PBS Examines The Plight Of The Orangutan In New Episode Of Nature

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS announced today that it will release a special episode of its hit wildlife series Nature next month when it releases Nature: The Last Orangutan Eden.

Nature: The Last Orangutan will be released on DVD on Tuesday, April 21st. It follows ecologist Chris Morgan as Morgan takes a trip to an orangutan quarantine center that cares for no fewer than forty-eight orangutans. The orangutans that make up the center’s population have either been rescued from land destroyed by logging or from those that aim to sell them as pets. Along the way, Morgan joins a group of researchers into a protected peat swamp forest in order to observe orangutans in the wild and learn about their culture and behavior.

Nature: The Last Orangutan will retail for MSRP of $19.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $17.99 at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=58235396&cp=&kw=nature+last+orangutan+eden&origkw=nature+last+orangutan+eden&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.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’ Nature Will Keep Things Cool Next Month With A New Episode Of Nature On DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Typically when one thinks of Antarctica, one thinks of snow, ice, and penguins. Thoughts turn to what is one of the harshest environments on the planet. However, those harsh conditions exist during the continent’s coldest months. During its summer months, things change, allowing for tourists to make their way to the Antarctic. Along the way, said tourists make it a point to stop at the Antarctic peninsula at Port Lockroy. It is there that a colony of approximately 3,000 gentoo penguins find their mates, build nests, and raise the next generation of gentoo penguins. It just so happens that along with the penguins, there is also a British post office at Port Lockroy where tourists can purchase post cards to send back to their friends and family and visit the post office’s on-site museum. Now thanks to PBS, audiences can get a glimpse into the lives of the gentoo penguins and how they are being protected in the new DVD Nature: Penguin Post Office.

Nature: Penguin Post Office will be released Tuesday, March 17th. The DVD examines the lives of the gentoo penguins at Port Lockroy and the efforts to protect the penguins as visitors make their way to the port through each year. The hour-long program includes interviews with volunteers from the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust who run the post office and museum at Port Lockroy. The DVD will retail for $19.99 but can be pre-ordered online via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $17.99 at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=57130986&cp=&kw=penguin+post+office&origkw=penguin+post+office&sr=1#Details. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online along with the latest Nature news at:

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

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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Life Lessons, Pop Culture Tribute Make Arthur’s Fountain Abbey Another Enjoyable Collection Of Arthur Episodes

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS has brought audiences some of the greatest series on television over the course of its roughly four decades or so that it has been on air. Series the likes of Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood, Antiques Roadshow, Nature, and NOVA have proven time and again over the decades why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming. British imports such as Inspector Lewis, Endeavour, and Mr. Selfridge have served to solidify that reputation even more. Each of the noted programs has done its own part to solidify PBS’ place in television’s upper echelons. As important as they have proven to be to PBS’ success rate, one other series has proven perhaps even more important than any other in recent years as a cornerstone to PBS’ weekly schedule. The series in question is another British import that goes by the name of Downton Abbey. It has garnered itself numerous awards over the course of its now four years and five seasons on the air. It was also recently renewed for a sixth season, which will likely debut in the U.K. later this year. What’s more it has even been spoofed by PBS’ long-running series Sesame Street with a sketch titled “Upside Downton Abbey.” Much like with NBC’s Saturday Night Live audiences know that when Sesame Street spoofs a pop culture phenomenon, it has really made it big here in the United States. It may sound odd to some. But it is true. The same applies to another of PBS’ family and fan favorite series, Arthur. Fittingly, PBS and PBS Kids will release a brand new collection of episodes later this month (January 27th to be exact) that features its own tribute to Downton Abbey. It will do so in the upcoming release Arthur’s Fountain Abbey. This episode alone is makes the upcoming collection well worth the watch by viewers of any age. Of course the trio of episodes that accompany “Fountain Abbey” make it worth the watch, too. That is thanks in large part to their writing. And for those audiences that perhaps are purchasing an Arthur DVD for the first time ever, the bonus material included on this disc is exactly the same as that included on previous Arthur DVDs. Each of the three elements noted here plays its own important part in the success of Arthur’s Fountain Abbey. Taken collectively into consideration, they make Arthur: Fountain Abbey a great watch for the whole family.

