‘Life With Lucy: The Complete Series’ Is Worth The Watch If Only For Its Historical Importance

Courtesy: PAramount Pictures Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

The 1980s is one of the most important eras in the modern era of television.  It was this era that brought audiences what are by today’s standards, some of the most timeless programs of all time; shows, such as Golden Girls, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The ATeam.  They and so many others have gone on to huge success since they debuted.  Of course for all of the great, timeless series that launched in the 1980s and went on to set a certain precedent for shows within every genre, there were just as many shows that premiered in the 1980s that were less successful, and with good reason.  They include the likes of Automan, Manimal and Lucille Ball’s finale series, Life With Lucy.  That series in question was released on DVD for the first time ever Tuesday through Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment on a two-disc set.  The collection is a presentation that Lucille Ball’s most devoted fans will appreciate in part because of its episodes.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the set adds to the set’s appeal and will be addressed a little later.  The set’s average price point rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  When it is considered alongside the set’s other noted elements, the whole of the set becomes a set that is one of this year’s top new family DVD/DB box sets, even despite the fact that the series is easily the least enjoyable and memorable of Lucy’s TV shows.

ABC’s short-lived sitcom Life With Lucy – the fourth and final of actress Lucille Ball’s series – is unquestionably the least enjoyable and memorable of her career.  It was so bad that after only eight episodes, it was cancelled; this despite the fact that 13 episodes were produced.  Now thanks to Paramount Home Entertainment, all 13 episodes from the short-lived series are available on DVD for the first time in Life With Lucy: The Complete Series.  The episodes exhibit pros and cons with both the writing and acting.  When Ball – who allegedly had a large amount of creative control in the show – was on-screen with her longtime friend and co-star Gale Gordon (who also is famed for his role as the first Mr. Wilson in Dennis The Menace), the two shined.  Fellow co-star Donovan Scott added his own comedic touch, as did famed celebrity guest stars, such as John Ritter, Peter Graves and Audrey Meadows.  However, whenever Ball was on screen with her “family” cast mates, the result was far less entertaining.  Every bit of the acting felt forced, and the writing felt equally lacking in any real substance.  The jokes were also poor and poorly timed.  If not for the noted interactions between Ball, Gordon and Scott, those cringe-worthy performances in the family’s living room and kitchen would have made the show completely unwatchable.  As a matter of fact, in its original run, those moments were so overpowering, that they played into the show’s demise.  Of course now, audiences can see the episodes that did not air along with those that did whenever they want and decide on what they like and dislike the most.  Having that full display of episodes helps audiences to see for themselves why this piece of television history remained in the vaults for such a long time.  Keeping that in mind, releasing it was a gamble for Paramount Home Entertainment, but a gamble nonetheless that will pay off at least among the most devoted of Lucille Balls’ (and Life With Lucy’s) fans.  The inclusion of all 13 episodes of Life With Lucy plays its own important part in this set’s presentation, and is just one of the reasons that the show’s noted viewers will be willing to watch it at least every now and then.  It is just one of the most important of the set’s aspects.  The bonus content featured with the collection plays its own important role in the set’s presentation, too.

The bonus content featured with the new home release of Life with Lucy: The Complete Series is a group of brief interviews that Ball conducted shortly after the series first aired.  Three of the segments are pulled from a daytime talk show called Hour Magazine, which aired from 1980 to 1989 and featured interviews with various celebrity figures.  The other interviews were pulled from episodes of Entertainment Tonight.  Ball’s interviews on Hour Magazine are the more engaging and entertaining of the bonuses, as viewers get a slightly deeper discussion from Ball about life on and off-screen.  She talked, in one of the brief, five-minute segment, about working with Gordon, who sat next to  her and shared his own comments about working on the series and other shows in which Ball starred.  Viewers also find out firsthand that Ball’s “family” cast mates – Larry Anderson, Ann Dusenberry, Philip Amelio and Jenny Lewis – were not overly experienced in on-screen acting when they joined the cast of Life With Lucy.  That might account for why the scenes that involved them and Ball felt so forced and lacking in entertainment.  There are also some clear cheap shots that she takes at her then ex-husband Desi Arnaz that leave little doubt as to her feelings about him.  Those feelings are not good, either, not to give away too much information.

Ball’s Entertainment Tonight interview segments are entertaining, but not overly engaging, as they offer brief insight into life on set and bringing her own classic brand of comedy to the new series.  On a related note, it was allegedly Ball’s insistence on using her vintage brand of comedy to the show that played a very prominent role in the series’ lack of long-term success, according to other interviews that were not featured in this set as extra content.  Keeping that in mind, the Entertainment Tonight segments do add some interest to this set, but not as much as the Hour Magazine interview segments.  Collectively, the two do just enough to add something more to the collection and make it a little more worth watching, if only occasionally.

Keeping in mind what the set’s primary and secondary does for its presentation, the set’s average price point of $37.14 slightly questionable.  That price was obtained by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Book Sellers and Books-A-Million. Considering the fact that the set features 13 episodes and only a handful of bonuses (the promo spots are not even worth noting as they add nothing to the set’s presentation), that price seems a bit steep to say the least.  That is especially considering the fact that the lowest of the set’s price listings comes in at $34.99 (at Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy).  The set’s most expensive listing is at Barnes & Noble Booksellers — $40.41.  Knowing the low response that the series received in its original airing more than 30 years ago and how little content is featured here overall, it would have been wiser for the set’s pricing to have been lowered to at most $25, if not lower.  Other TV series’ box sets with equal and less content (and sometimes more, such as the recent re-issue of Lost in Space: The Complete Series – which was released last year exclusively through Walmart) are priced lower.  The noted Lost in Space set retailed for $19.99 in store at Walmart.  To that end, the pricing of this set is questionable.  Audiences would do well to find the lowest price (again, noted here) and pay that if at all.  Otherwise, it is sadly not a set worth the purchase unless viewers are the most devoted Lucille Ball fans and TV history buffs.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s brand new home release of ABC’s short-lived sitcom Life With Lucy is a set that the most devoted of Lucille Ball’s fans will appreciate.  That is because it features all 13 episodes from the series.  That means the five episodes that never made it to air are featured here along with the series’ other sets, complete with all of the series’ highs and lows.  Once more, this makes the set appealing primarily for a very targeted audience.  The bonus content featured with the set adds a little bit of engagement and entertainment to its whole, though mainly through the Hour Magazine interview segments.  Those elements make the set worth an occasional viewing.  However, the set’s average price point is a bit steep.  That being the case, unless one is among those truly devoted Lucille Ball fan, it would make more sense to watch it on Netflix or borrow it from the nearest library should said institution have it in stock to check out.  Keeping all of this in mind, Life With Lucy itself proves to not be the most entertaining series, but still important in its own right, because it shows how much Ball’s career and acting ability had declined by that time.  It makes this collection important for the most devoted television history buffs and Lucille Ball fans.  More information on this and other titles from Paramount is available online now at:

