PBS To Release Third Classic Reading Rainbow Compilation This Winter

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Reading Rainbow (the classic Reading Rainbow) returns again this winter with another new collection of classic episodes.

PBS and PBS Distribution will release Reading Rainbow: Miss Nelson is Back in stores and online on Tuesday, January 12th. The series’ latest collection of classic episodes, its third so far, this collection will include four more classic episodes. Each episode will be presented in its entirety exactly as it was presented in its original broadcast. In this latest collection LeVar meets famed magician Harry Blackstone while comedian/actress Ruth Buzzi reads the timeless children’s book Miss Nelson Is Back. The story, written by James Marshall and Henry Allard, follows its title character as she pretends to be out sick, only to return as the vile Viola Swamp in order to get her students to behave. Little do they know that Viola is in fact Miss Nelson. That is just one of the great stories featured in this collection. Naomi Judd reads Our Big Home, which connects to LeVar’s trip to the United Nations. The two work together to discuss how everyone in the world is connected and it turn presents a message about peace. Veteran actress Helen Mirren is also included in this collection as she reads How To Make Apple Pie and See the World. This story follows a woman who goes to great lengths in order to get the ingredients that she needs for an apple pie. Those lengths tie this episode back in to the previous episode in which LeVar takes a trip to the United Nations building in New York. In the set’s final episode, young audiences get to go on a train ride with LeVar while actor Brian Dennehy reads Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express. As with the previous episode, one could argue that this episode ties into its predecessor considering the travelling. The episode’s featured story follows its title character as she witnesses a train crash and has to rush to the nearest train station to get help. All four episodes are just as great for today’s youth as for those that were themselves kids in the episodes’ original broadcasts. And audiences of all ages can watch them together when the DVD is released in stores and online on Tuesday, January 12th.

Reading Rainbow: Miss Nelson is Back will retail for MSRP of $6.99. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=80523506&cp=&kw=reading+rainbow+miss+nelson+is+back&origkw=reading+rainbow+miss+nelson+is+back&sr=1. More information on this and other titles from PBS and PBS Distribution is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pbs

 

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PBS Kids’ Second Reading Rainbow Collection Will Hopefully Not Be Its Last

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

PBS’ programming has changed a lot over the years since the network first hit the air. Through all of the changes in its programming lineup, there have been some shows that have remained fan favorites among the network’s legions of fans. Those shows include the likes of Wishbone, Sesame Street, and Reading Rainbow are just a few of those shows. There are plenty of other classics that remain favorites among audiences today. The specifically noted shows are just a few of the network’s most popular series to date. The latter of that trio of series went off the air almost ten years ago. Though, it did make its somewhat triumphant return online roughly a year or so ago much to the surprise and even dismay of some. Thankfully for those hoping for its return to television, PBS Kids and BS Distribution released a pair of DVDs this summer containing a handful of classic Reading Rainbow episodes. The first of the DVDs, Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, was released this past May. The second collection, Reading Rainbow: Animal Café, was released June 30th. This collection is even more of a must have for long-time Reading Rainbow fans as the prior release. The main reason for this is its episodes. Three of the collection’s four episodes originally aired in 1985. That was when Reading Rainbow was still very much in its infancy. Older audiences will get a sense of nostalgia watching those episodes. That is especially the case in seeing the fashions from that era as well as hearing the music and the show’s overall production values. The episodes themselves are just part of what makes Reading Rainbow: Animal Café enjoyable for audiences. Some of the books teach even more invaluable lessons and others present some simple, enjoyable stories that will put a smile on any viewer’s face. Last but not least that makes this latest collection of episodes so fun for the whole family is the “teaching guide” included with the set. The “guide” serves as a starting point for teachers and parents alike to present lessons about ecology, conservation, and simply giving thanks. It is a great addition that can go a long way for teachers and parents alike. And together with the set’s episodes and their content contained therein, it makes the collection complete. It works with those elements to make this collection one more than every family should have in their home DVD library.

Reading Rainbow: Animal Café is only the second official collection of classic Reading Rainbow episodes to be released by PBS Distribution since the series went off the air in 2006. That is saying quite a bit. Being only the second official collection released from the one-time home of the family favorite series, it proves itself to be one more welcome new collection and hopefully not the last either. It proves itself so valuable primarily through its featured episodes. Four more classic episodes are presented in the body of the DVD. Three of those episodes come from 1985. That is the when the series was still in its infancy. It would have only been on the air for two years at that time. And it shows through the fashions and music in each episode as well as the hairstyles and production values. It might leave some audiences laughing including the series’ now grown-up original viewers looking back on how much things have changed since then. In the process, looking back at the days gone by, watching these episodes may even create a sense of nostalgia for those same audiences. It will remind those audiences of what once made PBS great and by comparison what still makes it so great even today. The children of those viewers will enjoy the episodes not for the nostalgia but for the general content of the episodes. They and their parents will all enjoy LeVar’s comedy makeover and classic slapstick routine in connection with the book Ludlow Laughs. The “Rainbow Classic” bicycle race set against the beautiful, tropical backdrop of Hawaii in the collection’s second episode and the race itself will entertain audiences of all ages just as much. And the throwback to New York City of the 1980s is still as relevant today as it was in 1985. That is because there are still people both there and across the country that work overnight. So it is still just as worthwhile an episode today as it was in its original broadcast. It is just one more example of what makes the episodes featured in this collection so important to the success of the set’s presentation in whole. Together with the collection’s other episodes, all four episodes show in whole why they are so important to the success and enjoyment of Reading Rainbow: Animal Café.

