PBS Distribution Announces Release Date, Specs For New ‘Arthur’ DVD Set

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution will release a new collection of episodes from the hit PBS Kids series Arthur next month.

ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection is scheduled for release Aug. 11.  The collection is composed of 48 episodes spread across three discs at a total run time of 10 hours.

This new collection of episodes reaches as far back as Arthur‘s very first season with the episode “Team Trouble.”  This episode finds Arthur, his best fried Buster and their friend Francine tapped to work together on a project about ancient Rome.  The trio agrees to create a comic book about ancient Rome, but that idea ends up causing its own issues among the trio.  The story has a happy ending that will put a smile on any viewer’s face.  It is just one of the most notable additions to the collection.  “D.W., Bossy Boots” is another notable addition to the set.

“D.W., Bossy Boots” is featured in the 10th season of Arthur.  This story centers on Arthur’s little sister D.W.  D.W. learns an invaluable lesson about friendship and being bossy after a series of actions leads her friends to shy away from her.  From D.W. blowing out the candles on her friend’s birthday cake before her to being reminded about pushing others out of the way in gymnastics to taking the noted friend’s present, she does a lot to push people away.  It is not until she has a dream that she realizes the error of her ways.  This is just another notable addition to ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection.  “Arthur’s Faraway Friend” is one more of the collection’s standout stories.

“Arthur’s Faraway Friend” is featured in the second season of the long-running series.  It teaches a key lesson about letting go when Buster reveals to Arthur that he is going to visit his father temporarily.  That means having to fly to another city.  Even though he knows Buster’s absence is only going to be temporary, Arthur still has a hard time coming to terms with the separation from his best friend.  That is until he receives a package from Buster.  Arthur then reminds himself that he hopes Buster has fun and that Buster’s visit with his dad is only temporary.

ArthurThe Ultimate Friendship Collection will retail for MSRP of $19.99.  Pre-orders are open now.

More information on the new DVD set is available along with lots of printables, activities, games and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbskids.org/arthur

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArthurPBS

 

 

 

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‘The Berenstain Bears: Bear Family Vacation’ Will Improve Any Family’s Vacation, Staycation

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS Kids

The COVID-19 pandemic has done a lot of damage to the world this year.  One of the most notable impacts that it has had is that is has forced many families to cancel their summer travel plans, forcing them to make new plans for staycations instead.  In an attempt to help families make the best of those new plans, PBS Distribution has released a new collection of episodes from The Berenstain Bears’ 2003 series into a DVD titled Bear Family Vacation.  This six-episode collection of episodes will help any family make the most of its time at home.  That is due in part to the episodes themselves.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lessons that are tied into the episodes add to the DVD’s appeal.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD a fun way for any family to enjoy its own home vacation.

PBS Distribution and PBS Kids’ new Berenstain Bears compilation DVD Bear Family Vacation is a presentation that any family will enjoy as they work their way through their staycations.  That is due in part to the DVD’s featured episodes.  Pulled largely from the second of the series’ three seasons (four of the six featured episodes are from Season Two, while the other two episodes are from Season One and Season three), the episodes largely follow the theme of the DVD’s title.  The only episode that is not vacation themed in the purist sense is its final episode, “Bear Family Get-Together.”  That episode presents a story about a family reunion of Mama Bear’s family members.  Every other episode follows the title’s theme directly.  From going to a theme park to staying at a seaside cabin to taking a road trip, the stories in these featured episodes take viewers on trips that they themselves would have otherwise taken if not for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To that end, watching the episodes is kind of living vicariously through the Bear family since so many families are unable to go on any kind of major vacation due to everything happening around the world.  That one aspect alone makes the DVD well worth watching, and is just one of the reasons that audiences will appreciate the DVD.  The lessons that are tied into each episode’s story add to the DVD’s appeal.

Audiences of all ages will appreciate the lessons that are featured within each episode’s story.  Case in point is the lesson at the heart of the DVD’s opening episode, “Too Much Vacation.”  This episode teaches the lesson that sometimes, we have to just make the best of a bad situation and that sometimes things are not going to go exactly as expected and/or planned.  Papa Bear learns this lesson as the family’s “best vacation ever” becomes anything but due to mother nature and other factors.  Whether it be because of the COVID-19 impact or just in general, this is a lesson that will resonate with grown-ups just as much as it will younger viewers.  What’s more, it will resonate so widely because it is a lesson that applies not just to vacations, but to life in general.  “By The Sea” is another example of the importance of the lessons featured in the DVD’s featured episodes.  This lesson reminds viewers that more often than not, trying to rush things is not good thinking.  That is because more often than not, rushing things can and does lead to negative impacts on the things that we do daily.  While “Bear Family Get-Together” is not a vacation story in the purest sense of the DVD’s title, its lesson is another important topic that is timeless in its own right.  It teaches a lesson about inclusivity and promotes diversity among people.  It does this on a micro scale so to speak here, but the bigger picture is that it works on a macro scale, too.  Considering where the nation stands today, it is a lesson that is not only welcome but needed just as much as ever.  What’s more, it is a lesson that, again, will connect with grown-ups just as much as it will children.  It can serve as a starting point for parents and educators alike to discuss the very noted topic.  It goes without saying that this is a discussion that is needed now more than ever in America.  Keeping all of these lessons in mind along with those in the DVD’s other three episodes, the whole of the DVD’s discussion points makes for just as much appeal for viewers as the stories themselves.  Together with the stories, the DVD’s overall content gives audiences plenty to appreciate here.  Considering how much there is to appreciate in the DVD’s content, audiences will agree that the DVD’s average price point is just as appealing as that content.

