Time Life’s Latest Carol Burnett Show Box Set Is A Treasure In Itself

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Television today is not what it used to be. Between all of the drama, serials, and sex there really is not a lot worth watching anymore. That is not to say that there is nothing worth watching. But television’s true worthwhile commercial offerings are, at least in the eyes of this critic, few and far between. It goes without saying that in terms of current offerings on television, PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming. While it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television, there are other options available on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to the likes of Shout! Factory and Time Life Entertainment. Both companies have proven in the past ten years or so to be the leading names in the home entertainment market in terms of truly worthwhile television offerings. And next month Time Life Entertainment will show why it holds its title once again when it releases its latest collection of classic Carol Burnett Show episodes The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault. The six-disc set is a continuation of Time Life Entertainment’s previous Carol Burnett Show box set, The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. That set was released this past September. Just as with that box set, the episodes collected for this set lie at the heart of its presentation. The collective work of the show’s writers and cast is another important element in its presentation. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its most important elements. Each element plays its own important part in the whole of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Altogether, they make The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and of classic TV in general.

Time Life Entertainment’s latest collection of episodes from The Carol Burnett Show is one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and for classic TV fans in general. This is especially true in an age when commercial networks’ offerings are largely anything but being worth the watch. The main element that makes it such a wonderful treasure is its episodes. As with Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection from The Carol Burnett Show this collection lifts its fifteen total episodes from the series’ first five seasons. This is important to note because none of the episodes from the show’s first five seasons had ever been released in any of Time Life’s previous Carol Burnett Show box sets up until the release of this box set and its predecessor. Considering that the series’ first five seasons’ episode count totals 134 episodes, and only 30 of those episodes will have seen the light of day upon this box set’s release, that still leaves 104 episodes to be released. That means that this latest installment will hardly be the last collection to feature episodes from the series’ first five seasons. Since it looks like Time Life won’t be releasing the series in its complete season sets or even full series run anytime soon, this is a very good thing for fans. It means that the laughs and guffaws will keep coming for some time to come. And that’s just the beginning of this box set’s positives. The work of the show’s writers and cast together makes for plenty of entertainment for audiences.

The episodes featured in Time Life Entertainment’s latest Carol Burnett Show collection are important in their own right to the set’s overall presentation. That is because they are just one more collection of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five episodes. Collectively speaking they are hardly the last episodes from The Carol Burnett Show’s early years to be released. Considering the total number of episodes that made up the show’s first five seasons, there are plenty more to come. It would have been nice to have these episodes in full standalone season sets. But beggars can’t be choosers. Now considering this, they are collectively just one part of what makes this collection its own treasure. Throughout the course of this collection’s featured episodes, the writers and cast work together to give audiences loads of laughs. One episode that clearly exhibits this comes late in the set’s run in the form of “Cheek to Cheek.” This skit, included in Disc Twelve (Yes, twelve. That will be discussed later) pokes fun at the dance numbers that filled so many classic movies from the 1930s and 40s. It compares those classic scenes (and numbers) to what a real life scenario would look like if everybody suddenly broke out in song and dance. The very concept was, for its time, original to say the least. And the very thought is in itself pretty funny. Watching Harvey suddenly breaking out in song and dance, taking Carol and having her dance around in the “restaurant” adds to that hilarity. Harvey’s almost Woody Allen style character is a laugh riot with his New York accent and glasses. It is something that audiences simply must see in order to appreciate. On another note “The Secretaries” offers just as much entertainment. Carol stars opposite Harvey Korman as Ms. Farnum, Mr. Bradley’s secretary. Ms. Farnum has to choose her temporary replacement so that she can go on vacation. She ends up coming face to face with some candidates that definitely outshine her with hilarious results. The ultimate outcome won’t be revealed here. But it will leave audiences in stitches, needless to say. As if that isn’t enough, “The Wonderful World of Hospitals” offers its own share of entertainment. Guest star Jonathan Winters stars opposite Harvey Korman in this sketch. Winters is hilarious as the doctor being interviewed here. His character is one part Jonathan Winters and one part Groucho Marx. It’s something that must be seen to be believed and appreciated. At one point he laughs at one of his jokes and ever so subtly uses his stethoscope to check his own heart rate after the fact. The subtlety of that movement is so funny. Again, it’s one of those moments that is so absurd that one can’t help but laugh at it. The very concept behind the skit makes the writers well deserving of their applause once again here. The same applies to Korman for his ability to maintain a certain seriousness throughout the sketch even with Winters’ laugh riot performance. It’s just one more way in which the combined efforts of the series’ writers and cast make this latest collection of episodes a true treasure. There are plenty of other moments that could be cited as examples, too. Ken Berry’s footwork as he dances to “Mr. Bojangles” is another example that could be cited in this argument. As Carol and her castmates pay tribute to Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes, audiences will find themselves laughing just as much. And Carol’s set closing performance as the famed Charwoman is perhaps the highest of the set highest moments. The moment in question sees the Charwoman closing down the set of The Carol Burnett Show at the end of a season. She imagines that she is in each of the sketches that were churned out in the season in question. It is a truly memorable and moving moment that is certain to leave at least some audiences shedding tears of joy thanks to its beauty and gentility. Whether for that moment, those directly noted here or even those not directly noted, it can be said of the cast and writers’ work here that both play integral parts in the overall presentation of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Together with the episodes themselves, both elements combine to give audiences even more reason to purchase this box set. Even with their importance they are still not all that should be noted of the collection. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its presentation.

