Paramount, CBS DVD To Re-Issue Two Classic Peanuts Specials

CBS DVD and Paramount will re-issue two classic Peanuts TV specials this summer.

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

On Tuesday, September 6th, CBS DVD and Paramount will re-issue the classic Peanuts specials Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home on Blu-ray.  It marks the first time that either special has ever been released on Blu-ray.  Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown is the first of the Peanuts specials to ever be aired.  It follows Charlie Brown as he unwittingly becomes his school’s representative in the national spelling bee.  It all begins as Charlie sets out to disprove his fellow students who believe that he can’t even win the school spelling bee.  Along the way Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus deals with the disappearance of his beloved blanket as he tries to help Charlie Brown prepare for the spelling bee.  And back home scheming Lucy plans to take advantage of Charlie Brown’s potential success by naming herself his agent.  Of course things don’t turn out quite as she, Charlie Brown, or anyone else expect.  But the special still leaves audiences with smiles on their faces and feeling such support for everybody’s favorite underdog.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home presents a completely different story.  When Snoopy receives a letter in the mail, he suddenly leaves his doghouse and embarks on a cross-country journey.  The reason for Snoopy’s journey is a mystery to everybody including Charlie Brown.  That is until the contents of the letter are revealed.  What comes next is a deeply moving story that will move audiences of all ages to tears of joy.

Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home will both be available on Blu-ray on Tuesday, September 6th.  Both titles are expected to retail for MSRP of $24.99.

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Paramount, CBS DVD’s New Hogan’s Heroes Series Set Is Enjoyable Even Being A Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

CBS DVD and Paramount have been on quite the roll in the past year or so.  Between April and November of 2015 the two companies partnered to turn out no fewer than nine of CBS’ classic series in their full-series sets.  A small handful of those releases were first time releases while a number of others were re-issues including: JAG: The Complete Series, I Love Lucy: The Complete Series, Walker Texas Ranger: The Complete Series, and Star Trek The Original Series just to name a handful of those titles.  There were even re-issues of all eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show in their own standalone sets courtesy of Paramount.  As busy as Paramount and CBS DVD proved to be in 2015, one would think that the companies would pull back a little bit this year.  That apparently has not been the case.  The Andy Griffith Show was re-issued in whole this past February on DVD.  And earlier this month another classic CBS series—Hogan’s Heroes—was re-issued (again) on DVD.  It marked the third time since 2007 that the series had been released in whole on DVD.  Even despite this it is still another welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s latest re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series is not the first release of the classic sitcom.  It is the third time since 2007 that the series has been released in full on DVD.  Despite this it is still a welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.  It is just as welcome in the library of any of the series’ fans that might perhaps not already own the series in its entirety.  For those that perhaps have never had the pleasure of enjoying Hogan’s Heroes the series’ writing behind the series is the central point of this box set’s presentation.  This applies both to the show’s premise and the stories within its episodes.  The premise presents a group of Allied POWs (led by Col. Robert Hogan), in a Nazi concentration camp that is helping the Allies defeat the Nazis.  They also help other Allied forces escape the Nazis along the way.  All the while Hogan and his band of misfits generate plenty of laughs as they outsmart Col. Klink and his bumbling head of security Sgt. Schultz in order to accomplish their missions.  All of this is important to note because over the course of its nearly six years on the air (It aired from September 17th, 1965 – April 4th, 1971.  That is just short of six years) there was nothing like it on the air.  This includes both the huge variety of sitcoms that populated television’s then limited channels and its dramas, as well.  Even more interesting is that the series, thanks to its premise, caused its own share of controversy because of its playful, lighthearted approach to the life of POWs in WWII-era Germany.  Thankfully though, that controversy has turned to appreciation over the years since the series presented Klink, Schultz, and the rest of the Germans as being rather dumb and gullible.  It is the American equivalent of the propaganda films used by the Axis forces during the war.  Sure, it came along two decades after the end of the war.  But one could argue that since it came along during the Vietnam War, it actually could have served, in its own right, to be a way for people to get escape the tragedies of one war with a comical approach to another war.  That’s probably a stretch on the part of this critic.  Regardless it was—and is—still an original premise.  For that reason alone, the premise behind the series makes it an important part of the series’ writing.  It is just one part of the writing that makes this element so important in the series’ presentation.

The premise behind Hogan’s Heroes is in itself hugely important to the series’ presentation.  That is because in comparison to other series of the time, it was just one more series that made television so great in what has become known as television’s golden age.  That is because it was unlike its counterparts at the time much in the same way that those series were unlike other series at the time.  It’s just one part of what makes the series’ writing so important to its presentation.  The stories that were crafted for each of the series’ one hundred sixty-eight episodes are just as important to the series’ presentation as the series’ premise.  Over the course of its nearly two hundred episodes, the series’ writers came up time and again with totally original stories that kept the series fresh and entertaining.  “Kommandant Schultz” (Season 6) is just one example of what makes the series’ episodes so entertaining.  This episode puts Schultz in charge of Stalag 13 for a short period of time in order to train him how to be a commanding officer.  The reason for the training is that Hitler had requested all NCOs in every camp be trained.  The end result is a story line that while tried and true, is still just as entertaining her as in any other series.  Viewers will love watching as Schultz tries to overcome his bumbling personality and become a respectable officer, only to come up short.  He still gets the last laugh in the end, though.  Viewers really can’t help but root for him here even though he is supposed to be one of the bad guys.  Of course audiences can’t really help but root for Schultz throughout the series. And that is likely linked to John Banner’s (the actor who portrayed Schultz) real life personality.  This will be discussed later.

“The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery” (Season 2) is another example of how the stories crafted for Hogan’s Heroes prove so important to the series’ presentation.  This episode is so important to note because it was one of the many times throughout the series in which the series’ writers took Hogan and company out of the confines of Stalag 13 for its story.  The story itself is just as important to note.  Hogan’s morals are tested somewhat when he is forced with the realization that he and the other men will have to rob a bank in order to purchase a map that would help the Allies’ efforts in the war.  He obviously doesn’t want to have to rob a bank.  But he reminds himself that it would be a German bank.  That in turn sets up the funny story that follows.  The episode’s bank heist story is just part of what makes the episode so entertaining.  Schultz does catch Hogan and his men as they are planning their operation.  But they turn the tables, blackmailing Schultz because he is not supposed to be away on leave.  Schultz’s reaction is timeless, especially as calm and collected as Hogan is in the moment.  It is just one of the great moments presented in this episode that make it so fun and funny.  The others will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The end result of the episode’s story is just as entertaining.  All things considered, the whole of this episode’s story—from the story itself to the story’s smaller elements—shows once again why it is one more example of the importance of the stories’ importance to the series’ overall presentation.  It is hardly the last example, too.  “Is There A Traitor In The House?” (Season 5) is another example of what makes the series’ stories so important to its presentation.

“Kommandant Schutlz” and “The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery” are both prime examples of what makes the stories behind Hogan’s Heroes’ episodes so important to the series’ presentation.  They are not the only episodes that can be cited in proving this argument.  ‘Is There A Traitor In The House?” This episode is a good example of the strength of the series’ writing because it shows that the series could be entertaining even when Hogan wasn’t at the center of the episodes.  This episode puts Newkirk (Richard Dawson) at the center of its story.  Newkirk has to convince Klink, Schultz, and Berlin Betty that he has turned in support of the Nazis in order to get bombing coordinates to the British.  This happens after a bombing at the camp knocks out the Allies’ radio connection to Britain.  Even more interesting is how the story is executed.  At first audiences are actually led to believe that Newkirk has turned.  Though, it is revealed soon after that he hadn’t.  At the same time Berlin Betty has her own secret (or secrets).  That will be left for audiences to discover for themselves, too.  It’s just one of the story’s elements that makes it so engaging and even somewhat moving.  Audiences will understand and appreciate this when they see this episode for themselves.  It’s just one more way in which the episodes’ stories prove so important to the series’ presentation.  And it is hardly the last story/episode combination that can be cited in making this argument, too.  There are plenty of other stories presented across the series’ six-season run that could be cited just as easily.  Those stories and the stories cited here combine to show why the episodes’ stories are just as important in the bigger picture of the series’ writing as the show’s premise.  While the show’s premise and all of its stories combine to show the importance of its writing in the series’ presentation, the writing is hardly the only element within this box set that makes the set such a welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.  The bonus material contained within the series’ new box set is just as important as its writing to its presentation.

The writing behind Hogan’s Heroes is hugely important to the series’ presentation in its latest full series box set.  The bonus material included in the set is important in its own right to the set’s presentation.  The bonus material featured in this re-issue includes: a pair of original promo spots for the series, Air Force recruitment spots starring series star Bob Crane, a vintage add for Jell-o and Dream Whip starring the series’ whole cast, and behind-the-scenes movies narrated by Crane’s wife Patricia among much more.  The vintage TV spots are fun little additions to the set’s bonus material offerings.  That is because they haven’t been touched up or spit-shined for their presentation here.  They will take viewers back to another age of television in so many ways.  From cast-involved ads to direct recruiting spots, such promotion is rarely to never seen on television today.  So for television historians and classic TV buffs alike the spots are hugely important if only for their historical value.  The behind-the-scenes footage is just as important to the set’s presentation as any of the other bonuses.  In fact it could be argued that this bonus is the set’s key bonus.  That is because of the information shared by Crane’s wife Patricia.  Over the course of the “movie” audiences learn that John Banner’s portrayal of Schultz may have been rather natural.  That is because, as Crane reveals, he was considered to be very much like Santa Claus.  That is because of how much Banner loved kids and just how personable he was off camera.  Comparing Banner to Schultz, one could see how the connection could be made.  On another level viewers also learn about the proximity of the Hogan’s Heroes soundstage to that of The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.  Sure it might not seem all that important on the surface.  But it shows just how busy Paramount’s lot was at the time of Hogan’s Heroes’ run.  It’s just one more way in which the bonus material included in this set proves to be an important part of the series’ presentation in this newly re-issued box set.  There are other bonuses not noted here that were also included in the set’s presentation.  Those extras along with the bonuses noted here make clear why the bonus material in whole is so pivotal to the set’s presentation in its own right.  They are collectively just one more part of the whole that makes this new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series so enjoyable for audiences.  The set’s packaging is just as noteworthy as its bonus material and its writing.

The writing incorporated into Hogan’s Heroes and the bonus material that accompanies the series writing are both important elements in the whole of the series’ newly re-issued DVD box set.  The writing, both in terms of the set’s premise and its stories, will keep audiences entertained and engaged from the series’ first season to its sixth.  The bonus material included in the set adds even more enjoyment to the set thanks to its historical value.  Even as entertaining and valuable as the series’ writing and bonus material prove to be in its presentation here, they are not the only important elements to examine in the set’s presentation.  The set’s packaging rounds out its overall presentation.  The set’s packaging is a little bit of a mixed bag.  The box set’s exterior packaging is much more ergonomic for audiences than owning each of the series’ standalone season sets.  However, a closer look at the packaging reveals a different picture.  The series’ first four seasons are spread across nineteen discs contained within one box.  Seasons Five and Six are presented in a separate box set.  Here’s where things get a little bit dicey.  The discs that make up the series’ first four seasons are placed one on top of the other top to bottom on either side of five connected leafs inside their box.  In other words they are packaged much in the older style of multi-disc DVD box sets.  This same method was used in Paramount and CBS DVD’s other recent DVD box set re-issues.  The problem with this style of packaging is that it greatly increases the chances of the discs becoming scratched and unusable over time.  On the other side of the proverbial coin, Seasons Five an Six are presented in the more modern style of packaging, with one disc on either side of the box’s leafs.  This is just as ergonomic if not more so.  It also serves to better protect the discs from scratching.  So while the packaging is in itself a good thing and somewhat better than that of the series’ previous DVD sets, it is also problematic in its own right.  Keeping this in mind, one can’t help but wonder what a Blu-ray box set of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series would look like.  It definitely shows that a Blu-ray set would be a real positive for audiences if only for the set’s packaging.  A Blu-ray presentation could potentially even present even more bonus material.  Even if that shouldn’t happen anytime soon Paramount and CBS DVD’s new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series still proves itself to be a good addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library and that of any of the series’ fans.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series is not the first time that this classic sitcom has been released on DVD.  Even despite that it is still a welcome addition to the home DVD library of any classic TV buff and that of the series’ fans.  That applies more so to those fans that don’t already own the series in its standalone season sets or its previous full series incarnations.  This is proven primarily through the set’s writing.  The original premise and equally original story lines will entertain audiences from beginning to end.  The bonus material included in this, the series’ most recent re-issue.  It adds even more enjoyment thanks to its overall historical value.  The set’s packaging, while at least somewhat problematic, is also more ergonomic than the series’ previous full series DVD box sets.  Though, it can be argued that the packaging alone necessitates a Blu-ray release for the series.  A blu-ray presentation would potentially be even more ergonomic than this DVD box set or any of the series’ previous full-series incarnations.  All things considered Paramount and CBS DVD’s new Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series re-issue is still a welcome addition to the home DVD library of any classic TV buff not already in possession of the series’ previous DVD sets and that of the show’s original fans in the same situation.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Hogans-Heroes-Complete-Richard-Dawson/dp/B017Q8QNJK/?tag=cbcoofsiofcb-20.

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Paramount Announces Upcoming Re-Issue Of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

Paramount is reusrrecting one of CBS’ greatest sitcoms this spring.

Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, March 8th. Its upcoming release marks the third time that it has been released and second time that it has been re-issued. It was originally released in an expansive six-box set on June 5th, 2007. Another release of the series followed on November 24th, 2009 in the form of Hogan’s Heroes: The Komplete Series –Kommandant’s Kollection. That release was more ergonomic than its predecessor and offered few bonuses for audiences. This set, while being perhaps less ergonomic than the series’ 2009 box set, is still far more ergonomic than its 2007 release. It also offers new box art and its own share of bonus material. It will present the series’ 168 total episodes spread across 27 discs in one complete box. Pricing information will be announced as the set’s release nears.

More information on this and other titles from Paramount is available online now at:

Website: http://www.ParamountMovies.com

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

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Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions Are Also Some Of The Original Series’ Greatest Episodes

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

When NBC first brought Star Trek to the airwaves in 1966, it was not the only sci-fi series to come to audiences at the time.  The Twilight Zone ran on CBS from 1959 – 1964.  ABC responded in 1963 with The Outer Limits.  From 1964 to 1968, ABC took audiences beneath the waves in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which itself stemmed from the 1961 big screen feature of the same name.  CBS also had Lost in Space from 1965 – ’68 and My Favorite Martian from 1963’66.  From 1967 – ’68, ABC also ran The Invaders.  Looking at all of this, it goes without saying that Gene Roddenberry’s series had its fair share of competition in its original run on television.  And interestingly enough, it actually ran for about the same amount of time—three seasons—as those other series.  In some cases, it ran longer than its competition.  Yet having only run three seasons it has gone on to become the most successful of all of the franchises that came before and after.  From the time of its original broadcast on NBC, Star Trek has gone on to spawn no fewer than six big screen features, five more series, four more movies linked to one of those series, and countless video games, books and box sets.  The latest of those box sets—Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions—was just released this past March.  More specifically, it was released March 17th.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity or loyalty to Star Trek: TOS, this latest collection of episodes proves itself a worthwhile addition to any fan’s Star Trek collection.  The main way in which it proves itself a worthwhile addition to any fan’s collection is through the episodes culled for the collection.  From playing a game of cat and mouse in “The Corbomite Maneuver” and “Balance of Terror” to facing off against a device that could destroy entire worlds, Kirk and company face some huge odds in the episodes collected for the set.  And these are just a few examples of what fans have to expect from this set.  There is much more for audiences to enjoy from these and the set’s other episodes in whole, proving why the episodes collected for the set are the foundation of its enjoyment.  The bonus commentary included with the set adds even more enjoyment to the set even as limited as it proves to be.  It is one more reason that audiences should check out Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions.  Last but not least worth noting of this collection is its collective production values.  The episodes presented here look and sound just as impressive as in their previous DVD and Blu-ray releases with the other episodes from the series’ full season sets.  That means that all eight episodes prove just as enjoyable to watch here as in the series’ full-season sets.  And it solidifies Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions as quite the bold outing itself.  It is a collection that Star Trek fans of all ages should have in their collection regardless of whether they already own the previously released stand-alone full season sets or not.

Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions is obviously not the first collection of classic Star Trek episodes to have been released since the series first hit the airwaves in 1966.  It is however a great addition to any Star Trek fan’s personal collection regardless of their familiarity or loyalty to the series.  It holds its own quite well against all of the other TOS collections that have come before (including the stand-alone full-season sets).  The main way in which it holds its own so well is through its featured episodes.  It features eight total episodes spread across two discs.  The episodes culled for this set are not just some of Captain Kirk’s boldest missions but also some of the most memorable episodes of the series’ overall.  Disc one sees Kirk and company playing a high stakes game of cat and mouse in “The Corbomite Maneuver” and “Balance of Terror.”  They also come face to face with Khan for the first time in “Space Seed.”  “The Conscience of the King” features an interstellar murder mystery of sorts.  Disc Two presents just as much entertainment for audiences.  It offers up two alternate timeline/universe stories in the form of “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Mirror.”  Both stories are classic alternate universe stories in their own right, too.  “Mirror Mirror’s” alternate story sees Kirk thrust into a universe in which the crew of the Enterprise is anything but honorable.  “The City on the Edge of Forever” sends Kirk and company back in time to an Earth that is ruled by the Nazi party.  And it’s up to them to change that.  “The Doomsday Machine” is just as gripping and thought provoking.  That is because the machine in question was a humanly created machine meant solely for warfare.  And it has gone rogue so to speak.  Now it’s yet again up to Kirk to lead his crew and stop the machine before it destroys the Enterprise.  “Return To Tomorrow” offers its own interest as it raises the question of whether or not beings from other worlds visited Earth eons ago. The manner in which the show’s writers raised this discussion is itself short. But it definitely opens up the door for that discussion. And it’s just another way in which the episodes featured in Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions prove themselves the most important part of the set’s enjoyment.

The episodes collected for Kirk’s Boldest Missions each offer audiences their own share of enjoyment, showing from one to the next why they sit at the center of this set’s enjoyment. As enjoyable as each episode proves itself to be, the episodes can only go so far on their own merits. Luckily for fans, there is additional commentary included with the set, too. Of course it is limited. There is no commentary within the episodes per se. But there is still commentary included on both discs. The most extensive commentary precedes “The City on The Edge of Forever.” William Shatner and co-star Joan Collins (who guest stars on the episode in question) discuss the importance of the episode and the implications of World War II’s outcome. It drives home the importance of what the Allied Forces accomplished in stopping Hitler’s Nazi regime. Didn’t think that sci-fi could be so deep? It most certainly can be. And as in this episode, it most certainly is deeper than many people think. Speaking of that depth, Shatner offers even more depth in the bonus commentary included in the set’s first disc as he discusses the importance of the captain keeping a log on Star Trek and how that mirrors a person keeping a personal journal in real life. He also relates the characteristics of a good captain to a good leader in real life, and the legacy left behind by Captain Kirk. Yet again, he makes a real world comparison to the legacy that people leave in their own lives. These discussions continue the depth presented in the one episodic commentary included in the set’s second disc. All of the commentaries combined, they offer their own insight and entertainment for audiences. Those commentaries added to the episodes prove even stronger why Kirk’s Boldest Missions is a great addition to any Star Trek fan’s collection even if said fan(s) already own the series’ stand-alone season sets.

The bonus commentary and episodes featured at the center of Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions collectively give Star Trek fans plenty of reason to add the compilation to their own DVD libraries. Having noted both elements, there is still one more element to note to its positive. That last element is the look and sound of the episodes, or its overall production values. The episodes culled for Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions look and sound just as good as they do alongside the series’ other episodes in its previously released stand-alone season sets. As lacking as this seems in terms of importance to the whole, it is actually rather important. There are some companies out there that try to churn out compilations such as this one for other series without trying at all to make them look or sound even presentable. Those companies will remain nameless here. But they do exist. Luckily for fans, those at Paramount and CBS Video have made certain to make these episodes look and sound their best once more for fans regardless of whether or not fans already own the series’ standalone sets. Because the episodes sound and look as good as they do, they make for all the reason for fans to watch the episodes and commentary and add this set to their personal Star Trek collections.

Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions offers the series’ fans plenty of reason to add this collection to their own personal DVD libraries. It offers audiences eight episodes that are not only some of Captain Kirk’s greatest (and boldest) missions, but eight episodes that are also fan favorites. On top of that, it also includes some rather in-depth commentary form Captain Kirk himself. Topping of the ways in which this set proves itself worthy of Star Trek fans around the world is its collective production values. The episodes presented here look and sound just as good as in their previous presentations. All three elements combined together prove this double-disc set one that every Star Trek fan of every age will appreciate with every watch and should have in their own home DVD collection. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from CBS Home Entertainment at http://cbshe.com/STKirk. More information on this and other titles available from CBS Home Entertainment is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.cbshomeentertainment.com

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

 

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Paramount, CBS DVD’s Gomer Pyle Full Series Re-Issue Is One Of 2015’s Best New Box Sets For Families

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount Studios Home Entertainment

Well surprise, surprise, surprise! Gomer Pyle is back! This past March, CBS DVD resurrected the classic sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in its entirety for a whole new generation of audiences and for the show’s original viewers. Last month’s re-issue is only the first time since its original release in 2008 that entire series has been released in one collection. And regardless of one’s familiarity with the series, audiences will instantly be impressed by the set’s packaging. By comparison to the series’ 2008 release, this box set is far more ergonomic than that 2008 release. In other words, the packaging, while slightly bulky, is far less bulky than the series’ 2008 box set. The writing behind the series’ five-season run is just as entertaining today, too as it was in the series’ original run from 1964 – 1969. The material included as bonuses in this set rounds it out. That is not to discount the still impressive look and sound of the series’ footage, either. Even that should be noted. Whether for that element or for any of the others noted here, audiences will agree in watching CBS DVD’s newly re-issued full series set of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. that there is plenty to like in this box set. Audiences will also agree that because there is so much to like, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series is more than deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s Best New Box Set For Families come December.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s newly re-issued full series set of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family hands down. Considering that this classic sitcom’s full series set has already seen release in 2008, the instant question that is likely raised by many is with such a short span of time having passed between its (so far) two releases, what sets this set apart from the sitcom’s previous release? For that matter, what sets it apart from all of the other TV sets released so far this year, too? One answer is the new set’s packaging. In comparison to the packaging of the series’ 2008 release, the packaging is far more ergonomic than that of the 2008 box set. Rather than just placing five stand-alone box sets in a larger box, Paramount and CBS DVD have taken all twenty-four discs that make up the series and placed them into one large box set. Each of the discs is placed on one side or another of twelve separate “plates” inside the box. While the end result is still slightly bulky, it saves far more space on any fan’s DVD rack than the series’ previously released full series set. While many people take packaging for granted, this is one of those times in which packaging shows to be just as important as any other element in a box set. It leaves one wondering how much space could be saved with a Blu-ray release since so much more information can be stored on a BD than on a DVD. Time will tell. But maybe Paramount and CBS DVD will take that subtle suggestion into consideration and perhaps re-issue the full series on Blu-ray in the not too distant future. In the meantime, this set will definitely do if only for its packaging.

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C: The Full Series’ packaging in its new re-issue is a subtle element in considering what makes it such a welcome re-issue. But when compared to the series’ 2008 release, it proves to be far more important than one might think. It’s a rarity for packaging to play such an important role in a box set. But it truly does play an integral role in this case. It’s only one element of this box set that makes it so enjoyable. The work of the show’s writers is just as important to the whole as the packaging if not more important. And so much could be said of the writing, too, beginning with Gomer’s relationship with Sgt. Carter. The relationship in question comes across as almost that of a surrogate father and son with Gomer filling out the role of the son and Sgt. Carter the father. Considering this, one can’t help but root for Gomer as he constantly tries to do the right thing and impress Sgt. Carter just as a son would a father yet stumbling and learning the whole way along. As audiences will see throughout the series, right up to its finale, even Sgt. Carter himself finds himself truly appreciating Gomer in his surrogate father role. It is a really entertaining and at times touching aspect of the series writing that despite its subtlety plays one of the most important roles of all in regards to the series’ writing. On a larger scale, the work of the writers in regards to the episodes should be noted, too. Of the series’ 150 episodes there is not one bad episode. That is evident right from the series’ premiere in which Gomer first arrives at the base and begins his training as a Marine. The gags and jokes that are written for Nabors are just as funny today as they were in the show’s original broadcast on CBS so long ago. Audiences know this especially from that episode’s closing scene just what’s in store for Gomer and Sgt. Carter from that point on. It goes without saying that the show more than lives up to those expectations from there on out. Audiences will love seeing Gomer capture a submarine without even trying during his platoon’s training with its Navy counterparts. This even after he caused so much havoc for Sgt. Carter and the others along the way. Gomer’s trip back home to Mayberry late in the series is one of the series’ best. He discovers that all of his old friends and his cousin are all gone on vacation. His sadness is something to which so many viewers can relate even today whether they are military or just someone coming home from college or even from visiting their old home town after having lived elsewhere for an extended time. Making this episode even more enjoyable is that while all of his old friends are away, Gomer helps Andy’s replacement catch a pair of crooks. If this great episode isn’t enough example of why the series’ writing is so important, there is another episode that sees Gomer encounter “men from Mars” that are actually actors in a movie being filmed near the marine base. Gomer’s reaction to the actors is hilarious as is Sgt. Carter’s reaction to Gomer’s continued assertions. The series’ finale is one more wonderful example of the importance of the series’ writing in the success of this re-issued box set. This episode is that rare moment when both Gomer and Sgt. Carter show the bond formed between them but of which they have never spoken. It is such a moving moment and one of the best of the best from this classic series. And it is one more way that the writing proves to be so important to the enjoyment and success of the set.

The episodes noted here are each great examples of what makes Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. such a hit for audiences of any age. The notation of those episodes is not to take away from any of the series’ other episodes either. Every one of the series’ 150 total episodes could just as easily be used as examples of what makes the series’ writing so impressive. It would take far too long to go into detail about each one, obviously. So moving on, there is one more element of this box set that makes it so enjoyable. That last element is the set’s collective bonus material. Included as bonus material in the set are audio introductions for every one of Season One’s episodes as well as commentaries on specific episodes. Also included is the complete pilot that led to the birth of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. As if that isn’t enough, Paramount and CBS DVD have also included clips of Jim Nabors on The David Frost Show and on his own show, Jim Nabors Hour. Paramount and CBS DVD even went as far as to include a clip from the classic series The Lucy Show. The bonus clips are themselves enjoyable in their own right. But the bonus audio introductions in Season One are the real highlight of the bonus material. The select audio commentaries live up to the title of bonus material, too. It would just have been nice to have even more. In the same vein it would have been wonderful to have the audio introductions throughout all five seasons. Beggars can’t be chooser, though. Perhaps if Paramount and CBS DVD should re-issue the series on Blu-ray in the not too distant future then perhaps that would be a possibility. Even if not, the intros and commentary provided here still does plenty to make the overall viewing experience of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. so much more enjoyable. They help to prove once again exactly why Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family.

Whether for the material included in the set, the work of the series’ writers or for the much more ergonomic packaging, it is obvious to see that there is a lot to say to the positive of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series. One could even note the set’s quality production values (I.E. audio and video). The series looks and sounds just as impressive as it did in its previous full series release. It could even be argued that it looks and sounds as good as it did in its original broadcast on CBS so long ago. Regardless of what element(s) viewers choose to note, every one of the elements that can be noted all lead to the revelation that this set is a great addition to any family’s home DVD collection. It is available in stores and online and can be ordered direct via CBS DVD’s online store at http://cbshe.com/PyleCS. 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.

Paramount Comes Up Short With Its New Peanuts Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Paramount

Courtesy: Paramount

This past February, Paramount released to DVD for the first time the 1977 Peanuts “movie” Race For You Life, Charlie Brown. Its recent release marks the first time ever that it has seen the light of day on DVD. It wasn’t even included on either of the Peanuts 1970s Collections released by Warner Home Video in 2009 and 2010 respectively. As long as audiences have waited for this movie to finally be released, its release back in February of this year proved to be anything but outstanding. Interestingly enough, WHV didn’t handle Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. It was actually handled solely by Paramount, one of Hollywood’s Big 5 Studios. Considering this one would have thought that Paramount would have taken more pride in its product than WHV. Alas, that wasn’t the case with this release. It is a bare bones presentation lacking any bonus material for audiences. That will be discussed later. The movie itself presents an enjoyable story. And the overall presentation looks and sounds great. But that glaring lack of ANY bonus material hurts the overall product in a big way. The end result is a DVD that any Peanuts fans will welcome in their home library, but will do so very begrudgingly. It proves to be a DVD that Paramount should have handled far better than it did especially after making audiences wait nearly four decades for it to receive a DVD release albeit a DVD release that could have been far better.

Audiences have waited nearly forty-years for Paramount’s recent release of Race For You Life, Charlie Brown on DVD. Considering the wait, it goes without saying that the wait was not entirely worth it, going through this DVD. That will be discussed shortly. It isn’t all bad, though. The movie itself presents a fun story that takes both the Peanuts gang and audiences out of the typical world created by the Peanuts TV specials. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s story takes Charlie Brown and company out of the comfort of their own neighborhood and puts them into the wilderness racing for not just camp pride but in fact for their own lives. Because it is such a foreign setting for the Peanuts gang, it also forces Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang to band together in order to survive. As ominous as it sounds, it is all entirely family friendly. Even more interesting to note is that the adventure forces Charlie Brown to show a side that was otherwise very rarely put on display in any of the Peanuts special before or after. Schultz even allowed Charlie Brown to end up on top for once. While there were some instances in which he came out on top in other Peanuts specials, those moments are rare. This being one of those rare instances, it makes the story all the more special. And together with the rest of the story, it makes the whole of the script behind Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown the key element that makes this DVD worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan.

Charlies Schulz’s script for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown is one of the key elements that makes this movie worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan. It is not the only reason that audiences will enjoy it, either in its new DVD release. The movie’s overall look and sound is just as worth noting. And it will be discussed shortly. For now the focus will turn to the movie’s one glaring negative.That negative is the fac that the movie’s presentation is a bare bones presentation. There is no bonus TV special. There is no feature offering any background on what led to the story’s creation or any other bonuses. All audiences get aside from the movie is the movie’s original trailer. Had this piece been released like this from say Warner Home Video, that would have been expected. That’s because of WHV’s track record in recent years with both releases for families and grown-ups alike. But having been released by Paramount, one of “Hollywood’s Power 5 Studios,”it comes as something as a disappointing surprise. The movie comes in at a little more than an hour. So that had to have left some room for some extras. For whatever reason though, someone at Paramount decided not to include anything extra with the movie other than its trailer. One can only hope that when and if Paramount releases another Peanuts movie or TV special on stand-alone Peanuts movie and/or feature it will include at least a little more than what this one has offered audiences.

The fact that Paramount has offered audiences very little other than the original trailer for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown as a bonus to the presentation is somewhat disheartening. It is disheartening considering the fact that every previously released Peanuts feature has included at the very least a bonus TV special and a little bonus featurette offering insight into the given presentations. As much as the overall lack of any bonus material hurts Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown’s overall presentation, at least audiences can look to the overall look and sound of the movie in its first-ever DVD presentation. It is presented in full 16:9 format instead of the standard 4:3 with the black bars on either side. What’s more it looks and sounds just as good as it did in its debut roughly thirty-eight years ago. This is something especially important to note. It is important to note because in comparison to some re-issues out there, said re-issues show that very little effort was taken to properly restore them. They look scratchy and sound just as bad. But as in the case with every previously released Peanuts feature, this one looks and sounds just as great as it did in its debut. Nothing was lost along the way in terms of updating the soundtrack and footage. That continued dedication to properly presenting Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts features coupled with the “movie’s” original script makes Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown well worth the purchase even despite its glaring lack of any extras. This being noted, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown may not be the year’s best new DVD for children and families. But it is at least one of the year’s best.

Looking at Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown in whole, it offers audiences its own share of positives. Its script presents a wholly original story in comparison to the other features that make up the Peanuts universe. It also looks and sounds just as good as in its original debut some thirty-eight years ago. That is thanks to the efforts of those charged with resurrecting the movie. For all of its positives, it suffers just as greatly from its overall lack of extras. The only extra–if one wants to call it an extra–that the DVD boasts is the movie’s original trailer. That’s all. There is no bonus TV special. There is no extra feature offering any insight on the movie’s creation, etc. Because of this, major points are taken away. As troublesome as that lack of extras proves itself to be to the overall presentation of Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, it still doesn’t hurt it enough to keep it from being added to any family’s home movie collection. It is available now in stores and online. All of the latest information on this movie and all of the latest Peanuts news is available online now at:

Website: http://www.peanuts.com

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I Love Lucy Season 1 BD Re-Issue A Whole New Reason To Love Lucy

Courtesy:  Paramount

Courtesy: Paramount

I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 is one of the best new re-issues of 2014.  The latest re-issue of the series’ debut season is everything that audiences had hoped for in the original DVD release of Season 1.  Not only does it boast all of the original Season 1 episodes carried in the original DVD box set, but it also boasts far more.  That is the primary factor that makes this set such a surprise.  The quality of the footage looks exceptionally clean, too.  Just as with Paramount’s recent release of The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1 on Blu-ray, the original grainy quality of the footage is there.  But, it has been cleaned up at the same time without losing any of that vintage look.  And last but not least of all, the new re-issue’s packaging rounds out the whole thing, making this set complete.  Each of the factors noted here by themselves presents its own positive.  Combined, they make I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 quite the aptly titled set.

More often than not, box sets whether they be for movies, TV shows or even CDs, rarely live up to the hype.  That’s because in so many cases, said entertainment platforms get multiple box sets with much the same material in each release.  So at first glance, one might think that this would apply with the newly re-issued first season of I Love Lucy on Blu-ray.  One couldn’t be more wrong in this case.  I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 is one of those extremely rare re-issues that deserves of its title.  I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 deserves its title first and foremost because of the sheer volume of material included in this set as compared to the previously released Season 1 DVD box set.  The new Season 1 Blu-ray box set includes all of the original episodes of I Love Lucy’s first season, naturally.  It also contains the relatively rare pilot episode in which audiences are offered bonus commentary explaining the series’ roots.  Those roots go back apparently to Lucy’s radio show, My Favorite Husband in which Richard Denning (The Black Scorpion, An Affair to Remember, Mr. & Mrs. North), not Desi Arnaz, played her husband.  And instead of the main characters being Lucy and Ricky, it was Liz and George Cooper who took center stage so to speak.  On a related note, Paramount and CBS have made available as part of this set’s extensive bonus material, two episodes of that radio series for fan enjoyment and to hear the role that My Favorite Husband played in the creation of I Love Lucy.

The addition of the two bonus episodes of My Favorite Husband alongside the rarely seen pilot episode of I Love Lucy and its commentary are but a mere portion of the immensity of the material included in this set.  Audiences are also treated to profiles of the figures featured in the original ads that accompanied the series.  What’s more, the original ads for Philip Morris cigarettes are there, too whereas today, there’s no way ads for tobacco products would dare be shown on television.  This is one more important part of the vast amount of material included in what is justifiably titled “Ultimate.”  Just as impressive is the inclusion of the series’ original stick figure openings along with the more well-known heart-on-satin openings.  As if all of this isn’t enough, there are also episode specific commentaries that add even more depth and value to this set.  All that, along with gag reels, makeup tests and other extras, are enough by themselves to make this box set even more worthy of the title “Ultimate.” Of course one would be remiss to ignore the quality of the footage in the set’s re-issue. It too plays a role in the success and enjoyment of I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1.

Paramount has made a habit of setting the bar in terms of the look of those movies and TV shows that it has released and re-issued to Blu-ray. Anyone that has seen the studio’s 2011 BD re-issue of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures or the recently re-issued Andy Griffith Show: Season One will agree to that. A single look at I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 reveals that the look of this re-issue is no different. The original grainy quality of the show is still there. It’s just been cleaned up a little bit. But it hasn’t been cleaned to the point that it has lost that vintage charm, either. Those charged with re-mastering the footage or its presentation here are to be commended for the painstaking efforts taken in order to balance the original look with something cleaner, essentially paying homage to the work put in by those that originally filmed the series. To that extent, the balance of the old with the new, alongside the magnitude of material included in this BD set makes this set even more a potential candidate to be one of the year’s best new box sets for adults or even for families. Both factors are equally important in the grand scheme of this set by themselves and collectively. There is still one last factor to consider in the set’s success. That factor is the set’s packaging.

Anyone that recalls the original DVD box set presentations of I Love Lucy’s six seasons will recall the size of those boxes. The boxes in question were anything but ergonomic. They took up a lot of space. The people at Paramount and CBS realized this and has sincere-issued all six seasons in smaller cases for their DVD presentations. The BD set is around the same size as those re-issued DVD box sets if not smaller. It is roughly the same size or smaller because Blu-ray discs can hold more information on each disc. This means reduced need for resources and in turn, reduced box size. So not only do audiences get even more material in this new re-issue of I Love Lucy’s first season, but they also get a box that takes up less space. That is the proverbial cherry on the top of this classic TV treat. Together with the set’s content and the solidly balanced footage quality, the packaging completes the whole package and makes it a definite contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s top new box sets both for families and adults.

I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered via the official I Love Lucy Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/I.Love.Lucy. 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.