It’s hard to believe, but there is officially a little more than a week left in the almost old year. For most of the country, it means winter break is here and kids are out of school, getting excited over Christmas and relaxing. That means lots of parents out there are struggling to find ways to entertain their kids and maybe also keep their brains growing at the same time. Phil’s Picks’ final “best of” list for this year will hopefully help with those efforts.
The last of this year’s “best of” lists focuses on the year’s top new single-disc family friendly DVDs and Blu-rays. It features new releases for families from PBS, Shout! Factory, and Nickelodeon, as well as Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network, and even 20th Century Studios. It runs the gamut from the educational to the entertaining, too.
Without any further ado, here is the last of Phil’s Picks’ “best of” lists for 2021, this year’s Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs
Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Animal Rescue
Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island
Molly of Denali: Molly & The Great One
Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows
Victor & Valentino: Folk Art Foes
Ron’s Gone Wrong
Paw Patrol: The Movie
PBS Kids Christmas Collection
Thomas & Friends All Engines Go!: Time For Teamwork
Sesame Street: Things Elmo Likes
Sesame Street: Wonderful World of Friends
Baby Shark’s Big Show!
PBS Kids 15 Girl Power Adventures
That’s it for this year, folks. Again though, there are lots of new titles already announced and scheduled for 2022, so Phil’s Picks is already looking forward to next year for all the new family DVDs and BDs and so much other content. Stay tuned!
Between families and grown-ups, plenty of positive content has been released this year on DVD and Blu-ray in the form of newly released box sets. Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s full series presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Arrow Video’s classic creature feature collection, Cold War Creatures, and the latest collection of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood do well to support the noted statements. Between them and so many others, there is more than enough to create a list of this year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall. Enter Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets.
As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the top 10 titles from this year as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15. There’s already some positive news about new releases coming in the new year about new box sets, but in the meantime, the titles on this list will help people pass the time. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets list.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD BOX SETS
1.Cold War Creatures
2. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series
3. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection
4. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
5. The Watch
6. How To Train Your Dragon: Ultimate Collection
7. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack
8. Jekyll & Hyde
9. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 12
10. Rugrats: The Complete Series
11. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
12. Doom Patrol: Season 2
13. Josie & The Pussycats In Outer Space: The Complete Series
14. Human: The World Within
15. Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series
Okay that it’s for this list. There is still one more list to go for this year. It will come tomorrow in the form of the year’s top new family friendly DVDs/ Stay tuned!
Another of Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoons has finally received a proper home release.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius was released Tuesday on DVD in a full-series set. It marks the first time that the series has ever received a full series release, and came through a partnership between Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory. It is just the latest to get a proper release, too. The companies’ partnership has also garnered full releases of Aaahhh!!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, CatDog, Danny Phantom, Hey Arnold!, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Wild Thornberrys. Nickelodeon meanwhile released Rugrats on its own last year in a full series DVD set. So now all that is left for release are: Rocket Power, Doug, and The Fairly Oddparents. One can only hope those classic Nicktoons will finally get a proper release sooner rather than later. Getting back on topic though, Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s brand new DVD presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series is an impressive presentation. That is due in large part to its bonus content, which will be discussed shortly. The set’s packaging is also important to examine, and so will be a little later. The set’s pricing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation. All things considered, they make the collection a must have for fans of this and any classic Nicktoon.
Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s brand new, first-ever release of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series is a strong new presentation from the companies. It is a presentation that continues the companies’ trend of success with Nickelodeon’s classic animated series releases. That is due in large part here to the bonus content featured in the set. The bonus content features not only the series’ original pilot episode, but also all three hour-long “Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour” crossover episodes as part of its whole. Audiences will be quite interested to see the difference in the show’s look in its pilot episode and its actually three-season run. The CG animation in the pilot episode is far more raw and rough. It is more comparable in this case to that used in ABC’s short-lived Saturday morning series, Reboot (which Shout! Factory has interestingly enough also released in full on DVD and also has as a free streaming option) than to the animation used in the series that followed. The voice talents are all the same. The look of the show is just so starkly different. It makes one happy that with the show having been picked up, the animation was cleaned up and more fine tuned.
On a related note, knowing that the TV series launched in 2002 and its big screen companion piece premiered a year earlier, one has to imagine that the story in the pilot episode was the influence behind the Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius movie. In that case and in the pilot episode, Jimmy is forced to face off against a group of gooey, green aliens who are bent on taking over Earth. Of course in the pilot episode, the parents are not kidnapped by the aliens, unlike in the movie, but regardless, the pilot episode marks the first time that Jimmy encountered the aliens, so one has to assume that, again, the pilot episode was at least in part responsible for the creation of the movie that then led into the series. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear that why the pilot episode is such an important part of this collection’s bonus content. It not only serves to help make the series’ presentation complete but helps paint a full picture of the series’ roots and its end.
