factory, Saban Taking Audiences “Back To The Future” In New Power Rangers Season Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory and Saban are taking audiences back to the future next month so to speak. That is because they are teaming up to release another classic season of Power Rangers in the form of Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. The five-disc set features the full forty-episode run from the ninth season of Saban’s long-running sci-fi/fantasy series. This season marks the second time that the Power Rangers are presented to audiences as a semi-militaristic organization. It is not the last time that the Power Rangers would be presented in such fashion either. This season centers on the Rangers’ hunt for the evil criminal mastermind Ransik after he escapes their custody and slips from the year 2001 into the past (then present). It’s up to Pink Ranger Jen to lead the Time Force Rangers to find Ransik, apprehend him, and return with him back to 2001.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $19.97. It can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-time-force-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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

Phil’s Picks Celebrates The Holidays Again With Annual Holiday Giveaway

It’s time once again, everybody.  The holiday season is officially upon us.  And that means that it is time once again for the annual Phil’s Picks holiday giveaway.  Each Friday in December I will be giving away a prize to one lucky reader from the list below.  Here’s the catch:  YOU the reader get to choose the prize instead of me.  I’m going to sweeten the deal for you, the loyal Phil’s Picks fans this year, too.  I am going to bundle together the standalone season sets of Hey Dude, and The Wild Thornberrys.  This is just the current list.  There’s a chance I could throw in even more prizes as the month goes on.  So if you want a chance to win a prize for yourself or someone you know, make sure that you get your name in now!  Good luck and spread the word!

Movies

1. The Aviator (Blu-ray + DVD)

2. Believe Me (Blu-ray)

3. Blancanieves (DVD)

4. Born Yesterday (Blu-ray)

5. The Duellists (DVD)

6. Dying of the Light (Blu-ray + Digital HD)

7. Grizzly Adams (DVD)

8. Jimmy P. (DVD)

9. Liberal Arts (Blu-ray)

10. Life’s A Breeze (Blu-ray)

11. Match (DVD)

12. May in the Summer (Blu-ray)

13. Perfect Understanding (Blu-ray)

14. Premature (DVD)

15. Robot Jox (Blu-ray)

16. Ships (DVD)

17. Shout At The Devil (Blu-ray)

18. Speak No Evil (DVD + Digital)

19. Spike Island (DVD)

20. The Sweeney (DVD)

21. Tooken (DVD)

22. The Voices (Blu-ray + Digital HD)

23. While We’re Young (Blu-ray + Digital HD)

DVD/BD BOX SETS

1. Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two (DVD)

2. Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season (DVD)

3. The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes (DVD)

4. CPO Sharkey: Season 1 (DVD)

5. CPO Sharkey: Season 2 (DVD)

6. Cook’s Country: Season Five (PBS DVD)

7. Fireball XL5: The Complete Series (DVD)

8. Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray + Digital HD)

9. The Hee-Haw Collection (DVD)

10. Hey Dude: Season 3 (DVD)

11. Hey Dude: Season 4 (DVD)

12. Hey Dude: The FInal Season (DVD)

13. I Spy: The Complete Series (DVD)

14. Joe 90: The Complete Series (DVD)

15. Mister Ed: The Final Season (DVD)

16. Mr. Warmth: Don Rickles–The Ultimate Collection (DVD)

17. The Red Skelton Show: The Lost Episodes (DVD)

18. The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years: 1951 – 1955 (DVD)

19. Sapphire And Steel: The Complete Series (DVD)

20. Secret Agent (AKA Danger Man): The Complete Series (DVD)

21. Stingray: The Complete Series (DVD)

22. The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series (DVD)

23. The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2 Part 2 (DVD)

24. The Wild thornberrys: Season 2 Part 3 (DVD)

25. The Wild Thornberrys: Season 3 (DVD)

LIVE RECORDINGS

Black Veil Brides (Blu-ray)

Ceelo Green: Loberace–Live in Vegas (Blu-ray)

Concert For Ronnie Montrose (DVD)

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer: Live at Montreux 1997 (2 CD)

Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Live in Hyde Park (DVD)

Jon Lord: Concerto For Group and Orchestra (Blu-ray)

