It seems like ever year, audiences everywhere are seeing an increase in the number of classic TV shows and movies that were once popular everywhere they go. It really is a sad state of affairs. Of course that is not the only avenue in which older content is getting renewed so to speak. The originals also get new life every now and then on DVD and Blu-ray through various distributors, sometimes in better form than others and vice versa. This year saw a handful of classic TV shows and movies get some laudable re-issues and some less so.
What is most interesting about this year’s field of top new DVD and BD re-issues is the wide range of companies that released said titles. It shows that along with the likes of Shout! Factory – which has made quite the name for itself over the years in the home entertainment field – other familiar and up-and-coming names are really working to make their names known in that field, too, such as Arrow Video and Corinth Films, making for so much more variety.
From Shout! Factory’s re-issue of Explorers, to Arrow Video’s re-issue of the original Dune, to even Mill Creek Entertainment’s re-issue of the classic, short-lived animated series, The Critic, this year’s re-issues and the companies that released them offered audiences plenty of alternatives to the never-ending ocean of prequels, sequels, and reboots that filled theaters and streaming services this year. As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the given category with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15. This year’s list was not easy to compile but is complete.
Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD RE-ISSUES
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series
The Final Countdown
The Belles of St. Trinian’s
Ken Burns’ Baseball
The Rolling Stones: A Bigger Bang – Live at Copacabana Beach
Motorhead: No Sleep Till Hammersmith
The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch
The Transformers: The Movie
Superman: The Animated Series
The Critic: The Complete Series
Star Trek: The Original Series
Emergency: The Complete Series
It should be stressed here that in the case of Emergency and Star Trek, those two series sets are intentionally set at the bottom of this year’s list as, their positives are few. They are the least of the year’s best new re-issues. Audiences would do well to largely avoid these sets. There is a reason they are at the bottom of even the honorable mention titles. Keeping that in mind, this year’s list of top new DVD and BD re-issues is officially wrapped. There are still plenty of other lists coming, such as the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, families, and even family DVDs/BDs. Stay tuned!
It goes without saying that NBC’s classic drama, Emergency! is one of the best and most important series in the history of modern television. The show was fictional, but thanks to everything that it portrayed over the course of its six seasons on television from 1972-77, the face of field medicine in the real world completely changed. What’s more, if not for the landmark series, audiences today might not have medical dramas past and present, such as E.R., 9-1-1, and even Chicago Fire. So in reality, Emergency! remains one of the most important series not only of its kind but in general more than 40 years after it ended. This past September, Universal re-issued the series in whole on DVD. The re-issue came more than five years after Universal’s then most recent release of the series. Sadly, there is little to applaud in this latest presentation, save for the seemingly reduced price, which will be discussed shortly. The packaging is atrocious in comparison to that of the set’s 2016 release and is its biggest detriment. This will be discussed a little later. The production is also problematic and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation. Even taking everything into consideration, it still falls short of expectations in comparison to its predecessor.
Universal’s recent DVD re-issue of Emergency!: The Complete Series is a somewhat disappointing new offering from the company. Coming more than five years after the company’s most recent presentation of the series, there is not a whole lot to “write home about.” One thing that can perhaps be said to the positive about the set is its pricing. In comparison to the that of the 2016 set’s pricing, it does seem to be less expensive on average at least. Using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers (It was not listed through Books-A-Million and Target at the time of this review’s posting), the new 2021 set’s average price point is $77.48. That is down, but only slightly, from the average price point of $77.75 for the 2016 set. So in reality, the difference literally comes down to a matter of cents. So it is debatable in reality whether the pricing in this case can actually be considered a full positive. Looking a little bit closer though, the separate listings paint a slightly fuller picture. The 2021 release is listed at $54.99 at Amazon and Walmart (in-store) versus $84.99 at Best Buy and $102.99 through Barnes & Noble. By comparison even more, Amazon lists the 2016 release at $67.51 while the most expensive listing through Walmart online from 2016 is $78.99. Of course it should be noted here that the stated price is through a third party seller. Best Buy’s listing for the 2016 set is also at $84.99, so that is the same price as that for the 2021 set. Barnes & Noble lists the 2016 set at $90.99. So again, the pricing for the 2021 set is actually lower than that of the 2016 set. The thing of it is though, the pricing is likely lower because less material is used in the set’s packaging, which is its most detrimental aspect here.
The packaging for the 2021 presentation of Emergency!: The Complete Series is atrocious in comparison to that of the 2016 set. The 2021 set places the series in whole in one large box a la so many of the shows that CBS DVD and Paramount have done. By comparison, the 2016 release has all six seasons (yes, “The Final Rescues” are in that set, too) in their own standalone cases inside the larger box. That might have driven up that set’s price, but it was smart packaging. It made the price worth it. In the case of the 2021 set, the seasons’ discs are all housed in the one box, stacked on top of one another throughout. Everyone knows what that leads to: increased offs of discs scratching one another and in turn reducing the discs’ life spans. Making matters even worse is that the episode guide is printed on the inside of the case’s art. The manner in which the discs are housed completely covers the episode guides. Audiences have to actually play out the discs to get episode summaries. The standalone season sets, by comparison, offer full episode guides, complete with episode summaries inside the cases. Those guides are far more accessible, too. To that end, Universal could have at least separated the episode guide into its own standalone booklet in the case of this new 2021 full series set. So therein is even more detriment to the presentation. As if that is not enough, the full series presentation with the series’ standalone sets in one box takes up about the same amount of space on DVD/BD racks as the new set, so even to that end, audiences are not losing out anything. It’s yet more proof of how badly this set fails and certainly not the last, either.
As if all of the concerns raised through the set’s packaging are not enough, the quality of the footage in the episodes makes the presentation even worse. The discs featured in the set are the same ones used in the standalone season sets. This means that the grainy look of the footage is just the same here as in the standalone sets. By comparison, the footage has continued to look so much better in its airings on Me-TV and CoziTV over the years. This shows that it is possible to have had the footage re-mastered and cleaned up in its quality. Maybe that can and should be done for a future Blu-ray release for the series. If it can be cleaned up for television broadcast, there is no reason that it should not have been cleaned up for its DVD presentations. Keeping that in mind along with the problems posed through the set’s packaging and the only slightly lower price from the set’s previous release, this latest presentation ultimately proves more failure than fun.
Universal’s recent DVD re-issue of Emergency!: The Complete Series is a disappointing new presentation of the landmark series. If anything, it is a complete dishonor to the show, its cast, and the show’s legacy. That is proven in part through pricing that is only slightly less expensive than that of the series’ previous full series release. The set’s packaging is noticeably less smart than that of its predecessor. Instead of simply presenting the seasons in their standalone sets, as with the set’s previous presentation, the seasons’ discs are stacked on top of one another throughout the set, thus increasing the chance that the discs will damage one another. This is so much less positive than that of the show’s previous full series presentation. The grainy quality of the footage in comparison to its quality on television rounds out its problems. It is sad that in an age when such aged footage can be re-mastered and cleaned up, it still has yet to happen. Each item noted is important in its own way to the latest full-series presentation of Emergency! All things considered, they make this latest presentation a notable step down from the series’ 2016 full series release.
More information on this and other titles from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is available at:
Family entertainment group The Story Pirates will release its new album this spring.
The group is scheduled to release its next album The Strawberry Band April 2. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band debuted the video for the album’s lead single this week. The band debuted the video for the song ‘Fun Crazy Weird Hair Store‘ Friday through Geekdad and the “Absolutely Mindy” show on Sirius XM Kids Place Live.
The song is a light, kindie-pop style composition. Its easygoing guitar, piano, vocals, and simple time keeping makes it an infectious work. The song’s lyrical content is based on a short story crafted by a 9 year-old Story Pirates fan. It is one of a handful of stories crafted by children that make up the album, which itself is a tribute to concept albums.
The story behind is considered a “Beatles-esque” story that itself was crafted by a 5 year-old fan of The Story Pirates. According to information about the album, the band has dreams of stardom, but turns into strawberries every time it hits the stage. Throughout the album, the band, which created its own concept album, shows up as it tries to evade a strawberry-eating shark. The other stories that appear in this concept album about The Strawberry Band feature items, such as cinnamon buns, a wingless fairy, and a hedgehog.
The Strawberry Band is The Story Pirates’ fourth album.
In other news, The Story Pirates is scheduled to resume the fourth season of its podcast the same day as the release of its new album. It will feature 20 more episodes that will run through July,
Season Four opens with a Johnny Cash-style song that is based on a story titled ‘I’m Toast, Man!’ The song is based on a story written by a 6 year-old fan of The Story Pirates.
Season Four also features a new story, “The Adventures of Harold Jordan.” The story was adapted from a story crafted by one of The Story Pirates’ 9 year-old fans.
New music and stories are just a portion of what audiences have to look forward to from The Story Pirates when its fourth season resumes. Actor Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Phineas & Ferb) will join The Story Pirates for its mid-season premiere.
In even more news, The Story Pirates’ Los Angeles-based audiences can look forward to new episodes of its SPTV soon. The series runs on the region’s PBS affiliate, KLCS. The series encourages young viewers to use their imaginations to write original stories. It does this by taking viewers into stories written by other young viewers.
Story Pirates Creator Club members have full access to the show. Sample episodes of SPTV are streaming through YouTube.
More information on The Story Pirates’ new album, podcasts and SPTV episodes is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Fans of NBC’s classic sketch comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series are getting a new opportunity to own the series in whole thanks to Time Life. More than three years after the show’s initial full-series release, Time Life has re-issued the show in its fun, this time with some notable differences from its previous release, the first being the packaging. This will be addressed shortly. The new re-issue’s average price point is notable in its own right and will be examined a little later. The set’s overall content and quality thereof rounds out the most important of this set’s presentation and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the collection in its own way. All things considered, the items noted here make this re-issue a presentation that the most devoted fans of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In will enjoy.
Time Life Entertainment’s new re-issue of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series is a presentation that the series’ most devoted of the series’ fans will appreciate. That is especially the case for those noted fans who might not have purchased the series’ 50th anniversary box set, which was released in 2017. That set marked the first time that the timeless series ever received a full-series release. One of the most important elements of this re-issue that deserves attention is its packaging. The packaging used for the re-issue is simple. It features all six of the series’ previously released standalone season sets contained in a lightweight cardboard outer box. The series’ 50th anniversary release by comparison, holds each of the show’s standalone season sets in a much more durable box similar to that used in Time Life’s Carol Burnett Show box set that was released in 2016. While the box used to house the standalone sets in Laugh-In’s 50th anniversary set is sturdier than that of this new re-issue, the packaging for the series’ re-issued set is more ergonomic. Audiences will find it easier to place the series onto their DVD/BD racks rather than having to set out the larger set on, say a coffee table or somewhere else. What’s more, the simpler packaging also means that instead of having to open the container, they can just slide the separate boxes out of the bigger housing. Now the immediate rebuttal there is that such packaging also allows for boxes to just slide out, fall, and break. That is a valid argument. There is no denying that. However, true devotees of Laugh-In are going to be careful so as to protect the set so they can enjoy the show for years to come. To that end, the more ergonomic packaging ultimately proves to be a key positive to take away from this set, and just one of its positives. The set’s average price listing is important in its own right to address.
Time Life’s new re-issue of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series is difficult to find in researching its price at major retailers. Information provided last month ahead of the set’s release stated its MSRP was $169.95. It is also listed at Amazon at a far less expensive cost of $97.89 and at Best Buy only slightly more expensive, at $98.99. These are the only major retail outlets at which the set’s re-issue was listed at the time of this review’s posting. The three listings collectively make the set’s average price listing $122.28, which is itself well-below the noted MSRP of $169.95. Additionally, the prices of less than $100 at Best Buy and Amazon mean that audiences who want to own the series in whole will not break their budgets to own the collection. That is even with shipping and handling added in.
Staying on the topic of the set’s pricing, the noted prices for the new re-issue are also lower by themselves and averaged than those for the original release’s average price point of $154.30. The set was only listed through Amazon, Walmart, and Time Life at the time of this review’s posting. Amazon and Walmart’s listings of $106.45 were far less expensive than the listing of $250.00 (five separate payments of $49.99 – or basically $50.00) through Time Life. In other words, the separate and overall price for this re-issued set are less expensive than those of the original set. So what people get here overall is a set that takes up less space than the original set and that is less expensive than that presentation. Keeping all of this in mind, this set offers the most devoted fans of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In plenty to appreciate from this set. It still is not the last of the set’s most important aspects. The content and quality thereof in this set rounds out its most important elements.