The episodes featured in PBS Kids’ latest Reading Rainbow collection do plenty to make this new collection a must have for any of the show’s original fans and for the next generation of Reading Rainbow fans. They are collectively only one part of what makes this latest collection so enjoyable for the whole family. The content of the episodes and the books presented in relation to the episodes make for even more enjoyment. The episode centered on The Tortoise and the Hare teaches the invaluable lesson of perseverance and hard work and its related results while Giving Thanks teaches exactly that. It teaches young viewers to be appreciative of everything that they have. Being that we seemingly live increasingly in a me first world today, this is an especially important lesson for young viewers to learn. Such a timeless lesson is yet another example of why audiences of all ages will appreciate this latest collection of Reading Rainbow episodes. Set against the collection’s more straight forward, fun-filled episodes, the material featured in all four episodes makes this collection all the more enjoyable. Collectively, all of the material presented in each of the disc’s four episodes shows just as much as the episodes themselves why this latest collection is a must have for Reading Rainbow fans of all ages.

The episodes that were chosen for Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe and the material contained therein are both key reasons that audiences of all ages will want to add this latest Reading Rainbow collection to their home DVD libraries. They are not the only reasons that audiences will appreciate it, either. Along with the centrally featured episodes, Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe also includes a “teaching guide” of sorts inside the DVD’s case. The “teaching guide” serves as a good starting point for teachers and parents alike. That is because it forms a foundation for the lessons presented throughout each of the presented episodes. Teachers and parents can drive home the lessons of Giving Thanks by having children form a “cleanup party” that with permission from a city or town government, would clean up designated areas of said town or city. The lessons presented by The Tortoise and the Hare are driven home by presenting an interactive activity that would see children grow their own plants. It would teach them the rewards of patience, hard work, and perseverance. There are even activities included in the “guide” that give parents and educators a starting point to teach children about appreciating not just Earth but all that Earth has to offer in its natural beauty. Teachers and parents could go from here and build lessons about appreciating other things (or people) that children have. As if that is not enough, there is also a lesson that lets children make their own pots just like the Native Americans presented in “Giving Thanks.” Each of the lessons in themselves offers its own enjoyment for adults and children alike. Together, they provide yet one more solid reason that this DVD should be in every living room and classroom even despite the episodes’ ages. And when set alongside the episodes themselves and the episodes’ content in whole, all three elements together show in whole why Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe is not just another must have for any family and educator but one of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families.

Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe is one of this year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It proves this through the combination of its episodes, their featured content and the DVD’s companion “lesson guide.” Whether used in the classroom or the living room, it proves to have something for audiences of all ages and will no matter how many times viewers watch it. Audiences can only hope that it will not be the last of PBS Kids’ Reading Rainbow compilations to see the light of day. With any luck it and its companion DVD Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie will prove successful enough that maybe PBS Kids and PBS Distribution will release this classic series in its own standalone season sets rather than smaller four-episode collections. Time will tell. And while audiences wait to see if anymore classic Reading Rainbow episodes will see the light of day, they can purchase this DVD in stores or order it online now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=60650596&cp=&sr=1&kw=reading+rainbow&origkw=Reading+Rainbow&parentPage=search. More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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PBS Kids’ New Reading Rainbow DVD Shines As Brightly As A Rainbow

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Reading Rainbow is one of the greatest programs to ever be included as part of PBS’ daily broadcast lineup. The pro-literacy program ran as part of the network’s daily lineup for some twenty-three years, running from June 6th, 1983 to November 10th, 2006. Considering its long and largely successful run, it was a shock to most audiences when the program ended. Even more of a shock was the announcement in 2014 that a Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding Reading Rainbow’s return was underway. Sadly, it turned out that while the fundraiser was way more than successful, Reading Rainbow’s return was online only rather than on PBS. One can only guess why this was the case. Thankfully though, PBS came through for fans of the beloved series this year and released two volumes of episodes from the classic series on DVD in the form of Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe. The prior of the pair was released this past May in stores and online. This DVD is one that audiences of all ages will appreciate; especially the show’s original audiences. The main reason that audiences will appreciate this disc is that it presents four classic episodes of the series in their entirety. It’s the first time that they have seen the light of day, too. The stories and related central topics featured in each episode are just as important to the whole of its presentation. Last but hardly least worth noting of these episodes is the work of host Levar Burton. Burton was just as wonderful of a host in these episodes as he was early in the series’ run. Simply put, his presence in front of the camera felt just as genuine in these episodes as in the show’s early episodes. All three elements combined, they show PBS Kids’ new Reading Rainbow DVD to be one more welcome addition to any family’s home DVD collection.

PBS Kids’ new Reading Rainbow DVD When You Give A Mouse A Cookie is one of the most welcome DVDs to be released by the network so far this year. It is a piece that audiences of all ages are sure to enjoy. That is especially the case in a digital age in which children are being increasingly driven away from books and more towards all things computers. This collection of classic Reading Rainbow episodes is anchored by the episodes themselves. Audiences will note in watching these episodes that PBS Kids and PBS Distribution have presented them in their entirety complete with feature story and book reviews by a select group of young readers. Obviously those young readers are much older by now. That aside, the fact that PBS Kids and PBS Distribution would go to such lengths for audiences is a bold statement. All four episodes have also obviously been tweaked in terms of their production values. While the original, grainy look of the episodes is still clear, it isn’t overpowering. The audio mix is just as impressive. All things considered here, all four episodes featured in Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie will impress the series’ original just as much as the episodes’ first-time viewers. It will remind those older audiences what once made this series so great. It will also show those younger viewers what continues to make it great even today.

