Nickelodeon, Paramount’s ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ 5-Season Set Re-Issue Is Imperfect, But Fun

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Paramount

This past May, Nickelodeon and Paramount brought the first five seasons of Nickelodeon’s hit animated series Spongebob Squarepants home once again in a massive 14-disc, 100 episode collection simply titled Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes.  It marked the first time the collection had been re-issued, and came a little more than a month ahead of the premiere of the series’ 11th (yes, eleventh) season.  Not even the network’s classic Nicktoons – as wonderful as so many of them still are today – lasted that long, with most running their course at four or five seasons.  That is an aside.  Getting back on track, this recent reissue of the box set, which was originally released to the masses in 2009 as part of the celebration of the series’ 100th episode’s airing, is a largely impressive reissue, albeit not perfect.  The set’s episode listing is its most obvious positive, and will be discussed shortly.  The set’s one negative, its packaging, will be discussed later.  Last but most definitely not least of note here is the bonus material included in the set.  Each element is important in its own right to the set’s overall presentation this time out.  All things considered, they make the first re-issue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes one of this year’s top new DVD & BD Re-Issues.

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent reissue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation for true hardcore fans of the beloved Nicktoon.  That is due in part to the set’s episode listing.  The 100 episodes presented in this collection make up the series’ first five seasons. Not a single episode from that first half of the series’ current run is missing either.  Even the roughly 2:30 short “Reef Blower,” which was part of the series’ very first episode is included here.  This is something important to note due to its tie to the set’s average price point.  Stores nationwide right now are carrying nearly every one of the series’ current seasons either in single-season sets and in some cases as bundle packs, that include single season sets together at a set price.  The cost of those sets eventually adds up.  In the case of the series’ first five seasons, the average cost of the sets runs approximately $50 both by themselves and in standalone form regardless of the outlet.  In the case of this set, its average price point is $34.73, with most of the major retailers – Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon – selling it at a price point of 32.96.  Target is the only standout with a price point of $39.99.  Add in the fact that most of the noted retailers sold the set at roughly $38 in its 2009 release, that indicates a noticeable price drop this time around.  Considering all of this, audiences will see that this collection is, for the relation between its primary content and average price point, a welcome addition to their collections.  While this is clearly a positive for the set, it is not without at least one glaring problem.  That problem is its packaging.

The packaging in this set is problematic in that its 14 discs overlap each other, two to each side of the set’s plates.  While this may be a positive ergonomically speaking, the size of the set has not been reduced that much in comparison to the set’s previous release.  What’s more, by making the discs overlap in that effort to save space, it also greatly increases the odds of the discs being scratched both when they are taken out for play and when they are replaced.  To that end, this is just not smart packaging.  Audiences would probably settle for bulkier packaging if only for the reduced chance of the discs being damaged.  Even worse, this is not the first time that Paramount has gone this route in recent memory.  The company has used the same packaging method for its recent re-issues of Star Trek The Original Series: The Complete Series, The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series, I Love Lucy: The Complete Series, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series, Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series and The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series.  Considering this, one would have thought the people at Paramount would have learned their lesson by now, but apparently not, and that is disappointing.  Maybe if Nickelodeon and Paramount release a “mega-set” for the series’ second half, they will take this issue into consideration.  Again, while another method might be bulkier, it would be worth it if it meant decreased odds of discs being damaged.  Luckily, it is the set’s only negative and doesn’t completely ruin the collection.  The bonus material included in the set rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in this presentation of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is important to note because it is the same material presented in the set’s 2009 presentation.  The nearly hour-long VH1 special Square Roots: The Story of Spongebob Squarepants is the most important of that bonus material. It takes audiences through the series’ history up through its fifth season from its unlikely roots in series creator Seth Hillenburg’s early career at an aquarium to the religious right’s attempt to slander Spongebob to Hillenburg’s eventual departure from the series.  The 40-minute-plus doc presents the series’ humble roots on Nickelodeon to its surprising rise to worldwide fame all while looking ahead to its future, which obviously has proven to be quite bright.

As if that extensive history lesson isn’t enough, the set also includes a multi-lingual presentation of the series’ debut episode ‘Help Wanted’ as a bonus.  The episode includes the series’ theme song being sung in Spanish, Chinese, French, German and other languages for the opening segment.  The episode itself continues in a variety of languages, showing even more Spongebob Squarepants’ far-reaching popularity.

The “Life Lessons From Bikini Bottom” brings its own entertainment as it is in reality just a character profile of Bikini Bottom’s most beloved (and not so beloved) inhabitants. It’s a relatively short segment, running about five minutes, but is still entertaining thanks to the work of the editors who pieced the program together.  The timing of the profiles and the show clips makes for plenty of laughs even in this short presentation.

The short “Kick-Wham-Pow-Bob” music video, which crosses music from Pantera and video from the series, adds its own enjoyment to the set’s presentation.  No worries about hearing from the band’s former front man either.  The musical portion of the video is all instrumental.  Audiences will recognize the music as the same musical base used in the episode “Prehibernation Week.”

Each of the bonus elements discussed here is an important piece of this set’s presentation in its own way.  All things considered, they show in whole why the set’s bonus material is so important to its overall presentation.  When that material is joined with the set’s episode listing, its related price point, and even that one negative that is the set’s packaging, the whole proves to be a collection that while not perfect, is still enjoyable in its own right.  That packaging prevents it from being the year’s top new DVD or Blu-ray re-issue, but also doesn’t keep it from being one of the year’s best in that category.

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s recent re-issue of Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes is one of this year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  That is the case even when one takes into account the set’s problematic packaging.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this set, other Spongebob Squarepants collections and all of the series’ latest news and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.nick.com/spongebob-squarepants

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

 

 

 

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Paramount, Nickeldeon’s ‘Rugrats’ Season Sets Honor The Series And Its Fans

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Paramount

The long wait is finally over…well…sort of.  More than a decade after it ended its run on Nickleodeon, Rugrats finally started getting a proper in-store release courtesy of Paramount and Nickelodeon.  The companies partnered to release the series’ first two seasons in store this week. This week is not the first time the series has been released.  All nine seasons have previously been released via Amazon on Made-On-Demand DVD-R discs.  Even with this in mind, this first true official release for the series’ first two seasons proves to be an impressive start for fans waiting years for the series to get any proper release.  The seasons’ episodes largely support that statement despite one lingering problem.  This will be discussed shortly.  The sets’ packaging is another important element to discuss in examining these new releases.  It will be discussed later.  The sets’ average price point may seem insignificant to discuss, but in reality, it plays its own important part in their overall presentation, too.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the sets’ presentations.  All things considered, these sets prove to be collections for which every Rugrats fan has waited and hoped.

Paramount and Nickelodeon’s newly released full season sets of Rugrats: Season 1 and Rugrats: Season 2 are everything that the series’ fans have hoped for in a long-awaited proper release.  That is proven first and foremost through the seasons’ episodes.  Audiences will be happy to know that both seasons are presented here in the same chronological order in which they were presented in their original broadcasts.  The only episode that is not included here is the series’ original pilot episode “Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing.”  Why this episode was omitted from Season 1 is anyone’s guess.  In defense of Paramount and Nickelodeon, the Season 1 set released by Amazon and Nickelodeon back in 2009 faced the same issue.  Considering this, one has to think the omission is linked to someone at Nickelodeon more so than Paramount or even Amazon.  Keeping that in mind, the episodes presented in the first and second season of Rugrats in their new home release builds a solid foundation for these sets’ presentations.

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Paramount

The episodes presented in the first true official home release of Rugrats: Season 1 and Rugrats: Season 2 are in themselves more than enough reason for audiences to own these collections.  The episodes’ actual presentations are just as important to note in examining the sets’ overall presentations.  Audiences (and especially true fans) will appreciate the fact that the episodes are presented exactly the same way as they were in their original broadcasts.  The opening sequence is presented before every episode in both seasons along with each episode’s title sequence.  The end credits are there, too along with the post credits sequence, too.  Simply put, between the full episode listing in each season and the full presentation of each episode, these episodic elements build a strong, solid foundation for the first official home release of Rugrats’ first two seasons.  They are not the only elements to consider.  The sets’ packaging is important to discuss in examining their presentations, too.

The episodic elements incorporated into the first official home release of Rugrats’ first two seasons form a strong, solid foundation for the sets’ presentations.  They are not, however, the sets’ only key elements to discuss.  The sets’ packaging is important to discuss, too.  That is because of the obvious attention to detail here, too.  The sets’ packaging once again places each set’s discs on their own plates inside the ergonomic cases, which in turn protects the discs from scratching damage and saves space on DVD racks.  Even more interesting to note is that this time out, Season 1 is spread across only two discs instead of the apparent three that were used in its Amazon release.  Season Four is still spread across four discs, just as in its Amazon release.  So overall what audiences get in the sets’ packaging is the same attention to disc safety and space saving as was used in their Amazon releases.  Considering this, the sets’ packaging proves to be just as critical to their presentations in their new home releases as their episodes.  It still is not the last of the sets’ most important elements.  The sets’ average price point rounds out its most important elements.

The episodes presented in Nickelodeon and Paramount’s new home release of Rugrats: Season 1 and Rugrats: Season 2 and their very presentations are unquestionably critical to the sets’ presentations.  Collectively, they form a solid foundation for the sets’ presentations.  The sets’ packaging builds on that foundation, strengthening it even more.  While both elements are clearly critical both solely and collectively, they are not the sets’ only important elements.  Their average price point rounds out their most important elements.  The average price point of the series’ first season between Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon and Best Buy is $9.21.  Season 2’s average price point is $13.65 when averaged between those same retailers.  Considering that Season 2 is longer than Season 1, it is expected that its price would be a little bit higher than that of Season 1.  Regardless, the fact that Season 1 averages below the $20 mark and Season 2 averages under the same price with four discs, it goes without saying that both sets are relatively affordable.  For this critic in particular, buying both sets through Wal-Mart online proved the most economical.  Luckily, having ordered them on a free-shipping weekend, their total price together was just over $20.  Keeping in mind this relative affordability of Rugrats’ first two seasons in their first proper home release, the sets’ packaging, their episodes and related items, the whole of these sets’ presentations proves each season to be a must have for any longtime Rugrats fan.  It leaves one hoping that the wait for the series’ remaining seven seasons won’t be as long as it was for these two seasons.

Paramount and Nickelodeon’s first-ever proper home release of Rugrats: Season 1 and Rugrats: Season 2 are collections that are musts for any longtime fans of the beloved series.  Each season’s full episodic run is presented in its respective season save for the series’ pilot episode.  That episode was missing from Amazon’s Season 1 release in 2009, too.  The episodes are presented in these sets exactly as they were in the series’ original run on Nickelodeon, too, complete with opening and title sequences, end credits and even end slate sequence.  It all collectively gives audiences the full experience that they got in the series’ original run.  The sets’ packaging and average price point round out its most important elements, proving even more why every longtime Rugrats fan should own these sets whether they consider them re-issues or new releases.  They are available now in stores and online.  More information on these sets is available online.

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Acting, Production Save ‘Monster Trucks’ From Being A Monster Failure

Courtesy: Nickelodeon Movies/Paramount

Paramount and Nickelodeon’s latest effort at a family friendly action flick, Monster Trucks is a work that while not a monster failure, is anything but a monster success.  Originally released in theaters this past January, it was just recently released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 11.  It fails to run on all eight cylinders in part because of its story, which suffers from some major writing issues.  While the story does suffer from some undeniable issues, it isn’t a total loss.  That is thanks to the work of the movie’s cast.  This will be discussed later.  The movie’s balance of special effects and live action elements is another notable element worth discussing.  Together with the work of the movie’s cast (which clearly is not a group of teenagers, save perhaps for one cast member), the two elements are just enough to keep Monster Trucks’ engine running, albeit not on all cylinders.

Paramount and Nickelodeon Films’ new high-octane family action flick Monster Trucks is an entertaining watch.  However, it is a movie that clearly does not run on all eight cylinders.  That is due in large part to a story that is marred by a plot hole *ahem* large enough to drive a truck through and a story that is anything but original in its setup.  The plot follows high school student Tripp as he fights to save a friendly mutant half shark/half octopus from the clutches of an evil oil drilling company and get it back home.  The problem with this story is that he does this while driving a late-model truck that normally would be a gas guzzler.  The movie’s defenders might try to argue that putting the creature in place of the truck’s engine was a subtle way to argue in favor of alternative energy.  Odds are though, that the movie’s writing team did not exactly have that message in mind when they came up with the movie’s script.  Odds are they didn’t even begin to think about this plot hole at all and just thought it would make for a good way to bring in young audiences because it had monsters and trucks.  That is just one of the problems from which this movie’s story suffers.  It also suffers from a setup that is anything but original.

The setup for this movie’s story sees a young person (or at least what is supposed to be a young person—obviously played by someone who is not a teenager in this case) saving a harmless creature from an evil heartless corporation.  In case that doesn’t sound familiar to anyone out there, similar story lines have been put forth in E.T., Free Willy, Pete’s Dragon, Super 8, and so many other movies.  Given the plots are not mirror images.  They are close enough though, that the comparisons are undeniable.  Considering this and the problem posed by the movie’s massive plot hole, the movie’s story is a major problem for its overall presentation.  Even with the problems posed by its plot hole and its setup, the movie is not a total loss.  It just takes a big hit.  The work of the movie’s cast is a saving grace in examining its overall presentation.

Monster Trucks’ cast is obviously supposed to be made up of characters who are teenagers.  However, it is clear in watching this movie that save for maybe one of the supporting cast, none of the other young cast members are teenagers.  On the surface that seems like a bad thing.  However on a deeper level, it may account for why each cast member’s performance is, while slightly over-the-top, at least entertaining to a point.  None of the performances necessarily pulls audiences into the movie or is award-winning by any means.  It is however entertaining enough that collectively, it is just enough to keep audiences watching through to the movie’s finale.  Case in point, lead star Lucas Till’s interaction with his CG-rendered co-star.  Till is to be applauded for the exemplary job he does of imagining the shark/octopus hybrid is actually in the scene alongside him.  That is exhibited in happier and more high-energy moments.  Co-star Thomas Lennon (Reno 9-1-1, Night at the Museum 1 & 2) is just as entertaining when he is on camera as geologist Jim Dowd.  Audiences will find themselves rooting for Dowd thanks to Lennon’s performance of the reluctant oil company employee who turns out to not be so bad (not to give away too much).  Lennon shows through each moment on camera that he understands Dowd is a supporting character and still makes the most of each moment without taking over said scenes.  His is just one more way in which the cast’s performance proves to be so important to the movie’s overall presentation.  If not for their work (and that of the rest of the cast), the movie’s plot hole and equally problematic setup would be unbearable and would otherwise not make the movie worth watching even for five minutes.  The cast’s work on camera, while important is not the movie’s only important element.  The balance of the movie’s special effects and live action elements rounds out its most important elements.

The balance of live action and computer generated effects used throughout Monster Trucks is the last of its most important elements.  As with the work of the movie’s cast, the lack of this element would make the movie’s story even more unbearable, and in turn, the movie overall even less worth the watch.  The CG is limited to Tripp’s subterranean pal and its family (or at least they seem like family) members.  Audiences will be impressed by this minimalism and the effect of said minimalism on the movie’s look.  In a weird way that expert balance actually serves to add to audiences’ ability to suspend their disbelief.  That leads to even more ease in watching the movie.  When the work put into making the movie look believable is set alongside the work of the movie’s cast, the two elements do just enough to keep the movie’s batteries charged along with those of its audiences.  Keeping that in mind, Monster Trucks proves to be an entertaining watch even though it proves to be a movie on which hopefully future models will improve.

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s high-speed family flick Monster Trucks is a work that would benefit greatly from a tune-up.  That is the case even taking into consideration the positives of the cast’s work and that of those responsible for balancing its CG and live action elements.  The movie’s story keeps it from running on all eight cylinders.  That is because of its massive plot hole and the unoriginal setup exhibited in its setup.  Even with the problems posed through its negatives, its positives are, thankfully, just enough to keep its batteries (and audiences’ batteries) charged from start to finish.  In other words, it proves to be another movie that is fun but ultimately forgettable.  More information on Monster Trucks is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.MonsterTrucksMovie.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MonsterTrucks

 

 

 

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CMG’s ‘Lured’ Re-Issue Leads Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues List

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

It’s hard to believe but there are now only two weeks left in the year.  There’s still so much ground to cover before the year ends, too in terms of year-ender lists. This morning we move on again, staying still in the DVD and BD category, though.  On tap today we have the list of the year’s top new DVD/BD Re-Issues.

Included in this list are box sets and standalone DVDs/BDs.  So it’s a mix.  But it’s a solid mix.  Topping this year’s list of top new re-issues is Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of the 1947 thriller Lured.  The movie was one of star Lucille Ball’s very rare non-comedic roles, and she shines brightly in this movie.  The bonus commentary included in the movie adds even more to its viewing experience.

Speaking of bonus material, this critic took into account the re-issues’ bonus material as well as their packaging in assembling this list. It wasn’t easy.  But it is what this critic feels is a solid list nonetheless.  As a reminder, the list includes not only the Top 10 New DVD/BD re-issues but five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  That being said, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD RE-ISSUES

 

  1. Lured

 

  1. Sudden Fear

 

  1. Return of the Killer Tomatoes

 

  1. Charlie Brown’s All-Stars

 

  1. A Boy Named Charlie Brown

 

  1. Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home

 

  1. A Scandal in Paris

 

  1. The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series

 

  1. Transformers: The Movie

 

  1. Bump in the Night

 

  1. Kingdom of Zydeco

 

  1. Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series

 

  1. The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series

 

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

 

  1. Beauty and the Beast

 

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‘Twilight Zone: TCS’ Re-Issue Is A Good Holiday Gift For Series’ Fans

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount

The Twilight Zone is one of the most revered television series of the 20th century. The sci-fi series has inspired TV writers across the board ever since it first aired almost 60 years ago. It has enjoyed its own continued life both on television and on various home video platforms in that time, too.  That continued life on home video includes a new pair of re-issues this fall.  The series’ was re-issued on DVD early this past October.  That re-issue was followed up by a Blu-ray re-issue of the series last week.  The series’ latest Blu-ray re-issue is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the show’s fans who might not already own any of the series’ previous releases.  That is due in part to the presentation of the episodes themselves.  While the episodes’ presentation is key to the set’s overall presentation, it is just one of the set’s key elements.  The set’s episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes themselves.  The bonus material presented in this collection rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the collection’s presentation.  All things considered The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series proves to be a re-issue that any of the series’ fans will welcome to their home DVD/BD libraries.  That is especially the case for fans who might not already own any of the series’ previous releases.

CBS Blu-ray’s brand new Blu-ray re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is a set that the show’s fans will openly welcome in their own home libraries.  That applies primarily to those fans who might not already own any of the show’s previous full-series incarnations.  That is due in part to the episodes’ presentation.  The episodes are presented here exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast on CBS so many decades ago complete with commercial breaks and original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  In other words, it looks exactly as it did in its original broadcast.  The black bars are there on either side.  Of course, what with modern technological advances, audiences can handle that by setting their TVs to “cinema” mode (or whatever related mode each different brand might use) if they want a full-screen viewing experience.  The commercial breaks are perfectly clean both going to and coming back, too.  This could be chalked up to the fact that the episodes were taken directly from the transfers presented in Image Entertainment’s (now RLJ Entertainment) Blu-ray series presentation.  That set was released in 2010 along with the series’ separate standalone season sets.  Speaking of those releases, each disc even opens with the Image Entertainment slate, letting audiences know this collection was a direct transfer from that collection.  This plays directly into the bonus material included in this collection and will be discussed later.  Getting back on topic, the episodes’ presentation in this collection proves in the end to be key in its own right to the collection’s overall presentation.  It is just one shining piece of the set’s overall presentation.  The set’s episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes’ presentation to the set’s overall presentation.

The presentation of The Twilight Zone’s episodes in this latest re-issue is a key piece of the set’s overall presentation.  That is because the episodes are presented here just as they were in their original broadcast on CBS nearly six decades ago.  The commercial breaks are there and are perfectly edited both going and coming.  Each episode is also presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  In other words, nothing has been lost in this latest transfer from Image Entertainment’s previous Blu-ray re-issue of the classic series.  While the episodes’ presentation are key to this set’s overall presentation, they are only part of what makes this latest re-issue stand out.  The episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes themselves.  Audiences will note that each season’s episodes are listed clearly and chronologically not just once but twice.  Each season is listed separate from the others inside the box’s front cover with the episodes in the exact order in which they originally aired.  This instantly eliminates confusion for audiences.  Even more impressive is that the episodes are linked with their respective discs, too.  As if that isn’t enough, the people at CBS Blu-ray and Paramount even went so far as to include episode listings on each disc, too.  This completely eliminates any guessing when audiences are looking for specific episodes.  That makes the set’s overall presentation and viewing experience all the more enjoyable and entertaining.  It isn’t the last important element to note in examining the set’s overall presentation.  The set’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The presentation of the episodes in CBS Blu-ray and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series and their listing are both key pieces of the set’s overall presentation.  They are not its only key elements.  The bonus material included in the set is just as important to note as the episodes’ presentation and their listing.  As noted earlier, the set presented here is the exact same set presented to audiences back in 2010 by Image Entertainment (now RLJ Entertainment) right down to the Image Entertainment slate that opens each disc.  What this means is that audiences not lucky enough to get that set will still get to see exactly what audiences with that set get/got to enjoy in terms of its bonus material.  Not every episode comes with bonus material.  But there is still plenty of bonus material to go around.  Audiences will enjoy taking in Burgess Meredith’s interview with Marc Scott Zicree in “Time Enough At Last” in which Meredith reveals he didn’t know series creator Rod Serling before acting in that episode.  He also revealed that he had a dislike for doing series that required constant appearances in that interview.  “Night of The Meek” offers its own enlightening audio commentary track in which viewers learn about star Art Carney’s reason for taking on his role.  Audiences will find just as entertaining the revelation that this episode was filmed at CBS’ studios in Los Angeles, so the snow had to be created for the episode since the episode was filmed on a sound stage and the very fact that it never snows in Los Angeles.  As if all of this isn’t enough, many of the episodes even offer audiences the option of experiencing the episode in a radio-drama format.  This and so much more makes the bonus material included in this latest Twilight Zone full series re-issue just as important to examine as the episodes’ presentation and their listing.  Not every episode comes with bonus material, and the bonus material isn’t listed inside the box, either.  That is a little problematic.  At the same time though, it makes the discovery process enjoyable in its own right.  To that end, the bonus material still proves to be important in its own right to this set’s presentation.  When it is set alongside the presentation of the set’s episodes and their listing, all three elements make this set’s overall presentation hugely enjoyable and in turn, make the set in whole a collection that will be welcome in the home collection of any of the show’s fans.  That applies primarily to those fans who might not already own the show in any of its previous full-series sets.

CBS Blu-ray and Paramount’s new Blu-ray presentation of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is a set that will be welcome in the library of any of the show’s fans.  That applies especially to fans who might not already own the show in its previous full-series releases.  That is due in no small part to the fact that the episodes are presented here exactly as they were in the show’s original run.  The commercial breaks are there and are edited expertly both going to and coming back.  The episodes are shown in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, adding a certain element of nostalgia to the viewing experience.  The episodes’ dual listing adds even more to the set’s presentation.  It completely eliminates any confusion in looking for specific episodes.  The bonus material included in this set is the same material included in Image Entertainment’s (now RLJ Entertainment) Blu-ray set released in 2010.  While not every episode comes with bonus material, there is still a large amount of material for audiences to enjoy.  It includes interviews and audio commentaries along with standalone radio drama presentations of specific episodes just to name a few items.  The bonus material isn’t listed inside the set’s box.  But that actually makes discovering the bonus material all the more enjoyable for audiences. Viewers need just select “Episodes” instead of “Play All Episodes” in order to discover each episode’s bonus material.

This new full-series re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series boast plenty of positives even with one of those positives having a tiny negative that ultimately proves a positive, too.  Keeping that in mind, the set’s only other real negative is its packaging.  The packaging of the discs is touchy at best.  When trying to take out or replace discs, other discs might slip out, leading to an increased chance of discs being damaged via scratching.  This is an issue from which every one of CBS and Paramount’s recent series re-issues (I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Hogan’s Heroes, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., Star Trek) has suffered.  It is a troubling matter.  But comparably speaking, it does make the packaging more ergonomic than so many of the show’s other full-series sets.  To that end, CBS and Paramount can be forgiven.  Hopefully it will be taken into consideration with any of the companies’ upcoming re-issues of other CBS series.  All things considered, The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series proves, again, to be a collection that fans of the timeless series will welcome in their own home libraries if they don’t own any of the series’ previous full-series sets.  It is available now in stores and online.

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‘Peanuts’ Movies Are New Again…Sort Of

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang are coming to Blu-ray for the first time ever next week with the re-issue of two classic Peanuts movies—Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown.  The two new re-issues will be released Tuesday, September 6th in stores and online. While not the first time ever that the specials have been released to the masses (they were released on their own standalone platforms and in a pair of multi-movie sets just last year along with the full-length Peanuts movies Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) ) these latest re-issues are a good fit for anyone that might not have been lucky enough to get their hands on the specials’ DVD re-issues.  That is due at least in part to each movie’s general presentation. That will be discussed shortly.  The story behind each movie is just as important to note as each movie’s presentation.  That will be discussed later.  The movies’ pricing rounds out each presentation’s most important elements.  It brings everything full circle in the movies’ overall presentation. As important as they are to note, audiences should also keep in mind that CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount will be re-issuing them again later this fall in a new Blu-ray dual movie presentation just as they were last year in DVD format.  Keeping that in mind, while these re-issues are enjoyable in their own right, audiences might be better served to wait for that upcoming re-issue and hold off on these.

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount’s new Blu-ray presentations of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown are enjoyable new re-issues for anyone that might not already own the movies’ DVD presentation.  That is due at least in part to the movies’ general presentations.  The movies’ new Blu-ray presentations are exactly the same as that of their DVD counterparts.  Audiences get in each movie just the movies, nothing more, nothing less.  In other words they are bare bones releases just like their DVD counterparts.  This is important to note because there are so many studios out there who make each of their titles’ re-issues different from one another in one way or another.  That isn’t the case here.  The movies’ Blu-ray presentations are mirror images of their DVD counterparts except for their platforms.  Keeping that in mind, the stories behind the movies are just as important to note as the movies’ presentations.

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

The general presentation of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown are key to note for each.  That is because each movie’s presentation is a mirror image of its DVD counterpart save for the fact that they are now on Blu-ray platform.  That means audiences both with and without the movies’ previous DVD re-issues will be on the same level in terms of what each title offers for entertainment.  Keeping that in mind, the movie’s stories are just as important to note as the presentations themselves.  Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home follows Snoopy as he suddenly packs up and leaves Charlie Brown one day without any explanation whatsoever.  At first everyone is left wondering why Snoopy left.  The final revelation as to Snoopy’s disappearance is one that will move audiences of all ages to both smiles and tears.  Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown is the first of the Peanuts movies to ever be created.  The movie follows Charlie Brown as he wins his school’s spelling bee and is sent to New York City to compete at a national level.  Meanwhile Charlie’s best friend Linus is in search of his beloved blanket after it “mysteriously” disappears.  Things seem to be going well for Charlie Brown at first.  But when the big day arrives, things don’t turn out quite as he (and his friends) had hoped.  The story still has a happy ending of sorts when it’s all said and done.  That being the case, its story is just as enjoyable as that of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home. When the movies’ stories are set against their general presentation, the two elements join together to show even more why these new Peanuts Blu-ray re-issues are just as enjoyable as their recently released DVD counterparts.  The stories are general presentations of each movie are not the movies’ only key elements to consider.  Each movie’s pricing rounds out their most important elements.

The general presentation of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and the movies’ stories are both key elements of the movies’ new Blu-ray re-issues.  While each element plays its own important part in the movies’ collective presentation they are not the movies’ only important elements.  The movies’ pricing in their new Blu-ray re-issues are just as important to note as the other, previously noted elements.  Each movie’s retail MSRP is a little more than $17 each in its new Blu-ray platform.  That is according to Amazon.com, where audiences can order each movie online.  Wal-Mart lists each movie at the same price online. Best Buy has each movie listed at $17.99 in its new Blu-ray platform while Target doesn’t have either one listed.  Odds are when and if Target opts to include the movies in its online listings, that price will likely be close to the same if not the same as those listed here.  One can only hope that those prices will be lower in store.  Considering that each movie is presented in exactly the same fashion as their DVD counterparts, those prices far too high.  Given the price will be high simply because they are presented in Blu-ray.  But by comparison the movies’ pricing on DVD is only about eight dollars each.  That should make the movies’ Blu-ray platforms no more than $10 or $11 at the most…maybe $15, but no more than that.  Keeping this in mind, the movies’ pricing is perhaps their only downfall.  That is especially the case being that CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount are going to re-issue them again later this fall on a double-movie Blu-ray combo set; a set that will likely be an equal price for the two together as for just one movie on Blu-ray.  All things considered, CBS Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray re-issues of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown are both enjoyable in their own right.  But any true Peanuts fan that doesn’t already own either movie on DVD will be better served to wait for the movies’ upcoming double-movie BD re-issue or to just pick up the movies’ DVD re-issues since they are the same as these re-issues and cheaper.

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issues of Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home and Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown are both enjoyable in their own right.  Any true Peanuts fan will agree with that.  At the same time, true Peanuts fans will also question-along with this critic—if they were even needed.  That is because the general presentation of each movie is the same here as in their 2015 DVD re-issues.  There is no more or less in these re-issues as was presented in the movie’s 2015 DVD re-issues.  And the story presented in each movie is exactly the same as before, too.  The movies’ MSRP across the board in their new Blu-ray re-issues puts the final nail in their proverbial coffin.  While the movies are enjoyable thanks to their stories and their hand-drawn animation, that pricing—and the other  previously noted elements–proves that true Peanuts fans would be better served to purchase the movies in their DVD platforms if they don’t already own them.  Those that do already own the movies have no reason to purchase them again in these latest re-issues.  All things considered, even those that don’t already own these movies on DVD would be better served to purchase them on DVD (especially in their four-movie set) unless they can’t find them on DVD.  That is about the only reason that audiences should even consider purchasing them in their new Blu-ray platforms.

More information on these and other Peanuts releases is available online now along with all of the latest Peanuts news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.PEANUTS.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/snoopy

 

 

 

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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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