Lord of the Dance (DVD)

Marillion: A Sunday Night Above The Rain (2 CD)

Ministry: Enjoy The Quiet–Live at Wacken 2012 (DVD/2 CD)

Ministry: Last Tangle In Paris–Live 2012 (DVD/2 CD)

Neil Sedaka: The Show Goes On–Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Blu-ray)

Peter Gabriel: Live Blood (2 CD)

The Richard Thompson Band: Live at Celtic Connections (Blu-ray)

Saga: Spin It Again!–Live in Munich (2 CD)

Shania Twain: Still The One–Live in Las Vegas (Blu-ray)

Simply Red: Live at Montreux 2003 (Blu-ray)
Documentaries

1. After Newtown: Guns in America (PBS DVD)

2. The Booker (DVD)

3. Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith (Blu-ray)

4. How To Survive A Plague (DVD)

5. Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (Blu-ray)

6. Produced By George Martin (DVD)

7. Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? (DVD)

DVDs/BDs

1. Don Rickles: TV Specials Volume 1

2. Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament (DVD)

3. Power Rangers: Trickster Treat (DVD)

4. Ruby’s Studio: The Friendship Show (DVD)

5. Transformers Prime: Ultimte Decepticons (DVD)

CDs

1. All Time Low–“Dirty Work”

2. Anders & Kendall–“Wild Chorus”

3. Beatallica–“Abbey Load”

4. The Blues Magoos–“Psychedelic Resurrection”

5. Bob Schneider–“A Perfect Day”

6. Breathe Carolina–“Hell Is What You Make It”

7. Buzz Cason–“Troubadour Heart”

8. Buzz Cason–“Record Machine”

9. The Dangerous Summer–“War Paint”

10. Daniel Guaqueta–“Saying Is Only Saying So Much” (EP)

11. Darkest Hour–“The Human Romance”

12. Derek Sherinian–“Black Utopia”

13. Device–“Device” (Clean)

14. Divided By Friday–“Prove It”

15. Empresarios–“The Vibes”

16. Eternal Voyager–“The Battle of Eternity”

17. Francesca Blanchard–“Deux Visions”

18. Glasscloud–“The Royal Thousand”

19. High on Fire–“Snakes for the Divine”

20. James Durbin–“Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”

21. Janus–“Nox Aeris”

22. Jefferson Grizzard–Learning How To Lie (X4)

23. Joe Gruschecky–“Somewhere East of Eden”

24. Kittie–“I’ve Failed You”

25. Laura Wilde–“Sold My Woul”

26. Limp Bizkit–“Three Dollar Bill Y’all”

27. Marillion–“Sounds That Can’t Be Made”

28. Marillion–“Sounds That Can’t Be Made (Special Edition)

29. Matt Skiba and the Sekrets–“Babylon”

30. Permanent Ability–“Bring It On”

31. Rebelution–“Count Me In”

32. Red Hot Chili Peppers–“Blood Sugar Sex Magik”

33. Roy Orbison–“Greatest Hits”

34. Saving Abel–“Bringing Down The Giant”

35. Shahidah Omar–“Freedom”

36. Something Unto Nothing–“Something Unto Nothing”

37. Tempt–“Under My Skin” (EP)

38. There For Tomorrow–“The Verge”

39. Throwdown–“Deathless”

40. Throwdown–“Intolerance”

41. Tim Chaisson–“The Other Side”

42. Uh Huh Her–“Future Souls”

43. Unbreakable–“Knock Out”

44. The Wild Beyond–“The Wild Beyond”

45. The Winery Dogs–The Winery Dogs (Special Edition)

46. Yellowcard–“When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes”

 