The presentation of the four episodes featured in Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie in their entirety is plenty of reason for any family to add this new DVD to their home DVD library. The episodes are presented complete with feature story, book reviews and everything else in their original presentation will impress the series’ original audiences just as much as its younger, first-time viewers. It is just one reason that this DVD stands out in this year’s crop of new DVDs for children and families. The content presented in each episode is just as important to the compilation as the episodes’ presentation. The disc’s title episode teaches young readers about chain reactions through the use If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. There is also an invaluable lesson about never being too old to learn new things in the set’s closing episode, featuring the book Mr. George Baley. And in Owen, the episode’s title book centers an equally important discussion on changes that come along in life and accepting said changes. That is not to discount Two Old Potatoes and Me. Even this book and episode collectively teach their own important lesson, too. Regardless of which episode one chooses, there is not one bad episode presented here. All four episodes will entertain older audiences and educate younger audiences regardless of their ages. not all four will educate audiences the same ages. but there is still something for nearly every viewer presented here. That being the case, it gives Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie a DVD that was well worth the wait.

The presentation of the episodes featured in Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and the content of the episodes together makes this DVD one that every family will want to have in their homes and should have in their homes. Of course for all of the importance that both elements present in this argument, there is still one more reason that audiences will and should have this DVD in their home collections. That reason is host Levar Burton’s presence. Audiences that are familiar with this classic series will note that the episodes presented here were lifted from the latter portion of the show’s run. That being the case, it would have been so easy for Burton to simply phone it in in each episode. Yet even so late in the show’s run he didn’t do that. He still came across as being just as genuine in his personality as in the show’s early days. His short PSA of sorts at the end of the disc noting the importance of teaching children to read shows that he was being serious in his on-screen persona, too. He really did then and does now care about children’s literacy and even that of their adult counterparts. It’s nice to see that he wasn’t and isn’t like all of those other children’s hosts (and hosts in general) that take that easy road. It makes each of the disc’s episodes that much more enjoyable. Together with the episodes’ content and their full presentation, this final element/reason rounds out the reasons that Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is such a wonderful new release from PBS Kids and PBS Distribution. It is so wonderful that audiences of all ages will agree that it should be in every family’s home DVD collection along with its companion disc Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe. That disc will be discussed next week.

Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is one of the most welcome DVDs that PBS Kids and PBS Distribution have released so far this year. The fact that all four episodes presented in this disc are shown in their entirety just as they appeared in their original broadcasts is plenty of reason in itself for any family to purchase it. The content presented in each episode makes the compilation in whole al the more worth the purchase. And seeing Burton’s genuine approach so late in the series’ run in these episodes, audiences will agree that this element of the presentation is just as important as its other elements. All three elements combined, they show clearly why Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is one of this year’s most welcome new releases from PBS Kids and PBS Distribution, and potentially one of the year’s best new DVDs for kids and family to be released this year overall.

Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is one of the most welcome new DVDs to be released by PBS Kids and PBS Distribution so far this year. It is also one of the best new DVDs for kids and family overall this year. That is thanks to the presentation of its featured episodes in their entirety and to the content of said episodes. Host LeVar Burton’s on screen persona in these is just as genuine as in the series’ early days, too. It rounds out the reasons that every family will want to and should have this DVD in their home DVD collections. Reading Rainbow: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is available now in stores and online. It can ordered online direct from PBS’ online store now at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=60958876&cp=&sr=1&kw=reading+rainbow&origkw=Reading+Rainbow&parentPage=search. More information on this and other releases from PBS Kids is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbskids.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS

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Return Of The Heroes Is A Welcome Return For The Transformers Rescue Bots