Moving on to the featured “Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour episodes,” all three episodes are there, beginning with the duo’s first introduction to one another in which they meet due to Timmy’s selfishness. Seeing the different animation styles and universes cross here and in the other episodes is so fun. The same can be said of the stories featured in each episode. The expanded universe builds in each hour-long episode until Jimmy and Timmy are forced to work together in the final special in order to defeat two bad guys from their respective universes. Each special is shown in whole, so audiences get that whole story arc here, too. Keeping that in mind, the inclusion of these specials and the pilot episode do indeed complete the series’ presentation. The addition of some storyboard featurettes as extra bonuses just put the proverbial cherry on the top of the bonus content presentation.
Having noted the positive of the set’s bonus content, the next point of interest to note is the set’s packaging. The packaging is its own positive, beginning with the placement of the set’s discs. In all, the series’ three-season run spans nine discs, with a tenth containing solely the already discussed bonus content. The discs are each placed in their own spot on separate “plates” inside the case. The first disc of the first season even sits on a spindle on the inside front of the case, giving it its own place in the case, too. This is important to note in that it ensures the discs will not touch and/or scratch one another as they are moved in and out of the case. Such an approach is nothing new for Shout! Factory. It has taken this smart approach with every Nicktoons set that it has released to this point, so this is no surprise, but a welcome continued approach.
Adding to the interest of the set’s packaging is the presentation of a printed episode guide on the inside of the case’s wrap. Audiences get a full episode guide aligned with each disc. This is an aesthetic element, yes, but still important. It is important because having that guide will allow viewers to more quickly and easily decide which episodes they want to watch and simply go right to the associated discs. Again, this is nothing overly new to Shout! Factory’s Nicktoons presentations. It is just as welcome here as in every other case and makes the set’s presentation that much more appealing. It is just one more of the set’s most important elements. Rounding out the set’s most important elements is its pricing.
The average price point for The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series is $56.63. That number was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory. While the set was not listed through Walmart, this critic was lucky enough to find the set in store at Walmart at a price of $39.99, the least expensive of all of the listings. Target and Barnes & Noble each list the set at a price far exceeding the noted average at $64.99 while Books-A-Million’s price of $64.98 is right there with Target and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. From there, the price decreases to $52.87 through Walmart and $51.98 through Shout! Factory. Looking at all of this, Walmart’s pricing is clearly the best. If audiences can find it in store at their local Walmart store, they will benefit greatly. Otherwise, the noted prices for a three-season set is honestly outrageous. Add in that only a day prior to this review’s posting, Target listed the set at $47.99, it makes one wonder what caused such a dramatic change in price at that retailer. That aside, at least a price that barely tops $40 at Walmart is relatively affordable as long as audiences can find it in store like this critic did. It is a price that is well worth paying for what truly is a complete series presentation for another great classic Nicktoon series.
Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory’s brand new DVD presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series is a mostly successful presentation. The presentation succeeds in part through its bonus content. The bonus content is composed of the series’ pilot episode, all three of its hour-long “Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour crossover specials” and a handful of featurettes. The pilot episode and specials complete the full episode presentation in the set’s discs. The packaging builds on the appeal established through the set’s bonus content to make the whole all the more positive. The set’s pricing is a little problematic to say the least, save for its pricing at Walmart (pending availability even though it was not listed online through Walmart). Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation. All things considered, they make the collection a mostly successful new offering that Nicktoons fans will – again – mostly appreciate.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series is available now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s latest Spongebob Squarepants cinematic offering, Sponge on the Run, is the absolute worst of the franchise’s movie offerings. Originally planned for big screen release in 2020, those plans were scrapped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It ended up going straight to streaming before being released to Blu-ray and DVD last month. There is really nothing about this movie that makes it memorable. Its story is the first of its failings and will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home physical release is just as problematic as the story itself. It will be discussed a little later. The movie’s animation style is also problematic and will also be discussed later. Each item noted shows in its own way what makes this movie so disappointing. All things considered, they are going to make this movie the most forgettable of the Spongebob Squarepants movies to date.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is hopefully going to be the absolute last of the movies from the series that started as a little show that could so many years ago on Nickelodeon. There is nothing redeeming about this movie. The movie’s story is the most glaring of its concerns. The story, at its heart, is just another story about Plankton trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula from Mr. Krabs. It essentially plays out as follows: Plankton’s computer wife, Karen, makes him realize that it has been not Mr. Krabs, but Spongebob who has ultimately prevented Plankton from getting the formula. So in finally realizing and accepting this, he uses King Poseidon’s hunt for snail slime (which he apparently uses to cure facial issues like lines, bags, etc.) and kidnaps Spongebob’s snail pal Gary and takes him to King Poseidon. This leads Spongebob and pal Patrick Star to go on a road trip to find Gary. With Spongebob out of the way, Plankton finally gets the formula, but of course his victory is short-lived. Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Squidward eventually go in search of Spongebob and have to save him from an untimely end because Spongebob had tried to save Gary from Poseidon’s grasp. That final act (and much of the movie) throws in plenty of promotion for the new CG-based Spongebob Squarepants series, Camp Coral. Keeping all of that in mind, on the one hand, this is just another story about Plankton trying to get the Krabby Patty formula. It has been the basis of so much of the series’ content on television and in the franchise’s other movies. On the other hand, it is also clearly a blatant way for Nickelodeon and Paramount to promote the noted series, which completely ignores canon of the original Spongebob Squarepants television series. Taking all of that into account with the equally unnecessary celebrity cameos (Snoop Dogg, Mickey Rourke, and Keanu Reeves) and the equally unnecessary musical numbers, and what audiences get is a story that felt like it was just tossed together with hope that audiences would overlook it all. Given, this critic’s 8 year-old son is proof that children will definitely overlook all the noted problems, but adults with any common sense will see all the problems and realize just how dumbed down and awful this presentation becomes overall.
