Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 Is Far From Complete

Courtesy:  Hanna-Barbera/Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Hanna-Barbera/Warner Home Video

Earlier this year, Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division released another installment from Hanna-Barbera’s beloved Scooby-Doo franchise when it released Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete First Season. It marked the first time ever that what was essentially the fourth season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? has seen the light of day. Go figure it is also the “series'” only season, too. Considering all of this, Warner Home Video is to be commended for finally getting this collection of episodes out on DVD at long last. While the studio and its home entertainment division are to be commended for finally getting these episodes out to the public, they are also deserving of certain darts as this collection is anything but complete. Considering its pros and cons together, Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. But it is far from being the year’s absolute best.

Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 is a good new release from the people at Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division. However, despite its title, it is far from being complete. The negatives that keep it from being complete will be discussed shortly. For the moment, though the focus will be on at least one of the set’s positives–the presentation of the “series” full sixteen episode run. Audiences get in this new double-disc presentation all sixteen episodes from Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo’s original run on television in the fall of 1979. And they are presented in their original format, too. The inclusion of all sixteen episodes shows that the people at Warner Home Video (WHV) cared at least about that much in bringing these episodes to fans. This is important to consider because there are companies out there that would look at this and try to capitalize as much as possible by splitting the collection into two separate boxes. That would in turn potentially cost consumers more and take up more space on audiences’ DVD racks. But because WHV didn’t go that route, consumers lucky enough to find the box set in stores only have to pay a one time fee of roughly ten to fifteen dollars for a box set that only takes up as much room on a DVD rack as a single disc DVD box. So not only does its full release benefit consumers financially but ergonomically, too. To that extent, the “series” starts off on the right foot. However, taking a deeper look at the set, it shows to be anything but the complete collection that it is advertised to be by its title.

Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete First Season is a good addition to any Scooby-Doo fan’s home DVD library. That is especially thanks to not only the fact that the “series” full-sixteen episode run is included here but it is featured at a relatively reasonable price and takes up minimal room on audiences’ DVD racks. Even as many positives as it boasts on the surface, it proves, with a closer examination, to be anything but the complete series that WHV boasts it to be on the box’s cover. All sixteen episodes are there. There’s no denying that. And while both William Hanna and Joe Barbera have both passed away along with most of the original Scooby-Doo voice cast, Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Aladdin) and Heather North (Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico, Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood) are both alive as are likely others associated with the show. It would have been nice to have at least some bonus interviews with Welker, North, and others linked to this “series.” It would have been nice to have at least some form of interviews considering the reason for the re-branding. According to most sources, the whole purpose for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? being re-branded and expanded in terms of its cast, was to boost sagging ratings. It would have been interesting to learn why viewers’ tastes were changing at the time that the ratings were beginning to fall, and which shows were beginning to grab said viewers’ attention. But none of that history is presented to audiences. And in turn, it takes away quite a bit from the set’s overall viewing experience. It is just one of the cons that weigh down this presentation, too. It would have been nice to get at least some retrospective on the significance of Scooby-Doo to American pop culture both then and now, especially considering that the beloved canine is included seemingly every year in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Again, no insight is offered there or in any other fashion. considering that WHV is trying to market Scooby-Doo not just one target demographic but viewers of all ages, not having any of that background on this latest “series” or the Scooby-Doo franchise in whole takes away so much here especially being that none of the franchise’s previous collections offer any of those bonuses either.