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

In just a few weeks, Shout! Factory Kids will release its latest collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit series Transformers Rescue Bots. Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes will be released Tuesday, May 12th in stores and online. Whether viewers are familiar with this family friendly incarnation of Hasbro’s beloved Transformers franchise or not, it can be said that it proves just as enjoyable for first time viewers as for those that are more familiar with the series. The main reason for this is the writing behind each of the collection’s five episodes. The stories themselves are tried and true. There are also smaller elements of the writing such as the dialogue that makes the episodes just as entertaining. The series’ animation remains the same in these episodes. Though, there is one episode in which the show’s animators get to show off their talents a little more as Blades and Cody enter a virtual reality video game. Audiences will enjoy this slight change of pace from the animation that they have become so accustomed to seeing from the series. It’s one more positive to the whole of this set that makes it worth the addition to any Transformers fan’s collection regardless of his or her age. Last but not least of all worth noting of this latest release is the work of the voice cast once again. LeVar Burton, Jason Marsden, Mauriche LeMarche and company are spot on in each episode as are the actors responsible for bringing the Rescue Bots to life. All three elements make this new collection of episodes a hit for Transformers fans of any age. Collectively, all three elements show why once again, Shout! Factory Kids, along with Discovery Family and Hasbro Studios, has released another DVD that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new releases for children and families in Transformers Rescue BotsReturn of the Heroes.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Return Of The Heroes is another welcome return for Shout! Factory Kids and for this hit series from Hasbro Studios and Discovery Family. The main, and strongest, reason that it is such a welcome return is its writing. This applies not just to the episodes culled for the disc but for the actual writing within the episodes, too. The episodes themselves present plot lines that are tried and true. There is the standard plot line of the good guys being brainwashed in “Rise of the Heroes.” In “Bot To The Future,” audiences see the Rescue Bots, along with Cody go back in time and set things right so that their original timeline can be re-established and the bad guy defeated. “A Virtual Disaster” tackles the topic of technology gone awry as Blades and Cody go into a virtual video game, only to fin themselves trapped in the game after a freak accident. “Bumblebee To The Rescue,” the disc’s opening episode, sees Blades having an identity crisis of sorts when legendary Autobot Bumblee comes to Earth to investigate a meteorite crash that is affecting the Rescue Bots. Knowing Bumblebee’s legacy, Blades doesn’t like being rescued by him. He wants to prove to Bumblebee that he’s not helpless and to impress Bumblebee. These are stories that have been used plenty of times in any number of series before this one. But even used in this setting, the stories are still just as enjoyable as they were in those other shows. That could be because of the execution of each story line. The stories have been updated and adapted to the series to make them completely entertaining and in turn fully engaging.

The execution of the stories in this collection makes for plenty of enjoyment for audiences of all ages. On a deeper level, the writing within the episodes coupled with the execution of the stories themselves, makes for even more enjoyment. One example of how the writing within the episodes makes them more enjoyable can be pinpointed in the episode “A Virtual Disaster.” Before Blades ends up being caught in the virtual video game with Cody, he is helping rescue an unconscious skier on a mountainside. As he is hovering over the mountainside, Dani (Lacey Chabert) tells him he has made the exact same maneuver hundreds of times. Baldes’ reply to Dani: “Yeah, but not on a snow day.” His grasp of the term snow day is itself entertaining. At the same time, Heatwave makes a typical hero remark saying, “looks like it’s time to play in the snow.” If that line alone doesn’t get some laughs, then nothing will. Blades’ comment about whether or not Cody and his family are leading the Rescue Bots into a trap while they are brainwashed in “Rise of the Heroes” will get just as much of a laugh, considering his character’s worrywart personality. There is also Chase’s constant deadpan delivery about so many situations such as his inability to control his reactions in “Bumblebee to the Rescue.” He tells Cody and the others that he can’t move or control himself in any other way. This is linked directly to the work of the cast’s voicework, which will be discussed later. Again, his deadpan delivery at such an important situation makes for so many laughs. It’s one more example of how the writing within each of this collection’s episodes adds to the episodes themselves, proving once again why the writing incorporated into each of this set’s collection is so important to the whole of the disc and its enjoyment.

The writing incorporated into each of the disc’s presented episodes proves clearly both on n macro and micro level its importance to the whole of Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes. The writing is just as certain in this collection of episodes to entertain audiences of all ages and keep said audiences fully engaged throughout each episode. While the writing is pivotal to the enjoyment of this collection, it is just one part of what should be considered. The animation incorporated into the presented episodes should be noted, too. More specifically the animation incorporated into “A Virtual Disaster” should be noted. This episode is one of those rare times when those responsible for bringing the series to life artistically changed things up. Rather than using the artistic style used throughout the series, said individuals got to stretch their wings, utilizing a completely different artistic style. that style is used when Blades and Cody go into the virtual video game. It actually throws back to the days of hand drawn animation. That is evident from the definition of both Blades and Cody. Their color is much richer. And neither figure looks as rigid, stylistically speaking, as they do outside the game. Their look is more smooth for lack of better wording. The same can be said of their surroundings, too. Regardless of their familiarity with the series, viewers will clearly notice the difference in animation styles. It’s a nice, welcome change of pace especially for those that are more familiar with the series. And it makes for one more reason that audiences will enjoy this latest collection of episodes.

That writing and animation incorporated into Shout! Factory Kids’ new Transformers Rescue Bots collection each play their own important part in its enjoyment. For all of their importance, they are not the disc’s only positives. The work of the series’ voice cast once again makes for its own share of enjoyment once again. As already noted, Chase’s deadpan personality and Blades’ worrywart make quite the character contrast. D.C. Douglas’ and Parvesh Cheena’s handling of the two rescue bots respectively is to thank for that continued character style. The same can be said of Heatwave’s voice, Steve Blum. The actors have developed such a clear style with their characters. And it shows time and again as is evident in their dialogue within each of this collection’s episodes. Jason Marsden takes a slightly lesser role in these episodes. But even when he does get some screen time, actor Jason Marsden gets in his own laughs. By comparison, lead voice actor Elan Garfias keeps audiences engaged thanks to his work voicing Cody Burns. Cody is just as confident as ever in these episodes showing once again that one doesn’t have to be a grown up or even the tallest in order to be confident and a leader. Garias’ interpretation of Cody’s role in each script shows once again that even the smallest person can be the biggest on the inside. Yet again, whether for Garfias’ voice work or that of his cast mates, it can be argued with ease in watching these episodes that the work of the Transformers Rescue Bots cast plays just as important part in the enjoyment of these episodes as those presented in any of Shout! Factory Kids’ previous collections from the hit Discovery Family series.

