PBS Shows Even Other Animals Can Be Rebels In New Three-Part “Nature” Episode

Courtesy: PBS

Truth is, more often than not, stranger than fiction, and that is just as true when it comes to the animal kingdom as in any other aspect of life.  Audiences will see that for themselves firsthand this summer when PBS Distribution releases PBS’ new Nature documentary Natural Born Rebels on DVD.

NatureNatural Born Rebels is currently scheduled to be released on DVD June 5. The 159 minute (2 hours, 39 minutes) documentary presents to viewers some animals whose behavior seems so unbelievable, yet is very real.  That includes a crab that can’t help stealing, a chimpanzee who rules his group with an iron fist and even a rather amorous prairie dog.  As audiences will learn throughout the three-part series, these are just some of the surprising yet very real behaviors that animals display, too.

Over the course of the program, researchers reveal to viewers that these behaviors may be the key to survival in the animal kingdom.  NatureNatural Born Rebels will retails for MSRP of $24.99 and can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

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.

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PBS Heads To Brazil For New ‘Nature’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

PBS is taking audiences to South America next month with the second of tow new episodes of its hit wildlife series Nature.

Nature: Hotel Armadillo will be released Tuesday, June 20 exclusively on DVD.  The program takes audiences on a journey to Brazil’s remote 80,000+ square foot Pantanal wet land in search of the elusive Giant Armadillo.

Very little is known about the solitary, nocturnal creature.  That is why the conservation biologist Arnaud Desbiez and members of the Giant Armadillo Project, which is supported by more than 40 zoos and aquariums worldwide, set out to find the animals.

Desbiez and company took specialized equipment on their journey to capture pictures and footage of the giant armadillo in its natural habitat, and learn much more than they ever expected in the process.  They discover once the armadillo vacates its burrow, which can be as deep as 20-feet, the burrow is used for both food and shelter by any number of other animals.

Along with the discovery of the semi-symbiotic relationship between the giant armadillo and other animals, the research team also discovers the armadillo’s wide home range.  It also presents a serious man-made danger facing the creature, which plays such a crucial part in Pantanal’s ecosystem—ranchers who burn the area to promote vegetative growth.

The DVD’s run time is approximately one hour. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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.

PBS Taking Audiences To Austria In New Episode Of ‘Nature’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This summer, PBS is taking audiences on a trip into the Austrian wilds in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature.

Public Media Distribution will release Nature: Forest of the Lynx Tuesday, June 20.  The program, which will be available exclusively on DVD, follows two female Lynxes in Austria’s Kalkalpen National Park in two separate situations.  One works to survive on its own while the other works to prepare her young for life in the park.

They two Lynxes are not the only animals featured in this program, despite its title.  Audiences also follow a white-backed woodpecker and a pygmy owl as they go about their daily lives in the park, and even follows the life cycle of trees in the park along the way, too.

Nature: Forest of the Lynx will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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.

‘Super Hummingbirds’ Is A “Super” New Episode Of PBS’ ‘Nature’

nature-super-hummingbirds-bd-box-art

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Big things can and often do come in small packages.  Who out there hasn’t heard or said this or some variant thereof?  In the animal kingdom, one of the smallest creatures – the hummingbird – is one of the biggest surprises.  The tiny birds’ surprises are many, too.  Those surprises were recently revealed in a new episode of PBS’ hit wildlife-based series Nature in the form of Super Hummingbirds.  This episode isn’t the series’ first to ever focus on the tiny birds, but it is still an interesting program nonetheless.  That is due in part to the program’s central topic.  This will be discussed shortly.  The information that is presented within the program is just as important to its presentation as its central topic.  It will be discussed later.  The program’s transitions round out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Super Hummingbirds proves in the end to be its own super episode of Nature.

Super Hummingbirds is not the first episode of its kind to run on PBS’ hit wildlife series Nature.  Even with that in mind, it is still its own “super” episode.  That is due in part to the program’s central topic.  The program’s central topic focuses on the various adaptations hummingbirds have developed throughout their evolution.  One of those adaptations allows one species of hummingbird to survive at altitudes that would otherwise be fatal to humans.  That is because of the low levels of oxygen at those altitudes.  Another key adaptation that is displayed is the hummingbird’s tongue.  Audiences will be surprised to discover here that hummingbirds’ tongues (or at least one species of hummingbird) are actually split in a manner similar to snakes.  What is even more interesting to learn is the revelation that hummingbirds use channels of sorts in their tongues in order to lap up nectar from flowers.  They don’t just stick out their tongues and lap it up.  It is truly an interesting revelation.  It is just one more of so many interesting adaptations that are revealed as part of the program’s central topic.  There are plenty of other adaptations revealed throughout the course of the program that audiences will be just as interested to discover.  Even with that in mind, the program’s central program should not be considered the program’s only important element.  The information that is presented throughout the course of the program’s roughly hour-long program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.

The central topic presented in Super Hummingbirds is in itself a key element to the program’s overall presentation.  It is a topic that while touched on in previous similar episodes of Nature, is still original in its own right.  That is because it takes such a close look at the adaptations that have allowed the tiny birds to survive in different situations and settings.  As important as the presented topic proves to be, it is just one of the program’s key elements.  The information that makes up the body of the program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.  One of the more interesting pieces of information revealed in the program is that of the ability of one species of hummingbird to survive at altitudes close to that of Mount Everest.  That information is provided as one scientist conducts experiments to see how low he can make the birds’ oxygen levels before they begin struggling to fly.  For the animal rights activists out there, no birds were harmed in the process.  Another interesting piece of information that is revealed in the program is the fact that allegedly hummingbirds spend the better part of their days competing. What’s more the males are the ones who do the competing, and they do so primarily for the purpose of creating the next generation of hummingbirds.  It’s so interesting to note because of the reputation that hummingbirds have as gentle, tiny creatures.  According to this piece of information, they are not the peaceful little creatures that most people think them to be.  What’s more it makes them seem about as competitive as most teen boys.  Yes, that bad joke was fully intended.  This revelation in particular is just one more of so many interesting pieces of information that will assuredly keep audiences engaged throughout the course of the program.  There are plenty of other intriguing pieces of information that are revealed from beginning to end.  All things considered, the information provided within this episode of Nature give audiences plenty to appreciate.  They prove collectively to be just as important to the program as its central topic.  The program’s overall information, important as it is, is still not the program’s only remaining important element.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its collective information and central topic.

The topic at the heart of Super Hummingbirds and the program’s collective information are both key pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  While both elements are clearly important pieces of the program’s whole, they are just two of three key elements that should be noted in examining its overall presentation.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its information and central topic.  From hummingbirds’ survival abilities to their competitive nature to their mating the transitions between subjects are clear and concise.  There is no jumping from one subject to the next.  While there are no fade-ins or fade-outs between subjects, the program’s writing makes the transitions stable and thus maintain the program’s pacing.  That being the case, the program’s transitions keep it moving forward and in turn, keep audiences engaged.  It proves the importance of the transitions to the program’s overall presentation.  When it is set alongside the program’s extensive information and its central topic, the whole of those elements makes this episode of Nature another “super” presentation from PBS’ hit wildlife-based series.

Super Hummingbirds is hardly the first ever episode of PBS’ Nature to focus on hummingbirds.  Even with that in mind, it is still a “super” new episode of the network’s hit wildlife-based series.  That is proven in part through the program’s central topic.  The program’s central topic focuses on the adaptations that have allowed hummingbirds to survive in so many settings around the world.  The information provided throughout the program to support its topic is just as important to note as the program’s topic itself.  The program’s transitions keep its pacing solid, and in turn keep audiences engaged.  Each topic is important in its own right to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make Super Hummingbirds, again, a “super” new episode of Nature.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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.

 

Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Presentation Is The “Champion” Of Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries List

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

2016 was another great year for documentaries.  From ancient kings to movie magic kings and much more, the field of documentaries had plenty to offer audiences.  Believe it or not PBS showed again with its offerings why it remains the king of the documentary field and why it is the last true bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It wasn’t the only outlet that offered quality documentaries this year, though.  Virgil Films and MVD Visual both had some stand out offerings, too.  Their films are included in this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

Topping this year’s list of the year’s top new documentaries is Ken Burns’ new profile of MLB great Jackie Robinson.  It isn’t the first of its kind by any means.  But it is one of the most in-depth profiles of the baseball legend.  Also included in this year’s list is a profile of another legend in his own right, Ray Harryhausen from MVD Visual in the form of Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.  It isn’t the first of its kind, either. But its story, interviews, footage, information and editing all combine to make this presentation stand out.  There is even a pair of documentaries on the “timeless” cinema classic Back to the Future included in this list.

As with each of Phil’s Picks “Best Of” lists, this list features this critic’s top 10 choices in the given category along with five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  So without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

 

  1. Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson

 

  1. American Experience: Space Men

 

  1. American Experience: Tesla

 

  1. Nature: Natural Born Hustlers

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings

 

  1. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

 

  1. American Experience: Bonnie & Clyde

 

  1. Nature: Super Hummingbirds

 

  1. Nature: Moose Life of a Twig Eater

 

  1. NOVA: Vikings Unearthed

 

  1. OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine

 

  1. Back in Time

 

  1. Building Star Trek

 

  1. Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities

 

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.

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Nature’ Episode Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

PBS Distribution will release a high flying new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature next month on DVD and Blu-ray.

Nature: Super Hummingbirds will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 22.  The program examines the “super powers” that make hummingbirds one of the most incredible species of bird in the world.

The program is Emmy-winning filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum’s (Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air, An Original DUCKumentary, Animal Homes) second film focusing on hummingbirds.  The program focuses on new discoveries about hummingbirds.

Those new discoveries include how hummingbirds actually manage to drink nectar from flowers so quickly, and what allows them to survive in settings that are otherwise uninhabitable for other creatures.

For the first time ever, audiences will also get to see in this documentary how hummingbirds mate (meaning some parental discretion may be advised for younger viewers), lay eggs, fight, and even raise families.

The hour-long program opens with the research of Dr. Alejandro Rico-Guevara explaining how hummingbirds are able to lap up nectar at 20 times per second.  This is done through the use of a clear feeding tube and a real flower.  The flower contained the same amount of nectar found in a real bloom.

High speed macro photography reveals the birds’ secret; a secret that audiences will discover for themselves when they order the episode for themselves.

Dr. Christopher Witt and his team of researchers are also presented in this episode as they uncover the secret to hummingbirds’ ability to survive at altitudes where oxygen is 40 percent more scarce than at sea level.  Experiments conducted with the birds revealed a very stunning connection between the birds’ hemoglobin and their ability to survive at those high altitudes.  Research also revealed a connection between the birds’ ability to fly at high speeds and their ability to capture extra oxygen as they fly and breath.

The program’s final segment audiences are taken to the rainforests of Costa Rica where Dr. Marcelo Araya-Salas and researchers from Cornell University have spent seven years studying the mating habits of hummingbirds.  The group filmed more than 2,000 hours of footage in its research and caught the first footage of hummingbirds mating in that footage.

The whole thing ends with a life cycle of the hummingbird, from nest building, to parenthood to the first flight.

Nature: Super Hummingbirds originally premiered on PBS stations nationwide on Oct. 13.  It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 22 and will retail for MSRP of $24.99 on DVD and $29.99 on Blu-ray.  It can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $24.99 (Blu-ray) and $19.99 (DVD) now online at PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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.

Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant Will Be A Giant Hit With Dinosaur Lovers Of All Ages

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

A few years ago, a farmer in Argentina was hunting for one of his sheep when he stumbled upon one of quite the surprising find. What the farmer found was the tip of a giant fossil bone sticking out of the ground. It was just the first of what became a massive excavation that unearthed some 200 other bones. The bones in question belonged to a group of plant-eating dinosaurs, or herbivores, that had previously been unknown. Now thanks to PBS and PBS Distribution audiences will get to learn about the find and the dinosaurs, which have yet to be named in a special new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature titled Raising The Giant Dinosaur.  The program is presented in partnership with BBC Earth.  It will be available Tuesday, April 26th.  This latest episode of Nature is a wonderful watch for audiences of all ages and interests, in both the living room and the classroom.  The central reason for this is the story at the center of the episode.  It presents the story of the dinosaur’s discovery and the process undertaken to remove its bones and reconstruct its skeleton so as to better visualize just how enormous it was.  The special effects that are used to help resurrect the creature so to speak are just as notable in the program’s overall presentation.  Audiences actually get to see the titanosaur come to life one element after another before their eyes as well as see how the dinosaur’s bones (and possibly those of other titanosurs) got to their final resting place.  Simply put, the CG is used in the utmost moderation here.  Because of this it actually adds to the program’s positives.  It is not the program’s last notable element either.  Its collective editing and pacing rounds out its presentation.  Together with the program’s central story and its minimalist use of computer graphics all three elements come together to make NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series.  They also combine to once more show why PBS remains today the very last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.

NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant is yet another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series.  Yes, one would think that being about a dinosaur discovery this episode would be better suited as an episode of NOVA.  But it technically is about an animal, thus making it a fit albeit an intriguing one, for this series.  That is evident in part due to its story.  The story follows researchers’ efforts to uncover the skeleton of what is now known to be the biggest dinosaur species ever discovered to date.  Along the way host and narrator Sir David Attenborough reveals that the remains found were not just of one of the species but of at least seven separate dinosaurs, all of that same species.  He also takes viewers to a massive breeding ground for the dinosaurs, even showing respect for the creatures as he replaces a piece of egg shell that he discusses with one of the researchers studying the new species of titanosaur.  There is even a discussion during the course of the story’s presentation on how the bones ended up where they did.  It is presented in fully scientific fashion eventually coming to one final conclusion that will leave viewers just as surprised as the very revelation of the dinosaur’s size.  There is much more that could be discussed in terms of what makes the program’s story so interesting.  Viewers will be left to discover all of that remaining material for themselves when they order the DVD from PBS’ online store.  Of course it is just one part of the program that makes it well worth the watch. The program’s use of CG is just as important to note as its central story.