The lack of any background on the significance of the Scooby-Doo franchise in yet another of its installments is a huge con to its presentation. It does nothing but a disservice to the legacy of this beloved franchise. It is just one of the cons that weighs down Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season One. On another level, the general lack of effort displayed in presenting the set’s discs takes even more away from the set’s overall viewing experience. Those responsible for providing the discs’ artwork just took a couple of images from the show, placed one on one disc and the other on the set’s other disc, and then splashed each in a dark purple covering. WHV has taken much the same approach with other recent releases such as its box sets containing the original Batman TV series episodes. The discs presented in those sets just presents the original series logo splashed with a near neon green covering. It completely smacks of laziness and creativity. And the fact that it has happened yet again with Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 only leaves one wondering who is in charge even more at WHV. Yes, it is just a cosmetic thing on the surface (no pun intended) but despite the old adage about judging something by its cover, something as simple as a DVD/Blu-ray disc’s artwork can and does play a big part in a company being able to sell its product. So to that extent the artwork (or lack thereof in this case) plays just as much of a role in the overall presentation of Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1. It makes this collection of episodes that much more incomplete than complete.

If the issues noted here are not enough to prove how incomplete Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is, then the issue of its episode listing will surely solidify the argument that this set is anything but complete. to the credit of those at WHV, the “series'” box set does come with an episode listing. However, the listing in question is printed on the back of the case along with the description of the series’ highlights. It even notes clearly which episodes are on which disc. Again, kudos are in order here. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the listing is just that, a listing. There is no companion booklet included in the collection offering even the slightest summary for the presented episodes. Because of this there is also no credit given to the show’s writers. To some this may seem insignificant. But to those people who are interested in such an element it plays just as important a role as knowing which producer(s) manned the boards for a given act’s album. Having such knowledge deepens the understanding and appreciation for an act’s work and for that of its producer(s) throughout their careers. In much the same fashion, knowing who was responsible for a given TV series’ writing plays just as much of a part in appreciating the storylines of said TV series. So on that level, the fact that once again WHV has failed to include a companion booklet with any episode summaries or other important background information takes even more points away from this set and shwos even more just how incomplete this collection proves to be in the end.

While Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 shows clearly that it is anything but complete through its primary cons, it would be unfair to say that this latest release in Hanna-Barbera’s beloved Scooby-Doo franchise is a complete loss. For all of its negatives (some of which weren’t even touched on here) it isn’t a total loss. It can be said that thanks to the work of the shows writers, fans of all ages will enjoy all sixteen episodes presented here. Those that are true diehard fans will especially enjoy these episodes as they will see their blatant influence on later installments of the Scooby-Doo franchise. That is obvious right from the show’s opening episode “The Scarab Lives.” This episode sees a famous comic book creator “haunted” by his own creation come to life. Of course as everyone knows, there’s no such thing as ghosts, right? RIGHT?! The identity of the Blue Scarab won’t be revealed here. But this episode was obviously a direct influence behind no fewer than two episodes crafted for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Those episodes are “The Schnook Who Took My Comic Book” and “The Return of Commander Cool.” In the prior of the episodes, Shaggy’s mint condition original copy of “Commander Cool” #1 is stolen by one of Commander Cool’s enemies. Or is it someone else? The latter of the episodes finds an alien slug stealing the plans for Commander Cool’s moon base toy. The reveal in regards to the real thief is a direct throwback to ‘The Scarab Lives.” On another level, “Rocky Mountain yiiiiii!,” which comes from Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1, could be argued to be the influence behind “Snow Place Like Home,” also from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. The latter of the two sees Scooby and the gang on a skiing vacation in the mountains. While there, they encounter an ice monster bent on getting a kind couple out of its home. The prior episode, “Rocky Mountain yiiiiii!” sees (again) Scooby and company on a skiing vacation to the mountains. In the case of this episode, they come face to face with the ghost of one Jeremiah Pratt. It turns out that Pratt is searching for his pot of gold. Sounds familiar, right? Exactly. To a slightly lesser extent, it can be argued that “The Story Stick” (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo) is a variation on “The Hairy Scare of the Devil Bear” (Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo). That is because both stories are centered on Native American culture. “The Story Stick” finds the young members of The Scooby-Doo Detective Agency having to figure out who is behind a living totem pole that is scaring everyone away from the sacred land. The earlier series’ episode finds the members of Mystery, Inc. going toe to toe with a demon bear that is haunting caves on a reservation around the Grand Canyon. It’s one more way in which the writing behind Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 proves so entertaining and important to consider. Of course that isn’t to say that every episode gave rise to episodes in every “season” of Scooby-Doo to follow. Regardless, the writing behind this series still shows in plenty of ways to be quite entertaining for viewers. And together with the set’s previously noted pros–its cost effectiveness and complete episode presentation–the set in whole proves to be another welcome addition to any Scooby-Doo fan’s home DVD library. But it is far from being complete or the best of the year’s new family friendly box sets.

Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via the official WB store at or via Amazon at a lower price at

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Audiences Of All Ages Will “Love” Shout! Factory Kids’ New Pound Puppies DVD

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner yet again.  For many that means the annual barrage of candy, flowers, and cards.  For children, it means the annual “holiday” parties if they still have them.  Regardless of whether or not schools still hold the parties in question, Shout! Factory Kids has a new DVD on the way next Tuesday that the whole family will *ahem* love to watch together to celebrate the big day.  Pound Puppies: Puppy Love will be released next Tuesday, February 3rd on DVD.  The compilation, the sixth from the hit Discovery Family series, offers plenty for audiences to enjoy beginning with the writing behind the episodes.  The Pound Puppies face some of their biggest challenges in this compilation.  From having to get the most puppies adopted ever in one episode to facing off against a megalomaniacal dog catcher voiced by Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and having to navigate a nasty dispute between two neighbors in order to unite a puppy with its perfect child, the writing in each episode is more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this collection.  As if those challenges aren’t enough, love is also in the air for Niblet and Lucky.  Twice over, Lucky and Cookie have to admit their feelings for one another.  And in another episode, Niblet has to face a big decision when he meets a female sheep dog.  Collectively, the writing in the episodes culled for this DVD more than makes it worth adding to any family’s home library.  As impressive as the writing is, the work of the voice actors adds even more enjoyment to the presentation.  This includes the extensive list of guest stars that make appearances.  Last worth noting of this new compilation that makes it so enjoyable is its bonus printable valentine.  The DVD’s box art is used for the dual-sided card.  And audiences need only have Adobe Reader to open the card and print it out.  After printing it out, young audiences can give the card to their favorite pet or to their own parents or even a friend.  Regardless of who receives the bonus printable card, it proves to be one more reason for any family to add Pound Puppies: Puppy Love to their own home library.  Together with the work of the voice actors and of the show’s writers, it proves to be another great new release from Shout! Factory Kids.

Shout! Factory Kids’ latest collection of episodes from the hit Discovery Family series Pound Puppies is a welcome addition to any family’s home library.  This is the case whether on Valentine’s Day or any time of the year.  The central reason for its enjoyment is the writing behind its episodes.  The episodes culled for this compilation see the Pound Puppies face some of their biggest challenges yet.  The simply titled episode “The General” presents just one of those challenges.  This episode sees the Pound Puppies facing the massive challenge of getting some sixty-seven puppies adopted.  Of course it just so happens that McLeish is forced to hold an adoption fair by the mayor.  Even with the perfect opportunity there, things don’t exactly go fully as planned when Cookie decides to start acting like The General.  The central story is enjoyable within itself because of the challenge facing the Pound Puppies.  The underlying message sent to young viewers about being proud of who they are makes the episode even more enjoyable.  It is a message that viewers of all ages will appreciate.