The work of the voice cast in the episodes culled for Shout! Factory Kids’ new Transformers Rescue Bots collection is its own important part of the presentation’s whole. By itself, it only goes so ar in making the episodes worth the watch. The addition of the writing both on a macro and micro level adds even more enjoyment. And the rare break from the series’ standard animation in at least one episode shows the series’ potential even more. All three elements combined, they show exactly why Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes is one more collection from Shout! Factory Kids, Discovery Family and Hasbro Studios that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new releases for children and families. It will be available Tuesday, May 12th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-return-of-the-heroes at a discounted price of $13.93. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

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Transformers Fans Of All Ages Will Enjoy Shout! Factory Kids’ Latest Rescue Bots DVD

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory Kids will release the latest addition to its kid friendly Transformers series Transformers Rescue Bots this Tuesday, February 10th. Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is the sixth of the series’ collections released by Shout! Factory Kids and Hasbro Studios. Five previous collections having already been released, it is common sense that this DVD is just as worth the watch as the series’ previously released compilations. The central reason that it proves to be just as worth the watch as its predecessors is the collection of episodes chosen for the single-disc presentation. Six more episodes have been culled for the set starting with the series premiere “Family of Heroes.” The set also pulls in a second episode from Season One in the form of “Return of the Dinobot” that presents a Dinobot unlike anything most audiences know of from the Transformers’ previous incarnations. There is also a two-part episode from Season 2 and a pair of stand-alone episodes also from Season 2 to complement. All six episodes together make for plenty of enjoyment for Transformers fans of all ages. The same can be said of the writing behind each episode. Whether in the series premiere, the included two-part episode from Season 2, or for the remaining pair of episode, the writing in these episodes is to thank for their enjoyment. And last but hardly least worth noting of these episodes is work of the series’ all-star cast. Veteran actors LeVar Burton (Star Trek The Next Generation, Reading Rainbow, Captain Planet and the Planeteers), Jason Marsden (The Fairly Oddparents, The Garfield Show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold), and Mauriche LeMarche (The Simpsons, Futurama, Animaniacs) are joined by the likes of Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, Sean Saves the World, A To Z), Steve Blum (Digimon: Digital Monsters, The Boxtrolls, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie), and Elan Garfias (Handy Manny, Chowder, Ni Hao Kai-Lam) among other names. And the interpretation of the episodes’ scripts rounds out the reasons that these episodes are so enjoyable. Regardless of the cast members’ level of experience, nothing but professionalism was shown in each episode, making easier suspension of disbelief and in turn the overall enjoyment of the episodes. By itself, the work of the cast in each of these episodes makes for its own level of enjoyment among audiences. Together with the work of the series’ writers and those charged with assembling the episodes, all three elements make Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure a great adventure for Transformers fans of all ages.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is not the first collection of episodes that Shout! Factory Kids has released from Discovery Family’s family friendly update on Hasbro’s classic franchise following everyone’s favorite robots in disguise. It is however a fully enjoyable collection of episodes. It is a fully enjoyable collection both for those that are and those that are not so familiar with the series. The central reason for that enjoyment is the collection of episodes pulled for the DVD. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, every one of the series’ fans finally gets to see how the series started thanks to the inclusion of its premiere episode to open the whole thing. Audiences also get to see the writers’ vision of at least one of the legendary Dinobots as well as other early adventures of the Rescue Bots. The collection in whole offer loads of action and laughs for Transformers fans of all ages. The episodes by themselves offer loads of action and laughs for the whole family. That is thanks to the adventures that make up each episode. Keeping in that vein, the writing behind each of the episodes is to thank for making each episode so enjoyable.

The writing that went into each of the episodes on this DVD is just as noteworthy as the episodes themselves in considering what makes it so enjoyable. One way in which the writing proves so important is in the series’ premiere episode “Family of Heroes.” Audiences will note in this episode that at least one of the Rescue Bots—Heatwave—is not instantly fond of being on Earth. As a matter of fact, he would much rather take a mission on another planet than deal with humans who want to control them. Obviously they aren’t really trying to control the Rescue Bots. And eventually, Heatwave overcomes his mistrust as Cody and his family prove that they can be trusted. Yes, it’s a tried and true story element used in so many other series and movies. But especially in the case of this series, it’s interesting to see that things don’t start out with a full-on “happy-happy-joy-joy” vibe for the Rescue Bots or for the humans in terms of their relationship. It is just one example of why the writing in these episodes makes them so enjoyable. The writing in the two-part episode “What Lies Below”/”What Rises Above” is another good example of why the writing behind the episodes makes them so enjoyable. It could even be argued to be the best example of the disc’s episodes in terms of its writing. That is because of the amount of material that went into the episode in whole. Chief Burns and his brother Woodrow (voiced here by Mark Hamill—Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series, Codename: Kids Next Door) have to come to terms with the tensions built between them ever since their childhood. At the same time, Heatwave exhibits his own personal growth as the leader of the Rescue Bots as he and Optimus Prime work to get back to the others and get out of the volcano. At the same time, the writers pay tribute to Jules Verne in this episode as a hidden prehistoric world is discovered along the way. Through the whole story, none of the noted elements overpowers the other. The end result is a story that easily keeps viewers fully engaged, wondering what will happen next. The writers’ tackling of myths in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest” and the classic theme of AI becoming sentient (and dangerously so at that) in “Movers and Shakers” is as enjoyable as any sci-fi story. Whether for the solid work on the DVD’s included two-part episode, the series’ premiere, or even that in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest,” the writing behind the episodes included on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure shows time and again why it is so pivotal to the overall enjoyment of the DVD. Together with the episodes selected for the compilation, both elements strengthen even more the argument in favor of this latest addition to the series’ already-released compilations.

The episodes tapped for inclusion on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure and the writing behind each episode make a strong argument in favor of this new DVD. The work of the series’ voice cast is just as worth mentioning in the overall enjoyment of these episodes. From the series premiere to the episodes that followed, the chemistry and professionalism between the cast is obvious. Considering the cast’s collective years of experience, that should come as no surprise. That’s especially the case with lead stars Jason Marsden and Mauriche LeMarche. Marsden, who voices lead character Kade Burns, and LeMarche, who voices Kade’s father Chief Charlie Burns, breeze through their roles. The same can be said of fellow veteran LeVar Burton as he voices supporting character Doc Greene. Even young Elan Garfias (Cody Burns) impresses in his own right. While Garfias might not have the years of experience as Burton, LaMarche, and Marsden, he still shines as the voice of Cody. He handles his role in every episode with the ease and professionalism of a seasoned veteran. And together with his older, more experienced co-stars–including those not noted here–the group as a whole proves to be the perfect choice for each role. The choices paid off in spades, too with each cast member alone and together keeping viewers just as fully engaged with its work as the stories behind each episode. It is the last part of the DVD’s whole that makes it so enjoyable for Transformers fans of all ages. Together with the work of the show’s writers and those tapped to select the DVD’s episodes, all three elements together show in full why Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is yet another great collection of episodes from what is one of the greatest incarnations of the Transformers.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure will be available tomorrow, February 10th in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory Kids’ online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-jurassic-adventure. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

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The Rescue Bots Are Back On The Job With Another Fun DVD For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids

The latest compilation of episodes from Hasbro Studios’ Transformers Rescue Bots is another great collection for any fan of this kid friendly series.  The compilation, which was released last Tuesday, September 2nd, is especially well-timed considering the proximity of its release to Halloween.  That is primarily because of the five episodes featured in the disc.  The episodes presented on this disc offer their own not so scary stories that are still a good fit for any child’s Halloween party.  For those that might be new to this series (like this critic), said audiences will also appreciate the series’ animation.  Being another product of Hasbro studios, it should come as no surprise that the series’ animation plays a role in its enjoyment, too.  And last but not least of all worth noting in the overall presentation is the series’ list of voice talents.  The actors charged with putting a voice to the series’ characters are largely well-known figures.  They are figures that have quite the resume when it comes to animated programs, children’s programs, and sci-fi shows, too.  Some have experience in all three realms, making their acting all the more believable and in turn enjoyable.  The combination of those experienced voice talents and the series’ animation and writing makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue just as enjoyable for those that are new to this series as those that are more familiar with the show.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue is the fifth compilation of episodes from the Hub network’s hit children’s series.  The compilation was released just last week in stores.  Its timing could not have been better taking into account its episodes and the fact that Halloween is a little more than a month away.  The episodes collected for this compilation each present their own not so scary but still entertaining story for kids at their Halloween parties this year.  The DVD opens with a mystery that sees everyone in Griffin Rock suddenly disappearing after a horde of robotic bugs infests the town.  It’s up to Cody, his friends, and the Rescue Bots to solve the mystery.  The second episode sees some “ghosts” suddenly appearing.  It turns out though, that things aren’t always what they appear to be when Cody and the Rescue Bots investigate the “hauntings.”  There’s even a little twist that parents and kids alike will like, regardless of whether or not they are believers.  “Spellbound” is the third episode chosen for the DVD.  One could argue that this episode lifts lightly from Stephen King’s novel Cell as cell phones are being used to take over the minds of the Griffin Rock’s citizens.  This is an especially enjoyable episode not only for this reason, but for its emphasis on caring for the environment.  “Blame The Gremlins” is another great addition that parents and children will appreciate as it offers its own frightful fun.  When Cody’s big brother Kade (voiced by Jason Marsden) starts having nightmares about gremlins, those nightmares become reality and invade Griffin Rock.  Parents that are familiar with Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone series will appreciate the subtle homage to the episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” in this episode.  One could even argue that there’s a subtle reference to a certain gremlin from Warner Brothers’ beloved Looney Tunes franchise.  “Feed The Beast” closes out the DVD with a little tale of Griffin Rock’s own version of the legendary Sasquatch.  As with the discs other episodes, it offers its own frightful fun for younger viewers.  All of the episodes together will keep young viewers fully engaged from start to finish.

Of the stories included on this disc are not enough enjoyment by themselves, audiences that might be new to Transformers Rescue Bots will appreciate the fact that the episodes are kid friendly.  They don’t have the level of violence and deep, thought provoking material that makes up the original Transformers franchise or any of its offshoots over the years.  It makes for a fun and safe way to ease younger viewers into the Transformers universe.  It could be argued that to that extent, it actually takes a page from the likes of Tiny Toon Adventures, The Flintstone Kids, Taz-Mania and others that came from that era.  That’s because while many critics came down hard on the series, the reality was that they were in fact a way to slowly and gently bring younger viewers into the likes of Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, ScoobyDoo and other classic franchises.  To that extent, the very concept of this franchise makes the writing all the more valuable and enjoyable to the overall presentation that is this latest compilation.

The writing that went into the episodes on this DVD makes them (and the franchise in whole) a joy for both children and adults.  Its mix of family friendly stories and its more grown-up pop culture references will make watching them as a family a fun time.  And especially today, families need as much time as possible together.  It’s not all that makes this collection enjoyable, either.  The series’ animation also makes the episodes presented here fun, too.  Audiences that are familiar with Hasbro Studios’ properties will find it no surprise that this series’ animation bears a somewhat similar animation style to that of both Pound Puppies and Littlest Pet Shop.  It is safe to suffice that the same individuals charged with crafting the artwork for those series were also behind Transformers Rescue Bots, too simply by watching these episodes.  Even with its similarities to those series, it does bear its own identity apart from them.  The differences lie mainly in little things like the contours of the characters and the backgrounds and even the coloring. Other than that, this series’ animation lies in the same category as those others from Hasbro Studios already noted. Even as similar as its animation is to those series, it still is nice to see animation today that can look so much like it was hand drawn instead of all of the cookie cutter CGI shows out there for younger audiences today. It’s just one more part of what makes this new DVD so welcome in any family’s DVD library.

The animation in Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue and the writing in its episodes together make this latest collection of episodes welcome in any family’s DVD library. The last factor to note that makes it such a welcome addition to any family’s library is the series’ list of voice actors. Those behind the characters in this series are no strangers to voicing animated characters. The cast includes Jason Marsden, Kath Soucie, Levar Burton, Mauriche LaMarche, Tim Curry, Diamond White and so many others. While their episodes are not included in this DVD, Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman The Animated Series) and Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) even offer their talents in a couple of episodes, too. Having such a who’s who of actors lending their talents to this series is a tribute to its popularity and the popularity of the Transformers franchise in whole. Jason Marsden is known for his work on Nickelodeon’s The Fairly Odd Parents and as the voice of Nermal in Cartoon Network’s The Garfield Show. He has worked on a number of other series and movies, too. These are just a couple examples of his body of work. Kath Soucie and Levar Burton both worked together on Captain Planet and the Planeteers early in the 1990s. Soucie is also known as the voice of Phil and Lil DeVille in Nickelodeon’s beloved Nicktoon Rugrats. Not to omit Mauriche LeMarche or Tim Curry, the resume of these two actors could fill pages and pages. Needless to say they are quite the well trained and well-respected actors. And having them on this series’ cast is quite the statement. Newcomer Diamond White has already started building up her own resume with voice acting credits including work on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and Sophia the First. She also plays the role of Sophie in Nickelodeon’s teen-centric series The Haunted Hathaways. Needless to say, the cast that was tapped for the roles in Transformers Rescue Bots more than did its job with this latest collection of episodes. Their years of training and experience helped them to interpret each episode’s script and in turn make it each story all the more enjoyable. The end result is a collection of episodes that the whole family will enjoy again and again while they wait for the next collection of episodes from this surprisingly entertaining show.

The A-list voice cast tapped to voice the characters in this latest collection of episodes from Hub’s Transformers Rescue Bots goes a long way toward validating it and the series in whole. Parents will note the celebrities’ names and want to check out the actors’ work for themselves. They will also appreciate some of the subtle pop culture references thrown in for good measure in some of the episodes included on the DVD. Kids will enjoy the animation and stories in general. All things considered, there is a lot that makes Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue a hit for the whole family. So much in fact that it could potentially end up on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s website at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-mystery-rescue. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. 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.

Star Trek TNG’s Sixth Season Is The Series’ Best Season Yet

Courtesy:  CBS Blu-ray/Paramount Home Entertainment

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount Home Entertainment

Paramount and CBS Blu-ray will release Star Trek: The Next GenerationSeason 6 on Tuesday, June 24th. This penultimate season of TNG (as it will henceforth be known here) is one of the best of the series’ seven-season run. The primary reason for that is the same reason that the series’ previous seasons remain so enjoyable to this day. The reason in question is the series’ writing. Another reason for the success of this latest box set is the inclusion of the standalone Blu-ray containing the two-part episode “Chain of Command.” This is not the first season to include a key episode as a standalone feature. And odds are that it won’t be the last with one more season to go. Last but not least in examining this latest season’s box set and its companion Blu-ray is the bonus commentary included in both features. Audiences will learn some interesting pieces of information in listening to the companion commentary included with certain episodes. All three factors noted here come together both on the Season 6 BD box set and companion BD to make them collectively one more must have for any Star Trek fan that has yet to add Season 6 to their library.

Writing, whether it be for television or movies, is key to the success of failure of a script. It is the heart of everything. That being the case, the writing behind Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation is to thank in large part for the series’ success. And in its penultimate season, TNG presented to audiences some of the series’ best writing to date. One of the key examples of the strength of the writing in Season 6 comes in the pivotal two-part story episode “Chain of Command.” This episode saw Captain Picard the victim of torture after being captured by the Cardassians. The performance on the part of Sir Patrick Stewart as he struggled to survive his horrible treatment was beyond believable. To an extent, it makes one think of what POWs in Vietnam and other settings of war must have gone through. That makes this even more of a powerful reflection of real life. It’s such a powerful episode that no matter how many years it’s been since audiences have seen it, it has just as much power today as it did in that original broadcast. It’s just one example of the wonderful writing exhibited in this season of TNG.

