Say Hey For Hey Dude: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

It has been nearly twenty-five years since the classic live action, teen-centric series Hey Dude wrapped up its five-season run on Nickelodeon. One of a small handful of live-action series on Nickelodeon during its time on the air, it was Nickelodeon’s answer to NBC’s Saturday morning kids’ series Saved By The Bell. In 2011, Shout! Factory resurrected Hey Dude, releasing the first of the series’ five seasons on its own stand-alone box set. Shout! Factory didn’t waste any time getting the series to its now grown up fans after acquiring its distribution rights, either. From 2011 to 2013, all five seasons were released in their own stand-alone box sets. Now as a final hurrah, Shout! Factory will release all five seasons in one complete series box set on Tuesday, March 10th. It is not the first of Nickelodeon’s classic series that Shout! Factory has released in full nor will it be the last. There is still at least one more set to be released in the form of The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series. And hopefully that box set will make its way out before the year lets out. That’s an issue for another time. For now, the fact that all five seasons of Hey Dude have been compiled into one box set is in itself a huge positive for fans. It’s not just about ergonomics, either. There is even more to it than that. And that will be noted shortly. Also worth noting is the writing that went into the series’ sixty-five total episodes. The show’s then younger audiences could just as easily relate to the stories behind each episode as those presented in Saved By The Bell or any other teen-centric series on television at the time. This is the case even though its setting was supposed to be a dude ranch. The writers were still able to craft a whole series of stories from the show’s premiere to its finale that were just as entertaining as they were accessible to audiences. While both the show’s writing and the box set’s full collection of seasons are equally important, just as important to note is that each of the discs that make up the show’s five seasons have been specifically marked within their respective seasons. This reduces any confusion for audiences. And together with the inclusion of a complete episode list inside the box’s cover (specifically on the front and rear cover), it rounds out all of the set’s positives. By itself the separation of the seasons (and the companion episode list) within the box is one of the strongest reasons for fans to pick up this Hey Dude: The Complete Series. Together with its full complement of episodes and the writing behind said episodes, all three elements together make Hey Dude: The Complete Series a must have for any fan of this modern classic series. They also collectively make it one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families.

When it was announced four years ago that Shout! Factory would release the first of Hey Dude’s five seasons, the show’s now grown up fans were understandably rather excited. That is because Shout! Factory had already released the first season of both The Wild Thornberrys and Rocko’s Modern Life with quite the positive results. And the first season of Hey Arnold!, CatDog, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were all on the way, along with the first and second season of The Angry Beavers and the first season of Danny Phantom all within a matter of months. So it was obviously just one part of a virtual tidal wave of releases thanks to a deal struck between Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory. It was a deal that has since gone on to see the full series sets of almost all of those other shows see the light of day in stores and online. The only shows involved in that deal that still have yet to see full releases are The Wild Thornberrys and Hey Dude. But on Tuesday, March 10th, audiences will finally be able to strike Hey Dude from that list as it will finally see the light of day. Hey Dude: The Complete Series is just as impressive as the previous full-series box sets released by the partnership between Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon. The most obvious reason being that it is indeed the show’s full series run. All sixty-five episodes of Hey Dude are spread across ten discs in this box set. This is important for two reasons. The first reason that it is important is simply for the purpose of ergonomics. Instead of having to fill space with five separate stand-alone DVD box sets, all five seasons have been placed into one box. The one box saves space versus the five stand-alone sets. The reason that it saves space is the smart packaging of the series’ discs, which has for a long time been the standard for Shout! Factory’s multi-disc sets. The discs are placed one on the inside front of the box, another on the inside rear, and the rest on either side of a set of plastic “plates.” It saves space and protects the discs from scratching one another. On another level, the stand-alone season sets are not exactly easy to find unless fans order them online. With the upcoming release of Hey Dude: The Complete Series exclusively in Wal-Mart stores nationwide, fans won’t have to worry about hunting for this season or that one. They are all presented in the one box. As if the ergonomically sound box and the inclusion of all five seasons within the one box isn’t enough, fans are being given quite the price break with Hey Dude: The Complete Series. Each stand-alone season set prices at roughly $20 plus tax versus the approximately $30 price tag for the complete series set. It’s yet another huge positive for the set that is sure to make quite a few of the show’s fans very happy. It is hardly the last of the positives to the set, either. The writing behind the series is just as worth noting in its enjoyment and success.

The physical and financial elements of Hey Dude: The Complete Series by themselves make this new box west well worth the purchase. They aren’t the only reasons that fans of the classic Nickelodeon series will want to add the set to their DVD libraries. The work of the show’s writers makes it even more worth the purchase. Hey Dude’s writers keep their audiences fully engaged with a wide range of stories throughout the show’s five-season run. From a comical battle of the sexes early on in the series’ run to Mr. Ernst getting amnesia with comical results in the series’ final season to Danny having to make an important choice regarding his roots in Season Four’s “Do The Right Thing,” the writers showed time and again throughout Hey Dude’s five seasons that they knew how to move their audiences and make them laugh, too. They show that talent just as much when the ranch hands have to take care of a baby they think has been abandoned in “Baby” and in the comical Season Two finale “Take Me To Your Leader” in which everyone thinks that aliens have invaded the ranch. That episode is sure to have any viewer laughing with its old school comic elements. The episodes noted here are just some of the examples of why the writing behind Hey Dude makes the series’ upcoming box set so enjoyable. Every season of Hey Dude exhibits the talent of the show’s writers. And audiences will see that for themselves when they purchase Hey Dude: The Complete Series. They will see throughout the show’s five seasons just how many laughs and moving moments it offered then and still offer today. They will also see just how important the set’s physical and financial elements are to the whole package. In seeing all of that, audiences will agree even more so why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is indeed one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families.

The physical and financial elements of Hey Dude: The Complete Series coupled with the work of the show’s writers makes fully evident why every fan of Hey Dude should add the series’ full series set to their personal libraries. They show, too why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. For all of the value and importance of those elements, there is still one more element worth noting that makes this box set such a joy for audiences. That last element of this set that makes it so enjoyable and such a success is the fact that the discs from each season’s set are clearly marked. It would have been easy for the people at Shout! Factory to just toss all ten discs into the box and called it with the set’s companion episode list printed on the inside of the box’s cover art. But being that Shout! Factory is the leading name in the world of home entertainment, that didn’t happen. The discs from each season are clearly marked. That combined with the companion episode list wholly eliminates any chance of confusion for viewers trying to find specific episodes. The partnering of those two elements makes for one final, solid part of the whole that makes Hey Dude: The Complete Series a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. Combined with all of the other noted elements, they show in whole once again why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is so deserving of being called one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family and why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment.

Hey Dude: The Complete Series is the perfect final statement from Shout! Factory for this modern classic live-action, teen centric series from Nickelodeon. Smart packaging, equally smart writing and a complete episode prove that argument. With any luck it won’t be the last of Nickelodeon’s classic series to be released by Shout! Factory. God forbid it is. But if it is, then it is a great way to go out as it shows once again what once made Nickelodeon so great and what still makes Shout! Factory the greatest name in home entertainment. Hey Dude: The Complete Series will be available on Tuesday, March 10th exclusively in Wal-Mart stores across the country. More information on this box set and others from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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

Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series’ Domestic Debut Is One Of Shout! Factory’s Most Welcome Releases To Date

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

A little more than twenty years ago, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers made its debut on Fox’s Fox Kids afternoon programming block. At the time of its premiere, very little if any of the programming in that afternoon block was live action. The majority of the programming in the Fox Kids block was animated. So it goes without saying that the programming heads at Fox were taking a risk by bringing in Saban’s American adaptation of the Japanese series Super Sentai Zyuranger. Little did anyone know at the time that the risk in question would be one of the best risks that the network’s head would ever take. More than two decades later Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has gone on to become the cornerstone of what is one of the longest-running and most successful children’s shows on television to date. Even after Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ original seven season run ended, it would not be the end of the success for Saban’s Power Rangers. Eleven more seasons would run between Fox and ABC before the Power Rangers would make the jump to Nickelodeon in 2012. Of those seasons that followed, Shout! Factory has already released ten with the eleventh–Power Rangers Lost Galaxy–set to see the light of day in a complete set next month. Shout! Factory’s releases of almost all of the Power Rangers’ first seventeen seasons have proven to largely be everything that Power Rangers fans have hoped for. And now that Shout! Factory is preparing to wind down its releases of those original seasons, it has made yet another dream come true for fans. It has made those fans’ dreams come true by finally bringing to America audiences the series that started it all in Super Sentai Zyuranger. Shout! Factory will release Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series on DVD next Tuesday, February 17th. It marks the first time that the series has ever received a full, proper domestic release. And just as with Shout! Factory’s Power Rangers box sets, this box set lives up just as much to fans’ expectations. It does so first and foremost thanks to the fact that it is presented exactly as it was in its original broadcast on Japanese television from 1992 – 1993. Every episode is there. And even better for American audiences is the fact that it includes English subtitles as a standard in every episode. In connection, audiences will also take note of the series’ writing. The adventures presented in Super Sentai Zyuranger are rather different from those in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. And while the camp of the two series is noticeable different it can be said that that aspect of the two series’ writing is at least similar. The inclusion of a bonus panel discussion with the original cast of Super Sentai: Zyuranger rounds out the collection. The cast discusses everything from that series to working as stunt actors for the Power Rangers series, working on Kamen Rider, Godzilla and so much more throughout the nearly half-hour long discussion. Some rather interesting tidbits are revealed through the discussion that some audiences might not have known up until learning them here. Together with its original presentation and its writing, Super Sentai: Zyuranger’s first-ever American DVD release proves to be a must have for fans of either series or both. They also prove collectively once more why Shout! Factory remains today America’s leading name in home entertainment.

When Shout! Factory releases Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series next Tuesday, it will make a long-held dream come true for thousands of fans. Its release will mark the first time ever that it will have received a full, proper domestic release. And in examining the set in whole, it’s safe to say that fans of both this series and of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise will be thoroughly impressed with this brand new release. The main reason that audiences will be so impressed by Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series is that it is presented to audiences exactly as it was presented in its original Japanese broadcasts. It takes viewers right up to the introduction of what would eventually become the Green Ranger and evil villainess Scorpina in Saban’s Power Rangers franchise. Audiences will notice quite the difference between the two franchises, too. Those differences will be discussed momentarily. For now though, the focus will remain on the prior of the pair. Audiences will appreciate that every one of the episodes included in the original series is included in this set. Shout! Factory has also included standard English subtitles with each episode. Though audiences are given the option to turn off those subtitles if audiences so choose. In watching the series with its English subtitles, it should be noted that there is some language peppered throughout the series that some parents might find objectionable. So suffice it to say that because of that language and other content, this box set is aimed more at adults more so than children. That fact cannot be ignored.

Moving on to another aspect of the set’s presentation, those that are familiar with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers will see where Saban clipped footage from this series for MMPR. That is just as important to the whole if only for its historical value. That is because by comparison, that same footage placed back into Super Sentai Zyuranger, it presents a wholly different story. That wholly different story puts both series into an entirely different context in retrospect. It’s another way that the presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series proves to be an especially important addition to any fan of the Power Rangers and/or Super Sentai franchise. The overall presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger is important in its own right to the success of this upcoming release. As important as it is, the writing behind each of the series’ episodes is just as key to its success.

The writing behind Super Sentai Zyuranger’s is just as important to its success among fans as the set’s presentation. And fans will be just as impressed by the writing as by the overall presentation of the episodes. As previously noted, audiences that are familiar with both MMPR and SSZR will note in these episodes where exactly Saban incorporated SSZR’s into MMPR’s presentation. In seeing SSZR in its entirety, the footage presents a story that is entirely different from that presented in MMPR. It is interesting to see the gradual change in Miss Bandora (Rita Repulsa in MMPR) as the series progresses. She goes from being an evil space witch who hates everyone including children to eventually doing a near total 180. And even throughout the course of the story’s progression audiences see a story completely unlike that presented in MMPR even from the series’ premiere. Having the original guardians being woken up from their deep slumber versus the Rangers being picked actually makes perfect sense. And the intentional camp incorporated into the story makes for even more enjoyment. Given it’s a camp different from that in MMPR. But it still adds its own element of enjoyment to the presentation in whole. Whether for that camp, the original story, or even for other unmentioned reasons, the work that went into SSZR’s writing proves the writing in question to be yet another reason that fans of this modern classic will want to add Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series to their own home libraries.

The writing and overall presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series collectively make a solid argument as to why ay fan of this series or of Saban’s MMPR will want to add the brand new box set to their home library when it is released next Tuesday, February 17th. Anyone still not convinced by these aspects of the series’ first-ever full domestic release is sure to be won over by the companion “Power Morphicon Panel” included as a bonus feature with the set. The original cast of SSZR is featured in this panel. Despite what one might believe, the cast discusses more than this series with fans in attendance. The fans actually bring up a number of topics including the cast’s work on MMPR and Godzilla among other series and movies. There are little tidbits shared along the way such as the issues raised by the language barrier when the cast worked on MMPR. There are also more personal stories that audiences might have never known about the cast and how it met among so much more. The discussion in whole lasts almost half an hour. And again subtitles are included both for the English and non-English speaking cast. The subtitles coupled with the depth of information shared throughout the panel’s extensive discussion rounds out the reasons that fans of Super Sentai Zyuranger will want to add this long-awaited box set to their home libraries. Together with the writing and the set’s overall presentation, all three elements prove Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series to be one of this year’s most welcome surprises from Shout! Factory. And it proves without a doubt once more why Shout! Factory is the leading name in home entertainment.

Shout! Factory has slowly but surely made its way to the top of the heap in the world of home entertainment over the years. It has done so with the release of some of America’s most beloved TV series and movies. The upcoming release of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series is one more notch the Shout! Factory’s proverbial belt. It is everything that fans of this series have hoped for ever since it finished its original run overseas over two decades ago. Audiences will agree with that sentiment when they finally get to purchase the box set for themselves next Tuesday. It will be available next Tuesday, February 17th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered now direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/super-sentai-zyuranger-the-complete-series. Fans that pre-order the set now via Shout! Factory’s online store can get it at a discounted price of $49.97 versus the SRP of $54.99. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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

Transformers Fans Of All Ages Will Enjoy Shout! Factory Kids’ Latest Rescue Bots DVD

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory Kids will release the latest addition to its kid friendly Transformers series Transformers Rescue Bots this Tuesday, February 10th. Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is the sixth of the series’ collections released by Shout! Factory Kids and Hasbro Studios. Five previous collections having already been released, it is common sense that this DVD is just as worth the watch as the series’ previously released compilations. The central reason that it proves to be just as worth the watch as its predecessors is the collection of episodes chosen for the single-disc presentation. Six more episodes have been culled for the set starting with the series premiere “Family of Heroes.” The set also pulls in a second episode from Season One in the form of “Return of the Dinobot” that presents a Dinobot unlike anything most audiences know of from the Transformers’ previous incarnations. There is also a two-part episode from Season 2 and a pair of stand-alone episodes also from Season 2 to complement. All six episodes together make for plenty of enjoyment for Transformers fans of all ages. The same can be said of the writing behind each episode. Whether in the series premiere, the included two-part episode from Season 2, or for the remaining pair of episode, the writing in these episodes is to thank for their enjoyment. And last but hardly least worth noting of these episodes is work of the series’ all-star cast. Veteran actors LeVar Burton (Star Trek The Next Generation, Reading Rainbow, Captain Planet and the Planeteers), Jason Marsden (The Fairly Oddparents, The Garfield Show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold), and Mauriche LeMarche (The Simpsons, Futurama, Animaniacs) are joined by the likes of Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, Sean Saves the World, A To Z), Steve Blum (Digimon: Digital Monsters, The Boxtrolls, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie), and Elan Garfias (Handy Manny, Chowder, Ni Hao Kai-Lam) among other names. And the interpretation of the episodes’ scripts rounds out the reasons that these episodes are so enjoyable. Regardless of the cast members’ level of experience, nothing but professionalism was shown in each episode, making easier suspension of disbelief and in turn the overall enjoyment of the episodes. By itself, the work of the cast in each of these episodes makes for its own level of enjoyment among audiences. Together with the work of the series’ writers and those charged with assembling the episodes, all three elements make Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure a great adventure for Transformers fans of all ages.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is not the first collection of episodes that Shout! Factory Kids has released from Discovery Family’s family friendly update on Hasbro’s classic franchise following everyone’s favorite robots in disguise. It is however a fully enjoyable collection of episodes. It is a fully enjoyable collection both for those that are and those that are not so familiar with the series. The central reason for that enjoyment is the collection of episodes pulled for the DVD. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, every one of the series’ fans finally gets to see how the series started thanks to the inclusion of its premiere episode to open the whole thing. Audiences also get to see the writers’ vision of at least one of the legendary Dinobots as well as other early adventures of the Rescue Bots. The collection in whole offer loads of action and laughs for Transformers fans of all ages. The episodes by themselves offer loads of action and laughs for the whole family. That is thanks to the adventures that make up each episode. Keeping in that vein, the writing behind each of the episodes is to thank for making each episode so enjoyable.

The writing that went into each of the episodes on this DVD is just as noteworthy as the episodes themselves in considering what makes it so enjoyable. One way in which the writing proves so important is in the series’ premiere episode “Family of Heroes.” Audiences will note in this episode that at least one of the Rescue Bots—Heatwave—is not instantly fond of being on Earth. As a matter of fact, he would much rather take a mission on another planet than deal with humans who want to control them. Obviously they aren’t really trying to control the Rescue Bots. And eventually, Heatwave overcomes his mistrust as Cody and his family prove that they can be trusted. Yes, it’s a tried and true story element used in so many other series and movies. But especially in the case of this series, it’s interesting to see that things don’t start out with a full-on “happy-happy-joy-joy” vibe for the Rescue Bots or for the humans in terms of their relationship. It is just one example of why the writing in these episodes makes them so enjoyable. The writing in the two-part episode “What Lies Below”/”What Rises Above” is another good example of why the writing behind the episodes makes them so enjoyable. It could even be argued to be the best example of the disc’s episodes in terms of its writing. That is because of the amount of material that went into the episode in whole. Chief Burns and his brother Woodrow (voiced here by Mark Hamill—Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series, Codename: Kids Next Door) have to come to terms with the tensions built between them ever since their childhood. At the same time, Heatwave exhibits his own personal growth as the leader of the Rescue Bots as he and Optimus Prime work to get back to the others and get out of the volcano. At the same time, the writers pay tribute to Jules Verne in this episode as a hidden prehistoric world is discovered along the way. Through the whole story, none of the noted elements overpowers the other. The end result is a story that easily keeps viewers fully engaged, wondering what will happen next. The writers’ tackling of myths in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest” and the classic theme of AI becoming sentient (and dangerously so at that) in “Movers and Shakers” is as enjoyable as any sci-fi story. Whether for the solid work on the DVD’s included two-part episode, the series’ premiere, or even that in “In Search of the Griffin’s Nest,” the writing behind the episodes included on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure shows time and again why it is so pivotal to the overall enjoyment of the DVD. Together with the episodes selected for the compilation, both elements strengthen even more the argument in favor of this latest addition to the series’ already-released compilations.

The episodes tapped for inclusion on Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure and the writing behind each episode make a strong argument in favor of this new DVD. The work of the series’ voice cast is just as worth mentioning in the overall enjoyment of these episodes. From the series premiere to the episodes that followed, the chemistry and professionalism between the cast is obvious. Considering the cast’s collective years of experience, that should come as no surprise. That’s especially the case with lead stars Jason Marsden and Mauriche LeMarche. Marsden, who voices lead character Kade Burns, and LeMarche, who voices Kade’s father Chief Charlie Burns, breeze through their roles. The same can be said of fellow veteran LeVar Burton as he voices supporting character Doc Greene. Even young Elan Garfias (Cody Burns) impresses in his own right. While Garfias might not have the years of experience as Burton, LaMarche, and Marsden, he still shines as the voice of Cody. He handles his role in every episode with the ease and professionalism of a seasoned veteran. And together with his older, more experienced co-stars–including those not noted here–the group as a whole proves to be the perfect choice for each role. The choices paid off in spades, too with each cast member alone and together keeping viewers just as fully engaged with its work as the stories behind each episode. It is the last part of the DVD’s whole that makes it so enjoyable for Transformers fans of all ages. Together with the work of the show’s writers and those tapped to select the DVD’s episodes, all three elements together show in full why Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure is yet another great collection of episodes from what is one of the greatest incarnations of the Transformers.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Jurassic Adventure will be available tomorrow, February 10th in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory Kids’ online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-jurassic-adventure. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.

Make A Bet, Enter For A Chance To Win “A Bet’s A Bet” From Phil’s Picks

Courtesy:  Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Independent movie and television studio Cinedigm will release its new rom-com A Bet’s A Bet next Tuesday, January 20th. And one lucky person will win a copy of the movie on DVD for free courtesy of Phil’s Picks this Friday, January 16th. Anyone that wants to enter for a chance at a free copy of the movie just needs to go to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks, “Like” it, and then write on the page that they want to be entered for a chance to win the movie.   It’s that easy. A review of the movie is available online now via the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/the-opposite-sex-is-an-edgy-entertaining-rom-com/.

A Bet’s A Bet, which also goes by the title The Opposite Sex, is an independent release. But it boasts a superstar cast. Daytime Emmy© Award winner Jennifer Finnigan (The Bold and the Beautiful, Tyrant) co-directed and co-starred with Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Close to Home). Kristin Chenoweth (Rio 2, Stranger Than Fiction, Glee) makes an appearance early on in the movie. Also on board are Josh Hopkins (G.I. Jane, Cougar Town, The Perfect Storm) opposite lead star Geoff Stults (She’s Out Of My League, Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up). Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live, Kenan & Kel, All That) appears in a supporting role along with Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks, Dawson’s Creek, Crash) and Josh Cooke (I Love You, Man, Hart of Dixie, Manhattan). Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show, She’s Out of My League, Big) makes an appearance as Vince’s (Geoff Stults) secretary. And Eric Roberts (The Expendables, The Dark Knight, The Cable Guy), brother of actress Julia Roberts, stars as Vince’s boss Mr. Campbell. Even former N’Sync member Joey Fatone makes a cameo as a delivery man. Actress Mena Suvari (Chicago Fire, American Beauty, Six Feet Under) rounds out the cast as Vince’s love interest. It is her relationship with Vince that serves as the basis for the movie’s script.

The script behind A Bet’s A Bet centers on high-powered divorce attorney Vince (Stults) and his budding relationship with equally strong-willed divorcee Jane (Suvari). Vince is a self-proclaimed bachelor for life who is more focused on sleeping with every woman that he can get. On the other side of things, Jane is going through a nasty divorce. When the pair is introduced through a couple of mutual friends who just happened to be married, a series of hilarious bets plays out. The end result is a budding relationship that neither expected as both Vince and Jane are such headstrong characters. Jane’s own divorce case plays a role in the pair’s growing relationship, too. It offers its own share of laughs as audiences will see in watching the movie.

A Bet’s A Bet (The Opposite Sex) will be available on DVD next Tuesday, January 20th. It will retail for $14.93. It runs ninety-seven minutes counting end credits. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, and giveaways from Phil’s Picks, 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, and giveaways in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory To Release Hey Dude: The Complete Series This Spring

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Pull out those cowboy hats and boots, folks. It’s time to saddle up one more time and head back out to the famed Bar None Ranch. That’s because this spring, Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory will finally release Nickelodeon’s classic live action teen-based sitcom Hey Dude in its entirety.

All five seasons of Nickelodeon’s Hey Dude will be released in one single DVD box set on Tuesday, March 10th. The answer to NBC’s own famed and beloved Saturday morning teen sitcom Saved By The Bell, Hey Dude was the polar opposite of that other sitcom. Rather than take the standard high school backdrop and stories, Hey Dude put a group of teens out in the wild west (so to speak) and watched them work and grow together. While it may have been a teen-centric sitcom, the show’s scritps along with its backdrop and the cast’s acting completely set it apart from Saved By The Bell and all of the other teen based sitcoms and dramas of the day. Now the show’s original audiences will get to experience that originality for the first time again along with a whole new generation of audiences. Those original audiences will be reminded with this set, of what once made programming for younger viewers so great while today’s younger viewers will see potentially for the first time what once made such programming great.

Hey Dude: The Complete Series will be released on DVD on Tuesday, March 10th. It will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart stores across America. Pricing information for the box set is not currently available. However, audiences can keep up with that information as well as information on other titles from Shout! Factory online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

My Uncle Rafael Is Loaded With Laughs And Heart

Courtesy:  TNP Films

Courtesy: TNP Films

My Uncle Rafael is the best new independent movie of 2014.  And it is arguably one of the best new movies of the year, too.  Originally released in 2012, its release this week on DVD marks the first time that it has seen the light of day in home release format.  And while it obviously owes a certain amount of its success to Robin Williams’ 1993 hit movie Mrs. Doubtfire, it still manages to stand strong on its own merits as a movie that is at least somewhat original in its presentation.  That is the central point of the movie’s success.  It has all the heart and wit of Mrs. Doubtfire without Robin Williams’ cross-dressing and manic character portrayal.  And while it does maintain at least some similarity in its approach to the family-fixing plotline, it approaches the issue through a multi-cultural avenue rather than that of a desperate father. Sign of the times, it would seem.  Just as important to the movie’s enjoyment is the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  It would have been so simple for the cast, which is relatively well-known and experienced to treat the movie like the independent movie that it is.  But each member of the cast approached this work with the same seriousness used in its other performances.  The professional approach taken by the cast of My Uncle Rafael adds so much enjoyment to the movie.  It adds so much especially considering the quality of the movie’s production values.  While released via an independent studio—TNP Films—the movie’s production values are just as quality as anything released by any of Hollywood’s “Power 5” studios.  That actor, along with the work of the cast and of the movie’s writers, makes My Uncle Rafael a complete joy for audiences of almost any age.  Again, it isn’t the first time that the story presented here has been utilized for a movie.  But its execution makes it a move well worth the watch.

The story that is presented in My Uncle Rafael is not the first of its kind.  It is the story of an outsider coming into a family’s home and fixing said family.  It has been used numerous times in the past.  In 1993, it was presented in the hit movie Mrs. Doubtfire. Two years prior, it was used in pro-wrestling legend Terry “Hulk” Hogan’s family comedy Suburban Commando.  And to a lesser extent it was also used in Vin Diesel’s 2005 flash-in-the-pan flick The Pacifier.  It could even be argued that a similar formula was used way back in the 1989 John Candy dramedy Uncle Buck.  Considering all of this, it leaves one wondering how many other ways in which the “family fix” formula could be used without it being stale and unoriginal.  Enter My Uncle Rafael.  My Uncle Rafael (not to be confused with Joe Pesci’s 1992 dramedy My Cousin Vinny—yes that bad pun was intended) takes the classic “family fix” formula and updates it by incorporating a multi-cultural theme into the story.  Most interesting here is the fact that the duo used an elderly Middle Eastern man as the movie’s central figure.  This was really interesting especially considering the tensions between Americans and those of Middle Eastern descent currently living in the United States.  It’s an angle that few if any writers would even begin to attempt.  For that alone, Pirhamzei and Yagemann are deserving of a certain amount of credit.  That the duo didn’t try to make a direct light of Rafael’s nationality as a soap box makes the script even more worthy of applause.  Omitting that from the script makes the rest of the story far more enjoyable and in turn more memorable.

The script behind My Uncle Rafael is not the first of its kind.  That goes without saying.  But there are aspects of the script that make it surprisingly enjoyable.  As enjoyable as the movie’s script proves to be in the long run, it would be nothing without the abilities of the movie’s cast.  John Michael Higgins (Yes Man, Happily Divorced, Bad Teacher) brings plenty of experience to the movie as do Missi Pyle (The Artist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Gone Girl), Anthony Clark (Yes, Dear, Boston Common, Soul Man), Joe Lo Truglio (Role Models, Wreck-It-Ralph, Pineapple Express), Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory, The Last Song, In A World…), and Rachel Blanchard (Clueless—TV Series, 7th Heaven, Are You Afraid of the Dark).  The competition between Higgins’ Damon and Clark’s Jack makes for plenty of laughs.  It is a competition much like that seen in Mrs. Doubtfire.  Missi Pyle is just as entertaining as she becomes caught up in the movie’s central love triangle all while trying to maintain her place as mother to her children.  But it is really Vahik Pirhamzei’s portrayal of the loveable Uncle Rafael that really shines.  Pirhamzei’s portrayal gives Uncle Rafael so much heart and warmth.  He makes Rafael loveable not only to his fellow characters but to audiences, too.  One can’t help but agree in watching Rafael that maybe the uncle really is at the center of everything.  Only audiences that watch the movie or have watched it will get that reference.  In hindsight, Rafael’s portrayal makes that line make perfect sense.  That isn’t to take away from Pirhamzei’s cast mates by any means.  Both the more well-known actors and the lesser known cast members add their own enjoyment to the story in whole, too.  But it is his portrayal that holds everything together and makes each of his cast mates’ portrayals all the more entertaining with the end result of the cast in general doing its own part to show once again why My Uncle Rafael  is this year’s best new independent movie and one of the year’s best movies overall.

The writing that went into My Uncle Rafael and the acting on the part of the movie’s cast both play their own important part in the overall success of this surprisingly entertaining story.  Rounding out the presentation is its production values.  Being that this movie is independent, one would think that it would not have the production values of its bigger name family friendly counterparts that have come before.  But the reality is that its production values are quite high.  That includes the movie’s cinematography, its backdrops, costumes, and all other elements that went into bringing the movie to life.  Having such quality production values, it makes sense that the largely veteran cast would want its portrayals to be just as high quality.  The combination of that high quality acting and equally high quality production values adds to the ability of audiences to suspend their disbelief and in turn allow themselves to be immersed into the story and thus offer it the chance that it quite well deserves.  In giving it the chance that it deserves, audiences will agree that this movie is just as enjoyable as its more well-known predecessors and that it is one of this year’s best new movies as well as the year’s best new independent movie.

My Uncle Rafael is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/My-Uncle-Rafael-Anthony-Clark/dp/B00O1D3AN6/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1418861938&sr=1-2&keywords=my+uncle+rafael.  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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Secret Agent: The Complete Series Is Another “Timeless” Hit

Courtesy;  Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group

Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group

Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have established themselves in recent years as two of the leading companies in the realm of home entertainment.  Releases ranging from the Power Rangers to The Gene Autry Show to Nickelodeon’s classic 90s Nicktoons and classic Red Skelton collections have put both companies at the forefront of home entertainment.  They will continue to maintain that mantle with next Tuesday’s release of Secret Agent: The Complete SeriesSecret Agent: The Complete Series is another hit for Timeless Media and Shout Factory in part for its writing. Unlike every one of today’s action based series (E.g. The Blacklist) this U.K. series shows even today that a show doesn’t need loads of explosions, overt sexuality and violence in general to be entertaining.  All it needs is good writing.  Another reason that this latest box set is such a hit for both companies is its collective packaging and its look.  A little more than five decades have passed since Secret Agent first came to U.K. audiences. Even with that span of time passing, the footage looks just as impressive as in its original broadcasts.  And while the series has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in their own collections, Timeless Media’s upcoming release of Secret Agent: The Complete Series marks the first time that the entire original U.K. Danger Man series has been released in one complete set.  Its half-hour and full-hour episodes have been released in separate sets over the years.  But this set marks the first time that the entire series has been released in one box.  And there is plenty to note in regards to that, too.  It still isn’t all that makes this box set so welcome for any fan of classic TV and real action series.  One more factor worth noting is the bonus interview with star Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine McGoohan.  It is a truly enlightening interview that reveals not just Steve McGoohan the celebrity, but the loving family man, too.  There are even some tidbits about his acting career late in his life that she reveals that might surprise a lot of people.  That’s not to discount the bonus commentary on select episodes, either.  The commentary adds its own touch to the presentation in whole, too.  All things considered, Secret Agent: The Complete Series is yet more proof of why Timeless Media and Shout! Factory remain today at the forefront of home entertainment.

Secret Agent (a.k.a. Danger Man) is a wonderful piece of television history.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, it proves to be a welcome escape from all of the overly violent and overtly sexualized action/drama series on television today.  One of the most important ways in which it proves this is through its writing.  From stopping an international drug ring in “Position of Trust” to uncovering who is blackmailing officials with the British Embassy in “The Black Book” to going toe-to-toe with an East German spymaster in “Fair Exchange,” and more, every episode is original and fun in its own right.  The series’ writers never required Drake to use a gun.  He always used his intelligence over any weapon.  He also used his suave demeanor to achieve his goals whether when dealing with men or women.  And at no point is there any overt sexuality or even unnecesary levels of violence thrown in, either.  Sure, it’s a product of its time.  But it’s too bad that such writing doesn’t exist in today’s action and drama series.  It’s just one part of what makes Secret Agent: The Complete Series another welcome addition to the collection of any classic TV lover or lover of truly great action series.

The writing that went into Secret Agent: The Complete Series is an important piece of the whole that makes this box set so welcome in the collection of any lover of classic television.  Just as important to the whole is the set’s overall packaging and the quality of the footage.  Timeless Media’s upcoming release marks the first time ever that this series has been released in one complete box set.  It has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in separate box sets over the years.  But none of them have ever been compiled into one box until now.  Timeless Media has done an outstanding job packaging the set into one box.  All seventeen discs that make up the series are packaged into three separate cases.  And within each case, the discs are placed on their own spindles and “leaves” inside the case, protecting the discs from one another.  This is a standard that was set by Timeless Media and Shout! Factory years ago.  it is a model that thankfully other companies adopted not too long after, either.  Making the packaging even better for audiences is a little history lesson on the show contained on the back of each of the three volumes.  Each volume also presents a full episode list on the back of its case.  That combination of elements proves yet again that the packaging for Secret Agent: The Complete Series is just as important as the writing behind the episodes themselves in the success of this box set. The positives still don’t end here, either.

The writing behind Secret Agent’s episodes and the packaging of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are both integral parts of the whole in their own way.  As important as they are to the whole, they would be moot points if the footage itself was not quality.  Luckily, that isn’t the case.  The footage contained throughout the set’s seventeen total discs looks just as good as it did in its original broadcasts in the 1960s.  Those that watch the series via a Blu-ray player will especially agree with that statement when they see the quality in its up-conversion.  Given, the series has been released previously by other companies.  But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality footage in their cases.  In the case of Timeless Media’s full series release, it is guaranteed from the series’ first episode to its last.  The same applies even for audiences watching the series through a DVD player.  Such quality restoration is one more reason that this latest full-series release from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory proves to be such a success.

The packaging and look of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are two of the most important factors in the set’s overall success.  They are just as important as the writing behind the show’s episodes.  As if that isn’t enough for audiences, there is a bonus interview with Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine that sheds quite a light on McGoohan the actor and the family man.  Audiences will be surprised to learn through her interview that McGoohan did his own stunts throughout Danger Man’s original run.  Just as intriguing is her note that her father was the antithesis of the typical TV star.  He was more focused on his family than his career.  She speaks so lovingly and warmly of him when she discusses her one-on-one talks with her father when she was young and his desire to maintain a strong bond with his whole family, thus the comment about him being married to her mother for almost sixty years before his passing.  She goes on to note near the interview’s end to also note very surprisingly that her father was (believe it or not) the first choice to play Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise and Professor Dumbledore in the hugely popular Harry Potter franchise.  Apparently, the reason he turned down both roles was his dedication to his family.  It’s really a deep statement.  It’s a refreshing statement that shows not every star is all about fame and fortune.  She discusses so much more throughout the course of her roughly half-hour interview.  But that is for audiences to see and hear for themselves when they purchase this box set.  Together with the set’s packaging, the quality of the footage, and the episodes’ writing, it all comes together to make Secret Agent: The Complete Series a big hit for any lover of classic television and action/drama series.

The bonus first-person interview with Catherine McGoohan is itself a true bonus for audiences in this set regardless of their familiarity with Danger Man or Secret Agent.  In the same vein, the commentary included with select episodes adds its own value to the set, too.  While not every episode boasts commentary, those that do include commentary are made all the more interesting thanks to said commentary.  It is commentary that at times even links to other episodes.  Taking that into account, it is the final touch to a series that in the end proves to be just as valuable for lovers of classic television as previous releases from Timeless Media and Shout! Factory.

Secret Agent: The Complete Series will be available Tuesday, December 9th on DVD in stores and online.  Audiences can order it online direct from Timeless Media’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/secret-agent-aka-danger-man-the-complete-series for a reduced priec of $63.97 versus the MSRP of $79.97.  More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364?ref=br_tf

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.