The episodes that are featured in Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set and the work put into each episode by the show’s writers and cast go a long way towards making the collection in whole enjoyable. as important as both elements are to the set’s presentation they are not the set’s only notable elements. The companion booklet that comes with the box set is just as important to the set as the previously noted elements. That is because it continues a tradition established by Time Life in the company’s previous Carol Burnett Show presentations. The tradition in question is making the booklet not just a booklet but a part of the set’s overall experience. It features a full episode guide that is specific to each of the set’s discs. Audiences will note of the listed discs that rather than simply labeling them as Disc 1 – 6, Time Life has instead labeled them as Disc 7 – 12. This is important to note because it tells audiences that Time Life didn’t just throw together a bunch of episodes and random discs. Instead it proves to audiences that the set is a direct connection to Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection. Time Life is to be applauded quite soundly for that. What’s more there are even little tidbits about different episodes throughout the guide that come from Carol herself and in general. All of this taken into consideration, it shows clearly why the companion booklet that comes with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is just as important to the set in whole as the set’s featured episodes and the content of each episode. It works together with those elements to show once and for all, without a doubt, that this set is indeed a treasure of its own both for Carol Burnett Show fans and for classic TV lovers in general.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is a treasure of its own both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic television lovers in general. It shows this mainly through its collected episodes. The episodes are another sampling of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five seasons. The work put into each episode by the series’ writers and cast make each episode a laugh riot for any viewer. The companion booklet included in the six-disc sets completes audiences viewing experience as it not only offers a complete disc-by-disc episode guide but also bonus background information on specific episodes. Audiences even get to choose from the episodes within each disc, making the overall viewing experience all the more enjoyable. Each element plays its own important part in the overall presentation of The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault. Altogether they show clearly why the collection is a treasure in and of itself both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic TV fans in general. It will be available on Tuesday, February 9th and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Treasures-Vault/dp/B018DQV44I/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1453840504&sr=1-1&keywords=the+carol+burnett+show+treasures+from+the+vault. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

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.

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The Laughs Keep Coming This Summer With The Third Season Of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Dramas and reality shows may currently be dominating both the broadcast and cable spectrums today. But that doesn’t mean that that is all that audiences have to watch. Early next month, Shout! Factory will offer audiences another great escape from all of the programs polluting television’s ranks when it releases the third season of the classic sitcom Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show.