The average price point of The Berenstain Bears: Bear Family Vacation is $6.42.  That price was obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million and PBS’ online store.  This price is actually an interesting point.  Three of the listings – at Amazon, Target and Best Buy – were for $5.99.  Another three – PBS’ online store, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – listed the DVD at $6.99.  Walmart meanwhile listed the DVD at $6.00.  It is rare to have such an even split of prices.  That aside, that each of the separate listings is below the $10 mark means that this is a relatively affordable presentation for any family.  It will not break any family’s budget.  What’s more, a portion of sales from six of the seven retailers (save for PBS) will go to PBS.  Sales from PBS’ own store will go direct to the company, so families will be supporting PBS no matter which retailer they choose.  At the same time, they will be doing so through a DVD that will entertain and engage viewers of all ages.  Keeping all of this in mind, The Berenstain Bears: Bear Family Vacation proves to be its own mental and emotional vacation for families as they take on their own staycations.

PBS Distribution and PBS Kids’ new Berenstain Bears DVD Bear Family Vacation is an enjoyable mental and emotional vacation for every family.  That is due in part to its six featured episodes, most of which follow the DVD’s central vacation theme.  The lessons that are incorporated into each episode’s story adds even more appeal to the DVD.  Its relatively affordable average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted element is important to the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the year’s top new family DVDs and Blu-rays.

More information on The Berenstain BearsBear Family Vacation is available along with all of the latest Berenstain Bears news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.berenstainbears.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/berenstainbears

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheBerenstains

 

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‘NOVA: Look Who’s Driving’ Will “Drive” Plenty Of Discussion Among Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Just because we can, should we?  That is the basis of Look Who’s Driving, another new episode from PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA.  Having originally premiered on PBS last year, the episode was released on DVD in January.  The hour-long episode is an insightful look at the evolving technology of driverless vehicles and the divide that it has created among proponents and opponents.  That story and how the topic is examined serve as the foundation for this episode of NOVA and will be addressed shortly.  The program’s pacing plays its own part in its presentation, and will be addressed a little later.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD’s average price point proves just as much a positive as the DVD’s other noted items.  It will also be discussed later.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Look Who’s Driving a presentation that paints a thorough picture of the future of transportation on America’s roads.

NOVA: Look Who’s Driving is a thorough and rich examination of the possible future of transportation on America’s roads as it relates to automated vehicles.  The story featured within this documentary opens with the story of a bicyclist who was killed when an automated car hit the cyclist, who was walking with her bicycle across the road while the car’s driver was busy looking at her cell phone.  From that point on, the discussion begins on the growing presence of automated vehicles on the nation’s roads and the issue of responsibility that drivers have as they ride in the vehicles.  Audiences will be interested to see just how many companies are working to this day, to create fully autonomous vehicles.  Additionally, brief comments are made through the story about not only safety concerns, but also concerns about the potential economic and ecological impacts of increasing numbers of automated vehicles on the planet.  Again, these notes are brief, so they make for a good starting point on deeper discussions on said topics, but the bigger discussion featured in the story is whether there is a place or even a need for autonomous vehicles.  Officials with many of the companies that are working to create said vehicles are interviewed throughout the course of the program.  While they allege that autonomous vehicles will make the nation’s (and world’s) roads safer and driving easier, none of those noted officials ever actually provide any solid proof to support their allegations.  Officials with two companies – Uber and Tessla – declined to take part in the investigatory program, as is noted in the documentary.  Ironically, those companies are the ones whose vehicles were shown to have been involved in at least a handful of fatal wrecks that involved automated vehicles.  The opponents to self-driving vehicles are also interviewed, so there is no bias featured in this documentary.  Their comments and the hard evidence shown throughout the program showing all of the complications that companies face in trying to make automated vehicles a full reality prevents anyone from trying to claim bias one way or the other here.  Keeping all of this in mind, the program’s central story in itself more than ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  It is just one part of what makes the program such an interesting presentation.  The program’s pacing adds to the episode’s strength.

The pacing of NOVA: Look Who’s Driving is important to note in its own right, as it is a counterpoint of sorts to the extensive discussion that takes place throughout the course of this episode of NOVA.  There is a lot of data presented throughout the episode that explains all of the concerns related to the matter of self-driving cars.  From the stories of people connected to the noted fatal, incidents to the clearly pointed concerns about cars not being fully intelligent – this in itself can lead to discussions on concerns about computers going from being AI to sentient, especially with the concept of “training” computers that run said vehicles – to the economic and ecological concerns, a lot of ground is covered here.  Add in the arguments made by the proponents of self-driving vehicles and even more ground is covered, even without any real substantive evidence supporting their allegations.  Considering all that is presented on both sides of the overall discussion, there is so much to follow.  Luckily, those behind the episode’s editing and general writing served to keep its pacing solid from start to end.  The result is a program that flows cleanly from one discussion point to another throughout the episode, and in turn ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more.  Keeping all of this in mind, the pacing works with the episode’s story and proves without doubt, the program’s overall success.  While the episode’s overall content leaves zero doubt as to its success, said content is not all that will appeal to audiences.  The DVD’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.