Audiences still needing convincing of the solid writing in Season Six need look no further than the episodes “Relics” and “Birthright.” These episodes are bookends of sorts for this season of TNG. “Relics” is a wonderful episode first and foremost because it brings back another member of the original Star Trek cast in the form of James Doohan. The commentary regarding this will be discussed later. But in learning how he was brought into the episode, audiences will see even more clearly why this minute aspect of writing is just part of what makes this episode so enjoyable. It might be a bit of a stretch, but one could potentially compare the writing in this episode to a religious allegory. That’s because Scotty (Doohan) was essentially a man brought back from the dead. He was resurrected in a manner of speaking. He is forced to come to terms with that fact that he is a man living on borrowed time and that he is completely out of place. The end result won’t be given away for the sake of those that have not seen this episode or haven’t seen it in years. Others might have a different interpretation of the script than that of this critic. But those that do prove even more the solidity of the writing in TNG’s sixth season.

One more example of the solidity of the writing in TNG’s sixth season lies in the season’s second two-part episode “Birthright.” Just as “Relics” brings back the original days of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved universe, “Birthright” presents in not so subtle fashion, the future of the Star Trek universe. Deep Space Nine is introduced along with one of the series’ lead characters, Dr. Julian Bashir. It even puts Worf onto the station, hinting at his future role in the series. This bookend is heightened even more thanks to the bonus commentary included on the previously discussed episode. Again, that commentary will be discussed later. But put simply, audiences will learn that the inclusion of Dr. Bashir and the station was no coincidence. Such willingness to show the future of the Star Trek universe at this point is key to TNG in terms of its writing as it showed that there was intent to end TNG’s run in the not too distant future. And of course as fans know, the series’ seventh season would be the last for this series. To that extent, one could easily argue that it was a respectful way of saying to TNG’s that the series would come to an end, but that they had no intent of just leaving viewers hanging. Once more, it is one more expert exhibition of how the writing in TNG’s sixth season was some of the series’ best.

On a more subtle note, audiences that pay close attention in the episode “Starship Mine” will notice actor Tim Russ capturing Captain Picard. Those more familiar with the Star Trek universe will recall that Russ would eventually go on to play Vulcan officer Tuvok aboard the starship Voyager. Of course he wasn’t Tuvok in this episode. But it’s one more interesting little tidbit proving one more time the strength of the writing in TNG’s sixth season.

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount Home Entertainment

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount Home Entertainment

The writing behind this season of TNG is some of the best that the series had seen to this point. That should be obvious by now. The episodes cited here are just parts of the proof of that. There are many more episodes that prove this argument. Moving on, Season Six is accompanied by the two-part episode “Chain of Command” on its own standalone Blu-ray disc separate from the primary box set. This episode was seen as being so pivotal because of its powerful story. Rarely had any TV show before or after tackled the entirely political topics of torture and war. And rarely had any series ever tackled them in such fashion. The bonus commentary included with this standalone episode makes it even more interesting. Audiences learn that there was apparently a certain amount of tension both in front of and behind the camera as a new Captain was brought in albeit temporarily as Picard was in the hands of the Cardassians. One of the individuals that discusses the episode compares the cast of TNG to a big family. So even bringing in a new cast member albeit for a short time can cause a feeling of being unsettled among the cast even behind the lens. That and the powerful writing show just why this was the proper episode to separate into its own disc versus the season’s other two-part episode, “Birthright.” It’s one more positive to a whole that every Star Trek fan will appreciate in this season.

The writing behind each of the episodes included in Season Six and the companion standalone episode are both important parts of the whole that makes this season another memorable piece of the Star Trek universe. There is still one last aspect of the whole set to note in examining this set. That aspect is the commentary included on various episodes. Audiences learn in the commentary that comes with “Relics” that it had been so long since the show’s writers and runners had kept from bringing members of the original series’ cast on to this series simply out of concern. It’s explained in the commentary that there had been an edict of sorts early on in the show’s run that there would be no mention of the previous series. It is ruminated that this was done out of fear that it would only heighten the comparisons between the two series. Yet purely out of chance, that episode in question came to life. And the inclusion of James Doohan happened organically. On another side, the commentary included in “Chain of Command” offers more depth than can even be touched upon here. Needless to say, that the commentary in question is quite in depth. And that depth serves to show once more what makes not just this episode, but the season in whole such a success. There is commentary included in other episodes of Season Six. What is noted here is only a glimpse of why the season’s commentary is a pivotal part of the season’s success. Audiences will find even more entertaining and informative commentary when they purchase TNG Season Six for themselves. In doing so, audiences will attain an even clearer view of why this season is one of the best from TNG’s seven total seasons, the set’s other factors aside.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six will be available Tuesday, June 24th in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Generation-Season-Blu-ray/dp/B00IURL19Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1402717281&sr=1-1&keywords=star+trek+the+next+generation+season+6. The “Chain of Command” standalone Blu-ray can be ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Generation-Command-Blu-ray/dp/B00IUR3YI0/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1402717308&sr=1-1&keywords=star+trek+the+next+generation+chain+of+command.

More information on Star Trek: TNG Season 6 and other home releases from Paramount Studios is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ParamountMovies and http://www.paramount.com/movies/home-media. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. 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.