PBS’ ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ Set Is The Most Beautiful Of 2018’s Family DVD & BD Box Sets

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Time is quickly ticking away for 2018.  As the hours tick by, Phil’s Picks is trying to get everything done before the old year is out and the new year is in.  Next up as this finally day of 2018 winds down is the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets for families.

Just as grown-ups has plenty of options this year in regards to DVD and BD box sets, so did families in whole.  Some of this year’s top family box sets also made their way to the grown-ups box sets list, as (E.G. Milk StreetSeason One and Finding Your RootsSeason 4).  That is because they really can be just as entertaining for the whole family as for grown-ups.

The top spot in this year’s list goes to PBS’ Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood collection, It’s A Beautiful Day.  The multi-disc set offers hours of entertainment from a variety of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood series.  Considering how hard it is to find the series even on PBS stations nationwide, and the lessons that the episodes teach, this new collection hopefully will not be the only one from the series to be released.

Second Place in this year’s list belongs to Gravity FallsThe Complete Series.  While its creator openly said it was intentionally short-lived, it has made one heck of an impact on audiences, and rightfully so.  Whether one owns the collector’s edition or the standard set, which features episode-length commentaries with each episode, the series stands out.  With any luck there will be a third season one day.  One can only hope.

The third spot in this year’s list goes to RugratsSeason Three, and it is followed up by the series’ fourth season.  The land mark series’ writing was absolutely outstanding in both seasons.  One can only hope that Nickelodeon will continue giving proper releases for the rest of the series’ seasons every year as it has done up to this point.

Also featured in this year’s list are the fifth season of CBS’ timeless fish out of water sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, which was released on DVD this fall, alongside the full release of Fraggle RockThe Animated Series and the ninth season of Spongebob Squarepants.

Whereas this critic’s previous lists all featured 15 total titles, this list will only feature 10 titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Family DVD/BD Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD/BD BOX SETS

  1. Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodIt’s A Beautiful Day Collection
  2. Gravity FallsThe Complete Series
  3. RugratsSeason 3
  4. RugratsSeason 4
  5. The Beverly HillbilliesThe Complete Fifth Season
  6. Courage The Cowardly DogThe Complete Series
  7. Fraggle RockThe Complete Animated Series
  8. Milk StreetSeason One
  9. Finding Your RootsSeason Four
  10. Big Box Of Kids Favorites (Mill Creek Entertainment set)

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Kids, Adults Will Love To Meet The Fraggles For The First Time Again

Courtesy:  The Jim Henson Company/Vivendi Entertainment

Courtesy: The Jim Henson Company/Vivendi Entertainment

Jim Henson was one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century.  He was the brilliant mind behind the Muppets, Sesame Street, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and so many other creations.  While he was most well known for the aforementioned creations, one of his lesser known creations celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.  That creation is Fraggle Rock.  In honor of the thirtieth anniversary of the beloved children’s series’ debut, The Jim Henson Company has released the entire series on single season collections and a complete thirtieth anniversary box set with the entire series.  The company has also released a special single disc collection that serves as a nice introduction to the world of the Fraggles for today’s younger audiences, while re-introducing them to the generation that grew up with these wonderful underground dwelling creatures in Fraggle Rock: Meet The Fraggles.

Fraggle Rock:  Meet The Fraggles offers six episodes of the classic children’s series on a single DVD.  It is aptly titled as it starts off from the series’ very first episode, “Beginnings.”  It is in this episode that audiences first meet Doc and his dog Sprocket, along with the Fraggles.  It’s through a hole in the wall of Doc’s residence that viewers travel into the world of the Fraggles.  Right from the very first episode, audiences are introduced to a program that is full of enjoyable musical numbers, colorful backdrops, and important life lessons.  The execution of the life lessons through the storylines does so much to make this show so timeless.  One of the best examples of this in this collection comes in the episode, “Red’s Club.”  This episode teaches an important lesson about acceptance of others.  It does this through setting things up through the storyline involving Sprocket being rejected from an elite dog club.  After having been rejected, Doc suggests that Sprocket start up his own club.  Meanwhile in the world of the Fraggles, Red is fed up with always going along with Gobo, and starts her own club.  The problem is that her club is so exclusionary that the one single member that she ends up with is a Doozer.  And the Doozer in question—Cotter Pin—ends up leaving Red’s club, too because of how exclusive it is.  Red ends up learning a very valuable lesson because of her actions.  Doc also learns a lesson in talking with Sprocket about why he couldn’t be in Sprocket’s club.  The lesson is told outright, making it easy for young audiences to understand.  This is the kind of writing existent throughout every season of this classic kids’ show.  This includes all six episodes included in this six-disc introduction to Fraggle Rock.

The writing behind Fraggle Rock is the show’s primary reason for its success.  But it isn’t the only part of its success.  As already noted, Jim Henson did during his life, things that no one else was doing.  The musical numbers which were part of his even more beloved Muppet Show 2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for topping

Mix egg and milk. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to milk mixture, beat until smooth.

Preheat oil in fry pan to 375 degrees F.

Pour batter into hot oil with a funnel with a ½ “ or ¾” hole. Let batter drizzle into hot oil. Spiraling to create a circle.

Cook about 1 minute, flip over, cooking both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fruit preserves while still warm. 2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for topping

Mix egg and milk. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to milk mixture, beat until smooth.

Preheat oil in fry pan to 375 degrees F.

Pour batter into hot oil with a funnel with a ½ “ or ¾” hole. Let batter drizzle into hot oil. Spiraling to create a circle.

Cook about 1 minute, flip over, cooking both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fruit preserves while still were just as integral to Fraggle Rock.  Even as old as this show is, its musical numbers will still have young viewers dancing and singing along.  It’s another of the show’s elements that sets it apart from so much of today’s children’s programming, even today. 

Fraggle Rock’s writing and musical numbers will entertain audiences of all ages.  There is still one last piece of the puzzle to this show that makes it so enjoyable for any viewer.  That piece is the simplest.  Yet it’s still one of the most important.  That final piece is the originality of using puppets.  Children’s television is at a point today at which so much programming is much the same in terms of its format.  Children are being placed in front of television sets, and for all intents and purposes left to let the television teach them.  Fraggle Rock doesn’t allow that, as audiences will see in this introductory set of episodes.  It’s not one of those shows in which the characters talk to the children.  It forces parents to sit down with their children and discuss the lessons taught through each episode.  It forces parents to be parents and spend time with their children.  This is exactly what children and parents need.  They need to spend time together and bond.  And what better way to bond than on what is an original and timeless program.  If parents and children enjoy this set, they can also pick up the complete Thirtieth Anniversary box set with the show’s entire run.  Both sets can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCMT1RS/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0X19EM0G0KMXPWH3S33S&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846 and http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCMT4B6/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p74_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0NFWRPA7QJPVK8VF9MHY&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846.

Fans of Fraggle Rock and Jim Henson’s creations can get all the latest news from the Jim Henson Company online at http://www.henson.com and http://www.facebook.com/hensoncompany

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.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.