Saban, Shout! Factory’s New Standalone Power Rangers Series Is A Must Have For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Next Tuesday, Shout! Factory will continue its ongoing series of Power Rangers installments when it releases Power Rangers LightSpeed Rescue: The Complete Series. Its release next Tuesday marks the first time that it has seen the light of day as its own standalone series/season set. Previously, it was released as part of the Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set in November of 2013. That set also included Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Wild Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series, and Power Rangers Dino Thunder: The Complete Series. The total price of the five-season set averaged well over one hundred dollars. For many that price made the box more of a wish list item than a reality. By comparison, the average price for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is only about fifteen dollars depending on the outlet. That and its more widespread availability together form the central reason that this new standalone series/season set will be of great interest to any Power Rangers fan. It’s just one small part of the whole that makes it worth the addition to any fan’s collection. The writing that went into PRLSR (as it will be called from here on out) plays its own part in this series/season set. Being a forty-episode run, the writers don’t waste any time moving the story along even from the show’s outset. Last but hardly least of note that makes this set enjoyable for fans is the work of the show’s cast. Keith Robinson’s take on Green Ranger Joel Rawlings while Sean Cw Johnson’s take on the Red Ranger Carter Grayson is just as solid on the opposite end of the spectrum. They aren’t the only cast members worth noting either. Whether for this reason, the set’s availability, or for the work of the series’ writers, Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series (a.k.a. Season 8), proves in the end to be yet another welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection.

Shout! Factory and Saban’s upcoming Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is a great boon for any true Power Rangers fan. While it is not the first time that the series/season set has seen the light of day, it is the first time ever that the five-disc set has seen the light of day in its own standalone series/season set separate from the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set. That is the central reason that fans will want to add this latest set to their collections. Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 was not readily available to fans in stores. Nor was it cheap. It forced those that really wanted this season set to also go ahead and purchase the complete five-season set and do so online more often than not. It ran a little more than one hundred dollars. This set is much more affordable by comparison at roughly fifteen dollars. What’s more, odds are far greater of finding it in stores than the larger five-season set. That makes this standalone set just as valuable for fans as the larger collection regardless of their level of dedication to the show and in turn serves as a solid base for the rest of the reasons that audiences will appreciate this brand new box set.

The fact that Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series will likely be more readily available for Power Rangers fans is a most important reason for fans to pick up this collection. It serves as a solid base for the set’s other positives including the work of the series’/season’s writers. The work of those behind this series/season’s scripts is definitely well worth the note. Being that this season ran only forty episodes in total, the writers didn’t waste any time establishing its story line or assembling the season’s team of rangers. The execution of the team’s assembly lasted the entirety of the very first episode. And even after the team was established, the writers didn’t waste any time through the course of the series’ episodes dealing with any extra story elements unlike with the previous installments of the Power Rangers. Rather, they hit the ground running so to speak. Background elements such as Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather (Monica Louwerens) and Captain Mitchell’s relationship with his long-lost son Ryan (Rhett Fisher) in the multi-episode Titanium Ranger story arc were limited in their approaches. Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather was made more of a comic element than anything serious, though there were some rare instances when the pair got to show a little bit of dramatic flair. That will be noted later. And while the Titanium Ranger story arc was itself a key moment in the series/season, its more dramatic elements were controlled so as to not let them get out of control. This allowed for the story of Ryan’s return (and turn) to the good side to more easily progress and be more believable. Interestingly enough, true hardcore fans won’t be able to ignore this story arc’s blatant similarity to that of the original Green Ranger story arc from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. That aside, audiences will take note in regards to the series/season’s writing that this installment marks the first time ever that the Power Rangers went from being just a force for good, powered by fantastical powers to a more semi-militaristic organization (albeit a secretive one). It wouldn’t be the last time that the Rangers took such a form as they also appeared in that capacity both in Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers S.P.D. So to say that this series/season set the bar for later installments is the least. It really was a groundbreaking approach for Saban’s long-running hit franchise. That being the case, it rounds out the ways in which the series’/season’s writing proves to be key to its success. It still is not the last reason that fans will appreciate this latest installment of the Power Rangers ongoing saga. The work of the case is just as much to thank for this edition’s success and enjoyment.