In another episode, “McLeish Unleashed,” the Pound Puppies have and equally big challenge as they have to face off against the megalomaniacal Milton Feltwaddle (Jim Parsons—The Big Bang Theory) and get McLeish back as the head of Shelter 17.  Milton takes over Shelter 17 when McLeish is promoted to a management position in the city’s wastewater management department.  Any viewer familiar with the classic sitcom Hogan’s Heroes will love the direct tribute to that series as Feltwaddle turns Shelter 17 into a virtual concentration camp.  It the most direct throwback to Hogan’s Heroes yet with Feltwaddle even donning a military uniform, looking almost like Colonel Klink.  Of course the Pound Puppies end up defeating Feltwaddle.  The catch is that they have to rely on some unlikely help.  Fellow veteran voice actor Frank Welker makes an appearance, too albeit in a bit role.  Even in a bit role, Welker shows such expertise and respect for his cast mates.  Of course that will be discussed at more length later.  Whether for the direct throwback to Hogan’s Heroes or for the story itself, it proves to be one more great addition to the compilation, showing even more its value in any family’s home library.

One more major challenge that the Pound Puppies face comes in the form of “Rebound’s First Symphony.”  Veteran Actress Betty White joins comedienne Margaret Cho and veteran voice actresses Cree Summer (Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, Tiny Toon Adventures) and Grey DeLisle (Clifford The Big Red Dog, Curious George, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy) in this episode that sees the Pound Puppies trying to unite a musically gifted puppy named Yo Yo with a girl named Sumalee.  Sumalee is a gifted violinist.  But pressure from her mom is making her not enjoy playing her violin.  What’s worse, Agatha’s (Betty White—Hot in Cleveland, The Golden Girls) dog Rebound (Brooke Goldner—Pound Puppies, Littlest Pet Shop) enjoys Sumalee’s playing, too.  Her love for Sumalee’s talents is so much that it leads to a growing fight between Agatha and Sumalee’s mother Mrs. Wattana (Margaret Cho).  The fight in question doesn’t make the Pound Puppies mission to unite Sumalee and Yo Yo any easier.  But they do bring them together.  The fight between Agatha and Mrs. Wattana is pretty funny in itself.  It will have audiences of all ages laughing.  And the story that sees the Pound Puppies’ mounting challenge makes this episode even more enjoyable.  The secondary message about the pressure placed on young people is something to which so many viewers will be able to relate.  It makes the episode even more welcome an addition to this compilation, thus making even more reason for any family to add the DVD to their home library.

The challenges faced by the Pound Puppies in their latest group of adventures make for more than their share of reason for audiences to check out Pound Puppies: Puppy Love.  Being a Valentine’s Day-themed compilation, there are a couple episodes that see love in the air.  Cookie and Lucky finally have to admit to their feelings for each other not once but twice in this collection in “The General” and “When Niblet Met Giblet.”  The latter of the two episodes also sees Niblet falling for a female sheep dog named Giblet (Ashley Johnson—Ben 10: Omniverse, Teen Titans Go!, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien).  This episode presents something of a bittersweet story Niblet ends up having to make a very difficult decision. As bittersweet as the story proves to be in the end, it still reminds viewers that love is possible.  Cookie has to admit her feelings for Lucky in the prior of the pair when the General, who turns out to be a female dog, calls on the Pound Puppies.  These two episodes in conjunction with the others already noted show once and for all just why the writing in the episodes more than makes Pound Puppies: Puppy Love worth adding to any family’s home library.

The work that went into the writing in each of this disc’s episodes is more than enough reason for audiences to make it the latest addition to their home libraries. As impressive as the writing proves to be, the work of the show’s voice cast is also worth noting. Whether it be the series’ main cast or the extensive list of guest actors enlisted for these episodes everyone involved in bring the episodes to life is well deserving of their applause. Jim Parsons’ portrayal of the megalomaniacal Milton Feltwaddle is hilarious. Any viewer that is familiar with Parsons’ portrayal of Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory will love seeing that same character style expressed in this setting. Parsons shows not once but twice in this set why he is one of the most respected comedic actors out there today in his role as Feltwaddle. Betty White’s Agatha is a recurring character in Pound Puppies. White’s work with famed comedienne Margaret Cho in “Rebound’s First Symphony” is just as entertaining. It’s obvious that White and Cho had fun working together on this episode as their characters’ conflict increases. There is something about the pair’s back and forth as the conflict escalates that shows how much fun the women had making the episode. It is just as obvious when Mrs. Wattana is forced to rely on Agatha in order to get her daughter. On another note, veteran voice actor Frank Welker appears in a bit role as a young girl’s father in “McLeish Unleashed.” Even in a bit role, he is still entertaining. He doesn’t try to ham up his few lines, instead letting his cast mates hold the spotlight. Considering that Welker (Curious George, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, The Real Ghostbusters) has spent most of his career voicing central roles, his control in this episode shows his professionalism. In turn, it makes it even greater to see and hear him at work in this setting. Lauren Tom (Futurama, Friends, The Joy Luck Club) makes an appearance in one episode, too. And it goes without saying that she is just as entertaining in her role. Her acting and that of the rest of the voice cast in these episodes adds to the episodes’ overall enjoyment. Together with the work of the show’s writers, both the writing and acting make for plenty of enjoyment in these episodes and even more proof of why this new DVD is a welcome addition to any family’s home library.

The work put in by the voice cast and the writers in the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: Puppy Love collectively makes for plenty of reason for any family to add this DVD to their home library. For all of the enjoyment that they garner, they still are not all that make it worth the purchase. The DVD’s bonus printable valentine rounds out the entire package. The double-sided card uses the DVD’s box art for its artwork. And the message that “you’re top dog, Valentine” will put a smile on anybody’s face whether it be another child or a parent. All a person needs to print out the valentine is Adobe Reader. It’s that easy. All a person has to do to get there is open the disc from “My Computer” and open it manually to get to the valentine. The valentine comes complete with specific folding instructions to make things even easier. Parents can help children fold the card once it’s printed out. Or if parents think their children are old enough, kids can print out the card and fold it themselves before giving it to a friend or to their parents. It’s the finishing touch on a DVD that even without it would still have been a great valentine from any parent to any child. The addition of the valentine just makes it that much more enjoyable. Together with the work of the show’s writers and the voice actors, it is the last part of the whole proving why any family will want to add the DVD to their home library this Valentine’s Day.

Whether for the work of the show’s writers or that of the voice cast, the work of both shine in their own way in every episode culled for Pound Puppies: Puppy Love. The addition of a bonus printable valentine adds an extra touch to the presentation in whole. It is an extra touch that will allow parents and their children to spent even more time together and could even bring them together emotionally too after the valentine is printed out and assembled. The combination of all of these elements makes Pound Puppies: Puppy Love yet another solid release from Shout! Factory Kids. They show without a bit of doubt why Pound Puppies: Puppy Love is one more welcome addition to any family’s home library. It will be available on DVD next Tuesday, February 3rd. It can be pre-ordered now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:





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Nickelodeon, Shout! Factory Finishing Off Another Classic Nicktoon Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon established a partnership only a few years ago that has seen some of the network’s greatest classic series, called Nicktoons, get full, proper releases. Almost all of those classic Nicktoons has seen releases in separate seasons and complete series box sets. Now what is one of the last of those series sets will be released next month in the form of CatDog: The Complete Series.

CatDog: The Complete Series will be released on DVD Tuesday, October 14th. The series’ complete four-season, sixty-eight episode run will be released in one complete multi-disc set. It will retail for MSRP of $29.93. After this release, the only full series sets that are left to be released under the companies’ current partnership are The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series and Hey Dude: The Complete Series. Audiences can keep up with the latest on all of these releases online at:



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Denver The Last Dinosaur Is Extinct No More

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Denver The Last Dinosaur is extinct no more!

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment will release Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series on Tuesday, September 16th. The series ran a total of fifty-two episodes from 1988 to 1990. It follows the adventures of Denver—a Corythosaurus—and his human friends who discovered him after he unexpectedly hatches from a fossilized egg. The series received a recommendation from the National Education Association for its engaging and nonviolent story lines. The series features the talents of some of today’s most well-known voice talents including: Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold!), Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), Kath Soucie (Dexter’s Lab, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures), June Foray (The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Garfield & Friends), Brian Cummings (Duck Tales, Garfield & Friends, Adventures of the Gummi Bears) and three of the voice talents from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series in Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, and Rob Paulsen among so many others.