The DVD’s average price point is right at $19.  That price is obtained by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million and PBS’ online store.  While some of the listings — $14.98 at Amazon and Target; $17.55 at Walmart; $17.99 at Best Buy – are below the noted average price, others — $19.99 at PBS’ store; $22.74 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and $24.99 at Books-a-Million – exceed that point.  Considering that PBS’ listing is just barely over the average price point, it is still relatively affordable, meaning once more, the listings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million are once again the most expensive.  The other listings are all prices that audiences will not mind paying, considering again that noted average price point.  They are price listings that will not break any viewer’s budget.  What’s more, considering the fact that the overall program will remain timely for the foreseeable future, this means that it is a DVD that audiences will not find themselves selling away or even donating.  Keeping that in mind, this price point once again proves without doubt why, coupled with the program’s content, the DVD is well worth the purchase and the watch.  It will certainly “drive” plenty of people to start their own discussions on the topic, leading it to be one more of this year’s top new documentaries.

NOVA: Look Who’s Driving is a presentation that is well worth viewing.  It covers a very hot button issue without all of the typical talking head figures.  Yes, the proponents are there from the companies that are working to create autonomous vehicles, and so are their opponents.  It’s not one of those typical news style talking head programs.  Rather, it is a full-on investigative piece whose overall story will keep viewers watching through that presentation style.  The program’s pacing adds even more reason for audiences to watch.  The DVD’s relatively affordable price point rounds out its most important elements.  It is a point that will not break audiences’ budgets.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Look Who’s Driving one more of this year’s top new documentaries.  It is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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PBS Kids’ Second ‘Wild Kratts’ Box Set Is One Of This Year’s Top New Family DVD/BD Box Sets

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS Kids/PBS

School is still out for the summer, and right now many school districts’ officials remain uncertain when and how the new school year will look.  That is leaving many parents and students in limbo, too.  For parents, they are left in the dark as to how they are going to have to handle schedules.  For the students, their educational opportunities largely remain on hold until such time, especially since parents, in many cases, cannot be there to help their children learn.  Thankfully PBS Distribution offered a new resource for parents and students alike last month with the release of the new Wild Kratts DVD box set, Around The World Adventures.  The three-disc set is a presentation that the whole family will welcome.  That is due in part to its episode listing, which will be discussed shortly.  The set’s packaging also plays into its presentation, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s average price point rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Wild Kratts: Adventures Around The World.  All things considered, they make the set one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.

PBS Distribution’s new Wild Kratts box set Around The World Adventures is a presentation that the whole family will appreciate regardless of whether school is in session.  It is a resource that will educate and entertain audiences of all ages.  That is due in large part to its featured episodes.  The set is composed of 21 episodes spread across three discs.  That totals a run time of approximately 10 hours.  Parents especially will appreciate (for cost reasons, which will be discussed later), that the majority of the episodes featured in this set are previously unreleased.  In comparison to PBS Distribution’s only other Wild Kratts box set Wildest Animal Adventures, only two episodes from that set – ‘A Huge Orange Problem’ and ‘Mimic’ – are carried over from to this presentation.  What’s more, in looking at the roughly 21 (yes, 21) total single disc Wild Kratts collections that are available, only six episodes from those collections – ‘The Food Chain Game,’ ‘Cheetah Racer,’ ‘Rainforest Stew,’ ‘Shadow: The Black Jaguar,’ ‘Mimic’ and ‘A Huge Orange Problem’ – are carried over to this collection.  In other words, the majority of the episodes featured in this collection are previously unreleased, including the Wild Kratts “movies” ‘Amazin’ Amazon Adventure’ and ‘Back In Creature Time.’  Adding to the importance of the set’s episode list is that by comparison, Wildest Animal Adventures culls the episodes from four of the series’ standalone compilations, Creature Adventures, Jungle Animals, Lost At Sea and Predator Power.  The total episode count there is 20.  So in other words, odds are this collection likely would cull episodes from as many DVDs as no standalone DVDs featuring the majority of the noted episodes have been released.  This leads into another of the set’s most important elements, its packaging.

Adventures Around The World takes up half the space of the Wildest Animal Adventures set on racks because of the packaging.  The packaging in question places two of the new set’s three discs on either side of an insert inside the box.  The set’s third disc sits on its own spot on the inside back of the set’s case.  By comparison, the Wildest Animal Adventures places each of its four discs in its own standalone slipcase inside a larger box.  This means more material is used for packaging with the “older” set, and in turn more space taken up on racks.  So the saved space that results from the “newer” packaging model is to that extent, its own positive.  Half the space of another set might not seem like much, but like pennies, it adds up.

On another note, the discussed saved space that results from the packaging and the previously unaired episodes featured in this set mean that families will not have to worry about buying potential future standalone DVDs, which will save space in its own right.  It will also save families money.

Speaking of money saved, the average price point for this three disc set is another positive worth noting.  The average price point for Around The World Adventures is $15.99.  That’s for three discs of episodes that again, have largely been previously unreleased.  It’s well under the $20 mark, and considering the amount of entertainment and education offered through that span, that is not a budget breaker.  The price in question was obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barne & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  It was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this posting.  PBS’ price of $19.99 and Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ price of $17.99 both exceeded that average while the other three listings each were noted at $13.99, well under the average.

By comparison, Wildest Animal Adventures is almost impossible to find through any major retailers.  It is not even listed through PBS’ store or that of the official Wild Kratts website.  An extensive search for the set did locate it at Walmart at a price of $25.85, but it was listed as being out of stock.  Amazon also listed the set.  Its least expensive price listing was $69.99 while it reached as high as $249.98.  In other words, odds are that set is now out of print.  This means that audiences who don’t already own said set will have to spend $10-$15 on each of the four DVDs culled for said collection if they do not own those DVDs either.  Meanwhile the set’s initial average price listing was about the same as that for Around The World Adventures.  So audiences would have spent about the same price for each box set.  Keeping this in mind, the relatively affordable price point for PBS Distribution’s latest Wild Kratts DVD box set proves just as positive to Around The World Adventures’ presentation as its content and packaging.  All things considered, they make this latest Wild Kratts box set one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.

Around The World Adventures is another welcome addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of Wild Kratts presentations.  That is due in no small part to its episode listing, which offers audiences a grouping of episodes largely unavailable on the series’ previous DVD episodes.  Only six of the set’s episodes are available on the series’ other DVDs.  That leans 15 episodes unavailable on said DVDs.  The set’s packaging takes up half the space of its predecessor, the previously released box set Wildest Animal Adventures.  The set’s average price point of less than $20 dollars is affordable especially considering the amount of content featured across its three discs.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of Adventures Around The World.  All things considered, they make the set one of this year’s top new family DVD/BC box sets.

More information on Around The World Adventures is available online along with all of the latest Wild Kratts news and games online at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/wildkratts

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/wildkrattsofficial

To keep up with the latest 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.

PBS Distribution To Release Fujita Documentary on DVD This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/WGBH

PBS is presenting a biography of the man who created the Fujita measurement scale in a new episode of its hit biography series American Experience.

American ExperienceMrTornado is scheduled for release July 21.  The hour-long documentary features the story of Tetsuya Theodore “Ted” Fujita, the man who developed the system that measures the strength of tornadoes.

The story starts in the Super Outbreak of 1974, which was the most extensive tornado outbreak in American history.  It spread a path of destruction across 13 states, generating 148 tornadoes from Alabama to Ontario, Canada.  More than 300 people died as a result of the storm outbreak, and thousands were left homeless.

Fujita spent months examining the result of the outbreak, using an aerial study, and mapped the path of destruction in the process.  His extensive study led to the discovery of microbursts — winds strong enough to knock planes out of the air — and to advance warning systems that have since saved thousands of lives as well as the Fujita scale, which is used to measure the intensity of tornadoes.

American ExperienceMrTornado will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 through PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

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

‘NOVA: Decoding Da Vinci’ Will Appeal To Students, Lovers Of Art, Anatomical Sciences

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/WGBH

It goes without saying that Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest minds of his time and possibly of all time.  His paintings , few as they are, continue to evoke discussion and great emotion from people from around the world.  His scientific advancements were centuries before his time, showing even more, his incredible mind.  Now in a new episode of its hit science based series NOVA, titled Decodind Da Vinci, PBS examines how da Vinci’s interest in science and art played directly into one another, leading to what are some of the greatest paintings of all time.  That story in itself is more than enough reason for audiences to view this episode of NOVA.  While the program ensures viewers’ engagement an entertainment, hindsight in watching the program makes the show’s title slightly problematic.  This will be addressed a little later.  Even with that problematic titling, the DVD is still worth the purchase, considering its average price point, which will also be discussed later.  Each item noted plays its own important part to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, Decoding Da Vinci becomes a presentation that will appeal to art and science students and lovers alike.

NOVA: Decoding Da Vinci, another recent episode from PBS’ hit science-based series, is an interesting presentation.  It is a work that will appeal to those with an interest in and knowledge of art and science alike.  That is due in large part to the program’s overall story.  The story in question shows how Leonardo da Vinci’s interest in art and science intersected and the role that his scientific mind played into his artistic vision.  It is not an overly broad presentation, either.  It especially focuses on the connection between da Vinci’s interest in science and how it played into his most famous painting, “The Mona Lisa.”  Along the way, the program takes audiences into da Vinci’s study of human anatomy in relation to his art while exhibiting anatomical drawings that da Vinci created and their influence even today on biologists and scientists who study anatomy and anatomical science.  One of those individuals praises da Vinci for some of his drawings while also candidly saying his drawing of the female reproductive system was quite off.  That moment with bring laughter from any viewer.  That is the case due to the revelation of why he made the drawing in the fashion in which he did.

In coordination with the discussion on da Vinci’s art, the program also takes time to examine his specific painting style and uses that discussion in the examination of the painting of Bacchus.  It has long been believed that the painting is one of da Vinci’s, but the examination of his painting style reveals that the artwork may well in fact not be one of his works.  That revelation is tied back to da Vinci’s focus on human anatomy, too.  Between this discussion, that of his interest in science, and how the two topics correlate (and even the paints that he used) make for a fully engaging presentation.  While the overall presentation of Decoding Da Vinci will keep viewers engaged throughout its 53-minute run time, the story featured therein does not fully work with the episode’s title.

The very title Decoding Da Vinci hints at mystery and some kind of unknown about Leonardo da Vinci.  That very word “decoding” means uncovering something unknown.  However, there is no real mystery or unknown information per se here.  The closest that the program comes to any mystery is the discussion on whether the painting of Bacchus is one of his works.  The discussion on the ties between da Vinci’s scientific and artistic interests is more lecture than mystery.  Keeping that in mind, the title is problematic in this case, but it does not make the episode unwatchable by any means.  It is just something is in need of some attention.

Taking into consideration the depth and breadth of information shared through Decoding Da Vinci’s story, it makes the DVD’s average price point an item that will appeal just as much to audiences as the DVD’s content.  The average price point for NOVA: Decoding Da Vinci is $19.35.  That price, which once again is below the $20 mark, is obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ online store.  Once more, the only price listings that exceed that point are from Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  Their price listings for the DVD are $22.74 and $24.99 respectively.  Meanwhile, the lowest and most common listing of $16.59 comes from Amazon, Walmart and Target.  Best Buy’s listing for the DVD is $17.99 while PBS’ listing is $19.99.  So, while PBS’ price point is once again above the average price point for one of its DVDs, that exception is still only barely above the line.  Making exception for the two outstandingly overpriced listings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million, the rest of the listings are largely either below the DVD’s average price point or right at that point.  In other words, the DVD’s cost will not break any viewer’s budget.  It’s another positive for this episode of NOVA in its home release.  When considered along with the DVD’s content, the DVD in whole proves to be another positive offering from PBS and PBS Distribution.

PBS Distribution’s home release of NOVA: Decoding Da Vinci is an episode of NOVA that will appeal to audiences.  That is due in part to the DVD’s central story, which examines the connection between Leonard da Vinci’s scientific mind and his artistic mind.  On the surface, that connection seems simple, but as this story shows, the connection is quite deep.  Considering the depth and breadth of that content, the DVD’s average price point serves as its own motivation, by connection.  The only negative to the DVD’s presentation is its title, and even there, that negative is not enough to make the DVD unwatchable.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Decoding Da Vinci proves itself another example of what makes NOVA such a respected and popular series.  More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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 http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Berenstain Bears’ Collection Next Week

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release another collection of episodes from The Berenstain Bears to audiences next week.

The Berenstain BearsTree House Tales Volume 3 is scheduled for release May 19.  The latest collection features 28 more episodes from the animated series and will retail for MSRP of $14.99.  Among the most notable episodes is “Car Trip,” in which brother and sister learn that the family’s vacation will not take it to Grizzyland, but somewhere else.

Another notable addition to this latest collection comes in the form of “The Giddy Grandma.”  Sister is writing about a bear that she admires in this episode, and learns Grizzly Gran had a lot of accolades during her life.

“Moving Day’ tackles an issue that so many children (and families) face when brother and sister’s friends are moving away.The  siblings learn that people moving is not entirely bad.

More information on The Berenstain BearsTree House Tales Volume 3 is available along with all of the latest Berenstain Bears news at:

 

Website: http://www.berenstainbears.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheBerenstains

 

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

‘Okavango — River of Dreams’ Is The Best Episode Of PBS’ Series ‘Nature’ So Far This Year

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

The Okavango River is one of Africa’s most important and one of the world’s most important and awe-inspiring bodies of water.  Instead of flowing out into the ocean, the river flows inland through Botswana and toward the Kalahari Desert.  The river creates a virtual paradise for the animals that live in the desert’s hostile environment while also being a virtual Eden in its source and its delta.  Now thanks to PBS Distribution, audiences can take a journey along the river with the animals that migrate along its length and that call the river home in the new episode Okavango: River of Dreams.  The nearly three hour documentary, released Jan. 7, is an engaging and entertaining presentation in part due to the information that is featured throughout its three segments.  That information will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of the segments, the fact that the two-hour, forty-minute program is presented in three separate segments is another key aspect to its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The cinematography featured in this episode of Nature is also worth noting, and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of this program.  All things considered, they make it one of the year’s best new documentaries even despite the unnecessary preachy pro-conservation message featured in the episode’s finale.

OkavangoRiver of Dreams is an awe-inspiring presentation that is among the best new Nature episodes released so far this year and among the best new overall documentaries so far this year.  That is proven in part through the story at its center.  The story in question is that of the Okavango River, and its role as the center of a much larger ecosystem.  Audiences will remain engaged and entertained as they watch the river course its way from its source, into its delta and into the dry, arid desert land where it ends, at least until rains fall to give those lands new life.  Learning of the role that elephants play in the river’s course and even that some seemingly natural foes – hyenas and warthogs – actually find some moments in which they live peacefully at times is enlightening.  Seeing the lengths that some animals go to for survival at the far, drier end of the river is just as enlightening, as those behaviors prove to be quite similar to human behaviors, in terms of survival of the fittest.  Simply watching the interactions of the overall ecosystem of the Okavango River is in itself enlightening. From the hierarchies of the cat families (lions and leopards) to the influence of elephants on the whole of the ecosystem to the sheer vast number of species is another key portion of the program’s informational aspect.  Between all of this and so much more, the general content of this episode of Nature gives audiences so much to appreciate.

While the content featured throughout the course of Okavango River of Dreams does a lot to make this episode engaging and entertaining, it is just one of the presentation’s important elements.  The fact that the nearly three-hour program is broken up into segments ensures even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The program is broken up into three distinct segments – “Paradise,” “Limbo,” and “Inferno” – a la Dante’s epic poem.  The whole thing starts at the best point in the river’s extension, “Paradise.”  As the rive flows through the African continent, resources begin to become less, leading to more competition for resources and survival.  That moment is “Limbo.”  The river’s end near the Kalahari Desert is the “Inferno.”  It is the harshest point for all of the creatures that rely on the river for life.  The far southern end of the river is a point at which the water becomes far less available for creatures above and below the waves.  Each segment has a distinct beginning, middle and end.  Viewers are not forced to sit through the story in one whole watch.  This is important to note because in segmenting the story, it allows viewers to take the story at their own pace.  That ability to take in the story of the river and its ecosystem ensures even more, that audiences will be more focused and in turn engaged as they watch each segment.  So while this might not seem all that important on the surface, it is of great importance in the bigger picture.  What’s more, the pacing within each segment partners with that segmentation to add even more certainty that audiences will remain engaged and entertained throughout the program overall.  Keeping in mind the impact of the episode’s pacing and segmentation along with the general content, the whole of this presentation is even stronger.  They are not the program’s only key elements.  The cinematography featured throughout the episode puts the finishing touch to its whole.

The cinematography that is featured throughout the course of OkavangoRiver of Dreams is award-worthy to say the absolute least.  Whether it be the aerial shots from high above the African continent, the close ups of animals wading through the river’s waters, the creatures of the deep (so to speak) who live in the river or even the smooth, seamless shots of the river that flow just as smoothly as the river itself, every one of those shots does its own part to keep viewers engaged and entertained, too.  The program may be presented on DVD, but the footage is so rich and full of life and color, as if it was shot in high definition.  Whether watching the flamingos take to the skies in “Inferno,” the elephants make their way along the river in all three segments and big cats working to survive all along the river while also training their cubs, audiences are given the best seat in the house while feeling like there are immersed in the program thanks to the cinematography.  The blue skies set against the dry, cracked ground at the river’s end creates such a stark contrast that creates its own powerful impact for audiences.  The slow motion shots of gazelles bounding through the river’s waters is moving in its own way, too.  Simply put, the cinematography featured throughout the course of this episode of Nature is just as important to its presentation as the episode’s primary content and its segmentation.  When all three elements are considered together, the whole of those elements makes this presentation a work that is the best episode of PBS’ Nature so far this year and one of the year’s top new documentaries so far, too.  That is even despite the inclusion of the completely unnecessary preachy pro-conservationist message pushed at the finale of the program and also the equally confusing inclusion of Marilyn Manson’s cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ at the beginning and end of each segment.  Yes, it actually incorporates Marilyn Manson into its whole.  Again, even with this in mind, the program in whole is still worth the watch.

PBS’ presentation of Nature: OkavangoRiver of Dreams is one of the best of the series’ episodes so far this year and easily and one of the year’s top new documentaries.  That is evidenced in part through the general content that makes up the body of the episode.  It is rich in its own right, as has been pointed out here.  The fact that the nearly three-hour program is separated into three distinct segments will encourage audiences to watch the program in whole, and in turn ensure even more, audiences will remain engaged and entertained.  The cinematography featured throughout the program round out its most important elements.  The only real negatives to the whole are the fact that once again, that unnecessary preachy pro-conservationist message is there and the inclusion of Marilyn Manson’s cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).’  One can’t even begin to figure out what necessity had for the program.  That was just a poor choice as there is no connection between that song and this program in terms of content.  What’s more, audiences who watch Nature know that we need to care for planet Earth and all of its ecosystems.  We do not need to be preached at time and again.  The people behind Nature have got to get this through their heads and stop letting that preaching get into every episode.  Save the preaching for one episode of the program.  People watch this show to learn and to be entertained, not to be preached at.  Now, getting back on track, even despite the two noted negatives, this program still boasts so much to its positive that it is still well worth the watch time and again.  It is available now on DVD.  More information on this and other episodes of Naure is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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‘Nature: Bears’ Largely Successful In Its Presentation Of The World’s Different Species Of Bears

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature has, over the years, brought audiences countless hours of educational and entertaining content about animals and ecosystems from around the world.  From the plains of Africa to the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the highest peaks of the Andes, the series has done so much for audiences.  Now with a mutated flu running rampant around the globe and causing so much unnecessary fear, panic and closures, the program is needed more than ever.  That is because even zoos, where people might otherwise be able to be exposed to many of those animals and ecosystems, are among the many places closed as a result of that unnecessary fear and panic.  So where else to be exposed to nature and wildlife in general than in PBS’ long-running series?  In one of its most recently released episodes, Bears, the program takes a look at the different species of bears that roam the world.  The surprising revelations about the different species form a strong foundation for the program.  It will be discussed shortly.  While that engaging content does a lot to help this episode of Nature, it should be noted that there is one negative to the whole.  That one negative is once again, is the preachy message about conservation pushed into the program’s final minutes.  This is not the first time that this has happened with an episode of Nature, and is something that needs to stop.  It will be addressed a little later.  Getting back to the positive, the program’s collective pacing and transitions round out its most important elements.  They work with the episode’s content and makes it well worth watching even despite the unnecessary preaching pushed into the episode’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves to be another overall positive episode of Nature.

Nature: Bears, one of the latest releases from PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature, is a welcome presentation for audiences everywhere in a time when panic and fear over COVID-19 has caused so much unnecessary closure nationwide.  It serves to expose audiences to a variety of bears that they otherwise might not have been exposed to at the zoos and other wildlife facilities that are now closed.  That introduction to the different species forms the program’s foundation.  Audiences are introduced to familiar bear species, such as black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears over the roughly hour-long episode as well as perhaps less familiar species, such as the sloth bear and the spectacled bear.  Not only are viewers introduced to all of those species of bears, but they are also introduced to the things that make each bear unique.  For instance, viewers learn that the polar bear’s sense of smell is 20 times stronger than that of a bloodhound, and that it can smell its prey as deep as three feet beneath the ice.  Also of interest in the program is the revelation that the sloth bear is able to avoid the pain of solder termites’ pincers when it breaks down termite colonies because of the construction of the bear’s mouth.  In regard to the grizzly bears, viewers learn that they learn through what is essentially modeling.  The cubs learn how to hunt for fish, for instance, by watching their mother.  That is very similar throughout the animal kingdom.  On another note, audiences also learn in watching the program that bears scratch their backs on trees, not because their backs itch, but because of territorial marking.  So, as funny as it is to watch, it actually serves a key purpose in the lives of bears.  All of this is just a snapshot of everything that is discussed throughout the course of Bears.  When it is considered along with the content that was note addressed here, the whole of the program’s main feature proves to be worthwhile presentation for audiences of all ages.  Even when the discussions on bears mating and hunting come up, the content is largely edited, so viewers don’t have to worry about covering their children’s eyes or fast forwarding at any point.  To that end, it makes the program that much more accessible for viewers.  All things considered, the content featured in Nature: Bears builds a strong foundation for this program.  Of course for all of the positives presented through the DVD’s content, it is difficult to ignore its one negative element, the unnecessary preaching about conservation at the program’s end.

As Nature: Bears nears its end, narrator Olga Merediz begins reading lines that make statements about the danger that many bears are in, such as the polar bear because of global warming.  At another point prior, she reads a message about how deforestation endangered panda bears in Asia.  Yes, we know global warming is a problem.  There is no denying it.  There is also no denying that deforestation globally is a problem.  However, being that the rest of the program did so much to educate and entertain, having that element to close out was not necessary.  It ruins an otherwise enjoyable program because of its preachy nature.  Please do not misunderstand the statement being made here.  There is no doubt that global warming should be addressed.  There is no doubt that the deforestation that nearly wiped out the panda bears is still very much of concern.  However, as important as they are, there is a time and place for everything, and a program that is otherwise presented solely as an educational piece does not need to include preachy messages about environmentalism at any point.  That should be saved for another time and perhaps another episode of Nature that is dedicated entirely to the issue facing the planet. For an episode that is supposed to focus on animals, that preachiness should not be there.  This is not the first time that this has happened in an episode of Nature, and likely isn’t the last either.  Hopefully though, the people at PBS will take this into consideration for future episodes of Nature.  Now as much of a detriment as that preachiness is to this episode of Nature, it doesn’t make the program unwatchable.  The collective pacing and transitions that are used throughout the program make the primary content even more engaging.

The pacing and transitions that are used throughout the course of Nature: Bears is so important because it is these elements that keep the program flowing from start to end.  Considering the number of species of bear featured throughout the program and what makes each species unique from one another, there is clearly a lot of content presented.  Just enough time was given to each species and its abilities and adaptations from one to the next.  As each species’ focus gives way to focus on other species around the world, the transitions are seamless.  Audiences are never left behind and are never left feeling like the transitions are stark.  Everything is fluid throughout the program.  That fluidity and the steady pacing ensures that audiences will be largely, if not fully, engaged in this episode of Nature from start to end.  When this is taken into account with the power of the program’s content, that certainty of engagement and entertainment is strengthened even more.  That is even despite the one issue of the unnecessary environmentalist message pushed so hard in the program’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves itself another largely positive episode of what is one of PBS’ most notable series.

Nature: Bears, released on DVD Jan. 28, is another largely positive presentation from PBS’ long-running wildlife series.  It takes viewers around the world, profiling various species of bear and their unique adaptations and abilities.  Along the way, its pacing and transitions do a lot to make even more certain that viewers will remain engaged and entertained.  Even with the unnecessary environmentalist preaching at the episode’s end, those positives still make the program largely a positive presentation.  It is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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Every Family Will Welcome The Berenstain Bears’ Second Season Set Into Their Own Houses

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

The Berenstain Bears have, for decades, entertained and educated adults and children of all ages.  Between the countless books that have been released, the short-lived animated series from 1985 (which is available now in full on DVD) and the 2003 series, which ran for three seasons, families across the nation (and world) have come to love Papa, Mama, Brother and Sister, their stories and life lessons.  This spring, that enjoyment will continue when PBS Distribution releases the third collection of episodes from the 2003 series on DVD.  The two-disc set is scheduled for release May 19.  While audience await the arrival of that collection, they have the second collection, released Jan. 28, to enjoy.  The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Volume 2 is a wonderful collection that every family will enjoy partly because of its featured stories, which will be discussed shortly.  The lessons tied to the stories add even more to the set’s enjoyment and will be discussed a little later.  Keeping in mind the value of the set’s collective primary and secondary content, the whole of The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Volume 2 boasts an average price point, that is notable in its own right.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the double-disc set.  All things considered, they make the collection a presentation that is one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.

The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Volume 2 is a wonderful presentation that families everywhere will welcome in their own houses.  That is due in part to the stories that are featured in this set.  Approximately 26 stories make up the body of the two-disc collection.  Those stories are in fact the whole of the series’ second season.  They are presented in the exact same chronological order in which they originally aired, too, from July 14, 2003 and July 30, 2003.  Keeping this in mind, it is a bit of a headscratcher as to why this collection wasn’t just called “Season Two” instead of “Volume Two.”  Using the title “Volume Two” becomes somewhat misleading, considering that said term “volume” is typically used for compilation sets rather than full season sets.  The same approach was used in the series’ debut “volume,” which was released Sept. 17.  The stories themselves find the Bear family – Papa, Mama, Sister and Brother – dealing with a variety of very real life situations, making them relatable to audiences of all ages.  The story at the center of “Too Much Pressure,” for instance, finds the Bear family trying to figure out its overly-crowded weekly schedule.  What family out there doesn’t deal with that issue?  Exactly.  The season’s opener, ‘The Excuse Note’ is something that, again, audiences of all ages can appreciate because we have all been there.  Sister tries to lie to get out of gym class because she doesn’t enjoy it.  This is also a plot element that has been used multiple times before and since this episode’s airing.  We’ve all tried to figure out ways out of things we don’t want to do, which is ties to the story’s lesson.  This will be addressed a little later.  Getting back on topic, “The Perfect Fishing Spot” finds Papa and Sister heading out to get the perfect fish for a special dinner.  This leads to another key lesson that is featured within the season.  Between these and so many other stories featured in the second season of The Berenstain Bears, the stories that make up the series’ second season give audiences more than enough reason to bring this set home.

The stories that make up the body of The Berenstain Bears’ second season go a long way toward making this collection worth owning for any family.  They are just one key aspect of the set that makes its presentation so appealing.  The lessons that are tied into each story are themselves critical to the set’s presentation, too.  As noted already, Papa learns his own valuable lesson in “The Perfect Fishing Spot” He learns that the biggest prize isn’t the best and that he needs to make sure he keeps his focus when he says he is doing something for someone else.  This is something with which we all deal with all the time.  We start out wanting to do something nice for someone else, but somewhere along the line, we end up losing that focus and start focusing on what we want.  That is what happens here with Papa.  He admits in the end that is what has happened as he tries to get the biggest fish possible for the grandparents’ special dinner.  He admits he started trying to find the perfect fishing spot (and fish) more for himself than for them.  It takes Sister reminding Papa for him to realize what he was doing.  The lesson that Papa learns is not the only one involving priorities.  He also learns what happens when he puts winning over friendship in “The Prize Pumpkin.”  That lesson is one to which audiences of all ages can relate.

Papa isn’t the only member of the Bear family to learn some valuable lessons this season.  Brother and Sister learn a lesson about friendship in “Ferdy Factual.”  The duo leans that some people deal with their feelings in different ways and don’t always mean to act rude to others.  It’s just that they struggle to come to terms with their discomfort in certain situations.  Dealing with that issue is just a matter of being nice to those people and maybe they will open up and be nicer.  The cubs also learn in this season, the invaluable lesson that helping others can actually help one feel very good inside.  That lesson comes in two different episodes – “Lend A Helping Hand” and “Nothing To Do.”  The whole family leans an equally invaluable lesson in “Too Much Pressure” about the importance of setting limits and priorities in life, not just in terms of setting weekly schedules, in “Too Much Pressure.”  It’s yet another key lesson that will always be timely and relatable.  Considering the importance of that lesson, those featured in the other noted episodes and in the rest of the season’s episodes, it becomes clear why the lessons featured in this season are just as important to its presentation as the stories to which they are tied.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear that the primary and secondary content featured in this collection does a lot to make the set well worth owning.  It also makes the set’s average price point money well spent.

The average price point for The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Volume 2 is $11.65.  That price is reached by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million and PBS’ online store.  None of the set’s price even reaches $15, and the least expensive of the listings is at Target — $8.69 – while the most expensive of the listings is at Books-A-Million and at PBS’ store, at $14.99.   Walmart’s listing of $8.77 makes a good middle ground.  The $9.99 listing at Amazon and Best Buy are easy on the bank account, too.  Even if audiences choose PBS’ store or Barnes & Noble Booksellers, they still won’t break the bank.  That is the most important thing to consider here.  Regardless of which route audiences go, the price is anything but prohibitive.  It is a price that is accessible for every consumer.  Keeping this in mind, the affordable price point of this set and its primary and secondary content makes this second season set from The Berenstain Bears another welcome addition to any home.

PBS Distribution’s latest Berenstain Bears season collection is a presentation that every family will happily welcome in their own houses.  That is due to the set’s stories and their related lessons, which are all timeless in their own right.  The set’s affordable average price point makes that set that much more appealing.  Neither the set’s average price point, nor its singular prices are price prohibitive.  The most expensive listing from the major retailers is $14.99, which is relatively affordable for anyone.  Keeping all of this in mind, The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Volume Two is a presentation that deserves to be in any family’s house.  More information on this DVD, PBS distribution’s upcoming release of Tree House Tales Volume Three and all of the latest Berenstain Bears news is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.berenstainbears.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheBerenstains

 

 

 

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