The writing behind Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was groundbreaking for the Power Rangers franchise at the time of its debut. That is because up until that point, the Rangers had been like so many other super-powered organizations. They were powered by fantastical, other-worldly sources. That was hardly the case in this installment. Rather here, they were created by a semi-militaristic source. That is actually just as believable as the source of the previous Power Rangers’ powers if not more so. It’s just one element of the series’/season’s writing so important. Even with the other elements previously noted, the writing in whole is only one more part–together with the set’s availability–of the set that makes it a must have for any true Power Rangers fan. The work of the show’s cast is just as important as its other noted elements. It has already been noted that in the case of Green Ranger Joel Rawlings (Keith Robinson–Dreamgirls, Dear John, This Christmas), Robinson’s portrayal of Joel is one example of what makes the cast’s work so entertaining. Robinson’s take on Joel makes Joel a fan favorite thanks to his comic timing and his surprising innocence. What makes this mix so impressive is the fact that Robinson balances it so well. He never lets that more emotional side overpower his comic side. Rather he lets it show just enough and at just the right moments to make Joel one of the true stars of the show. At the other end of the spectrum is Sean Cw Johnson as Carter Grayson (a.k.a. the Red Lightspeed Ranger). Johnson is given plenty of opportunities throughout this series/season to overplay his character’s All-American guy sort of character. Luckily, he didn’t do that. Rather, he embraced the role and made Carter into a persona that is the very definition of a leader. There is a certain humility about Carter throughout his time as the Red Ranger. It is a humility that interestingly enough even today’s young viewers might find themselves aspiring to emulate just as much as the young people of Mariner Bay. It makes Carter that much more of a believable character; perhaps even one of the single-most believable in the long-running history of the Power Rangers. Johnson’s is one more example of how the work of the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue cast makes this season/series so enjoyable for any true Power Rangers fan. Any of the series’ other cast members could be used just as easily to exhibit the importance of the cast’s work. That would take some time to do, though. So considering this and the already provided examples, it is safe to say that the work of the series’/season’s cast is just as important as that of its writers and the general availability of this brand new box set in its overall success and enjoyment. All three elements combined together prove it to be a must-have for any hardcore Power Rangers fan.

Whether for its general availability verses that of the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 box set, the writing incorporated into this series/season, or for the work of the show’s cast, there is plenty to like about Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series. It will be available next Tuesday, August 11th in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lightspeed-rescue-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Saban is available online now at:

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Beetleborgs Metallix: Season 2 Volume 2 Is A Fitting Final Sendoff For One Of Saban’s Most Under-Appreciated Series

Courtesy:  Saban/Fox/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Saban/Fox/Shout! Factory

Saban’s cult favorite franchise Beetleborgs has at last come to its finale. That is because Shout! Factory, the leading name in home entertainment, recently released the final volume of episodes from the one-time Fox Kids series in the form of Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two. The series never did exactly receive a proper sendoff at the end of its second season in its original run on TV. That aside, it is no less enjoyable for fans that grew up with the short-lived series. Regardless of their familiarity with the series, audiences will find that the main reason for the success of these episodes is the work of the series’ writers. Unlike its more well-known counterpart Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the writing that went into Beetleborgs was far more kid friendly. It lacked the martial arts action that was the centerpiece of the Power Rangers franchise and focused more on comedy and camp. That is just as evident in the episodes presented in this final volume of episodes as Shout! Factory’s previous Beetleborg’s box sets. The work of the show’s cast is just worth noting in regards to these episodes as the work of the show’s writers. The special effects that continued to be incorporated into the series in these episodes should be noted, too in terms of what makes them so enjoyable. They are very similar to those used throughout the early days of the Power Rangers. But because the show in general had a different format than that of Power Rangers, the special effects were able to take more of a spotlight. All three elements each play their own key part in the success and enjoyment of Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two. Together they make the triple-disc box set in whole one that every kid and kid at heart will want to add to their personal library regardless of their familiarity with this cult favorite series.

The final volume of episodes from Saban’s cult favorite series Beetleborgs is a collection that any kid and kid at heart will want to add to their personal library now that it is available on DVD. The main reason that viewers of all ages will want to add this collection to their personal libraries is its writing. While these episodes continued to incorporate much of the same action elements used in its more well-known counterpart in the Power Rangers, the writing incorporated into this series was far more kid friendly. There was no real martial arts action in the battle scenes. It was more blatantly fun, campy material with over the top special effects. Even outside of the battle scenes, what audiences got was far more kid friendly. There was no teen or even pre-teen angst unlike in the Power Rangers. That is evident as the writers continued to focus on the kids’ friendhip with Flabber and his monster pals. Speaking of the monsters, their continued buffoonery makes for plenty of laughs for audiences of all ages. From Flabber using a metal detector on them to find out which one might have stolen the astral coins to Count Fangula serving as Wolfgang’s lawyer as the pair negotiates to let Wolfgang help the Beetleborgs to their own back and forth with one another from episode to episode, they give audiences plenty of opportunities to laugh. That is just part of what makes the writing so pivotal to this volume. The actual stories that were crafted for the episodes in this volume should be noted, too.