 

 

 

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CMG’s Doulgas Sirk Re-Issues Collection Presents Two Of 2016’s Top New Re-Issues

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Late this past September, Cohen Media Group released a new pair of classic crime flicks for fans of the crime genre and for all of the classic movie buffs in the form of A Scandal in Paris and Lured.  Chen Media Group’s focus in re-issuing the movies together is on their director, Douglas Sirk.  But there is so much more to note of these classic crime flicks than Sirk’s work.  Yes, his work at the helm of each work is important.  There is no denying that.  But his work is not the only important element of each movie.  The very story at the heart of each movie is the central element that should be noted.  The work of the movies’ cast is just as important to note as the stories at the center of each movie.  The bonus commentary included in each movie’s presentation is important to note, too.  One could even argue that the set’s packaging plays its own part in its presentation, too.  All things considered, Cohen Media Group’s presentation of A Scandal in Paris/Lured on Blu-ray easily makes the combo pack a candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of A Scandal in Paris and Lured is a combo pack release, but even with that in mind, this dual-movie set easily makes itself a candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  This is due in part to the story at the center of each movie.  In the case of A Scandal in Paris the story is taken to be a cinematic adaptation of crook turned cop Francois Eugene Vidocq’s life with star George Sanders in the starring role.  From beginning to end, the story is a classic in its own right.  That is because it sees Vidocq turn from his criminal ways to an honest man thanks to the influence of his romantic interest, played here by Carol Landis.  At its heart, the movie is less a crime flick than a romance story and an underdog story.  One can’t help but wonder if this movie played a role in influencing the creation of Cary Grant’s 1955 action/crime flick To Catch A Thief or even the very similar story presented in the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can.  To that end, the movie is one that will reach audiences of so many interests, not just lovers of crime stories and classic film buffs.  It is just one way in which the stories behind the set’s featured movies show their importance in the set’s overall importance.  The story behind Lured is just as important to note in examining this collection as that of A Scandal in Paris.

The story at the center of A Scandal in Paris is in its own right a clearly important example of what makes the stories behind the movies so important to the set’s presentation.  It is not the only story worth noting here, either.  The story behind Lured is just as important to note in the set’s presentation as that of A Scandal in Paris.  The story behind Lured follows Lucille Ball—yes, that Lucille Ball—as dancer turned crime fighter (of sorts) Sandra Carpenter. Carpenter is enlisted by Scotland Yard in this story to help find a serial killer who has murdered seven innocent young women. It’s up to Sandra to help find the person responsible for the murders.  Along the way, Sandra falls for a gentleman named Robert Fleming (George Sanders—A Scandal in Paris, Batman, The Jungle Book).  As the story progresses, the romance between the pair grows, with Fleming obviously losing her and then getting her back in the end a la every romantic movie ever crafted.  It’s a relatively simplistic story, and as viewers will learn through the commentary not entirely original.  Yet audiences will also agree that even despite its lack of originality, is still so entertaining surprisingly enough.  The commentary will be discussed later.  When one considers the story behind each of this collection’s featured movies, there is no denying their importance in the collection’s overall presentation.  Of course the movies’ stories are just part of the set’s presentation worth noting.  The work of the case within each movie is just as important to note as the stories.

The stories that were crafted for A Scandal In Paris and Lured are clearly important elements to note in examining the overall presentation of this new classic cinema re-issue set from Cohen Media Group.  While the stories are extremely important to the set’s presentation, they are not its only collectively important element.  The work of the movies’ cast is just as important to note in the set’s presentation as the movies’ stories.  Since George Sanders is the lead in both movies, it suffices to say that he plays the same sort of character in both movies; a gentleman character.  While the two characters have distinctly different backgrounds, the character type is still the same.  And Sanders adapts to both characters with ease, allowing each to stand out from the other despite, again, the pair being the same type of character.  Sanders’ A Scandal in Paris cast mate Akim Tamiroff is just as enjoyable to watch in his role as Emile Vernet. Tamiroff’s take on Vernet is so enjoyable to watch because of his ability to balance the man’s gentlemanly side and his more comical side.  There’s a certain subdued nature to both that makes him so enjoyable to watch throughout the story.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  One could dissect the work of each cast member within this movie in explaining the importance of their work in making A Scandal in Paris so enjoyable.  That would take far too long, though.  Suffice it to say that the work of the cast in whole is important to note in showing why its work is so important to the movie’s (and collection’s) overall presentation.  The work of Lured’s cast is just as important to note as that of A Scandal in Paris.

Sanders’ work in both movies—and that of Tamiroff in the set’s lead film—are wonderful examples of what makes the acting so important to note in examining this recently released collection’s overall presentation.  The work of Lucille Ball and company in Lured is just as important to note as that of A Scandal in Paris.  Most people know Lucille Ball for her comic genius in I Love Lucy and its spinoffs (The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy).  But she shows a completely different side of her talents in this movie.  Audiences will love seeing Ball as a strong, confident character here, and a lead no less.  She does show some vulnerability at times, but for the most part, is a strong, self-assured figure who handles herself quite well.  She is just as brilliant by herself as she is alongside her cast mates.  That is especially the case when she is on screen opposite Sanders and fellow cast mates George Zucco (The Pirate, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Scared to Death) and Charles Coburn (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Heaven Can Wait, Monkey Business). Her scenes with Zucco are in fact some of the movie’s best moments because of the chemistry between the pair.  Early on when the pair’s characters first meet and introduce, they exchange weapons in a moment that is so subtle yet so funny because of that subtlety.  There is also a scene in the park in which Sandra (Ball) tells Officer Barrett (Zucco) to hold her dog for her as she contacts Inspector Temple (Coburn) via phone.  Barrett’s reaction as he has to hold the dog, all while trying to fill out the crossword puzzle in his copy of the local newspaper, is just as entertaining to watch.  While his appearance is brief at best, horror master Boris Karloff is entertaining in his own right as the crazed fashion designer Charles van Druten. Noting again the movie’s bonus commentary, Karloff’s ability to so easily switch between sanity and insanity—even in such a short time on screen—makes him such a wonderful addition to movie.  He truly shows his years of experience and seriousness with which he took the role through that display.  Again, even as short as it may be, it adds to much enjoyment to the movie.  Even Sir Cedrick Hardwicke (Rope, The Ten Commandments, Richard III) is just as enjoyable to watch as Julian Wilde, Robert Fleming’s friend.  Not to give away too much, but Hardwicke plays his own important part in the movie.  Between his work, that of Ball, Sanders, Karloff and the rest of the cast, it should be easy to see by now why the work of Lured’s cast is just as important to note as that of A Scandal in Paris.  The work of each movie’s cast combines with the work of the movie’s writers to make for even more clear why this recently released collection of classic crime flicks from Cohen Media Group is so enjoyable to watch.  Even with all of this in mind, the movies’ stories and the work of their respective casts is, collectively speaking, still not all to note in examining the collection’s presentation.  The bonus commentary that is included in each movie is just as important to note as the previously noted elements.