Shout! Factory will release Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: Season Three on Tuesday, August 4th. Bilko’s constant string of get rich quick schemes continue on for thirty-seven episodes this season. Audiences will laugh uproariously as Bilko loses Colonel Hall’s inheritance in the stock market in “The Colonel’s Inheritance.” The laughs continue just as much as Bilko tries to get rich by starting up a Broadway show in “Sergeant Bilko Presents.” And in one of the season’s funniest moments, Sgt. Bilko creates a scheme to put a “singing” doberman on display. The problem is that his plan obviously doesn’t work out quite as well as he had hoped. The episode harkens back to a classic Looney Tunes cartoon involving one Michigan J. Frog. These are just a few examples of what makes Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: Season 3 another must have for any classic TV lovers and for those wanting to escape the monotony of today’s television. It will be released Tuesday, August 4th on DVD in stores and online and will retail for MSRP of $34.93. It can be pre-ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store for a discounted price of $29.93 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/sgt-bilko-the-phil-silvers-show-season-three. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.

Shout! Factory Unearths Another Shining TV Gem In Pee-wee’s Playhouse Seasons 3, 4, & 5

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

When Pee-wee’s Playhouse first debuted on CBS’ Saturday morning children’s programming lineup way back in 1986, there was nothing like it on television at the time. Fast forward nearly three decades since its premiere and roughly twenty-five years since it ended its original run and still there has been nothing like it since. In the years since it ended its run the zany, one-of-a-kind children’s series has seen various VHS releases. But it had never received a proper DVD or even Blu-ray release. That is until 2014 when its complete five-season run was released on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory. Shout! Factory also released the series’ first two seasons in their own stand-alone DVD box set alongside the full series Blu-ray box set. And last Tuesday, Shout! Factory finished off it’s release of this modern classic when it released on a separate stand-alone box set, the series’ third through fifth season. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5–Special Edition is another great addition to the collection of anyone that grew up with this series. Much as with the series’ first two seasons, the show’s writing continues here to make it stand out among other children’s offerings of the day. The writers continue here to exhibit such talent, crafting stories that both teach important lessons and concepts and entertain all at the same time. On a more subtle note, the continued inclusion of classic cartoons in various episodes adds to the enjoyment. the cartoons include more well-known pieces pulled from the Warner Brothers vaults and lesser known pieces, which is in itself important to the whole. that will be discussed later. Moving on for now, the bonus cast and crew interviews coupled with the audio commentary on the series’ special Christmas episode rounds out the reasons for audiences to pick up this box set. The interviews offer an extensive look behind the scenes of the show and its production. In its own right, the audio commentary included in the series’ Christmas episode offers its own insight into the show even if only on that one episode. But that commentary plays its own important role in the presentation’s whole when partnered with the set’s aforementioned positives. All three elements together show exactly why any kid and kid at heart will appreciate this final release from what is the most intriguing children’s series in television’s history. So many positives along with the fact that Shout! Factory would take on the series once more shows yet again, too why Shout! Factory remains the leading name in home entertainment to this day.

Shout! Factory has over the years gone slowly and quietly gone from being a little indie-home entertainment company that could to being the leading name in home entertainment. Partnerships with Nickelodeon, CBS, and other major companies have led to the release of some of the greatest movies and TV shows in the modern history of both mediums. Not only that but the releases themselves have proven far more worth the watch than releases from a bigger name such as Warner Home Video. Its latest release, Pee-wee’s Playhouse Seasons 3, 4, and 5–Special Edition is even more proof of both arguments. The arguments are supported mainly through the show’s writing. Just as with the show’s first two seasons, its writers have once again managed to balance its zany, one-of-a-kind look and feel with content that educates in its own original way. “Fire in the Playhouse” is just one example of the writers’ ability to balance both elements as it subtly teaches about fire safety when Ms. Yvonne brings over some bread to bake. “Front Page Pee-wee” teaches both a simplistic lesson about journalistic integrity and telling the truth alongside a subtle lesson about healthy eating. And “Playhouse For Sale” teaches its own lesson about spreading rumors and jumping to conclusions. The lessons and entertainment offered in these episodes each show in their own way the ability of the show’s writers to balance its educational and one-of-a-kind entertainment content. There are plenty of other episodes that exemplify that ability of the writers to craft such balanced stories. Audiences will see that for themselves when they add this box set to their own DVD library. It is not all that audiences will note that makes the set so entertaining, either. The classic cartoons that are used in various episodes actually play an important role of their own to Seasons 3, 4, and 5. That’s especially the case in an era when real cartoons are extinct for all intents and purposes.

