PBS Distribution Announces ‘Garfield & Friends: Season 3’ Release Date

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release the third season of Garfield & Friends to DVD next month.

The 18-episode collection is scheduled for release Oct. 27.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.99.  Season Three features a variety of great shorts both from Garfield and from his U.S. Acres pals.  “For Cats Only” is one of the many great shorts featuring Garfield.  This episode finds Garfield hosting a special program that tells the history of cats on Earth.  According to the story, cats came from another planet, and that they control humans, not the other way around.

In what is yet another of the season’s most memorable moments, the series shows once how far ahead of its time it was in “How The West Was Lost.”  This episode features returning character Cactus Jake, who was voiced throughout the series by Pat Buttram (Robin HoodThe AristocatsThe Fox and the Hound), out of a job after his ranch is automated.  Jake tries a variety of fields, but to no success.  Thanks to Garfield, Jake ends up getting his job back after Garfield sabotages some of the ranch’s robots to prove mechanization is not the answer to the workplace.

In yet another great moment, the series pokes fun at how mainstream commercial radio works in “D.J. Jon” after Jon becomes a disc jockey at his local radio station.  His new (and short-lived) stardom leads Jon to inadvertently neglect Odie and Garfield, so Garfield takes it on himself to  get out of the industry’s grip, to hilarious results.

U.S. ACRES

The U.S. Acres shorts featured in Season Three offer their own enjoyment.  One of the most notable of this season’s shorts comes in what is clearly a tribute of sorts to The Andy Griffith Show in “The Legal Eagle.”  This short finds Roy Rooster taking it on himself to enforce the farm’s laws.  There’s just one problem:  The laws that Roy is enforcing are out of date, but Roy doesn’t know, so everyone ends up getting locked up, including Roy himself.  There was an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which Don Knotts’ character Barney Fife got into some trouble for doing much the same, locking up lots of Mayberry’s residents for the tiniest infraction.

Another memorable U.S. Acres short from Season Three comes in the form of “Quack to the Future.”  The short’s title is a take-off of the Back to the Future franchise title.  The short’s story finds Orson hurting Wade’s feelings after he shouted at Wade following an accident.  It is not until after the fact that Orson realizes he overreacted to what happened.  He wishes he could go back in time and undo what he did, leading to another important lesson from the series; that of friendship and being aware of the power of words.

In another of U.S. Acres’ lighter moments, audiences get an adaptation of the classic story Alice in Wonderland when Orson dreams he has gone to Wonderland.  Lanolin plays the part of the Queen of Hearts and is just as loudmouthed as ever.  The dream sequence happened when Orson took a nap after searching for a missing croquet ball.

More information on this and other titled from PBS Distribution is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbsdistribution.org

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‘Endeavour’ Reaches A Low Point In Its Seventh Season

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

British television company itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour will have an eight season. Star Shaun Evans, who portrays the series’ eponymous character, confirmed the information late last month after the series’ seventh season officially wrapped on PBS and released domestically to DVD and Blu-ray.  When Season Eight starts recording is anyone’s guess.  While audiences await the premiere of Season Eight, they do have Season Seven to take in – as noted – on DVD and Blu-ray.  The show’s seventh season was an interesting point in the series’ run.  That is due in part to its writing.  That item will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies Season Seven in its home release is just as important to note in examining the season as the writing, so it will be discussed a little later.  Considering the content featured in this latest season, the set’s average price point is also of note.  It will be examined later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this latest season and its home release a key moment in the history of Endeavour.

The recently wrapped seventh season of itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour is an intriguing presentation.  That is due in part to its writing.  Unlike the series’ first six seasons, this season was presented in a serial fashion, according to Evans during a recent interview.  He pointed out that (thankfully) it is an approach that will not be taken again in the series’ eighth season.  The story opens and closes with Endeavour Morse attending the opera in Venice.  It is there that he first meets his new love interest Violetta (Stephanie Leonidas – Killjoys, Defiance, American Gothic).  Upon meeting Violetta, Morse becomes embroiled in what he thinks is an affair with a married woman, but is much more than that, as he eventually learns.  This critic will not reveal the end result of the duo’s tryst, but that the writers thought this plot element was needed is troubling.  Even his relationship issues in previous seasons with Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers – Watchmen, Privates, Shetland) were handled better than those with Violetta.  This latest romance story is just so contrived and overly commonplace for stories.  It felt so forced.  The revelation made in the season finale – which also is left here for audiences to discover for themselves – feels just as contrived as the romance subplot itself.  That revelation ties into the season’s overarching story about the homicides, which leads to even more contrivance because of how many people were involved in the crimes.  One can’t help but do a face palm as Endeavour traces all of the clues, which lead back to the ringmaster.

While the writing in general clearly caused its own share of problems this season, it did not doom the season.  Audiences will remain engaged throughout as they watch the working and personal relationship between Morse and Thursday become strained.  That strain is caused by the duo’s own distinct personalities and the related fashion in which they investigate the cases.  The only matter there is that considering how Season Seven ended, audiences were left wondering if Thursday and Morse had mended their proverbial fences.  At one point, the pair clashed, with Morse stating that he would put in for a transfer once the cases were solved.  However, it is unknown if that happened in the last scene of the season finale.  Thursday did search out Morse in that final episodes closing minutes, and he did find him.  However, audiences are still left hanging once Thursday locates Morse.  So considering that, there is a clear need for an eighth season if only for the purpose of tying up that loose end.