The stories that were crafted for A Scandal in Paris and Lured are key elements to the overall presentation of their pair’s overall presentation in their new joint re-issue from Cohen Media Group. They are not the only the only elements to note in examining the set’s presentation.  The work of each movie’s cast is just as important to note as the movies’ stories.  Between the work of the movies’ main cast members and even the supporting cast, the work of each movie’s cast is just as important to note as the story behind each flick.  Having noted that, those two elements are not the only elements that should be examined here.  The bonus commentary that is included with each movie rounds out the set’s most important elements.  NPR Film Critic Wade Major offers an in-depth and entertaining study of A Scandal in Paris, offering a rich historical background of the movie.  He also offers a study of the movie’s relevance to similar movies and the film community in the 21st century along the way along with much more throughout.  The insight and entertainment offered via Wade’s commentary is more proof of the importance of commentary in any movie’s home release. It shows that good (or in this case great) commentary can take a run of the mill movie and make it something great.  That is because of the added level of appreciation that it creates for said movie.

Turner Classic Movies writer and film historian Jeremy Arnold’s commentary included in Lured is important to note in its own right, too.  Right from the outset of his commentary, audiences are presented with a rich background on the movie and its connection to the popularity of noir films at the time thanks to the work of director Douglas Sirk.  Arnold also points out through his commentary that the movie is not necessarily an original work.  He points out that the movie’s story contains elements of two (yes, two) other movies, essentially making the movie a double re-imagining of sorts.  Audiences will agree with Arnold that despite this realization, the movie is still somehow so entertaining from beginning to end.  Arnold also focuses attention on Karloff and even fellow supporting actor Alan Napier, offering some of Napier’s own words on his career before his death in 1988.  That is just a portion of the commentary offered up by Arnold throughout Lure.  In other words it is just a small sample of how much his commentary has to offer audiences and how much it has to add to the movie in whole.  Keeping this in mind and how much Major’s commentary adds to A Scandal in Paris it becomes increasingly clear just how much the movies’ overall commentary adds to this collection’s overall presentation. When the commentaries are set against the work of the movies’ casts and the story at the heart of each movie, the movies in whole prove to be works that will entertain not only fans of the crime genre but audiences across the board.  They combine to make this collection one that despite being a dual movie re-issue, one of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Cohen Media Group’s recently released dual movie presentation of A Scandal in Paris and Lured is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  This is even with the collection being a multi-movie collection.  The movies that are presented within the double-movie set are so enjoyable first and foremost due to the story behind each movie.  Even while one of the stories is not entirely original it is still enjoyable unlike so many of today’s reboots and re-imaginings. The work of the movies’ cast members is just as important to note as the work of the movies’ writers.  Their work makes each movie just as worth watching as that of the movies’ writers.  The bonus commentary that is included with each movie’s presentation rounds out the movies’ most important elements.  That is because each commentary adds so much depth to each movie.  Each element is important in its own right, as should be evident by now.  All things considered, Cohen Media Group’s Blu-ray re-issue of A Scandal in Paris and Lured is a must have for any lover of classic films and an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cohenmedia.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

 

 

 

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Time Life’s Latest Carol Burnett Show Collection Was Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Three years ago Time Life Entertainment resurrected one of the greatest series in television’s modern history when it brought to audiences the first of its now multiple box sets from The Carol Burnett Show.  Since the release of those early box sets by Time Life back in 2012, audiences have also seen those early sets released in an “Ultimate Collection” late in 2014, with said collection being followed by even more compilations.  The latest of those compilations, The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes, was released late last month.  The six-disc collection features a healthy offering of episodes from the hit variety series’ first five seasons.  As Burnett explains in the introduction to the collection’s liner notes, these episodes (which will likely be followed by more collections) were held up for years due simply to lengthy legal matters.  Those legal matters having been settled, audiences have finally gotten at least some of those early episodes in the form of this collection.  And that within itself is plenty of reason for any Carol Burnett Show fan to add this box set to their own home DVD library.  The writing and acting within each of the set’s episodes will put just as much of a smile on viewers’ faces.  Rounding out the presentation is its bonus episode guide.  The episode guide is, much as with previous Carol Burnett Show sets not just an episode guide, but yet another history lesson that enriches viewers’ overall experience in watching the featured episodes.  Each noted element makes the compilation enjoyable it in its own right.  All three elements together make this latest addition to Time Life’s ongoing series of Carol Burnett Show compilations yet another enjoyable addition to any fan’s home DVD library.

Time Life Entertainment’s latest installment in its ongoing series of releases from The Carol Burnett Show is yet another enjoyable addition to the home DVD library of any one of the show’s fans.  The main reason for that is the very availability of these episodes.  While it obviously is not the full run of the series’ first five seasons it still presents a healthy offering of episodes from that run.  Burnett herself notes in the collection’s liner notes that the episodes featured here have until now been unavailable to fans of the classic variety series due to certain legal issues.  Thankfully it looks like at least some (if not all) of those issues have been settled, thus resulting in the release of the episodes featured in this collection.  One can only hope that it is just the first of the episodes from the show’s early seasons to be released, too.  That is because in an age when there is so much sex and violence dominating television, every one of these largely family friendly episodes provides a much welcome and needed respite from those other shows.  Each episode is such a welcome break from today’s television thanks in large part to the work of the show’s writers, which is the next reason for its enjoyment.