The continued ability of the writers to balance the educational and entertainment content in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th season of Pee-wee’s Playhouse is its own important part of the whole that the show’s original audiences will all appreciate. Said audiences will appreciate that ability and talent in that in its own way, it manages to keep viewers fully engaged. It may even keep today’s younger viewers engaged. While it is obviously an important part of the whole, the cartoons incorporated into the show’s weekly broadcasts were also collectively just as important. The cartoons incorporated into the show’s last three seasons included both the more well-known Looney Tunes cartoons and a number of far more obscure pieces. The cartoons themselves serve as their own lesson on the history of both cartoons and television in general. When viewed as part of the whole of Seasons 3, 4, and 5, the cartoons included in each episode add to the series’ entertainment value, thus making it even more worth the watch. This is especially the case considering the fact that real cartoons have become extinct for all intents and purposes. Taking that into account, it makes the cartoons incorporated into each show all the more important an element of the whole and in turn shows once more why this box set is well worth the purchase by anyone that grew up with Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

The balance of educational and entertainment content within each episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse in its final three seasons by itself makes for plenty of reason for the show’s now grown up original audiences to add this new set to their own DVD library. The entertainment and historical value of the cartoons incorporated into the show makes Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5–Special Edition all the more worth the addition to the library of any of the show’s now grown up audiences. Both noted elements play an integral part in the enjoyment of the set in whole. But they are not all that is worth noting in this set. The bonus interviews with the cast and crew along with the bonus commentary in “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special” collectively round out the reasons that audiences will appreciate the second and last set of episodes from the modern classic series. the bonus interviews with the cast and crew offer quite the insight into the show and its creation. Audiences learn how the show’s main characters were created and some of the cast and crew’s favorite moments in the interviews. The bonus commentary included in the series’ Christmas special is just as enlightening. Audiences will be surprised to learn right from the episode’s outset that the men’s chorus wearing the Marine outfits were not in fact Marines. The reasoning for the show’s heads to proceed with having a “Marine chorus” is just as intriguing to say the least. There is much more that could be noted. That would take far more time and space than is available to this critic. Along with the extensive amount of information shared through the episode’s commentary, audiences actually get two different commentaries. The first of the commentaries comes from Pee-Wee himself, Paul Reubens, and his . The other comes from those behind the cameras. And it is just as in-depth. Both commentaries coupled with the set’s bonus interviews shows just as much in its own right why these elements are just as important to the whole of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5 as the work of the show’s writers and the cartoons included as part of each season’s episodes. Whether for those cartoons, the writing, or for the bonus material included in the set, all three elements prove key in their own way. Collectively, they show exactly why this final set of episodes from one of television’s most intriguing series is one that any of the series’ original fans should have in his or her own personal library.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5 is available in stores and online now at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-comedy/pee-wee-s-playhouse-seasons-three-four-five-special-edition via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Heathcliff Season One Volume Two Mostly A Successful Release From Mill Creek

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

George Gatley created in 1973 what has become one of America’s most beloved comic strip characters in Heathcliff.  Roughly eleven years after that flabby feline made his comic strip debut, DiC Entertainment brought Heathcliff to life on the small screen along with famed voice actor Mel Blanc (Looney Tunes, The Flintstones).  While Healthcliff’s animated series only lasted for two seasons, it is still a favorite among audiences of all ages.  It’s right up there with its counterpart, Garfield & Friends.  Thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, audiences can finally get their hands on the second half of Heathcliff’s first season.  Heathcliff: Season One Volume Two is another wonderful addition to any family’s home library.  Mill Creek is deserving of credit with this latest set because the episodes collected are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcasts.  The writing behind the episodes included in the first half of Season One is just as fun and funny as those in the season’s first half.  And making this half of Season One even more valuable for viewers of all ages is its original hand-drawn animation.