The story at the center of NatureRaising The Dinosaur Giant is an important part of the program’s whole.  However it isn’t the only important part of the program’s presentation.  The elements used to tell the story are just as important as the story itself.  In the case of this episode the CG elements that are used are the most notable.  The CG is used very minimally throughout the course of the episode’s roughly hour-long run time.  It is used to illustrate the theories of how the dinosaurs’ bones reached their final resting place and the sheer immensity of their nesting grounds, and most importantly to bring the dinosaur to life beyond just its skeleton.  As Attenborough discusses each aspect of the dinosaur’s makeup, a different part of it is revealed.  It starts with the dinosaur’s skeleton.  From there, Attenborough discusses the connection between the its size and its ability to pump enough blood throughout its body.  So its circulatory system is then added to the dinosaur’s skeleton.  Eventually audiences get to see the dinosaur in its full glory even to the point of seeing it with its skin, completely in tact.  Simply put those behind this episode of Nature kept its CG limited to only the important parts of the program whereas it would have been so easy to go full-on CG.  So it is nice to see that they didn’t.  That extreme moderation, when set alongside the episode’s central story, double the reason for educators and audiences in general to see this episode of Nature.  Even with the importance displayed by each element they still are not the episode’s only important elements.  The program’s collective pacing and editing combine to present the last of the program’s most important elements.

The story at the heart of Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant and its minimalist use of CG are both key elements in the program’s overall presentation.  While both elements are undeniably important to its presentation they are not its only important elements.  Its collective pacing and editing are just as important to the program as its story and special effects.  The program’s pacing is so important to note because the program covers so much ground (or uncovers in this case.  And, yes that bad pun as fully intended).  From figuring out how the dinosaur and its fellow titanosaurs ended up at their final resting place, to figuring out how the bones go together to figuring out the dinosaur’s diet and more there is a lot that is presented over the course of the program’s near hour-long presentation.  Thankfully the program offers just enough time to each element of the story; so much so that viewers will never feel lost.  In regards to the program’s editing, it is obvious that Attenborough covered a number of topics in each area of the program’s presentation both figuratively and literally.  Over the course of the program, it is clear in his attire that he didn’t just visit the place and record one little part.  He did a lot in terms of narration and more.  The end result, thanks to those that assembled the final product, is a presentation that moves seamlessly and fluidly from beginning to end even as each different topic is tackled.  The fashion in which the shots of Attenborough next to the dinosaur’s skeleton were edited together is just as impressive.  They fully capture the creature’s size versus that of humans.  Although, in comparison to the likes of say the diplodocus, which lived in the end of the Jurassic era, there might be some discussion there.  The largest ever found Diplodocus, which is a sauropod, just like the unnamed titanosaur was found to be roughly 171 feet long (longer than a football field) and a little more than 26 feet high.  The titanosaur found in 2014 however, was about 130 feet long and 66 feet tall.  Though, it did weigh quite a bit more—77 metric tons—than the noted biggest diplodocus ever found.  Even with this in mind, it could be argued that this titanosaur was the biggest dinosaur on earth at the time of its existence (the Cretaceous Period) but not of all time.  But that is a discussion for another time.  Getting back on the subject, just seeing its size, thanks to the work of those that edited the final project, serves to drive home just how massive the unnamed dinosaur was.  It’s just one of so many in ways in which the editing behind this episode of Nature proves to be such an enjoyable watch.  Together with the program’s pacing, its story, and its minimal use of special effects (which far too few shows across the board do) it rounds out the program’s noted positives and shows one last time just what makes it a program that is sure to impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types.

Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant is a program that will impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types.  The central story presented in this episode is one that uncovers an introduces one of the biggest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth.  And it does so in a fashion that is accessible to a wide range of viewers thanks to its topic and the approach to said topic.  The program’s minimal use of CGin comparison to the over-the-top amount used by certain other networks (which will remain unnamed here)—is just as important to the presentation.  That is because it shows the ability of those behind the program to tell an enthralling story without having to overdo it so to speak.  The collective pacing and editing incorporated into the program rounds out its positives.  Even with so much material to discuss, the pacing never leaves viewers feeling lost.  The editing does much the same.  It seamlessly ties everything together and solidifies the program’s place as one of this year’s top new documentaries.  That is the case even with the discussions that may well be raised in comparing the newly found titanosaur to other sauropods.  Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant will be available Tuesday, April 26th and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=88167686&cp=&kw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&origkw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&sr=1.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

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.