The episodes featured in Time Life Entertainment’s latest Carol Burnett Show collection are in themselves plenty of reason for fans of the series to add the box set to their own home DVD libraries.  That is because until their release this year, they had been unavailable to audiences on any platform.  They are just part of what makes this new compilation well worth the watch, too.  The work of both the writers and actors within each of the presented episodes adds even more to this set’s enjoyment.  One of the prime examples of the writers’ ability to entertain audiences within this set comes early on in an episode that sees Burnett and guest star Nanette Fabray play a pair of pregnant women waiting to see their doctor.  The comedy contained within this episode is timeless.  The dialogue shared between the duo will have every woman out there laughing uproariously because of their ability to relate to said topics.  On a related note, the pair’s portrayal will have women laughing just as much regardless of whether or not they have been pregnant.  Later in the set’s run, viewers are treated to a handful of equally entertaining performances by the late, great Andy Griffith.  Griffith’s take on the tale of the mouse and the lion will have viewers just as entertained.  It stays largely true to Aesop’s original tale. Of course there are some changes and updates to the story that will put a smile on any viewer’s face.  The same can be said of Griffith’s portrayal of Joe in the skit “Mr. Law and Order” will entertain viewers just as much.  That’s because it is a full-on spoof of his former character in The Andy Griffith Show almost in the vein of Mad Magazine.  If that’s not enough for fans, Don Adams’ appearance in the collection is one more great example of how the writers’ efforts will entertain viewers.  That is made clear in “The Donny Bishop Show,’ which openly throws jabs at The Late Show With Johnny Carson.  Adams fills in for Carson while Harvey Korman takes the place of Ed McMahon.  The whole presentation is intentionally terrible complete with the worst possible camera and mic operators.  Burnett is a laugh riot as the “show’s” special guest.  Seeing Adams constantly covering his face in his attempts to keep from completely breaking down in laughter will have viewers laughing just as much.  It’s just one more way in which the work of both the show’s writers and actors keeps audiences laughing nonstop throughout The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes.  There are plenty of other episodes that could serve as example of their ability to keep viewers entertained such as Harvey and Carol’s work in the show’s beloved “The Old Folks” skits, Carol’s work with famed singer Mel Torme in “The Tin Pan Alley Story” and Jim Nabors’ partnering with Carol in “The Ski Lodge” just to name a few more key episodes.  Whether one chooses one of those episodes, one of the ones more directly addressed, or any of the others, every viewer will agree that the collection in whole presents plenty of great examples of how the writers and actors make The Lost Episodes a laugh riot from beginning to end.

The work of The Carol Burnett Show’s writers in conjunction with that of the show’s cast and guest stars makes for plenty of enjoyment for viewers throughout every episode included in The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. For all of the enjoyment that they bring viewers, they are not the only elements of this set that fans will appreciate. The companion booklet included with the set is just as important to the set’s presentation as the previously noted elements. That is because it is, as with previous Carol Burnett Show box set booklets, it isn’t just a companion booklet. Yes, it is an episode guide. But it is more than that. Throughout the course of the booklet, fans are presented with a rather rich history on not just the episodes themselves but of the series in whole. For example, audiences learn in the summary for Show #006 that this audience marked the debut of both Lucille Ball and Tim Conway on Burnett’s show. There is an additional tidbit noting Conway’s notoriety coming into his debut thanks to his work on McHale’s Navy. Burnett also reveals in the companion booklet that her love for “backstage movie musicals” was her inspiration behind the “Tin Pan Alley” sketch in Show #107. And in regards to Jim Nabors’ appearance in Show #003, it is revealed that he was the very first guest star to appear in The Carol Burnett Show in what would then become an eleven year-run on CBS. The discussion here goes on to note that his appearance was such a success that the show’s heads had him back on the season premiere of every season that followed. Interestingly enough, Nabors, as is explained in the show’s summary here, was not exactly an unknown upon his first appearance on The Carol Burnett Show. In fact, he was already enjoying his celebrity of his own hit sit-com, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which itself was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show. So it should probably be no surprise that Andy Griffith himself would go on to appear on The Carol Burnett Show, too. The information on Nabors’ appearance on The Carol Burnett Show is just one more of so many examples of the depth of information provided by Time Life Entertainment in The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. There is so much more interesting information shared throughout the set’s companion booklet that fans and audiences in general will enjoy learning. Together with the enjoyment brought by both the show’s writers and cast, the set in whole proves itself in the end to be yet another joy for any fan of The Carol Burnett Show and for lovers of classic television in general.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes is not the first collection of episodes to be released by Time Life Entertainment. And more than likely it will not be the last thanks to the efforts of certain parties to obtain the distribution rights for the show’s first five seasons. With any luck fans will hopefully one day see the release of this series in whole rather than just in a continued series of compilation sets since those matters have been settled. Until then though, this latest collection of episodes will more than please any Carol Burnett Show fan. That is thanks to the work of both the show’s writers and its cast. The attention to detail in the set’s companion booklet adds even more enjoyment as it helps provide even more interesting background information on the series. All in all, the combination of those elements combined with the very availability of these episodes makes The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes yet another collection one that any of the show’s fans and any lover of classic television will want to have in his or her own home DVD library. It is available now and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Lost-Episodes/dp/B011QLAYCU/ref=pd_bxgy_74_img_y. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

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The Nanny’s Fourth Season Is Loaded With Laughs

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/CBS

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/CBS

Early this summer Shout! Factory resurrected CBS’ classic sitcom The Nanny and released the series in its entirety for the series’ fans.  It marked the first time ever that the series had ever been released in its entirety and in one complete set for that matter.  Now thanks to the efforts of the people at Shout! Factory, those that were unable to add that extensive set to their home DVD libraries, there’s some good news.  Shout! Factory kicked off the series’ standalone season releases last week.  It kicked things off with the release of the series’ fourth season.  Now before anyone starts wondering, the reason that it didn’t start with Season One, it all has to do with distribution rights.  At last look, it would appear that Mill Creek Entertainment and/or Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) had the rights to the series’ first three seasons.  That in mind, the fact that Shout! Factory was able to obtain the distribution rights for Season Four (and Season Five, which will be released this December via Shout! Factory, too) makes this kickoff to the series’ second half a good starting point for the collection.  The work of the show’s writers is just as worth noting to the triple-disc set’s positives.  While Fran and Maxwell’s on-again off-again relationship remains a central part of the series throughout this season, the writers don’t let themselves get carried away with themselves, thus preventing the series once more from becoming a serial.  There is also plenty of great, edgy writing that will have viewers laughing within each episode’s story line.  By relation, the work of the show’s cast is enjoyable in its own right, too.  Most notably Daniel Davis is among the most entertaining member of the cast thanks to his timing and delivery of his lines.  Though, Fran Drescher is to be commended for her acting, too.  There are some points at which she pulls off some surprisingly impressive tributes to Lucille Ball as in “The Fifth Wheel.”  It’s just one more example of how the cast’s work proves to be just as entertaining as the work of the show’s writing.  Together with the work of the writers and the presentation of Season Four in its entirety, this new box set is a good fit for any of the series’ original fans and for one more welcome alternative to all of the oversexed and overly violent serials, dramas, and so-called comedies that are out there today.

Shout! Factory’s release of The Nanny: Season Four is a big release for the series and for its fans.  That is because until its release last week, this season had never seen the light of day on DVD.  Up until last week the series’ first three seasons are its only installments that had seen the light of day since Sony Pictures Home Entertainment first released Season One some nine years ago.  This is important to note of this season’s set because it is also the first of the series’ standalone season sets to be released by Shout! Factory following the release of the series’ full series set early this summer.  It would have been nice to have seen Shout! Factory start from Season One.  But unluckily, distribution rights for the series’ first three seasons could not be obtained just yet.  That is not the fault of the people at Shout! Factory.  Keeping that in mind, the fourth season of The Nanny is yet another win both for Shout! Factory and for fans of the modern classic sitcom.  This collection boasts all twenty-six episodes included in Season Four in its original run.  Just as impressive is that every episode is presented in exactly the same format as in its original broadcast.  In simpler terms each episode looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original airing.  And the fact that each is shown in whole solidifies this season’s foundation that much more in its first-ever home release.  The impressive nature of Season Four’s overall presentation is a solid start for the collection.  It isn’t the only aspect of the collection that fans and audiences in general will appreciate.  The work of the series’ writers is just as worth noting in regards to this season’s overall enjoyment and success.

The work of The Nanny’s writers in the series’ fourth season is just as important to note in this collections’ success and enjoyment as the work of those charged with assembling the episode for their presentation.  That is because their work results in just as many laughs today as it generated in Season Four’s original run from late 1996 to mid-1997.  The most notable aspect of the writing that makes it so enjoyable is that Fran and Max’s on-again/off-again relationship maintained its place within the show’s overall structure.  At the same time though, the writers didn’t allow that element to dominate Season Four’s run.  Instead the writers crafted twenty-six standalone episodes that, despite having that ongoing, underlying story element were still their own stories.  One of the best of those stories comes in the form of “The Bank Robbery.”  As noted, the ongoing story between Fran and Maxwell is there.  But this is one of those cases in which it becomes more of a secondary element than a central element.  The main story in this episode sees Fran and her mother being caught up in a bumbling bank robber’s plan, only to end up befriending him.  His very reason for robbing the bank will have viewers laughing just as much as the story itself.  That is because it is directly related to Fran’s own situation with her mother.  Speaking of that relationship between Fran and her mother, “The Boca Story,” which sees Fran’s mother buy into a time share scheme of sorts lead to her own emotional breakdown that will have viewers laughing just as much.  This is another of those stories that sees Fran and Maxwell’s personal story take a welcome back seat to the episode’s central story.  Both episodes show that the writers could be just as successful crafting stories that didn’t rely on Fran and Maxwell as those that did.  For those that were more fans of that ongoing, underlying story line, “The Fifth Wheel” is one of this season’s best featuring that story line.  This episode sees Fran swear off men, leading her to become that proverbial fifth wheel when both C.C. and one of Fran’s friends go out on a double date at an Italian restaurant.  The end result is something that can be compared to Lucille’s Ball’s classic comedy from I Love Lucy.  Speaking of that comparison to Ball’s brand of comedy, that moment ties in to the work of the cast throughout Season Four.  It will be discussed along with the rest of the cast’s work later.  Staying on the topic of this season’s writing, the stories alone are just one part of what makes the writing so enjoyable for fans.  The writing within each episode in regards to the jokes is another element that makes the writing enjoyable.

The stories that were crafted for the fourth season of The Nanny show time and again just how enjoyable the writing is in a bigger picture.  However they are only part of what makes the writing noteworthy.  The more minute elements of each episode’s script shows even more why the writing is so enjoyable.  The writing within each episode is edgy to say the least.  Yes, there is a certain amount of sexual innuendo incorporated into each episode.  But in comparison to what audiences get in today’s so-called sitcoms it is tame.  It’s not all that audiences get either in this season’s more detailed writing.  There are pop culture references, political jabs (including one at then presidential candidate Ross Perot), and even a direct reference to one Harpo Marx in another episode.  That same episode jokes about the low-carb fad that once dominated America and so many other topics.  And that is all just in a matter of minutes early in the episode’s run.  One of the most pleasantly surprising elements of the episodes’ writing comes late in the season in “The Passed-Over Story.”  This episode does something that few if any mainstream series in any genre did at the time.  It actually celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover.  This is extremely important because of how rarely it seemed to happen in mainstream television at the time.  Because of that it becomes a truly welcome and in its own right, heartwarming moment that will put a smile on every viewer’s face.  This is especially the case as the writers timed the scene in question just right, breaking the emotion just enough at just the right time.  it makes for one of the season’s most underrated yet memorable moments.  It is just one more example of how the writing, in its more detailed aspects, makes the fourth season of The Nanny another hit for both the series’ original fans and a whole new generation of fans.