PBS Kids’ upcoming release of Arthur’s Fountain Abbey is a great watch for the whole family. The four-episode DVD is anchored by a tribute to what has become one of PBS’ most surprising series in Downton Abbey. “Fountain Abbey” focuses on one Muffy Crosswire. Muffy makes a surprising discovery about her family’s ancestry in this episode when she discovers that everything she knew about her family’s history isn’t exactly as it seems. The end result is that Muffy learns to better appreciate her family’s roots. Anyone that is familiar with Downton Abbey will appreciate the Arthur’s writers stayed as true as possible to Downton Abbey as possible in writing this episode. From the social stratification that separated those within Highclaire Castle to the castle’s very look inside and out, this episode’s writers made sure to pay proper respect to Downton Abbey and its fans. Not only that but that it stayed so true to its source material makes for wonderful marketing for that series as it is currently airing its fifth season here in the United States. It’s not the first time that those behind Arthur have paid tribute to pop culture. There have also been references to the likes of Batman, Dr. Katz (yes, Dr. Katz), Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Peanuts, and so many others throughout the series’ years on television. Being that it’s not the first time that the series has paid tribute to a pop culture hit, this latest is just one more notch in the series’ proverbial belt showing why Arthur remains today one of the absolute best series on television for the whole family.

Arthur’s full-on tribute to Downton Abbey on this disc is not the first time that the series has ever paid tribute to pop culture. And while it isn’t the first time it’s done so, it is the first time that it has taken on a show that has proven such a surprising hit among American audiences. The end result of that tribute is a presentation that pays full respect to both Downton Abbey and its fans. There is no denying its importance to the overall presentation on the series’ latest upcoming DVD compilation. It isn’t the only episode featured on the DVD, though. Also included on the disc are the episodes “Arthur Calls It,” “Whip. Mix. Blend.,” and “Staycation.” All three episodes provide their own importance and enjoyment to the whole that is Arthur’s Fountain Abbey. Each episode presents its own importance to the whole presentation thanks primarily to its writing. The first of the trio—“Arthur Calls It”—teaches a valuable lesson about acting on what one believes is right in life. The lesson is taught when Arthur’s friends force him to make a call on whether his best friend Buster was called out in a baseball game. If he calls Buster out, it could ruin his friendship with Buster. But if he calls Buster safe, it could put in jeopardy his friendship with his friends on the other side of the call. In essence, it teaches young viewers about the difficulties that come with doing what they personally believe is right, even with the potential consequences of said decisions. It is definitely its own important episode. Considering the story’s outcome, one could even argue that there’s a hint of the message that sometimes doing the right thing means doing nothing at all and letting others work out their disputes on their own. Again, more proof of the episode’s importance to the whole presentation. It makes for a great start to any discussion between parents and their children or even between teachers and students about ethics and doing the right thing.

Considering the lesson taught in “Arthur Calls It,” this episode proves to be as important to the whole of Arthur’s Fountain Abbey as the DVD’s title episode. The lesson in question is a basic lesson that centers on the topic of ethics. It is the most basic lesson possible but is just as solid a starting point for that lesson. It’s just one of the important topics covered in “Fountain Abbey’s” companion episodes that make the DVD worth the watch. “Whip.Mix.Blend.” teaches its own important lesson as it tackles the subject of blended families. In this episode, Arthur’s friend Rattles has to come to terms with potentially becoming part of a blended family when his mother starts dating Archie Vanderloo. Not only does he have to face the potential of his mother having a romantic connection to Archie Vanderloo but having to be around his children, too. Blended families have become increasingly common at least in America in the twenty-first century. And even as common as they have become, the very thought of two families coming together to form a whole new family is still not emotionally and psychologically easy for those involved in said situations. This episode will help any young viewer dealing with such situation deal with the situation in question and understand it when they feel like they have no one to talk to about it. And many times, young people in this situation do feel alone. So this episode makes for a good way to help young people cope with potentially having a whole new family when they otherwise might not have been able to. It’s just as much a good starting point for parents to talk to their children about the changes that come with becoming a blended family. Because it is just as valuable for children as for adults, it proves once again to be another reason that any family will want to add this DVD to their home DVD library when it is released later this month.

Both “Whip.Mix.Blend.” and “Arthur Calls It” present their own importance to the overall presentation that is Arthur’s Fountain Abbey. The lessons that are taught through both of those episodes are just as important for families as that taught in “Fountain Abbey.” The same can be said of the DVD’s closing episode “Staycation.” It is through this episode that Arthur teaches young viewers one of the most important lessons of all of those taught in the disc’s included episodes. It teaches young viewers about taking on too much and about responsibility. The lesson is taught when Arthur offers to babysit for his parents so that they can take a “staycation” in their own backyard. Taking on too much responsibility very rarely ever ends well. And Arthur learns this for himself when he tries to handle his little sister on his own. This is one of those lessons from which viewers of all ages can benefit as even adults have a tendency from time to time to try to take on too much responsibility. To that end, it serves as a good reminder for audiences about knowing their limits. In turn, it proves one more positive part of the whole that is Arthur’s Fountain Abbey. It sill is not all worth noting about the DVD either. The bonus material included with the DVD is the same as that included on previous Arthur compilations. It is a bonus primarily for those that are perhaps just beginning to build their collections of Arthur DVDs. It is the last element of this DVD worth noting. And when set alongside the collection’s episodes, it proves Arthur: Fountain Abbey an early pick for this year’s list of best new DVDs and Blu-rays for children and families.

The episodes that make up Arthur’s Fountain Abbey are on their own plenty of reason for families to add this new DVD to their home collection regardless of the number of Arthur compilations that they already have in said collections. That is not to take away anything from the activities and coloring pages included with the DVD as bonus material. The bonus material in question is the same as that included on previous Arthur DVDs. So those that might be at the beginning of their Arthur DVD collections will appreciate the inclusion of said coloring pages and activities. Parents and teachers alike will appreciate the self-confidence building “Definition of Cool” in which children have to tell things that make others “cool.” There is also a trading card game and even a board game of sorts for younger viewers. All of the activities and coloring pages can be printed out and saved. All audiences need is Adobe Reader in order to access each one. That’s the only catch to the whole thing. Most computers already have Adobe Reader installed on them, though. So it isn’t that much of a catch. Keeping that in mind, it is the last piece of the whole of Arthur: Fountain Abbey that makes the DVD so enjoyable. Together with the DVD’s included episodes, it rounds out the package in whole, proving once and for all why Arthur: Fountain Abbey is another welcome addition to the collection of any educator or family.

Whether it be for the episodes with their in-depth life lessons or the bonus material included on the DVD, Arthur: Fountain Abbey proves in the end to be another welcome addition to the collection of any educator or family. It will be available Tuesday, January 27th and will retail for MSRP of $6.99. It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=49575116&cp=&kw=arthur+fountain+abbey&origkw=Arthur+Fountain+Abbey&sr=1. More episodes of Arthur and games are available online at http://www.pbskid.org/arthur. Viewers can get more information on this special episode of Arthur and all of the latest news on the series both there and through its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/PBSArthur. 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 Investigates Effects Of Climate Change On Arctic Ecosystem In New Episode Of Nature

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS is giving audiences another reason to stay indoors and stay warm next month with the release of another episode of its hit wildlife series Nature on DVD.

PBS will release Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales on Tuesday, January 20th. Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales focuses on a major change in the ecosystem of the Arctic. It is a change that has resulted from global warming and the gradual disappearance of Arctic ice. As the once massive amounts of ice that one populated the Arctic disappear, so does the number of killer whales inordinately increase. The number of killer whales increases because they are being provided with more territory in which to hunt. By contrast, it also means that there is less territory in which polar bears—the once kings of the arctic—have to hunt.

Audiences are presented interviews with native Inuit who discuss the increasing number of killer whales in the Arctic and how it has actually helped them. At the same time, the other side of the proverbial coin is presented as scientists discuss how both humans and killer whales hunting the narwhal is not necessarily a good thing as it increases competition for resources. They go on to argue that this could greatly and negatively affect the lifestyle of the Inuit people. They go on to argue how the decrease in Arctic ice could lead to drastically negative effects on the polar bear population, too.

Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales will retail for $19.99. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=51197006&cp=1378003.2831221&sr=1&origkw=nature&parentPage=family. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.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 To Release Touching The Wild On DVD Next Month

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release Nature: Touching The Wild on DVD this Spring.

Nature: Touching The Wild will be released on DVD Tuesday, May 27th. In this episode of PBS’ wildlife-centered series, writer/artist/naturalist Joe Hutto documents the seven years that he spent living among a group of mule deer and attempting to become accepted by them. This is not the first extreme undertaking on the part of Hutto. He has spent months at a time living among a herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and having wild turkey chicks imprint on him. So when asked why he would spend seven years with the deer, it comes as no surprise that his response was simply, “How could you not?”

The new presentation is based on his book Touching The Wild, Living With The Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.). Hutto presents and narrates the story himself over the course of the episode’s roughly hour-long run time.

Nature: Touching The Wild will be available Tuesday, May 27th. It will retail for an SRP of $19.99 and can be pre-ordered via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=34129646&cp=1413205&ab=Aspot_15offFS69&parentPage=family. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSNature and http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature. 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.

Ireland’s Wild River Is An Example Of A Wildlife Documentary Done Right

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Ireland’s Wild River is one of the most enjoyable episodes of PBS’ beloved wildlife series Nature to come along in quite a while. This episode of Nature is such a joy first and foremost because of its approach. There is quite a bit to note on that matter alone. Another reason that audiences will enjoy this episode of Nature thanks to the beautiful cinematography. That plays directly into the episode’s approach. One more reason that viewers will enjoy this episode of Nature is its editing. Much like the cinematography, the editing plays directly in to the episode’s overall approach. All three factors together make this episode of Nature one that any viewer should see at least once.

PBS’ Nature has been a hit with viewers for years. That is because of its general approach. It has typically stayed as far as possible from all of the wildlife shows that are based more on personalities (whether on camera or off) than on the animals. Because they focus more on personalities, those same shows take more of an intrusive approach than Nature for lack of better wording. While this episode of Nature actually does have a host of sorts in Colin Stafford-Johnson, he is not the center of attention. Nor does he show any interest in taking center stage. The only time that he is shown is occasionally as he paddles (yes, paddles) along the Shannon. Even his own narration is apart from that of hosts of other wildlife program. That makes this episode even more enjoyable for true nature lovers. His narration isn’t the same high energy approach of so many nature show hosts. Much like the cinematography and companion editing of this episode, Stafford-Johnson’s own narration is low-key and non-intrusive. He takes the angle more of a full-on observer than the standard host that goes in and grabs everything in sight, trying to stay in the camera. It’s one part of the episode’s approach that makes the episode such a joy.

Host Colin Stafford-Johnson’s hands off, observer style approach to Ireland’s Wild River is just one part of what makes this episode of Nature so enjoyable for lovers of any wildlife programming on television. Another, more subtle aspect of the episode’s approach that makes it so enjoyable is in how Stafford-Johnson made his way along the Shannon River. Whereas shows like River Monsters and others are so quick to use motorized boats because they make the show more “sexy” for viewers, Stafford-Johnson gently paddles along in a canoe. It’s a nice change of pace. It shows that Stafford-Johnson isn’t trying to present that same spit-shined, “sexy” appearance of those other shows. And it shows a true reverence for the wildlife along the river, too. He is showing that he doesn’t want to do anything to disturb the wildlife. This is such a welcome alternative to what audiences are accustomed to seeing from nature shows. It makes the episode’s overall approach all the more entertaining for audiences.