Right from its outset, audiences will note of the episodes collected for this half of season one, that not one episode is missing.  What’s more, the episodes collected in Season One Volume Two are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  This may seem like a given.  But many might be surprised to find out that some classic TV shows aren’t so lucky in their re-issues.  A prime example would be NCircle Entertainment’s  release of The Super Mario Brothers Super Show Volume One.  The episodes included in that set completely omit the live action sequences, while flashing pieces of the commercial segues that lead the episodes in and out of commercial breaks.  It’s just one of a handful of box sets out there that suffer from improper editing in their redistribution.  Keeping that in mind, it makes this box set that much more impressive and valuable for anyone that is a fan of both this series and classic animation in whole.

The presentation of Volume Two’s episodes is definitely something for fans of the show to note.  Each episode even comes complete with its post-show pet care tips segment, opening Lorimar-Television slate, and closing slate from DiC Entertainment.  As important as this is to the overall presentation of Season One Volume Two, one would be remiss to ignore the show’s writing.  Season One Volume Two sees Heathcliff being taken to pet obedience training and of course, turning the place upside down.  Viewers will laugh nonstop watching Heathcliff turn the military boot camp style obedience school on its ear as well as the neighborhood as a result of his time there.  In another of the volume’s funniest moments, Heathcliff becomes the “Phantom of the Garbage” when a local restaurant owner and chef gets a pair of dogs to protect his garbage cans from being raided by the flabby feline.  The physical comedy that ensues between Heahtcliff and the dogs is what makes this episode so fun.  It’s all classic physical comedy from start to finish.  The funniest moment though, isn’t one of physical comedy.  It comes when it’s revealed that for all of their bravado, the restaurant owner’s dogs are afraid of one creature much smaller than themselves.  Just as funny is the episode, “Soap Box Derby.”  This episode sees Heathcliff getting talked into a soap box derby race against Spike after Iggy beats Mugsy, Spike’s owner, in a race.  When the Catillac Cats put themselves into the race, things get dicey.  Of course, Heathcliff outsmarts both Spike and the Catillac Cats and gets the royal treatment from all of them as a result.  It just goes to prove that cheaters never win.  And it’s just one more of so many funny moments that viewers will enjoy throughout all three discs in this set.

Mill Creek has done quite a bit right with the release of Heathcliff: Season One Volume Two.  The episodes are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast.  They are still as funny today for those that grew up with the cartoon series as they were then, too.  There is one more aspect of this collection that viewers will appreciate.  That aspect is the show’s animation.  Much like so many other cartoons of its era, Heathcliff’s animation gave it identity.  The show’s artists did an expert job of translating the two-dimensional character from the comic strip to the small screen all while crafting a world that looked unlike any other animated series at the time.  The same is rarely noted of today’s children’s programming.  The show’s artists are to be applauded for creating such a rich and vivid world for Heathcliff and his friends.  Even more so, they are to be commended for trying to stay true to George Gatley’s original creation.  Their work was the finishing touch on the show.  And it makes this half of the show’s first season all the more worth watching whether one is seeing the series for the first time or the first time again.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered online direct from Mill Creek Entertainment at http://www.millcreekdirect.com/heathcliff-season-1-volume-2-33-episodes.html.  More information on this release and others from Mill Creek Entertainment is available online at http://www.millcreekent.com and http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt.  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.

Taz-Mania Season One Volume One Another Welcome Unearthing From Warner Home Video

Courtesy:  Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Warner Brothers has largely started off 2013 in successful fashion.  Its only major missteps so far this year have been its DVD and Blu-ray release of Hats Off to Dr. Seuss and Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4.  Save for those two problematic releases, Warner Home Video has largely seen more success through the first two quarters of the year.  Now Warner Home Video has started off its new quarter by catching its footing in the first half of Taz-Mania Season One. Taz-Mania Season One Volume One is one of many candidates for the best children’s DVDs and Blu-rays of 2013.  That’s because unlike the company’s previous missteps, this release gets almost everything right.  The only downside to this set is something that has plagued many of its releases so far this year.  And that will be discussed later.