The problematic story at the heart of this movie is just part of its failing. The bonus content (or really lack thereof) makes the movie even less enjoyable. Every one of the bonus features in the movie’s home physical release focuses in one way or another on Camp Coral, yet again proving that this movie is ultimately just one big way for Nickelodeon and Paramount to promote that series, which is itself completely forgettable. There are art segments that show how Spongebob is drawn for that series. There is also a feature about Spongebob’s Camp Coral pals, and even a “mini-movie” taken from the series. That those behind this movie’s presentation would even call this feature a “mini-movie” is disappointing. It is a short. Even when it is played, it is called a short on screen. That is a far cry from a mini-movie. Mini-movie hints that it would be about half the time of the movie, which runs approximately 91 minutes. This “mini-movie” runs maybe six or seven minutes. Yet again, this is just so problematic, especially considering that this and the other bonus content clearly is just another blatant marketing means for Camp Coral. It is just more disappointment for this overall presentation. It is still not the last of the problems presented in this presentation. The animation style poses its own problem.
The animation style of Sponge on the Run is full on CG. It just does not look nearly as wonderful as that rough style used in the series’ infancy. Given, it is hardly the first time that the franchise’s creative heads have gone this route. Some of the latest Spongebob TV holiday specials (mainly Halloween and Christmas) have all used their own stop motion/CG hybrid approaches. The result of those approaches is really appealing in its own way, but the approach taken here is just ugly throughout. It shows that some things simply should not go the CG route. That aesthetic element may seem minor on the surface, but the reality is that the look makes it hard in itself to watch. When the difficulty wanting to keep watching that unappealing look is joined with a story that is just as awful and forgettable, and equally forgettable bonus content, the whole becomes a presentation that is absolutely the worst of the Spongebob Squarepants franchise’s cinematic offerings and one of this year’s worst movies, too.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the absolute worst entry yet in the Spongebob Squarepants cinematic series. It does nothing to help build the legacy of the series, which really stopped being enjoyable after its fifth season. That is proven in large part through its story. The story is just another tale of another of Plankton’s efforts to steal the Krabby Patty formula. On a secondary note, it is also a blatant machine for Nickelodeon and Paramount officials to market the new Spongebob Squarepants series, Camp Coral. That in itself is pathetic. Add in the fact that Camp Coral does not even stick to canon from the original series, and it makes that aspect even more disappointing and worthy of criticism. The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home physical presentation is even more marketing for Camp Coral, making for even more criticism. It makes it seem even more, that this movie was really just an excuse for Nickelodeon and Paramount officials to market the noted streaming series. The animation style used in the movie rounds out the most important of this movie’s problems. Its aesthetic effect makes it just as difficult to watch this movie as the movie’s content. Each item examined here is important in its way in showing why this movie is so bad. All things considered, they make Sponge on the Run the worst of the Spongebob Squarepants movies yet and one of this year’s worst movies overall.