The work put in by The Nanny’s writers throughout the course of the series’ fourth season paid off in spades as it will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained from one episode to the next right up to the season finale. And together with the fact that each episode is presented in whole, the show’s long-time fans are given plenty to appreciate in this first standalone season set from Shout! Factory. While both elements are of equal importance to Season Four’s overall enjoyment and success, there is still at least one element left worth noting about the collection. That last element is the work of the show’s cast. The cast’s work in front of the camera within each episode will entertain viewers just as much as the season’s writing. This applies not just to the cast’s interpretation of each episode’s script but to the timing of each cast member’s lines. Most notable of the cast is Daniel Davis, who plays Maxwell’s butler Niles. Davis’ chemistry with his cast mates and his timing with each line makes him shine as one of the show’s true stars. His constant deadpan delivery of his lines coupled with said lines and the timing of his delivery is a combination that will have viewers laughing uproariously every time he speaks. Drescher is funny in her own right as the show’s star, though in a different manner. There’s something about her acting (just as much here as in the show’s first three seasons) that echoes Lucille Ball’s brand of comedy in I Love Lucy. This applies both to the timing and delivery of her lines and to her occasional physical comedy such as in “The Fifth Wheel.” When Fran gets caught between C.C. and another friend as they make out with their male friends, Fran ends up getting pushed down in the booth, leading her to have to eat her pasta with just her mouth. The way that she did so followed by her line about having to do so instantly conjures thoughts of the late, great actress. Lauren Lane, who plays C.C. Babcock is just as entertaining when partnered with Daniel Davis. The duo’s constant back and forth makes for its own share of laughs. That is especially the case being that the dialogue and acting in question never feel the least bit forced. Both are so dry in their delivery and timing that it feels like it could have been adlibbed, even though it wasn’t. On another note, Charles Shaughnessy is entertaining in his own right, too as Maxwell. Being the bumbling, insecure father figure, it makes Drescher’s job all the easier in delivering her lines. Whether for that pairing, for the pairing of Lane and Davis, or for each cast member’s work alone, each of the cast members show in his and her own way exactly why their work in front of the camera is just as important to the enjoyment and success of The Nanny’s fourth season as the work of those behind the cameras. The work of the cast and the writers together with the season’s presentation in whole makes The Nanny: Season Four just as welcome in the home DVD collections of the show’s long-time fans as those that might be new to the modern classic.

The Nanny: Season Four is just as welcome in the home DVD collection of any of the series’ long-time fans as it is in the collections of those that are less familiar with the series and its rich history. The main reason for this is the fact that all twenty-six episodes from Season Four have been presented here exactly as they were seen in their original broadcasts. The work of both the show’s writers and cast make this season all the more enjoyable for the show’s fans. All things considered, the fourth season of CBS’ modern classic sitcom shows in its first-ever release to be a collection that any of the show’s fans will want to add to their own home DVD collections. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/the-nanny-season-four. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two More Than Lives Up To Its Title

Courtesy:  Paramount/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount/CBS DVD

Next Tuesday, Paramount and CBS DVD will release the second season of CBS’ classic sitcom I Love Lucy on Blu-ray. It comes a little more than a year after the release of the series’ first season on Blu-ray. Its release marks the first time ever that Season Two has been released in this format. Now, it is easy to question the importance of the show’s fans having this collection in their home collections considering the number of networks on which it currently airs–TV Land, Hallmark Channel, Me-TV, and possibly others. That is a lot of coverage. However, not everybody out there has access to each of the noted networks for one reason or another. That being the case and that it’s not always that easy to find the DVD box sets at the likes of Wal-Mart or Target (one has to be lucky enough to find them at either retail outlet), it increases the importance of this latest collection by quite a bit. It is just one element worth noting in regards to why audiences will appreciate this latest release even despite the one major issue of its price. The writing behind each of the set’s thirty-one episodes is one more reason and by relation the work of the series’ cast within each episode. Last but most definitely not least worth noting to the set’s positives is the massive amount of bonus material included throughout the five-disc set. From the episode-specific commentaries to the multiple viewing options of the set’s timeless season premiere “Switching Jobs” to the multiple viewing options of each episode overall, these bonuses and many more complete the positive viewing experience of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two. Each element in its own makes this collection well worth the addition to any I Love Lucy fan’s home collection. Collectively, they make it an ultimate tribute to a series and the series’ fans even despite its rather high price tag.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s upcoming release of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two marks the first time ever that the series’ second season has seen the light of day on Blu-ray (say that two times fast). Being that the series has already been released both in a full-series set and in its own standalone season sets, one can’t help but wonder why one would want to add this new standalone season set to one’s home collection. The answer is simple. It is the first of a number of reasons that it is worth the purchase even despite the relatively high price tag. While the noted DVD sets are currently available for purchase, one must get lucky to find any of the sets in question in any retail outlet. This means that it is easier for audiences to purchase said sets online. Here’s the problem with that. Not everybody shops online. Whether it be for concerns of security, which are fully justified especially in this day and age, or simply for lack of internet access, shopping online is not for everybody. The next argument is one of the show’s coverage on television today. Currently, I Love Lucy runs on no fewer than three networks–Hallmark Channel, TV Land, and Me-TV–on television. That could be argued to be plenty of reason for audiences to not pick up this set. The rebuttal here is that as with the online shopping option, not everybody has access to one or more of said networks. In some regions, issues with certain carriers has eliminated access to Viacom’s networks, thus eliminating TV Land. In others, a network such as Hallmark Channel is considered a premium channel available only via a digital tier. And in regards to Me-TV, it is growing every day in its reach. However still not every household in America has access to Me-TV. Considering all of this, it makes the presentation of Season Two in its complete all the more important for fans of all ages. Add in the fact that not everybody shops online and its upcoming release in stores makes it all the more important while it is available. These issues are in themselves strong arguments in favor of adding I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two to fans’ collections. It is hardly the only argument in favor of the brand new box set. The work of the series’ writers in Season Two adds even more fire to the argument in its favor.

The issues with the access to I Love Lucy’s DVD box sets both in stores and online make a solid argument in favor of adding I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two to audiences’ personal home libraries. Those issues are only the tip of the iceberg in the argument in favor of the brand new box set. The work of the series’ writers this season and by correlation the series’ cast adds even more strength to that argument. Season Two sees some of the most memorable episodes of the series’ entire six-season run including the beloved, timeless season premiere “Job Switching” and the multi-part story arc that follows Lucy’s pregnancy. “Job Switching” is one of the most beloved of I Love Lucy’s one hundred and eighty episodes if not its single-most beloved and timeless episodes. It is a clear example of why the work of the show’s writers is just as pivotal in Season Two as any of the series’ other seasons. This classic battle-of-the-sexes episode sees Ricky and Fred change places with Lucy and Ethel. The prior become the stay-at-home figures while the latter go out to find work. While Lucy and Ethel’s scenes trying their hands as candy makers are the episode’s most memorable of the episode, they are just part of what makes this episode such a laugh riot. The writers’ ability to make Ricky and Fred into just as much a pair of bumblers keeps the men and women on the same level. Audiences will be left in stitches as they see Fred completely char a cake he was trying to bake and Ricky completely losing track and control of a pot of rice. In the same vein, Ricky trying to clean the chickens (yes, he actually tries to clean them) makes for just as many laughs. On the other side of the proverbial coin, watching Lucy and Ethel sitting at the employment agency, trying to get a job in the first place is well worth its share of laughs, too. On another level, the manner in which the writers switched up the couples’ gender roles even before everything unravels (both literally and figuratively) will have viewers laughing just as uproariously. Fred and Ricky both sporting frilly aprons is hilarious in itself. Lucy reading the paper, drinking her coffee and ignoring Ricky is even funnier. And then there is Fred’s comment about Ethel not kissing him goodbye as she and Lucy leave. This is yet another great moment. The commentary about this moment and so many others throughout the episode show even more why the efforts of the show’s writers make this episode such a laugh riot. Said commentary will be discussed later. Getting back on topic, this episode is just one, rich example of how the work of the show’s writers makes this season of I Love Lucy well worth the watch. The multi-part story arc following Lucy’s real life pregnancy is another pivotal example of the importance of the writers’ work.

“Job Switching” is in itself a clear example of why the work of I Love Lucy’s writers is so important to the show’s overall success and enjoyment. It is just one example of why their work is so important, too. The multi-part story arc that follows Lucy’s pregnancy is another prime example of the importance of their work. Lucy’s real life pregnancy marked the first time ever that a TV series’ heads had allowed an actress’ pregnancy to be played out on television. Discussing pregnancy in general at the time was considered a major taboo for TV. Men and women at the time couldn’t even sleep in the same bed on television thanks to the censors. So to have her pregnancy directly addressed and even tied into the series is in itself is hugely important. The manner in which the writers handled her pregnancy makes these episodes even more key. Audiences will find themselves laughing just as much in the arc’s lead episode “Lucy Is Enceinte” as they will any of the arc’s others. There is a lot of truth even today in “Pregnant Women Are Unpredictable.” Lucy gets mad at Ricky here because she thinks he loves their baby more than her only to turn and get mad at the episode’s end because he had made no mention of the baby. The setting in which this moment happens makes for its own share of laughs even today. Men and women both will laugh because, again, they know that there is a lot of truth here. Even more to the positive is the fact that the writers handled the issue with such tact and playfulness. Much as with “Job Switching” the writers poked fun at both the mood swings that many women experience in pregnancy and the general inability of men to comprehend or even handle them. It is yet another example of everything that was once great about comic writing, proving again why the work of the show’s writers is so important to the overall enjoyment and success of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two. It is not the last example of the importance of their work, either. “Lucy Becomes A Sculptress” is yet another example of what makes Season Two such a hit.

“Lucy Becomes A Sculptress” is another prime example of the importance of the work of I Love Lucy’s writers for not just one reason but two. The first reason is that it is actually a two-part episode in itself. It is part of that multi-part story arc that followed Lucy’s pregnancy. But it is also its own standalone episode that put Lucy into one of so many outrageous situations. In the case of this episode, Lucy decides to try her hand at sculpting art and even goes so far as to get an art critic to come in and judge her *ahem* work. As any fan knows, she becomes her work, leading to what is one of the all-time greatest episodes in the history of both “I Love Lucy” and of television in whole. Lucy’s initial attempts at creating art are in themselves worthy of more than their share of laughs, again putting the talents of the series’ writers on full display. It is just one more of so many ways throughout Season Two’s thirty-one total episodes in which the writers’ talents are put on full display. All thirty-one episodes considered together, they show with the fullest clarity why the writing behind the second season of I Love Lucy is so important to its general effect. Even with all of the laughs that the writing brings in each episode, the work of the writers is just one element that is worth noting. The work of the show’s cast is just as worth noting.

The work of I Love Lucy’s writers in the show’s second season led to what are considered today to be largely some of the series’ best episodes and some of the most timeless episodes in television’s history in whole. Of course, as impressive as the writing proves to be , it would have been nothing without the work of the show’s cast yet again. The work of the cast–Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley–is perfect from the season’s premiere to its finale. That is obvious in the season premiere when Lucy and Ethel struggle to keep the chocolates from getting past them on the conveyor belt. It is just as evident in this episode when Lucy and Ricky switch their household gender roles. Lucy is spot on as she sits at the table reading the paper and drinking her coffee, not paying any attention to Ricky as he talks. There is a lot of truth to that scene even today some six decades plus later. The truth is on both sides. The back and forth between Ball and Vance as Lucy and Ethel vie for head of the Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League is another example of the importance of the cast’s work. The lengths that the pair reaches in its attempts to obtain that elusive leadership position is so hilarious not so much because it is this pair in question but because it is a situation that could apply both to women and men alike. It just so happened that in the case of this episode it was Lucy and Ethel that went toe to toe over the group’s position of leadership. Another example of the importance of the cast’s work this season comes early on in Lucy’s pregnancy as Lucy wants to initially tell Ricky that they are going to be parents. His reaction after learning he has to sing a song to an expecting couple is wonderful. He goes from table to table, singing happy birthday, becoming increasingly nervous as he tries to find out who the lucky couple is. The ultimate reveal that it is in fact him and Lucy will put a smile on any viewer’s face both from joy and the laughter at his reaction as he tries to solve the riddle so to speak. It is one more way that the work of the show’s cast throughout this season makes the season so enjoyable and a must have for any of the series’ fans.

Everything noted already in regards to I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two makes a solid argument why fans of this timeless sitcom should have the brand new Season Two standalone box set in their own home libraries. For all of the importance of each already noted element, there is still one more element worth noting in regards to this set. That final element is the massive amount of bonus material included with the set. As with the previously released Season One box set, Season Two includes among its bonus features: multiple episode-specific commentaries for starters. One of the commentaries in question centers on the season premiere. Audiences will be interested to learn in this episode that Ricky’s bumbling around in the kitchen was just an act. He was, as is revealed, in fact quite the accomplished chef. Just as interesting is the scene in which Lucy and Ethel prepare to leave and look for a job. Fred tells Ethel that she forgot to kiss him goodbye here. It is a great switching of gender roles. Even more interesting is the revelation in the commentary is that this moment was actually wiped from the episode. According to the commentary, it was not the censors that had it eliminated. Rather it is inferred that it might have been Vivian Vance herself who had it removed. If in fact it was her who had it removed, one can’t help but wonder why. Perhaps there was tension off camera between her and co-star William Frawley. It’s anyone’s guess. Regardless, it is definitely an intriguing tidbit to learn. These are just a couple of extras that make the work of the series’ writers so enjoyable this season. It is just one more reason that the commentary included in this episode proves to be a bonus in every sense of the word. It is not the only episode that receives the bonus commentary treatment, either. There are others throughout the season’s run that get their own commentary, too. The commentaries are only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the bonus material included in this box set. Audiences get to see “Job Switching” both in their own standalone black-and-white presentation and color presentation. There is also an option to watch the episode with its own French-Canadian presentation, which included its own special opening and closing graphics, and French-Canadian audio track. This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the set’s bonus material. There is far more to discuss including other episode viewing options.

The multiple viewing options offered for Season Two’s premiere are bonuses in their own right and fully deserving of being called bonuses. They are however anything but the only bonuses included in this set. Audiences are also treated to the option of watching every episode with or without their original opening and closing sponsor segments from Phillip Morris. The Phillip Morris segments even include a clear disclaimer noting the now known dangers of smoking and that neither Paramount nor CBS DVD advocate smoking in any form. Both companies are to be highly commended for taking this measure along with giving viewers the season’s run in its original presentation. On the same note, audiences can watch each episode with or without their original “heart” openings. As if all of this isn’t enough, Paramount and CBS DVD have also included with this set, the entire story arc involving Lucy’s pregnancy in the special Lucy movie I Love Lucy: The Movie as well as even more installments of the beloved radio series My Favorite Husband. Audiences will note in the select commentaries included throughout this season that it was My Favorite Husband that led to many of its episodes as well as episodes from other seasons of I Love Lucy. There is much more to note, including a sketch from the Red Skelton Show, guest profiles, an episode guide printed on the indie front and back of the set’s case, and so much more. But to go into each one would take far more time and space than is available. Considering that and everything already noted, it is safe to say that the bonus material included in I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two more than lives up to its title and in turn shows yet again why this season in whole also lives up to its name even despite its rather high price tag.

I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two shows in so many ways why it lives up to its title. Its very availability versus that of the series’ previous DVD releases lies at the heart of the ways in which it lives up to its name. The collective work of the show’s writers and cast once again makes for so many laughs and even heartfelt moments from beginning to end. The material included in the set as bonuses more than lives up to its title, too. The end result of all of these factors together is a box set that is in fact the ultimate Season Two experience for any fan of I Love Lucy. I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 4th. More information on this and other titles from Paramount and CBS DVD is available online now at:

CBS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Website: http://www.cbshomeentertainment.com

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

PARAMOUNT STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Website: http://www.ParamountMovies.com

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

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MLB World Series Takes Top Honors In The Phil’s Picks 2014 List Of Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

The days are officially ticking away to the end of another year. That means that all of the critics out there are now putting out their annual “Best Of” lists. This critic is still working on some of those lists while others are official. The jury’s still out on some right now such as the year’s Best New Documentaries, Independent Movies, Re-Issues, and Best New Movies overall. The lists for all the new music are still in the works, too. So while those lists are being completed, Phil’s Picks offers to everyone to start off the year, a look at the Top 10 Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. This year’s list is capped by a box set featuring the entire 2014 World Series, courtesy of Lionsgate, A&E Home Video, and MLB Productions. Also on this year’s list are some blasts from the past and some imports from our neighbors across the pond, and one surprise entry in the Honorable Mention list. The box sets’ packaging, bonus material and more were collectively taken into account in building this (and the other lists to come). Only 15 titles total could make the list. So there were some that didn’t make the list such as the sixth and seventh seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation on Blu-ray or the full six-season run of Ancient Aliens among others. It goes without saying that this was not an easy list to build. But it feels right. So without further ado, here is the list of 2014’s Top 10 New Box Sets For Grown-Ups.

2014 Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

1. 2014 MLB World Series Collector’s Edition

2. Endeavour: Series 2

3. Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series

4. The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crackups

5. The Dean Martin Show: Fully Roasted

6. The Roosevelts

7. Inspector Lewis: Series 7

8. Psych: The Complete Series

9. Secret Agent (A.K.A. Danger Man): The Complete Series

10. The Wonder Years: Season 1

Honorable Mention

11. The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 – 1955

12. The Almighty Johnsons: Season 1

13. Hell on Wheels: Season 3

14. The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection

15. I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 (BD Re-Issue)

Tomorrow, Phil’s Picks looks into the list of the year’s best new box sets for Children and Families. Stay tuned! 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 Resurrecting Sgt. Bilko And The Phil Silvers Show

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The classic comedy series Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will finally see the light of day on DVD this fall.

Shout! Factory will release the series in a full twenty-disc collection DVD box set on Tuesday, November 4th. The series, which was created by Nat Hiken, features a hilarious cast including: Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Joe E. Ross, and Paul Ford. It also featured some of the biggest names in television and movies as guest stars. That stars include the likes of: Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, Dean Martin and Lucille Ball.

The comedy served up by Silvers, his cast mates and guest stars is just the tip of the iceberg in the enjoyment of this upcoming release from Shout! Factory. The box also boasts a bevy of bonus material including the show’s original opening from its broadcast days, various audio commentaries, and even a bonus episode of The Lucy Show among much more. The complete list of bonus materials included on Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is noted below.

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show – The Complete Series Bonus Features:

  • Lost Audition Show
  • Original Network Opening
  • Original Cast Commercials
  • Photo Gallery
  • Audio commentaries with Allan Melvin, George Kennedy, Mickey Freeman, Larry Storch and Dick Van Dyke
  • “Lucy and the Efficiency Expert” (from The Lucy Show season 5)
  • Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw) Episode Introductions
  • Promo for The New Phil Silvers Show
  • “Harry, the Good Neighbor” from The New Phil Silvers Show
  • Interviews with Phil Silvers (includes rare interview from The Paul Ryan Show)
  • Phil Silvers and Jack Benny on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Footage from the 1959 TV Special Keep In Step
  • The Cast of Phil Silvers On Broadway
  • New interviews with daughters Cathy, Tracey and Nancey Silvers

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will be available in stores and online Tuesday, November 4th. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory online store at https://sneakpeek.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/sgt-bilko-the-phil-silvers-show-the-complete-series. Audiences that pre-order the box set now will get free shipping and will have their copy shipped out on October 7th, a full four weeks before the box set hits store shelves. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 Websitehttp://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.