Taz-Mania Season One Volume One is a welcome release from Warner Home Video.  This relic of a bygone era is one more example of everything that made not only children’s programming great, but also television in general.  As audiences will see in Season 1.0, Taz-Mania made both children’s programming and television in general so great because unlike the cartoons that pollute television’s channel lineups today, it’s a cartoon that even today families can watch together.  That’s thanks first and foremost to the show’s writing.  The show’s writing is witty and clever.  It’s taut enough that adults won’t feel like they’re being dumbed down.  At the same time, it offers just enough comedy for even today’s younger viewers to find themselves laughing.  The constant fights between Taz and Molly are something to which both adults and kids alike can relate, and thus at which adults and kids alike can laugh.  And Taz’s constant adventures with his fellow characters are just as enjoyable.  Viewers of every age will love watching Taz go diving for undersea treasure with Digeri Dingo, facing off against Francis X. Bushlad, and even taking on a part-time job in hopes of getting his own motorcycle.  There’s even a heartfelt story telling how Taz first got his pet, Dog the turtle.  If it doesn’t pull at a viewer’s heartstrings, nothing will.  There is so much more that audiences will enjoy from this first half of Season One.  This is just a taste of what kids and kids at heart can expect from this set.

The witty, clever writing of Taz-Mania makes it a great addition to any Looney Tunes fan’s library regardless of whether one is seeing it for the first time or for the first time again.  It’s just one part of the show’s success.  The animation style is another plus to this modern classic cartoon.  So many of today’s “cartoons” are cartoons in the loosest sense possible; those that are at all.  For the most part, most of today’s kids programming is dominated by CGI created shows and live action fodder for tweens and teens.  Those rare hand-drawn cartoons that are left have been spit-shined.  Taz-Mania is the exact opposite.  Its more “rough” animation style is a throwback to the classic days of animation.  It doesn’t have the finely defined borders and background designs of so many of today’s cartoons.  It really serves to help Taz-Mania develop its own identity, even among other cartoons from its era.  In its own right, one could even argue that Taz-Mania’s animation style is a direct throwback to the golden era of Looney Tunes.  That makes this double-disc set even more worth watching regardless of one’s age.

The writing and animation in the first half of Taz-Mania’s debut season are both big factors in the show’s success.  There is at least one more factor to consider in determining whether Warner Home Video’s people have succeeded with this latest release.  That factor is the double-disc set’s packaging.  The packaging is by and large, a success.  It follows the same formula that has become the norm for multi-disc box sets.  Both of the set’s discs are placed on their own spot inside the standard size DVD case.  As with any other set packaged in this fashion, it protects the discs from scratching and in turn, increases their longevity.  The discs themselves are the only real downside to the entire set.  Anyone that has picked up any previously released sets from WHV this year will notice that the people at WHV have not put a whole lot of thought into appeal on the discs.  Sure, there are designs on both discs.  But both discs are splashed in a single, flat tone.  It would have been nice to see a full color design rather than something that looks like someone took a paint brush and ran it right over a bunch of clear designs.  This is a minor issue.  But it still plays a part in the overall picture.  This might be as simple as a cost-cutting measure.  If so, it’s understandable.  Otherwise, this is something that the people at WHV will hopefully fix with any of its upcoming release. The double-disc set is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online from the WB shop at http://www.wbshop.com/product/tazmania+taz+on+the+loose+season+1+part+1+1000303587.do?sortby=bestSellers&from=Search.

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.

Tom And Jerry Kids Show Season One Another Blast From The Past From Warner Home Video

Courtesy:  Warner Home Vide/Hanna-Barbera

Courtesy: Warner Home Vide/Hanna-Barbera

The 1990s was one of the greatest decades in the history of television broadcasting.  NCB and ABC were at the top of their game with their “Must See Thursday” and “TGIF” programming blocks.  And CBS and Fox each had afternoon cartoons for kids to watch after a long day at school.  Sadly, those days are gone.  Thankfully though, Warner Home Video has given audiences that grew up in those days of quality programming yet another piece of their childhood with the release of Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season One.  This two disc set is one more part of what has been a small wave of welcome releases from WHV this year that includes:  Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3, Animaniacs Vol. 4, the brand new release of Taz-Mania: Season 1 Vol. 1, and the upcoming releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 4, and Taz-Mania: Season 1 Vol. 2 just to name a handful of releases.

Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season One includes the first thirteen episodes from this show that some considered part of the “kiddie-fication” of cartoons.  The term in general was in reference to certain cartoons being reduced in quality in order to make them more kid friendly.  The cartoons in question included: Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, and Scooby Doo Where Are You?  The term “kiddie-fication” was generally used in a negative connotation in regards to their kid friendly spinoffs.  Those that used that term couldn’t have been more wrong in using such a label especially in the case of Tom and Jerry Kids Show.  That’s because a show such as Tom and Jerry Kids Show was (like Tiny Toon Adventures) less a “kiddie-fication” of its more adult base show than a way to indoctrinate young viewers into the world of said show slowly.  And there is nothing at all wrong with doing this.  If anything, it helps to keep alive the legacy of Hanna-Barbera’s classic cartoons. 

The transfers from the original tapes look outstanding.  The quality of the footage could not have been better.  Little to nothing was lost in the transfer from the original tapes to DVD.  Even when viewed on an HDTV, it still looks quite impressive.  That’s a testament to the work done by the show’s artistic staff.  Even when viewed via a computer’s DVD drive or on a home DVD player, the video quality still shows that it has stood the test of time.  The same can be said of the show’s audio side.  Fans of HB’s classic cartoons will recognize the company’s recycling of its music.  Much of the music used in this more modern take on Tom and Jerry was also used in The Jetsons and to a lesser extent, more modern Flintstones direct-to-DVD features and certain episodes of A Pup Named Scooby Doo.  This trademark of Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons is another welcome addition to Tom and Jerry Kids Show.  Having that familiar older music back once again makes older audiences’ sense of nostalgia even stronger in watching this modern classic.

The high quality of the show’s transfers alone makes Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season One worth the money for fans that grew up with this cartoon.  The double-disc set’s packaging is another positive to the overall presentation.  As with multi-disc sets from other companies, this set follows what is quickly becoming the standard by placing one disc on its own place on a plastic insert inside the case.  The second disc is placed comfortably on the back portion of the box also in its own spot.  This manner of packaging is both smart in terms of protecting the set’s discs and in terms of ergonomics.  It keeps the case for the DVD’s the same size as that of a regular single-disc DVD package.  So it saves space on audiences’ DVD/Blu-ray racks, and protects the product inside.

As one should be able to tell by now, Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season One is an enjoyable nostalgic trip down memory lane for long-time fans of the Tom and Jerry franchise.  It’s just as much a welcome introduction to this generation’s younger viewers.  For all the positives to this set, it isn’t without one minor flaw.  That flaw is not in the art, the transfers, or even the packaging.  The flaw in question comes from the discs themselves.  Rather than actually coloring in the designs on the discs, they were painted over with a single, flat color, leaving just enough open space to make a wild guess as to the design on each disc.  Consumers would have to put each disc up to the light and tilted each one in order to get an idea of the designs.  The same thing was done with Animaniacs: Volume Four and with Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3.  It’s a minor flaw with this set (and the other sets mentioned).  So luckily, it doesn’t take away too much from the overall presentation, even though it would have been nice for WHV’s people to have taken care of this aspect.  Had that been done, this might have found itself at the top of this critic’s list of the year’s best new children’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.  Regardless, it still has found a place on the list in question.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via the WB Shop at http://www.wbshop.com/product/tom+and+jerry+kids+show+the+complete+first+season+1000348871.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search.  Fans of all things WB can keep up with all the latest WB home releases on the WB Shop website at http://www.wbshop.com/home.do

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