The Spongebo Movie: Sponge on the Run is available now on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. More information on this and all things Spongebob Squarepants is available at:
Halloween is the unofficial start of the annual holiday season. Whether people want to admit that is up to them, but that is just the reality. In anticipation of Halloween’s return, Nickelodeon and Paramount brought the latest installment of its Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot to DVD this month. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows was released on DVD Aug. 10, a little less than six months after the latest installment first aired on Nickelodeon. This “second season” (Nickelodeon is actually calling it a season, but not this critic) is entertaining but imperfect in its new home presentation. Its primary positive comes through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly. While the six-part presentation does plenty to engage and entertain audiences, the lack of any bonus content with this season detracts from its presentation to a point. It is not enough to make the presentation a failure, though. It will be discussed a little later. Considering the DVD’s content and lack thereof, its pricing proves important in its own way to the whole of the presentation, too, and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make this latest installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? a mostly positive presentation.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is a mostly positive addition to the companies’ latest installment of the franchise’s reboot. Its appeal comes primarily through its main feature (which is actually its only feature). The main feature follows a new group of teens who take on the mantle of the Midnight Society as they fight for their own lives after being cursed in the “Haunted Woods” of their hometown, Shadow Bay. Yes, that is really the town’s name. This six-part story finds the teens trying to escape the clutches of the evil “Shadowman.” It is appealing in part because unlike the story in the reboot’s first installment, it is actually its own story. It is not one member’s story coming to life. This in itself makes suspension of disbelief a lot easier. Adding to the appeal is that the whole conflict centers on what the teens and so many others in the town thought was just an urban legend, but turned out to be real, as the Midnight Society’s members learn for themselves. This leads to so much great, immersive horror. As the story progresses, it provides plenty of surprises as to how the “Shadowman” came to be, and incorporates a lot of aspects that those in the paranormal enthusiast community will appreciate, such as demons and evil spirits being able to take on human form (especially that of children) in order to deceive people, the dangers of using dark magic, and how séances work. Through it all, those responsible for the writing make everything so believable while also managing somehow to be able to balance the feel of the original series with this very creepy story. There is even the matter of demonic possession in this story (not to give away too much), which is very scary in is own way. All things considered, what audiences get here is a story that is a huge step up from the first “season” of the reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
As if the story overall is not enough, but the cast’s interpretation of the scripts adds its own share of appeal. Horror movies centered on teens are nothing new to the cinematic world. The teens cast for this movie do an excellent job of interpreting the script and adding to the story’s believability.
The cherry on the top (so to speak) is that audiences are able to watch the story at their own pace. Viewers can choose to watch the show one episode at a time or all in one. That option to watch at one’s own pace plays even more to the appeal. It will encourage viewers that much more, to fully engage themselves in the show, and in turn appreciate all that went into this story. When then is considered along with the cast’s work interpreting the script and the fully immersive, believable story, that whole more than gives audiences reason to watch this installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Of course for all of the positives presented through the presentation’s main feature, this DVD offering is not perfect. Its one main shortfall comes in the lack of any bonus content.
Unlike the DVD presentation of the first installment of the Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot, this presentation features no episodes of the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? series. That presentation offered at least three episodes. By naming the episodes of this “season” “The Tale Of…”, those behind the franchise were being misleading. It leads viewers to think that there are bonus episodes, when in fact they are just the titles for this story’s episodes. Add in the fact that to this day, the original series still has received no official release either in standalone sets or even full series, and it just makes that lack hit even harder. Yes, audiences can get the original series’ seasons through DVD-R sets made available on-demand through a partnership between Nickelodeon and Amazon, but to this day, no true official sets have seen the light of day. Now the lack of any episodes from the original series here is not enough to doom the season, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that in there for fans of their original series and their children. To that end, this is a negative, but not enough to doom this DVD presentation. Keeping this in mind along with the content provided through the DVD’s main feature, it leads the DVD’s pricing to be its own positive point.
The average price point of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is $12.76. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million. The most commonly occurring listing is $11.99. It is listed through Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. That is well below the noted average, and even farther below the $20 mark, showing even more, its affordability. Target lists the DVD at $12.99 while Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million list the DVD at $13.59 and $13.99 respectively, well above the noted average price point. Regardless, even those prices are below the $20 price point, which means that even they will not break audiences’ budgets. Again, considering all that the main feature offers viewers even against the lack of bonus original episodes, these figures show that the DVD’s pricing is still a positive in its own right. Taking all of this into account, it makes Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows a mostly positive presentation that will appeal just as much to fans of the original series as to horror fans in general and fans of the new series.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining new entry in the reboot of the classic teen-centered horror show. Its appeal comes in large part through its story. The story at that heart of this “season” really steps things up from the reboot’s first “season.” The story is scarier and more believable because it takes a completely different approach than that used in the first “season.” It also works because of the work of the new cast on camera. They and the writers incorporate elements of the original series alongside a darker, more gripping approach to make for a great balance in this case. While the main feature does so much to make this set so engaging and entertaining, the lack of any bonus episodes from the original series this time detracts from the presentation’s appeal to a certain point. The negative impact of that omission is not enough to make the presentation a failure, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that element featured here since it was also featured in the first “season” in its DVD release. That is also the case considering that to this day, the original series still has not received an official release either in single series sets or a full series release. All things considered here, the set’s pricing proves to be its own positive. The average and separate listings are all below the $20 mark, and considering how much entertainment is offered through the story here, that is actually money well spent. Add in that the most commonly occurring listing is $11.99, audiences will agree even more, that it is a positive. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD a mostly positive presentation that will appeal widely to fans of the Are You Afraid of the Dark? franchise and to horror fans in general.
Almost fifteen years have passed since Rugrats finally ended its run on Nickelodeon. The timeless, beloved series has remained a favorite among its viewers since that time. The thing is that until 2009, audiences had been left waiting and wondering if this series would ever receive an official release on DVD. The constant questions and requests were finally answered in 2017 when Paramount and Nickelodeon released the series’ debut season in a two-disc set in stores. Seasons 2-4 followed later in 2017 and 2018 respectively. That is where the official releases ended. More than three years later, audiences’ pleas were finally heard again though, as Paramount and Nickelodeon released the series’ full nine season run on a 26-disc DVD set May 18, complete with the series’ hour-long specials. Those extras are their own positive to discuss and will be addressed later. The fact that audiences finally get the full series in an official release is itself a positive. Now, staying on the topic of the number of discs, the packaging of those discs proves somewhat problematic. This will be discussed a little later. When this negative is considered along with the positives of the set’s very presentation and its bonus content, the whole still keeps the collection as one of the year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.
Paramount and Nickelodeon’s brand new release of Rugrats: The Complete Series is a presentation that longtime Rugrats fans will find mostly positive. The appeal begins with the presentation of the series in full, just as advertised. This is important to note because some of the on-demand standalone season sets that Nickelodeon released in partnership with Amazon allegedly were not full seasons. Rather they were allegedly portions of seasons assembled on-demand on DVD in many cases. In the case of this set though, audiences get the whole of all nine seasons of the show in precise chronological order within the precise confines of their seasons. What’s more, the most commonly occurring price listing for the set is $49.95 through Amazon and Walmart while Best Buy barely tops that number at $49.99. Barnes & Noble Booksellers far exceeds each of those prices, listing the set at $79.99. So even with tax and (thankfully) no added shipping & handling, audiences pay just over $50 for the set at its more economic prices. Considering audiences are getting the series’ full run here, and in quite good quality, that price is well worth it.
While the series’ full run and relatively affordable price are clearly positives that audiences will appreciate, the set is not perfect. That is evidenced through the set’s packaging. The clamshell case that is used to house the set saves space on audiences’ DVD/BD racks. At the same time though, that he discs are stacked as much as three high from one season to the next is anything but positive. What’s more, that the stacks overlap one another throughout the case makes the packaging even less appealing. That is because this packaging method greatly increases the odds that the discs will damage one another at some point by scratching one another. Again, yes, it is ergonomic in its design. At the same time though, true, longtime audiences will agree that a long box format with each standalone season would have made more sense and been more acceptable despite the less ergonomic packaging. That is because it would have better protected the discs. Maybe somewhere down the line, Paramount and Nickelodeon will take this into account and re-issue the set in such packaging. In the meantime though, audiences are left to be so gentle with the discs in hopes that they do not inadvertently damage them as they have to constantly move them. Keeping this in mind, anyone who owns the series’ first four seasons in their standalone sets (like this critic) are recommended to keep those sets just so they can avoid having to constantly move the discs around in this bigger set, and instead just worry about Seasons Five through Nine.
This is just one of the problems posed by the packaging. Along with the concerns raised about the discs’ packaging, there is no note as to which discs contain the aforementioned bonus specials. As a result, audiences will be left having to go through each season to find them. This goes right back to the discussion on the discs being stacked and risking damage as a result. So this is in itself another insult to longtime Rugrats fans. To save audiences that trouble, here is a guide to follow: “Runaway Reptar” is located on the third disc of Season 6. The All Grown Up pilot, “All Growed Up” is located on the third disc of Season Eight. The ‘Tales from the Crib” specials are located on the fourth disc of Season Nine along with the holiday special, “Babies in Toyland.” Now, keeping the bonus content in mind, it rounds out the most important of the set’s elements.
As noted, all of the Rugrats specials are featured here. The “Tales from the Crib” specials are available on a standalone DVD at a relatively low price while “Runaway Reptar” is available as part of another standalone Rugrats DVD. “Babies in Toyland” is also featured in the Rugrats holiday DVD box set. Until now, those DVDs were the only way to own those stories. So in essence, audiences get for the first time here, the entirety of the Rugrats series from beginning to end. While the musical numbers in the “Tales from the Crib” specials are forgettable, the stories themselves are entertaining. Audiences will love the breaking down of the fourth wall in “Snow White” as Queen Angelica tries to figure out how to get rid of Snow White (played in this case by Susie Carmichael). The reminder from the announcer that what was done in the original story cannot be done in this story because it is family friendly will have plenty of audiences laughing. The jokes about three jacks in the Rugrats take on Jack and the Beanstalk makes for its own laughs, too. In the case of “Runaway Reptar,” Tommy and company’s use of their imaginations as they try to figure out why Reptar has gone bad in a movie is itself moving. Classic sci-fi fans will love the spoof of the original Godzilla vs. Kong and Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla here, too. The babies’ wonderings about what the future will be like for them in the All Grown Up pilot is entertaining in its own right, considering that the series had shown them as babies for so many years up to the point at which it originally aired. All things considered here, the bonus specials add their own enjoyment to the presentation of the series here. They and the full run of episodes make for plenty of reason to own this set. That is even considering the highly problematic issue of the set’s packaging. Even with that in mind, the set still proves itself among the best of this year’s new family DVD and BD box sets.
Paramount and Nickelodeon’s recently released official full series presentation of Rugrats is an entertaining but imperfect presentation. That audiences finally get the full series in one, official set will appeal to any of the series’ longtime fans. That is because up until its release May 18, audiences only had the series’ first four seasons available in official box sets. It shows that someone(s) at Paramount and Nickelodeon finally listened to audiences’ pleas. While the presentation of the series in full is positive, the packaging thereof detracts considerably from its appeal. The packaging presents all nine seasons in a clamshell package with each season’s discs stacked as many as three high. This greatly increases the chances of damage to the discs, especially considering each stack overlaps another in each season. This means the discs have to be moved far more than necessary. That increased movement of the discs increases, again, the odds of the discs getting invariably scratched. A long box presentation with each standalone season therein would have been far more proper here. Time will tell if the people at Paramount and Nickelodeon heed that advice and eventually re-issue the collection in that more proper setting.
The lack of a guide for the bonus content makes the set’s packaging even more problematic. That is because it will lead audiences to have to otherwise search through the discs, moving them just as much, just to find the extras. That they are so spread out across the set’s seasons makes things even more problematic.
On the opposite hand, the fact that the bonus content is collected here together for the first time ever adds to the appeal again. That is because the specials have only been available separate of one another up until now. So to have them culled here along with the series’ run puts the finishing touch to this presentation. The collective content’s presentation makes the set at least one of the year’s top new family DVD and BD box sets, but not its best. It is available now. More information on all things Rugrats is available online at https://www.facebook.com/Rugrats.
Families spent a lot of time indoors together this year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between parents working from home and students forced to take classes online, parents and their children have seen a lot of each other this year; Probably a lot more than usual. That increased time together can often lead to tensions between families. Thankfully, plenty of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets were released this year to help relieve that tension and give families plenty to enjoy together. That has already been pointed out in part through Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVDs & Blu-rays list. Single disc presentations are just a part of what families had to enjoy together this year. There was also plenty of content thrown in this year in the form of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for families. Among some of the best of this year’s new family box sets are first time releases from the likes of Time Life, PBS, and Nickelodeon.
As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the year’s Top 10 new titles and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Family DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS
Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4
Dolly: The Ultimate Collection
Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection
The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 2
The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 3
Molly of Denali: Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures
The Jetsons: The Complete Series
Sesame Street: Old School Volume 1
Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2
Spongebob Squarepants: Season 11
Paw Patrol: PUP-tastic 8-DVD Collection
The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials
Garfield & Friends: Season Three
Benji 4-Movie Collection
Next up from Phil’s Picks is the 2020 Top 10 New Grown-Up Box Sets and then the year’s top new re-issues to finish off this year’s lists. Stay tuned for all of that this weekend.
PBS, PBS Kids and Nickelodeon are some of the most important television networks for children today. In an age when it seems like families are becoming increasingly segregated within their own homes thanks to technology and general television programming that is anything but family friendly, these networks continued to provide so much content to bring families together in 2020. That content was presented not just on the small screen, but also on DVD and Blu-ray. To that extent, even new children’s DVDs and Blu-rays deserve their own year-end best of list. That list is what is presented here from Phil’s Picks. This year’s list of top new children’s DVDs and Blu-rays pulls mainly from the noted networks, and even from Warner Brothers. Topping the list this year is S.T.E.M. programming from Nickelodeon in the form of a new DVD from Blaze and the Monster Machines. Also featured in this list is new content from series, such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and even a certain Cartoon Network movie.
As with every other year-ender list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the year’s Top 10 New titles and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles. Without any further ado here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Children’s DVDs & Blu-rays.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW CHILDREN’S DVDS & BLU-RAYS
Blaze and the Monster Machines – Knight Riders
The Berenstain Bears – Bear Family Vacation
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Explore The Outdoors
Tex Avery – Screwball Classics Vol. 1
Tex Avery – Screwball Classics Vol. 2
Space Ghost & Dino Boy: The Complete Series
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Ben 10 vs. The Universe
Blaze and the Monster Machines – Race for the Golden Treasure
Elmo’s World – Things Elmo Loves
Monster Hits – Rock & Rhyme With Elmo
Paw Patrol – Dino Rescue
Paw Patrol – Mighty Pups – Super Paws
Paw Patrol – Jet to the Rescue
Garfield World Two Movie Collection
Up next from Phil’s Picks is the year’s Top 10 new Family DVD & Blu-ray Box sets. Stay tuned for that.
Do you like scary stories? That simple question, posed nearly a year go, heralded the long-awaited return of what is one of the most beloved series in Nickelodeon’s history – Are You Afraid of the Dark? The series’ reboot (and for others its “eighth” season) was met largely with applause from audiences new and old alike. Now almost a year removed from the mini-series event’s premiere, audiences are able to watch it anytime on DVD, as it was released Friday through Nickelodeon and Paramount at Target stores nationwide. The DVD is a positive addition to the home library of any fan of Are You Afraid of the Dark? That is due primarily to the actual episode, which will be discussed shortly. It is just one of the DVD’s positives. Its bonus content adds to its appeal and will be discussed a little later. The DVD’s average price range rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make this latest installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? scary good.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s newly released DVD presentation of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the series’ fans. That includes fans of the original series and those of this latest reboot. That is due in no small part to the DVD’s primary content. The primary content in question is the central three-part story that finds a story told by the Midnight Society’s newest member Rachel coming to life. Rachel’s story is about a Carnival of Terror that has haunted her dreams for years. The carnival and its creepy ringmaster Mr. Tophat (Rafael Casal – Blindspotting, bad Education, Def Poetry) first manifested in Rachel’s dreams when she was a child. Now that she is living in a new town with her parents and joins the Midnight Society, those nightmares have become reality following her telling of the story. Things start going bad from here, especially after Rachel and her new friends visit the carnival. Gavin, Rachel’s crush (played here by Sam Ashe Arnold – Best. Worst. Weekend. Ever., Brotherhood, Winter Hymns), ends up going missing. At the same time, a mystery is revealed about another young man’s disappearance. As it turns out, that boy’s disappearance is also linked to the carnival. This is just some of the trouble that happens when the carnival comes to town. Akiko’s brother Hideo falls victim to the forces of evil, so its up to the Midnight Society to save him and everyone in town as they work to defeat Mr. Tophat once and for all. There are other twists and turns tied into the story that add to the story’s interest. Viewers who have not yet seen this story will be left to discover those twists and turns for themselves. While Nickeldeon spaced out the story over the course of three weeks back in October, the new DVD release allows audiences to choose between watching the same way or just watching the movie all the way through. In other words, viewers are free to watch the story at their own pace, rather than be tied down by any time constraints. This works together with the story’s content to make this aspect a strong foundation for the DVD. While the story and its presentation on the DVD clearly help its appeal, it is just one part of what makes the DVD a positive new presentation. Its bonus content adds to its appeal.
The bonus content featured with the new home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is three episodes from the original series. Specifically, hey are the episodes, “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark,” “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” and “The Tale of Dead Man’s Float.” The episodes in question are considered by many fans to be among some of the series’ best stories. “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark” is taken from Season 1, “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” from Season 4, and “The Tale of Dead Man’s Float” from Season 5. Considering that the original series ran for seven seasons, this alone makes for a good representation of that series. The first episode focuses on a young man named Josh (Christian Tessier – Fear The Walking Dead, The Day After Tomorrow, Real Detective) who stole the nose from a clown named Zeebo. According to the legend told in the tale, Zeebo was believed to be the ghost of a clown also named Zeebo, who died in a fire after trying to steal money from a carnival. Josh learns an invaluable lesson when Zeebo come after Josh in a scenario that will appeal to fans of Scream and pretty much any slasher flick. On another level, one could also argue that the classic Appalachian story of the Tailypo played an influence in this story. For those who have never heard the story of the Tailypo, it is a timeless, chill-inducing tale in its own right. It centers on a hermit who is being stalked by a creature whose tail he took after shooting the creature. The primary story there has a pretty dark ending. That aside, it’s easy to see how that timeless tale might have influenced this story.
“The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” will appeal to comic book fans. It centers on young hopeful comic book artist Ethan (Amos Crawley – Billy Madison, The Virgin Suicides, Night of the Twisters) as he is given a comic book by the owner of a new shop in his town. Ethan unwittingly unleashes the comic book’s villain, The Ghastly Grinner when he puts the comic book into a microwave to dry the document. It ends up being up to him and his friend Hooper (Heidi Burbela – Adam, Great Canadian Cookbook, Big Brother Canada) to stop the Ghastly Grinner and return it to its comic book world. The story has a happy ending, just like every other episode of the classic series.
The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float is considered by many audiences to be the series best episode. This story focuses on Zeke Matthews (Kaj-Erik Eriksen – The 4400, The Commish, 88 Minutes) as he and his classmate Clorice (Margot Finley – D3: The Mighty Ducks, Opposite Sex, First Wave) fight to stop an evil being (played by Marcel Jeannin – 300, Wicker Park, Taking Lives) that haunts the swimming pool in the students’ school. Zeke has to overcome his fear of the water in order to help defeat the monster. The story has a happy ending, with Zeke and Clorice becoming a couple. That little secondary story line will appeal to certain audiences while the overarching horror story at the center of the tale will appeal more widely. Between that, the episode’s production values and cinematography, this episode leaves little doubt why it remains such a memorable addition to the original run of Are You Afraid of the Dark? When it is considered alongside the other bonus classic episodes, the trio goes a long way toward adding to the DVD’s appeal.
Staying on the topic of the classic episodes, it is known that all seven seasons of the original series are available exclusively through Amazon. The problem is that those box sets are not official releases. They are DVR sets that are essentially created on demand. On another note, PlutoTV is streaming episodes from the original series, but the selection right now is limited. To that end, having these three episodes featured in this DVD leaves one hoping that eventually Nickelodeon, Viacom and Paramount will finally take the steps to release all seven seasons in official sets complete with bonus content. It’s one more series that will undoubtedly sell very well should officials with each company come to their senses and make that move. Time will tell.
Getting back on track, the primary and secondary content featured in Nickelodeon and Paramount’s new home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark? go a long way toward making the DVD entertaining and engaging. For all the value that they present, it should be noted that they make the DVD’s average price range appealing in its own way. The DVD’s average price range is $14.45. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million. Amazon and Best Buy offer the least expensive listings at $11.99 each. Walmart, Books-a-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers all broke that price point with listings at $16.99, $15.76, and $16.99 respectively. Target’s listing of $12.99 is the only listing below the average price point — $12.99 – other than those of Amazon and Best Buy. As an additional note, research has shown that Target is the only one of the noted retailers that offers the DVD in store. The other retailers force audiences to order online. This is important to note because some people prefer to shop in person instead of online. In other words, audiences wanting the lowest price (even including shipping and handling) will have to order the DVD through Amazon and Best Buy. Otherwise, audiences who prefer to shop in store will have to pay a dollar more at Target. The other retailers are just too expensive, in comparing the listings. That those key listings are all under the $15 mark for a DVD that has just over two hours of content old and new alike, makes that average price point appealing, without question. What’s more the noted less expensive listings are affordable for audiences, too. That is the most important thing here. When this is considered along with the DVD’s primary and secondary content, the whole of this DVD becomes a welcome addition to the library of any Are You Afraid of the Dark? fan.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s newly released DVD presentation of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a positive presentation for new and old fans alike of this unforgettable series. That is due in part to the DVD’s primary content, the three-part episode that originally aired in 2019. It is a gripping story that will haunt audiences in all of the best ways. The trio of classic episodes that accompany the new story as bonus content adds even more appeal to the DVD. It will take fans of the original series back to another time while also introducing a new generation of audiences to that great series. The DVD’s average price point is relatively affordable. That is especially the case with its least expensive listings. All three noted elements are important in their own way to the whole of this DVD. All things considered they make Are You Afraid of the Dark? one of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs. More information on the DVD and the forthcoming second (technically ninth) season of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is available along with all of the series’ latest news at http://www.facebook.com/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark.
Family entertainment act The BeatBuds will join Nickelodeon’s lineup next year, but first will hold a special family event this month.
The duo — Jonathan Jonah and Matthew Shapiro — is scheduled to hold a live 360-degree online concert event at 1 p.m. EDT July 12. Dubbed a “virtual beach bash,” the concert event will take place in partner with Experiential Supply through The BeatBuds’ official website, where people can also purchase tickets.
Family tickets are $12 on pre-sale and $15 standard. Each ticket allows access to The BeatBuds’ concert on one device.
The duo has partnered with Rock The Vote for the upcoming live event. Jonah talked about the partnership in a prepared statement.
In light of current events and out of a desire to ensure that everyone has a voice, The BeatBuds are happy to announce that they have partnered with Rock the Vote, a 30-year-old non-profit organization that has consistently worked hard to increase voter turnout and give young people a voice,” said Jonah. “We want to empower young people and their families to get educated, get out, and fill the ballot boxes because we believe it is one of the most effective ways to be heard and make a change. On top of our partnership with Rock the Vote, we plan to donate a portion of proceeds from the event to support youth civic education and get out the vote campaigns.”
Shapiro added to his band mate’s comments, explaining the motivation for the concert.
“Music has always been a positive force in helping us get through tough times, said Shapiro. “We have so much in store for this show and couldn’t be more excited to be among the first to reintroduce a live music experience to families in a way that’s fun, innovative, and safe. As artists, it’s our job to keep families smiling, and that’s exactly what we plan to do. Let’s jam!”
More information on The BeatBuds’ upcoming streaming concert is available at: