Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of Alternatives To Theaters’ Offerings In 2015

This year’s big screen offerings brought big numbers for theaters. The problem is that the majority of those big numbers were the result of Hollywood’s (and audiences’) seemingly insatiable appetite for prequels, sequels, and remakes. It’s a sad statement when one really sits down and thinks about it. And thankfully more audiences are coming to their senses about it each year and staying home instead, taking in the variety of alternatives being offered on television and online. Given, far too many of those alternatives were (and still are) serials, dramas, and some mixture thereof. But for all of the serials and dramas out there, they were just a drop in the bucket in terms of just how much was offered to audiences this year in the way of home entertainment. Shout! Factory released two more volumes of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 this year. It also released the final two seasons of the classic sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, the complete series run of The Saint, and much more. PBS has released all three current seasons of its hit reality/cooking show A Chef’s Life, and partnered once again with itv to release the third season of Mr. Selfridge. Timeless Media Group even gave audiences a good scare this year with the release of A Haunting: Season Seven. And for all of the conspiracy theorists out there, Lionsgate and History channel offered up the seventh season of Ancient Aliens. These are just some of the alternatives offered to audiences this year from the home entertainment realm. And they are all on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. That is in comparison to box sets for the whole family. That is a whole other list. That list will be presented tomorrow. In explaining the choices for the list of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, the overall packaging of each set was taken into consideration alongside each set’s bonus materials (or lack thereof) and the writing that went into each presentation. The combination of each element in each set went into coming up with this list. Not every set had bonus material such as with Welcome Back, Kotter’s third and fourth season. But the writing behind each season made each season entertaining enough that they each stand quite well on their own merits. The bonus material featured in both volumes of MST3K played a big role in their presentations deserving them their own spots as did the bonus material in Time Life’s new Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts box set and that of Hell on Wheels’ fourth season. That should hopefully give at least some background on why each title was listed where it was listed. Keeping that in mind every title listed here is fully deserving of its spot on this list. So enough rambling. Without any further ado, I offer for your reading pleasure dear readers, the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Box Sets for Grownups. As always, the Top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive special mention as they deserve to be on the list just as much. Here you go!

































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Sci-Fi Fans and ET Enthusiasts Alike Will Enjoy In Search Of Aliens Season 1

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/Lionsgate/History/H2

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/Lionsgate/History/H2

History Channel and H2’s hit sci-fi/history hybrid series Ancient Aliens has proven to be quite the hit among audiences ever since it debuted in 2009. Since that time, it has gone on to run seven seasons and is currently in the midst of its eighth full season on H2. The success of that series led to the premiere of a spinoff in the form of Searching For Aliens last summer. Since not everybody has access to H2, History Channel and A&E Home Video made available to audiences the full first season of In Search of Aliens on DVD last month. The three disc season set is a good addition to the library of any sci-fi fan and even any true believer. The central reason that it is a welcome addition to said audiences’ libraries is its episodes. The episodes that make up the series’ first season both throw back to the topics covered in Ancient Aliens and introduce new topics. And while some of host Girogio Tsoukalos’ theories seem somewhat far-fetched, others make at least a certain amount of sense. To that extent, the theories and arguments raised in each episode aren’t just the standard “oh it’s got to be aliens” argument. Though, Tsoukalos does always find a way to argue that every mystery is answered by alien intervention. And last of note in this box set is are the graphic illustrations used to help explain each of Tsoukalos’ theories. While they don’t necessarily do anything to convince skeptics, they do help to illustrate Tsoukalos’ theories. And that makes each of this season’s episodes all the more watchable. All three factors together show exactly why In Search of Aliens Season One is a welcome addition to the collection of any sci-fi fan and alien enthusiast.

At first glance, one might assume that History and H2’s new extraterrestrial series In Search of Aliens is just a rehashing of Ancient Aliens. But any viewer that gives it a chance will note that In Search of Aliens is in fact not that. There are episodes that seem familiar since their subject mater was already discussed in previous episodes of Ancient Aliens. But there are also episodes that feature subject matter that was not handled in the aforementioned series, too. That is the central aspect of In Search of Aliens Season One that audiences will appreciate. The series re-visits the mystery of the Nazca lines, the alleged alien influence on America’s founding, and the Nazis’ attempt at time travel in its first season. It also goes into more depth, examining the potential link between alien life and some of the world’s most legendary creatures in Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. There is also an examination into what is known as “The Roswell Rock.” The rock in question is a magnetized stone that was allegedly left behind by the military at the site of the infamous Roswell UFO crash site. This episode especially is certain to create discussion as it is shown just how easily the raised symbol on the rock could have been man-made. The examination of what makes the rock a natural magnet is even more interesting. On one side, it could easily argued that it just happened to be a natural phenomenon that someone found and used to carve the formation that appears on it. There are naturally occurring items such as “The Roswell Rock” out there. So it is sure to keep create its own share of discussion alongside the other episodes included in this season’s set. Whether it be for that single episode, any of the others or all of them together, the fact that these episodes balance familiar theories with less familiar theories is reason enough for any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast to check out In Search of Aliens Season One.

The mix of old and new theories that make up the whole of In Search Of Aliens Season One is within itself plenty of reason for ay sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast to check out this box set. The arguments expounded by host Giorgio Tsoukalos make for another reason for audiences to check out this collection of episodes. Given, some of his theories seem far-fetched. But others do leave some room for thought. Many of his arguments are made through interviews with “experts” in specific fields related to each topic. In the case of the legendary Nazca lines, his interview with a construction expert reveals how the iconic “mountaintop landing strip” would have entailed countless blast operations, paving and much more over the course of two to three decades at least. Considering that and what looks obviously like a modern set of airport runways, one can’t deny that the possibility of something other than humans was responsible for its construction. On the other hand, the episode centered on “The Roswell Rock” leaves plenty of room for doubt. It is shown just how easy it would have been re-create the symbol on the rock. What’s more, if the man who owned the rock came out as having it, wouldn’t the government have come in and taken it at some point? Even more worth noting is that naturally occurring items such as the magnetic rock have been found around the world. So for Tsoukalos to just say, “oh it’s alien, I don’t care what anyone says!” is a bit close-minded. The theories and arguments raised in Season One’s other episodes are sure to generate their own share of discussion. The discussion in question coupled with Tsoukalos’ theories and arguments show even more why any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will appreciate the first season of In Search of Aliens.

The episodes that make up the first season of In Search of Aliens and the theories and arguments therein make for plenty of reason for sci-fi fans and UFO enthusiasts alike to check out this recently released box set. While the theories and arguments raised in each episode help move the episodes along, the video and graphic illustrations used to ground each theory and argument play theory own part in the episodes’ enjoyment. In the case of the episode centering on the Nazi time travel experiment, audiences are presented the sight of the experiments. There is also footage showing Tsoukalos with a group of scientists who test the bell-shaped craft allegedly created by the Nazis for their time travel experiments. that is set alongside footage of the spacecraft used by NASA over the years. It makes a good case for the possibility of some influence from somewhere. And in presenting the case of the Nazca lines, audiences are presented a graphic illustration as part of the argument for its link to extraterrestrials that will definitely have some audiences talking. A CG graphic is shown, illustrating the efforts that would had to have been taken in terms of blasting, etc. to make the mountaintop “landing strip” become a reality. Seeing first hand what was being explained makes the amount of work really mind boggling especially considering how long ago the landing strip and figures around it were crafted. The illustrations incorporated into this season’s episodes make them just as interesting in their own right, too. The end result of the collective illustrations, the arguments and theories themselves is a group of episodes that is a solid extension of Ancient Aliens and a series that has the potential to stand on its own two feet in the long run. It is a group of episodes that any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will happily welcome into their own home DVD library.

Whether it be for the theories familiar and new to audiences, the arguments tied in to the theories or the video and graphics used to illustrate said arguments and theories, all three elements noted make In Search of Aliens a collection of episodes that any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast will want to see at least once. The episodes included in this season re-introduce the topics covered through the current eight season-run of Ancient Aliens. The theories and arguments within each episode are sure to create their own share of discussion among skeptics and true believers alike. And the combination of graphics and video used to illustrate each theory and argument helps to advance each episode even more, thus keeping audiences engaged. The combination of all of the noted elements makes this collection a welcome addition to the library of any sci-fi fan and UFO enthusiast regardless of whether or not it gets picked up for a second season. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online at More information on this and other series from History and H2 is available online at:




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Ancient Aliens Box Set Is An Out Of This World Collection

Ancient Aliens The Complete Seasons 1 - 6The truth is out there.  Or is it?  For ages, people have claimed that beings from other worlds have visited Earth.  Those people have been knocked as nutjobs, crackpots, and much worse, much like those that have any belief in the paranormal.  What if there is something to their arguments, though?  What if beings from other worlds—aliens—have not only visited but have been here all along and have even played a role in the countless advances made by mankind for eons?  History Channel and H2’s hit series Ancient Aliens has pondered these questions for six seasons.  And the series’ seventh season is airing now on H2.  The series’ first six seasons run primarily right now on H2.  However, they do also run on History Channel at seemingly various times.  This can be a little bit troublesome for those that want to catch the series.  Thankfully, Lionsgate and History Channel are releasing the first six seasons in one complete box set for audiences tomorrow, November 11th.  Now audiences can see the series’ first six seasons anytime that they want.  That is the first and most important aspect of what makes this brand new box set a good addition to the collection of any of the series’ fans.  The episodes themselves are more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this box set.  Even if the episodes don’t win over everyone, one thing that can be said of them is that many of them will leave even the harshest skeptics questioning the world and the universe.  In direct connection to the content of the episodes included in this box set is the inclusion of twelve episodes that are new to DVD.  Each of these aspects by themselves make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1 – 6 well worth adding to the collection of any sci-fi fan and any hardcore believer.  Collectively, they make this box set one of the best new box sets to binge on this weekend or any time this winter as the weather gets colder.

Ancient Aliens has proven to be quite the surprise for History Channel and its digital “sister station” H2.  Very few people expected this series to last more than one season when it premiered on History Channel back in 2009.  Since that time, it has gone on to be one of the networks’ biggest hits.  The problem is that not everybody gets H2.  And those that have History have to largely speculate as to when the network will run episodes.  This is a big problem for the show’s fans.  Enter the brand new six-season box set from Lionsgate and History Channel.  Six of the series’ current seven seasons are spread across twenty-three discs.  While the packaging is a little bit questionable, it is still nice to have them all in one place.  Having them all culled in one box means that audiences can watch any of the episodes anytime they want.  They can even binge on all six seasons without needing Netflix or any other streaming service.  That in itself is a huge plus as it’s an alternative both to cable AND streaming services.  So kudos are in order for both Lionsgate and History Channel for that.

The presentation of Ancient Aliens’ first six seasons in one box is by itself an important part of the box’s overall success.  It means being able to watch any episode from the series’ first six season any time that viewers want.  For those that so choose, it even means getting to do lots of binge watching since that seems to be something of a movement now.  And they can do so without the need for Netflix or any other streaming service.  By direct connection, the episodes themselves are just as important to the overall presentation that is Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1- 6.  From aliens beneath the sea to ancient alien treasures to the alleged genetic link between humans and aliens, audiences get plenty of interesting material.  Some of the stories and theories presented across the series’ six season set are thought provoking, while others are obviously rather laughable.  Regardless, the topics and concepts discussed across the set’s six seasons and eighty-two total episodes are enough to leave even the harshest critics at least questioning at a little bit the world and universe around them even if they still remain skeptical.  The fact that these episodes could leave even the harshest of nonbelievers questioning things even a little bit is quite a statement in favor of these episodes.  It is one more reason for any viewer(s) to pick up this brand new box set.

The episodes that make up Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 are rather interesting to say the least.  Again, some of the topics and theories discussed leave a lot of room for discussion.  Others on the other hand are less likely to have audiences believing.  The very fact that the episodes in whole will leave even the harshest critics questioning the world and the universe (even a little) is a major positive for this box set. Speaking of the episodes culled for the box set, also included are twelve previously unreleased episodes. Those episodes all come from the series’ sixth season. They have not been released on the previously released stand-alone Season Six box sets. That means roughly twelve hours of deep, thought provoking material that was previously unavailable to audiences. It means twelve more hours of conspiracy theories, cover ups and supposedly hidden history that sci-fi fans and alien enthusiasts will love.

The bonus addition of twelve previously unreleased episodes coupled with the series’ already released episodes makes Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 a great gift idea for any sci-fi fan or alien enthusiast. The very topics and theories discussed within every one of the set’s eighty-two total episodes makes this set even more worth the watch for its key audiences. And the fact that they are all combined into one single box set makes the deal even sweeter. Each factor alone makes this set a must for any fan of what has become one of History and H2’s most surprising series. Collectively, they make Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1 – 6 an *ahem* out of this world gift for any lover of all things extraterrestrial. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. It will be available tomorrow, November 11th in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at More information on this and other History Channel Series is available online at:





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