The content featured in this set and its quality are collectively so important because they ensure audiences largely get the same content as in Time Life’s existing Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In sets. The only difference between this set and the 50th anniversary set, again released in 2017, is that this set lacks the bigger booklet that accompanied that earlier set. That is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Considering that this set is just another collection of the standalone season sets, then nothing else is lacking. The same audio and video quality is there, creating the same sense of nostalgia as the existing sets created. The in-depth episode guides featured in those previous releases are here, too. So in essence, the content featured in this collection ensures that audiences will have the same positive viewing experience in this case as with the show’s existing sets. That insurance, together with the overall more affordable prices and more ergonomic packaging creates an overall presentation here that makes Time Life’s new presentation of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In one of this year’s best new DVD/BD re-issues.
Time Life Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series is a positive new presentation of the timeless sketch comedy show. Coming more than three years after the initial release of the show’s full series run, it offers lots to like, beginning with its packaging. The packaging is far more ergonomically sound than that of the show’s previous full-series release. The set’s average and separate price listings are less expensive than those of the show’s previous full-series set, making for even more appeal. The only down side to those price listings is that there are so few listings. That aside, the overall pricing is still positive. The fact that audiences largely get the same content and quality here as those who might own the existing sets rounds out this set’s most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation. All things considered, they make the set one of this year’s best new DVD/BD re-issues. Time Life Entertainment’s new re-issue of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series is available now.
More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now at:
NBC’s classic psychedelic sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In is getting a re-issue.
More than three years after its initial release, the six-season series will receive the re-issue treatment. It will spread across 37-discs and is scheduled for release Feb. 2 through Time Life at an expected MSRP of $169.95. It marks the first time that the series has ever released in one collection. Time Life has previously released the series in a collection of standalone DVD sets.
The forthcoming collection will feature not only the series in whole, but also a variety of bonuses. Among the featured bonuses are interviews with the likes of Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, and Lily Tomlin, all of whom appeared in the series over the course of its six season run on NBC. Additionally, audiences are treated to pilot episode of Laugh–In as a bonus, along with a gag reel and tribute to George Schlatter.
More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now at:
Families nationwide got a lot of worthwhile ways to spend time together during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, thanks to all of the new DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets. Of course while families got plenty to watch together, grown-ups also needed something of their own to enjoy. Thankfully this year produced just as much for grown-ups to enjoy as children. That is why Phil’s Picks is taking a look at what were among the best of this year’s new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-ups. This year saw a bunch of new content from Warner Brothers and DC, some better than others (E.g. the new Swamp Thing reboot and new seasons of Black Lightning – Black Lightning proved better this year than Swamp Thing, but the latter still proved worth watching at least once. Itv and PBS presented a rather intriguing new season of itv’s crime drama Endeavour. The season was okay but left something to be wanted. The short-lived deep comedy The Good Place finally met its end this year and also received its only full-series release on Blu-ray thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory. In an even more surprising move, ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family got a full series release this month exclusively through Target. While not inexpensive, it is a presentation that devotees will appreciate. It is just one more entry in Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets For Grown-ups category.
As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the category along with five honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles. Without further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 new DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets for Grown-Ups.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS
Endeavour: Season Seven
The Good Place: The Complete Series
Modern Family: The Complete Series
Doctor Who: Season 12
The Expanse: Season 4
Black Lightning: The Complete Second Season
Black Lightning: The Complete Third Season
Stargirl: The Complete First Season
Mission: Impossible: The Complete Series
Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Set
Gunsmoke: The Movies
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1
Swamp Thing: The Complete Series
Star Trek Picard: Season 1
The Twilight Zone: Season 1
One more list is up to finish up this year’s lists. That list is the year’s top new re-issues. Stay tuned for that.
Famed singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd will release his new album next month.
Byrd, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, is scheduled to release his new album Sobering Times Sept. 25 through Kayos Records. Pre-orders are open now.
The 12-song record comes approximately three years after the release of his then most recent album Clean Getaway (2017). According to information presented about the forthcoming album, its lyrical and musical content is meant to continue promoting the message of hope in recovering from addiction that was also presented in the noted 2017 album.
Bob Stander, who co-produced Clean Getaway alongside Byrd, joins him again on this record, handling percussion and bass on this record. Also joining Byrd for the album are Jeff Kazee (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes) on keyboards, accordion, and backing vocals; Steve Holley (Wings, Ian Hunter, Joe Cocker) on drums; Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel) on drums; Rich Pagano (The Fab Faux), Thommy Price (Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Mink DeVille), and Christine “The Beehive Queen” Ohlman (Saturday Night Live band).
Additionally, Richie Supa and Willie Nile join Byrd for a pair of duets — ‘I Come Back Stronger’ and ‘Recover Me’ — as well as Emily Duff on ‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That.’ Duff also wrote the noted song.
Along with the noted duets, Byrd’s new album will also features a cover of Merle Haggard’s ‘The Bottle Let Me Down.’
The track listing for Sobering Times is noted below.
1.) Quittin’ Time (Again)
3.) Hear My Song
5.) I Come Back Stronger
6.) Starlit Night
7.) Recover Me (feat. Willie Nile)
8.) Ain’t Gonna Live Like That
9.) Pour Me
10.) The Bottle Let Me Down
11.) Life Is Good
12.) Just Like You
More information on Ricky Byrd’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Courtesy: Century Media/Century Media Records/Red Distribution
Body Count front man Ice-T will appear tonight on The Tonight Show.
Ice-T’s appearance is part of an ongoing push to promote the band’s latest album Carnivore, which produced the single ‘Thee Critical Beatdown‘ last week. The debut of the new song and video’s comes more than two months after the band debuted its then latest single ‘Point The Finger.’
The Tonight Show airs at 11:35 p.m. ET/10:35 p.m. CT on NBC.
Carnivore is available now on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below. It is also available to stream and download here.
Ltd. Deluxe 2CD Box Set (incl. bonus tracks, beanie, metallic logo pin, poster & instrumental CD)
The Innocence Project works to exonerate people who have been falsely incarcerated through DNA testing and criminal justice reform efforts. It was founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law. According to information on the agency’s official website, 367 people nationwide have been exonerated by The Innocence Project through its efforts, and 21 of those people were on death row.
The RightWay Foundation foster care agencies to help young people who are caught in the foster system have better lives.
More information on Ice-T’s appearance on The Tonight Show, Body Count’s new charity effort and its latest news is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:
Family entertainer Greg Lato will release his new album this summer.
Lato is scheduled to release Create My Own World July 24 through GLM. The album is Lato’s debut family music offering.
Create My Own World features musical arrangements whose influences reach as far back as the 1970s and as recent as the 2000s. According to information provided about the record, ‘I Can’t Find My Sock,’ which is one of the album’s 12 songs, features an influence from 1970s era Badfinger/Todd Rundgren/Elton John sounds.
The noted information states the album’s title track exhibits an influence from music made popular in the 1980s, but does not specify if that means 80s rock or pop. The album’s title brings audiences into the 21st century with its EDM-infused, the noted information additionally states. It adds, the song ‘Hi Gene’ could be used for any movie helmed by famed director John Hughes.
Along with the musical numbers, the record also features four spoken word presentations. As an added bonus, family entertainer Bill Harley joins Lato on ‘Two Slow Snails.’
Greg Lato has spent his career composing music through a variety of outlets. He has composed music for film and television, and most recently co-wrote with Billy Gilman, runner up on the 11th season of NBC’s hit singing competition show The Voice.
Lato has four grown-up albums under his belt in the form of Monday Morning Breakdown (2009), Do The Best With What I Got (2010), Lato & The Nevers: Fire Between Us (2016) and Cassetting Son (2018).
More information on Greg Lato’s upcoming album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Country musician and reality TV star Alexandra Kay released her latest single this month.
Kay released her new single ‘Dive Bar Dreamer’ April 3. The song is availabel to stream and download through various platforms here. The song’s musical arrangement is a flowing ballad that is founded in its subtle guitar work, its drums and Kay’s own vocal delivery. The song’s lyrical content is autobiographical, according to Kay, who shared the story behind the song in a video that she posted to her official YouTube channel.
Kay stressed in her video, that the song is meant to inspire listeners not to give up on anything in life, saying in part, “This song is not just for songwriters. This song is for everybody. If you have a dream. If you have something that you’re reaching for that’s bigger than what you ever could have imagined, if you want more out of your life, if you keep getting knocked down, picking yourself back up, getting knocked back down again, picking yourself back up, this song is for you. It’s about you. It’s about your life.”
Alexandra Kay has risen to fame as a contestant on NBC’s singing competition The Voice as well as one of the stars of the Netflix series Westside.
More information on Alexandra Kay’s new single is available online along with all of her latest news at: