‘The Flintstones’ Specials & Movies Set Is Enjoyable But Imperfect

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/Warner Home Video/WWE/Hanna-barbera

Hanna-Barbera’s animated series The Flintstones is a timeless franchise.  The show ran for a total of six seasons over the course of more than five years.  It also produced a handful of movies and TV specials, some of which proved more memorable than others of course.  The series has remained in syndication to at least some extent or another since its inception, and is readily available on separate standalone and full series sets, while its movies have been less available.  Early last month, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Home Video addressed that concern with a new collection of The Flintstones animated features.  Titled simply 2 Movies & 5 Specials, (which is problematic in itself), the collection is a mostly positive presentation, though is imperfect.  To the positive, the majority of the animated features are among the most well-known of the property’s most well-known and beloved.  There’s even one lesser-known but still enjoyable presentation featured as part of the collection.  For all that the inclusion of those features does for the set’s presentation, the inclusion of one other detracts notably in its own way, as does the complete lack of effort in titling the collection.  Keeping all of this in mind, the one other positive to this set is its average price point.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make the set a presentation that even with its negatives is still a collection that devotees of The Flintstones will welcome in their home video libraries.

The Flintstones 2 Movies & 5 Specials is a presentation that the most devoted fans of Hanna-Barbera’s beloved TV family will welcome into their home video libraries.  That is due in part to its featured specials and movies, the majority of which are well-known and beloved.  The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones is included in the collection, as are the equally well-known I Yabba-Dabba Do in which Pebbles and Bam-Bam finally get married, bringing together the Flintstones and the Rubbles at long last.  Even the 1993 special Hollyrock-A-Bye Baby is featured as part of the collection’s body.  It is in this prime-time special that Pebbles and Bam Bam become parents themselves, continuing their families’ collective lineage.  As if that is not enough, the lesser-known 1978 special Little Big League — which pits Fred and Barney against one another as opposing little league baseball coaches – and The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone – a Halloween-themed episode that finds Fred having to save Wilma from the clutches of Drac…er…Rockula —  are also part of the set.  This collection marks the first time ever that the noted classic specials have ever been released in one single box set.  The 2012 DVD collections from Hanna-Barbera were not official releases.  The specials were placed onto DVD-R discs in on-demand sets.  What’s more, those on-demand DVD-R sets were released separately, meaning audiences had to spend more money to own them in any fashion.  This plays into the set’s other major positive, its average price point, which will be discussed later.  Having all of these classics together in one official set for the first time is very much a selling point for the set.  Of course there is one other “movie” included in the collection that greatly detracts from that presentation.  That “movie” is the WWE-themed presentation Stone Age Smackdown.

Stone Age Smackdown was created through a partnership between Hanna-Barbera, Warner Home Video and WWE.  The “movie” is clearly little more than a cash grab for all involved.  It finds Fred trying to get his family’s vacation money back (after losing it himself) by creating a stone age wrestling mega event.  WWE superstars, such as John Cena, The Undertaker, and Mark Henry all provided their vocal talents to the direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray “movie.”  Its inclusion in place of another more well-known and beloved classic Flintstones special — A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994) – is bewildering.  Sure, A Flintstones Christmas Carol is just one more take on author Charles Dickens’ timeless novel, but there is still a certain heart to the holiday special because it takes a unique approach to the story.  It makes Fred a real Scrooge and Wilma the real star when everyone starring in Bedrock’s annual presentation of A Christmas Carol falls ill with “The Bedrock Bug.”  This use of a community putting on A Christmas Carol and making its lead into its own Scrooge is something that few if any adaptations of A Christmas Carol have done.   Stone Age Smackdown by comparison is clearly aimed at a very specific audience group.  Along with that, that it is aimed at a very specific audience base, it completely breaks up the sense of nostalgia and warm family messages featured in the other stories.  It really should have been omitted in favor of the noted holiday special (and maybe even its companion bonus holiday episode of The Flintstones).  Luckily, even with all of this noted, audiences do have the option to not watch that awful WWE-themed “movie” and the holiday specials are available on their own readily available standalone official DVD.  So the collection is not a total failure to that end.  It is not the set’s only con.  The fact that the set’s title is so lacking in any selling value detracts from its presentation, too.

The title of the new Flintstones specials and movies set is very simple:  2 Movies & 5 Specials.  The very use of the numbers hurts the title.  If it had stuck just with Movies & Specials, it would have worked, but that use of the numbers just does not work.  That is because the lines of what is defined a “special” and a “movie” are so blurred nowadays.  Case in point for comparison are the Peanuts primetime TV specials.  The only pure movie that has been produced from that property is The Peanuts specials.  The “Happiness Is…” DVDs and Blu-rays are just specials.  All of the classic holiday presentations are specials, not movies.  Taking that into account, the collection’s title does not ruin its presentation, but it cannot be ignored.  Together with the inclusion of that noted WWE-themed “movie,” this collection suffers plenty, but is not completely unwatchable.  They are just more examples of how the people at Warner Home Video continue to this day to come up short in their home releases.  The company has failed with its Hats Off To Doctor Seuss collection, its unnecessary recent re-issue of the Batman Beyond complete series set, some of its Tiny Toon Adventures DVD sets, the Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 set, and even its 2014 released Flintstones Kids collection.  Keeping that in mind, even with its failings, this set is not a complete failure.  It does have at least one other positive in the form of its average price range.

The average price range for The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials is $14.87.  That price is obtained by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million.  Amazon and Walmart offer the least expensive listing at $9.96.  Target and Best Buy each list the set at $14.99, just above the noted average price point.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million have the set listed respectively at $19.31 and $19.98.  They are the retailers for audiences to avoid while the others still give audiences plenty of options.  Those four relatively affordable price options couple with the overall positive content to show why that financial aspect is so important to this set’s presentation.  Even with the one confusing addition to the set in the form of Stone Age Smackdown, that price is still a point that audiences will find appealing in its own right.  Hopefully one day, this collection will get its own re-issue with the Flintstones Christmas Carol in place of that awful WWE “movie.”  Until then though, this set is still a positive presentation for any true devotee of The Flintstones.

The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials is a positive but imperfect presentation from Warner Home Video, Hanna-Barbera and WWE.  It succeeds in large part because of the inclusion of so many classic Flintstones movies and TV specials.  They reach all the way back to 1966 and all the way up to 1993.  For all of the good that those specials do for the set’s presentation, its one modern “movie,” 2015’s Stone Age Smackdown detracts considerably.  Thankfully it does not make the set a failure, since audiences do not have to watch that forgettable presentation.  The set’s title detracts from its presentation, too, but not so much that it makes the set unwatchable, either.  Considering that there is more positive content featured in this collection than bad, the average price point of less than $15 proves itself a positive investment for families.  That item, considered with the overall content, makes The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials a welcome addition to the home DVD library of any devotee of The Flintstones.  More information on the DVD is available along with all of the latest Flintstones news at http://www.facebook.com/TheFlintstones.

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Presenters, Attendees Announced For 2016 ESPYS Broadcast

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Next Wednesday night is the biggest night of the year for the sports world.  That is when ESPN hands out its annual sports awards, the ESPYS.  It was previously announced that WWE Superstar John Cena will serve as host of this year’s gala.  And now more information has finally been revealed about the big show.

Organizers with The ESPYS have finally made official the early list of presenters and attendees for this year’s ESPYS broadcast.  The presenters scheduled to appear at this year’s awards broadcast is (in alphabetical order): Chris Berman (ESPN Sportscaster), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors),Skylar Diggins (Dallas Wings), Lisa Leslie (retired WNBA player), David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe), Usher Raymond IV (Hands of Stone) Lindsey Vonn (American World Skier), Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls), JJ Watt (Houston Texans) and Zendaya, among others.

The celebrities and athletes that are currently expected to appear at the ESPYS includes but is not limited to: Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys), Kobe Bryant (retired NBA player), Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals), Kerri Walsh Jennings (professional beach volleyball player), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Sydney Leroux (FC Kansas City), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Peyton Manning(retired NFL player), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), Danica Patrick (NASCAR driver), JR Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers), Abby Wambach(retired professional soccer player).

Along with all of the regular awards and other happenings, there will also be a very special tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who just recently passed away.  NBA legend and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Adbul-Jabar will be part of the tribute.  Crown and the M.O.B. will be the house band for the length of the broadcast.  There will also be a special performance by Andra Day.

The ESPYS will air next Wednesday night on ABC at 8pm ET.  It marks the second consecutive year that the annual awards gala has been held on ABC.  It will be televised live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  More information about this year’s ESPYS broadcast is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/espys/2016

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPYS

 

 

 

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John Cena Tapped To Host 2016 ESPY Awards

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Champ. Is. HERE!  Or he will be.

WWE superstar and 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena has been announced as the host of the 2016 ESPY Awards.  The appointment marks the first time that Cena has ever served as emcee for the network’s annual awards program.  Cena was humble in discussing being named as this year’s emcee opting instead to discuss those who the program honors and its philanthropic roots.  “It is truly an honor to be named host of The 2016 ESPYS,” he said.  “Not only will the biggest names in sports and entertainment come together to recognize some of the most spectacular athletic performances of the year, but we’ll also raise funds for The V Foundation to further much-needed cancer research.”  ESPYS Executive Producer Maura Mandt noted Cena’s celebrity and the positive impact that he has in and out of the ring in discussing his appointment.  “John is not only a superstar athlete and entertainer, but also a motivational force who inspires fans across the globe,” she said.  “John approaches all of his endeavors with energy, enthusiasm and passion so we expect him to bring a new level of excitement to the night’s celebration.”

Along with being one of the top names in WWE today, Cena is also host and executive producer of FOX’s new reality competition series American Grit.  That is just one of his credits outside the ring.  He has also made appearances in the hit comedies Trainwreck and Sisters.  Along with all of that, Cena also works extensively with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  He is the foundation’s most requested wish granter and has more than lived up to expectations, having granted some 500 wishes.  He was recently recognized by the USO Metro as the recipient of the organization’s 2016 Legacy of Achievement Award.  As if all of this isn’t enough, Cena is also deeply involved in Susan G. Komen and its efforts to research and fight breast cancer.

The 2016 ESPN ESPY Awards will air live on ABC Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm ET from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.  It raises more than $1 million annual for The V Foundation, which was originally established by ESPN and Jim Valvano in order to promote cancer research.  Tickets for the ESPY Awards can be purchased online at AXS.com.  More information on The ESPY Awards is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/espys

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPYS

 

 

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.