The upcoming box set will contain not only the series’ complete fifty-two episode run but also a handful of bonus materials, too. Those bonus materials include interviews with the series’ Creative Director Jeremy Corray, image galleries, and even a glimpse at other classic cartoons including the likes of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. The six-disc set will retail for SRP of $59.99. More information on this and other releases from Cinedigm is available online at, and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Danny Phantom Complete Series Set Is Loads Of Ghostly Fun For All

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Nickelodeon’s programming today is comprised largely of live action sitcoms aimed at teen viewers.  However, from the early 1990s up until the mid-2000s, the network was known more for its vast array of cartoons.  It’s “Nicktoons” were its heart and soul.  While Nickelodeon does have some cartoons today, the network’s sole remaining real Nicktoon is Butch Hartman’s hugely successful series Fairly OddparentsFairly Oddparents is a standout series, too.  Interestingly enough, it isn’t his first series to have the honor of being added to Nickelodeon’s list of beloved Nicktoons.  His first notable “Nicktoon” was the short-lived supernatural series Danny Phantom.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of Danny Phantom will be able to own the complete series in one box later this month.  Danny Phantom only ran for three seasons.  In its defense, it could be argued that this was because it was ahead of its time.  That aside, series creator Butch Hartman and his writers crafted a number of enjoyable episodes throughout the show’s short run.  Just as worth noting about this new upcoming box set is that is alleviates some minor problems raised in the box sets containing the series’ second season.  Lastly, those that know their Nicktoons history will appreciate the voice talent that made up the series’ cast.  That who’s who of voice actors combined with the enjoyable stories, and the fact that they are all available together for the first time collectively make this upcoming set well worth picking up for any Danny Phantom fan.

Fans of Danny Phantom: The Complete Series  will appreciate this new complete series set first and foremost because it presents the series’ entire three-season run in one complete box set.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have already released three complete series sets from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Angry Beavers.  Those sets proved to actually take up far less space on DVD racks than the stand-alone season sets that had originally been released.  This set is no different.  All nine discs that make up all three seasons are included in this box.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have sweetened the deal even more for fans in that they have maintained the established wise packaging that was used in the aforementioned complete series sets.  The discs are placed inside the box on either side of their own “insert” with the ninth and final disc being placed in its own spot inside the back of the case.  As with the previously noted box sets, this protects the discs and allows the episodes contained within each one to be enjoyed much longer.  It is the starting point of what audiences will appreciate about Danny Phantom: The Complete Series.

The packaging for Danny Phantom: The Complete Series is a good starting point in discussing everything that makes this box set well worth its price.  The episodes contained across the set’s nine total discs make the presentation as a whole even more enjoyable.  It would be easy to say that because its main characters were high school students, Danny Phantom was just another program aimed at audiences of the same age. To a point, it could be seen how teen audiences would take an interest in the series.  Case in point, one of the series’ story arcs involved a potential inter-racial romance between Danny and black classmate named Valerie Gray (voiced by Cree Summer—The Cosby Show, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, etc.).  It really is a sign of the times that the show’s writers would include this without making a big fuss over it, either.  It is a subtle, but nice addition to the series.  There are also the constant struggles to balance trying to be a regular teen with being a superhero. But the jokes that are tossed in each episode aren’t above some younger viewers, either.  So while teens might have been the primary audience, younger viewers would have obviously enjoyed the show, too.  The same applies to today’s teens and pre-teens, too.

The packaging and writing that make up Danny Phantom’s episodes are collectively a big part of what makes the series so enjoyable even for today’s younger audiences.  There is at least one more aspect of the series’ new set that audiences will appreciate in examining the presentation as a whole.  That aspect is the series’ voice cast.  The series’ primary cast reads like a who’s who of voice acting.  It has already been noted that veteran voice actress Cree Summer is part of the primary cast (even though she doesn’t come into play until the second season).  Along with Ms. Summer, Grey DeLisle (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford: The Puppy Years, Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, etc.) Kath Soucie (Futurama, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.) and a whole slate of others each play roles in the series.  Fans will also recognize the voices of Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Hellboy & Hellboy II), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and the man who is perhaps the busiest male voice actor in the business, one Frank Welker (Curious George, The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, etc.)  Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga), and the late David Carradine even make appearances throughout the series among so many other big names.  If the massive list of A-listers that play roles in Danny Phantom isn’t reason enough to check out the new Danny Phantom: The Complete Series box set, then one need only set that alongside the enjoyable writing and the equally wise packaging to see just how worthwhile this set is for kids and kids at heart.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 28th.  It can be pre-ordered online now from the Shout! Factory store at  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

CatDog Goes Out On Top In Its Final Season

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

The end is finally here for another classic Nicktoon courtesy of Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon.  The two companies have released CatDog: The Final Season to the masses at long last.  Unlike the show’s previously released season sets, this season contains only a single disc.  Even in just the one disc, viewers are treated to even more fun, zany adventures from everybody’s favorite canine feline, including the now beloved three-part mini-epic, “CatDog and the Great Parent Mystery.”  This episode was the cornerstone of Season Four.  It’s just one example of the continued top notch work from the show’s writers even four seasons into the show’s run.  The show’s writing isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this final season.  Also worthy of note in CatDog’s final season is the return once more of Tom Kenny and Jim Cummings as the voices of CatDog.  Also to be noted in this season is the guest appearances by veteran actors Billy Bob Thornton and Jane Krakowsi along with one of the most famed of all voice actors, the one and only Frank Welker. All elements combined together, they make CatDog: The Final Season one more wonderful addition to the library of any true Nicktoons Nostalgic.

The writing in Seasons Four’s episodes is just as fun and zany as it has ever been throughout CatDog’s previous three seasons.  This season sees the boys have to convince Winslow to come back to their house after he’s kicked out by his own niece and nephew in “Harasslin’ Match.”  This is a tried and true storyline, given.  It’s been used in so many cartoons and sitcoms past and present.  But that makes it no less funny in this episode.  In another of this season’s best moments, CatDog’s parents make a return appearance.  And once again they are voiced by some very well-known names in the form of Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa, The Astronaut Farmer, Armageddon) and Jane Krakowsi (30 Rock, Ice Age, Ally McBeal).  The pair return in the episode titled, “Vexed of Kin.”  Having finally found their “parents”, CatDog deals with the issue of sibling rivalry in their own wacky way.  It makes for a very good tie in the season’s three-part premiere episode.  The two episodes together exhibit what is another of the positives carried from the show’s first three seasons into this season.  The positive in question is the writers’ ability to once again balance the show’s zaniness with its heart.

The writers responsible for bringing CatDog’s adventures to life have done an expert job of balancing the show’s funny side with its heart over the course of its past three seasons.  This season is no different as evidenced by Season Four’s three-part premiere episode.  The boys’ adventure and the final reveal about their past are both as zany as any previous episode.  On the other side, this episode shows more heart than previous episodes.  Who doesn’t want to feel love from a parent, regardless of whether or not that individual is one’s birth parent?  The love of a parent is the greatest love of all.  It’s that knowledge that makes this episode just as heartwarming as it is funny.  It is a tribute to the talents of the show’s writers, even four seasons in.  And along with the season’s remaining seven episodes, they all come together to make this season one more enjoyable collection for any Nicktoons Nostalgic.

CatDog: The Final Season is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online through Shout! Factory’s online store at  And to keep up with all of the latest news from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory, parents and kids and go online to,,, and

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at