The approach taken by Stafford-Johnson and those responsible for the final product here resulted in what is one of the series’ best episodes so far in 2014. That work is not all that makes this episode so enjoyable. Just as important to the overall enjoyment factor is the combined cinematography and editing used for the final product. The shots of Stafford-Johnson paddling gently along the river, and sitting in his canoe among the reeds create such a sense of serenity. There are no overdone pans setting him against the backdrop of the river or other unnecessary flourishes. It’s just straight forward camera work. In terms of flourishes, audiences will like the high speed photography capturing in flight, the many birds that populate the Shannon. Even here, it isn’t overdone. This effect is used just enough to add a little extra “oomph” to the program. And the editing used to transition from one bird to the next adds even more of that feeling.   Just as worth noting is one specific moment in which a shot of a bird on a reed fades to a show of Stafford-Johnson’s silhouette against the setting sun in the sky. Given, it’s a standard edit effect. But it’s the only time that audiences see this effect used, too. Simply put the editing and cinematography are minimized just as much as Stafford-Johnson’s time on camera. There’s no over the top anything here. Everything is balanced just right throughout the course of the program. In the end it’s that balance makes Ireland’s Wild River one of the best episodes of PBS’ Nature yet.

Ireland’s Wild River is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=31134566&cp=&sr=1&kw=irelands+wild+river&origkw=Ireland%27s+Wild+River&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSNature and http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature. 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.

Meet The Coywolf Takes A Different Look At Human, Animal Interactions

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Meet The Coywolf is an interesting addition to the network’s wildlife series Nature.  It is an interesting addition to the beloved series first and foremost because of its writing.  Just as important to keeping audiences engaged throughout the course of the program’s near hour-long run time is its editing.  The visuals used in conjunction with the program’s writing make it all the more interesting to watch.  The visual aids used in certain segments round out the presentation, making it complete and completely worth watching.  It is available now on DVD.

The first aspect of Meet The Coywolf that makes it so interesting is its writing.  This episode of Nature, which is based on a book by the same name, introduces the hybrid animal to many audiences for the very first time.  At the same time, it explains how humans within the territories of the coywolf are meeting them at an increasing rate, too.  Most interesting of all is that by and large, this episode of Nature takes the high road.  Instead of being preachy, it is presented from a primarily objective standpoint.  It shows how citizens of two totally separate regions hundreds of miles apart are living in closer and closer proximity to coywolves.  Despite that proximity to one another, the two sides seem to live peacefully alongside the other.  There’s no sense of preaching to audiences for the most part.  The closest that this episode comes to preaching is a point at which it is noted a male coywolf was killed by a police officer because the unnamed officer thought the coywolf was acting aggressively toward him.  As was pointed out, the reality is that the coywolf was merely protecting his mate and child because he felt the officer was too close to them.  That is the extent of the episode’s subjective commentary.  Other than that, this episode is objective.  That objectivity is the key to the program’s ability to reach the level which it reaches.

The writing behind Meet The Coywolf is key to its ability to reach viewers.  By direct connection, the program’s editing is just as important to the episode’s overall presentation.  Editor Janet Hess did a wonderful job of presenting footage in their natural habitats and even within the confines of the human world.  It’s interesting to see just how close the two worlds come to one another on a daily basis.  She also clearly presents the avenues taken to track the wolves in hopes of gathering information that could be used to help protect them.  Simply put, she has worked with writer Siobhan Flanagan to present a fully unbiased and informed episode that serves as the basis for what could be a much deeper future episode.

The writing and editing that make up Meet the Coywolf are both equally important to making this episode of Nature engaging for viewers.  There is one more aspect to this episode that makes it engaging for viewers.  That aspect is the visual aids.  More specifically, the CG maps outlining the coywolves’ territories make the program more engaging.  The maps tie right in to the episode’s editing because they are used to help illustrate the extent of the coywolves’ territories even within the confines of a city.  It’s incredible to see the expanse of those territories as they are tracked by the individuals watching them.  It shows the wolves’ ability to adapt to their surroundings and thrive.  That is the ultimate statement to this episode of Nature.  Even though humans and coywolves are living in increasingly close proximity to one another, the coywolves have shown their ability to adapt and survive.  And as long as there is understanding of them, they will continue to survive and thrive.  Audiences will understand this and more themselves when they order this program on DVD now.  It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=30499036&cp=&kw=meet+the+coywolf&origkw=Meet+The+Coywolf&sr=1.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PBSNature and http://www.pbs.org/wnet.nature.  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.