The stories presented in Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two are just as key to the set’s enjoyment as the more extraneous elements of the show’s writing in this volume. While the general effect of Beetleborgs remained in these episodes far more kid friendly than in Power Rangers, the stories presented in the episodes were very familiar to those of Power Rangers, stylistically speaking. Case in point the multi-episode arc that saw the Beetleborgs have to retrieve the Astral Sword and coins so as to maintain control of the Roboborg and keep Nukus from controlling it for his evil plans. The arc in question kicks off in the back-end of the set’s first disc and takes up the set’s second and third disc. What really makes this final story arc so interesting is that unlike with the Power Rangers’ story arcs, audiences aren’t left with constant cliffhangers. Each episode managed to remain its own stand-alone episode all while advancing the story each time. In an odd way, it serves as an example of the serial done right well before serials became the norm. And even though it al built up to a finale that essentially left things wide open, the build up to that point still proves a success. It’s one more reason that audiences will appreciate this collection of episodes and will in turn want to add it to their own personal DVD libraries.

The work of the writers behind Beetleborgs gives viewers plenty to enjoy in its final collection of episodes. Its more kid friendly elements continue to maintain its identity apart from the likes of Power Rangers and other similar series that were being churned out at the time. On the other hand, the stories that were crafted for these episodes are very much like those of the series’ “big brother.” There are even coins very much like the original Power Rangers’ “Power Coins” that lie at the center of the series’ final story arc. Speaking of that arc, its progression is never met with any cliffhangers from one episode to the next. That is entirely different from the story arcs used in the Power Rangers’ original episodes. Yet again audiences see the writers’ ability to give viewers something familiar without making Beetleborgs a blatant carbon copy of Power Rangers and other similar series on TV at the time. Together with the episodes’ more kid friendly, comic elements the balance used in the crafting of this volume’s episodes shows clearly why the writers’ work is so important to the overall enjoyment of each episode.

The work put in by Beetleborgs’ writers proves throughout the series’ final collection of episodes to be of the utmost importance to its enjoyment even years after their original run. Their work is just one part of what makes the final volume of episodes from Saban’s Beetleborgs so enjoyable for audiences of all ages. The work of the show’s cast plays just as important a role in making this volume enjoyable. That is especially the case with Flabber and his monster pals. Billy Forester’s Robin Williams-esque approach to Flabber is just as entertaining as it was in the series’ first episodes. Joe Hackett, Frank Addella, and Blake Torney conjure thoughts of The Three Stooges at some points with their buffoonery. One can’t deny the laughs that David Fletcher offers as Frankenbeans, too. Even Marshal Hilton entertains with his entirely outlandish and over the top take on Lester Fortunes. His is a type of acting that has been mimicked many times since by so many other grown up actors that star in kids’ shows. One could potentially even argue that his acting was, maybe not groundbreaking per se, but definitely original for its time. Together with the work of his cast mates, the group in whole keeps audiences laughing and watching from beginning to end, proving yet again the importance of the cast’s work in these final episodes of Beetleborgs Metallix. Their work coupled with that of the show’s writers shows even more why audiences of all ages will want to add Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two to their own home libraries.

The work of the writers behind Beetleborgs and that of the series’ cast in the show’s final volume of episodes shows in so many ways what makes this volume so enjoyable for audiences of all ages. For all of their significance, the noted elements are only part of what makes Season Two Volume Two so enjoyable. The special effects and stock footage used throughout these episodes play their own role in the episodes’ enjoyment. The stock footage used in these episodes was lifted right from the series’ Japanese counterpart B-Fighter Kabuto. It is not the first time that the series had used stock footage, as it also lifted from Juukou B-Fighter for the series’ first season. It is also the same sort of approach used by Saban for its Power Rangers installments early on. Even being a similar approach, there is still something about it that makes the episodes that much more fun. The use of the seemingly intentionally campy special effects adds even more enjoyment. Whether it be Flabber getting the magic “knocked out of him” at one point, Mums spinning his head around to relieve tension in his neck at another, Count Fangula switching between his bat form and human form, or even Nukus bringing Les’ drawings to life, there is just something entertaining about the overly campy nature of these effects. These are just a handful of examples of the extensive campy special effects utilized throughout the final episodes of Beetleborgs. There are plenty of others that audiences will enjoy time and again when they purchase this box set. In seeing them, audiences will agree that when coupled with the use of the stock footage from B-Fighter Kabuto, both elements together complete Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two. Set along with the work of the show’s writers and that of its cast, all three elements make Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two a fully welcome addition to the library of any of the show’s original fans and those of the show’s new fans.

Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two shows in a number of ways to be a fitting final sendoff for what was one of the most underrated of Saban’s sci-fi/fantasy series. The writing used in this collection’s episodes continue a standard established in each of the series’ previous volumes. It is a standard that gave audiences a series with a look and feel similar to that of Power Rangers but still managed to establish its own identity at the same time. The work of the series’ cast in these episodes makes Season Two Volume Two all the more enjoyable because of the laughs that it offers audiences of all ages. The show’s use of stock footage and apparently intentionally campy special effects adds even more enjoyment to each episode. The stock footage helped to establish that familiarity among audiences while the special effects made for their own share of laughs and in turn help to establish the show’s identity even more. All three elements alone play their own important part to the whole of Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two. Collectively they make this final set of episodes from Beetleborgs one that viewers of all ages will want to have in their own home libraries so that they can enjoy them again and again. Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two Volume Two is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/beetleborgs-metallix-season-two-vol-2. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

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Power Rangers Fans Will Get Lost In Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Three years ago, Shout! Factory and Saban struck a deal that saw the first in a long line of releases from Saban’s now world-renowned Power Rangers franchise.  The release in question was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Season 1 Volume 1.  It was the first but most definitely not the last of the Power Rangers franchise that fans would see finally get a proper release.  Nearly three years after the release of that initial box set, Shout! Factory has seemingly come to the end of the road with the Power Rangers.  That is because on March 10th, Shout! Factory will release what would be the first of the Power Rangers installments in the “post-Zordon era.”  The installment in question is Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  Long-time fans of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise will especially appreciate this upcoming release primarily because it is the complete “series” set in one stand-alone box set.  That is quite the noticeable change of course for Shout! Factory being that its previous seasons of Power Rangers were split up into multiple box sets.  So, that Shout! Factory didn’t take that route this time is sure to impress any long-time Power Rangers fan.  Second to note of this collection is the writing within the episodes.  The most noticeable aspects of the “series’” writing are that while it serves as its own series separate from the original Power Rangers franchise, it also maintains at least the slightest of links to that franchise thanks to the inclusion of Bulk and Skull yet again, and of course the re-introduction of the Astro-Megaship from Power Rangers in Space.  It’s sort of the writers’ way of saying the past is gone but not totally forgotten.  Long-time fans will appreciate this just as much.  Also, worth noting of the writing is the fact that the writers were able to keep Leo’s personal drama in check throughout the series, opting instead to allow the series’ central stories maintain their place at the forefront of each episode.  Last but not least of all that makes this set so welcome is its continued use of both “live” footage and stock footage from its Japanese base series.  Just like the writing mantains a link to Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise, so does this balance of footage.  It rounds out the reasons that fans will want to add this set to their own collections. Together with the series’ writing and its complete complement of episodes, all three noted elements combine to make Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series a fitting final release from Shout! Factory’s series of releases from Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series seems to be the last of Shout! Factory’s Power Rangers releases.  That is unless there is a deal in place that would allow Shout! Factory to release Seasons 8 – 17, which were previously released in two separate box sets containing Seasons 8 – 12 and 13 – 17.  Regardless, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series is still a box set well worth the addition to any Power Rangers fan’s personal collection.  The most obvious reason that fans of Saban’s long-running property will appreciate this set is the very fact that it features the entire “series” in one stand-alone box set.  Shout! Factory didn’t split it up into two separate sets unlike with its previous Power Rangers sets.  This has been a point of contention among fans ever since Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Season 1 Volume 1 was released on DVD back in 2012.  Save for the mid-season filler “series” Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers every other season of Power Rangers released by Shout! Factory since has been split into no less than two boxes.  That being the case, having this potentially final season set released in one box is a breath of fresh air.  Should the seasons that followed actually be re-issued separate from their previously released five-season box sets, hopefully they will in fact be re-issued as their own complete stand-alone sets, too just like this one.  Regardless, this complete showing of episodes in one box is the cornerstone on which the rest of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series’ positives rest.  It is a solid cornerstone, too.

The fact that Shout! Factory has presented Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series is a solid starting point in examining what makes this box set a success.  It’s not all that makes the set a success.  The writing that went into the show’s episodes is just as worth noting.  Long-time audiences will appreciate the fact that the show’s writers didn’t just make a whole new series.  They actually maintained a pretty solid link to Saban’s original Power Rangers series with the inclusion once again of Bulk and Skull into various episodes including the two-part season opener.  The Rangers even utilize the Astro Megaship from Power Rangers in Space throughout this season.  These two elements of the show’s writing by themselves show that the writers wanted to do their best to not alienate fans that came on board way back in the days of MMPR.  The actual episodes though, are just as important to the presentation.  Within the episodes themselves, the show’s writers were able to balance just enough the personal drama of the Power Rangers (E.g. Leo’s coming to terms with Mike’s “death,” Archie’s dealing with Leo and the pair’s growing friendship, Cerina’s longing for her home world, etc.) with their battles against Scorpius and his evil forces.  The writers never let that personal drama step on the “series’” central story line, thus creating a whole that keeps audiences fully engaged from the “series’” premiere to its final, climactic battle.  The end result of that writing is yet another part of the whole of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series that shows just why long-time fans of the Power Rangers will enjoy this latest release.

The inclusion of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy’s complete forty-five episode run in one complete stand-alone box set and the writing that went into the show’s episodes complement each other quite well  in terms of elements that make this box set a success for fans.  The show’s look is just as important to the presentation as the writing and the fact that the “series” has been presented in whole here.  Both those that aren’t so familiar with the Power Rangers and the franchise’s long-time fans will appreciate that even this far into the Power Rangers’ run, will appreciate that the show’s heads once again combined new, live elements and CG along with the stock footage from its Japanese source series Seijuu Sentai Gingaman.  This would be the last of the Power Rangers series to make that balance so noticeable for audiences.  And it really added a certain something to the show, too.  It could be argued that the balance of both elements creates once again that certain sense of old meets new that somehow creates so much enjoyment.  It’s that familiar something that especially long-time fans will understand and that new fans will appreciate when they see that balance for themselves.  It’s something that sadly was lost in some of the seasons that followed.  The seasons in question had more of a spit-shined look about them.  That look took away that certain feeling established by the previous Power Rangers seasons.  Long-time fans will especially agree with that sentiment.  And in doing so, they will agree even more that the use of both the original Japanese and American footage for this season completes the season, making all the more reasons for fans to add this set to their collections.

The mix of Seijuu Sentai Gingaman’s original video with Saban’s live and CG elements is a standard that long-time Power Rangers fans will definitely like about this season.  The balance of the show’s writing elements adds even more reason for audiences to pick up this box set when it hits stores.  It’s nice to see that the writers didn’t alienate the Power Rangers’ original audiences even in creating a new branch of the Power Rangers legacy.  Rather they honored those fans and the legacy of the original series while bringing in a whole new generation of audiences with this season.  The very fact that Shout! Factory presented this season in its entirety solidifies the whole thing, proving without a doubt that this is a must have for any Power Rangers fan. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series will be available in stores and online Tuesday, March 10th. It will retail for $24.95 but can be pre-ordered online now for a reduced price of $19.99 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lost-galaxy-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: https://www.shoutfactoryofficial

 

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