The only real strong writing point in this season comes in the season’s second episode, “Raga.”  It presents the rising tensions between the British community and Indian immigrants to Great Britain in the 1970s.  Now whether this matter is historically accurate is worth investigating.  That aside, it is a matter that echoes what is happening around the world today, with tensions rising everywhere against minority groups.  That makes suspension of disbelief relatively easy, at least until the killer reveals his motivation for committing his crime.  That revelation is a bit contrived in its own right.    Between this matter, the issue raised by the loose end between Morse and Thursday’s relationship, and the forgettable story involving Morse and Violetta, the writing this season just suffered all the way around.  One can only hope that the show’s writers will make up for those issues in the series’ eighth season.

The writing featured in the seventh season of Endeavour presents quite the quandary for the series, as it does something that has never been done.  Hopefully it will not be repeated in Season Eight, either.  It is just one of the concerns raised in this season, too.  The bonus features, or really lack thereof, poses its own problems.  Accompanying the episodes in this season is a series of vignettes in which various topics, such as the costuming and makeup, Morse’s relationship with Thursday, and Evans once again taking on a directorial role in the series are discussed.  Each discussion is very brief, running no more than a couple of minutes at best.  Little is really mentioned in the extra focus on Morse and Thursday that was not already known from the season’s writing.  Even the opening discussion about Morse’s evolution as a character offers little extra for viewers.  The most insightful of the bonus discussions come in the form of Evans’ discussion on directing and that of the costuming and makeup.  The other discussions are in reality, extraneous.  Viewers will be glad to see Evans’ own appreciation for what it takes to get the right angles, the impact of lighting for a scene’s mood, and other related topics.  His work behind the lens pays off, too, as is seen in the noted areas, as well as in the acting in the key episode.  The discussion on the costuming and makeup shows the lengths to which those behind the lens went to make sure that the series’ costumes and backdrops looked the part for the 1970s.  The mention of the effort to make Leonidas look like famed actress Sophia Loren in terms of her fashion shows even more, the attempts to maintain the look of the times.  It is just too bad that the discussion on making the show reflect the look of the times was not more in-depth.  For that matter, it’s too bad that none of the bonus content was more in-depth.  It would have been nice to have had some discussion on who made the decision to make Season Seven a serial season, why the writers decided to make that romance story between Violetta and Morse the center of the show, as well as where things will go between Morse and Thursday.  Sadly, that lack of extra information detracts from the show’s presentation in its recent home release even more.  Considering everything noted about the content featured in the seventh season of Endeavour, the set’s average point for its DVD and Blu-ray presentation makes for its own interest.

The average price point for Endeavour’s DVD presentation is $28.11 and its Blu-ray presentation, $33.25.  The DVD was not listed at Target, but the Blu-ray platform was.  Keeping all of that in mind, the DVD price point was obtained by averaging price listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ online store.  The Blu-ray price point was reached by averaging prices at the noted retailers as well as at Target.  Amazon presents the least expensive listing at $22.99.  Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers offer prices below that average at $22.99 and $24.99 respectively.  Walmart’s listing of $28.23 is just above the average, while Books-A-Million far exceeds that number at $44.99.  PBS’ regular listing of $34.99 also far exceeds the average, as does its sale price of $29.99.  Books-A-Million also far exceeds the average price point for the season’s Blu-ray presentation, at $44.99 along with PBS’ listing of $39.99.  Amazon and Walmart, which each list the season’s Blu-ray set at $27.64 offer the least expensive pricing while Target and Best Buy offer a slightly higher price at $27.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers reaches the high end with a listing of $31.49.  Noting the set’s average and separate price listings here is important, again, because of the content featured (and not featured) in the set.  The DVD price listing would have been more attractive at maybe $25 and the Blu-ray $30 if not maybe a little less considering, again, how little bonus content is featured in the set, and how largely forgettable this season’s stories are in whole.  That is in comparison to the show’s first six seasons, each of which are so much more enjoyable in their own right.  Keeping everything noted here in mind, the seventh season of Endeavour is the series’ lowest point.  Thankfully there is at least one more season left, and hopefully it will make up for everything wrong with this season.

The seventh season of itv’s Endeavour is the least of the show’s seasons so far. That is due in part to the season’s writing.  The writing presents a season-long story that feels so forced and contrived from beginning to end.  It also leaves at least one major question unanswered.  That question is whether Morse and Thursday’s professional and personal relationship will heal following the season’s events.  The very limited bonus content poses its own problem for the set’s presentation, too.  They give viewers a glimpse behind the writing and lenses, but little more than that.  Considering everything noted here, the average price points for the season’s DVD and Blu-ray sets seem a bit high, as do the separate listings.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s set.  All things considered, they make this season a presentation that hopefully will not be repeated in the series’ eighth season, whenever it launches.

More information on Endeavour is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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Twitterhttp://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Viewers Of All Ages Will Want To “Explore” PBS Distribution’s Latest ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Five seasons is a relatively long time for any television series to last.  That is how long PBS/PBS Kids’ series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has lasted since its premiere in 2012.  It just ran its fifth season in August 2019.  The program has continue Fred Rogers’ legacy, teaching young viewers lessons about topics, such as how to express their feelings, how to play well with others and appreciating the small things in the world.  Those lessons have also made their way to an expansive series of DVDs (23 single disc collections), the latest of is scheduled for release Tuesday in the form of Explore The Outdoors.  This latest offering is another enjoyable presentation for its target audiences.  That is proven in part through the set’s featured episodes.  The use of the episode separators while minor, is actually key in its own way to the viewing experience, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The lessons that are incorporated into the episodes are another important part of the presentation’s whole.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Explore The Outdoors another positive addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs.

Explore The Outdoors, the latest addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of DVDs from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, is another enjoyable offering for the show’s target audiences.  That is proven in part through the collection’s featured episodes.  Six episodes are featured in this latest collection.  The majority of the episodes do well in sticking to the DVD’s central theme of exploring the outdoors.  The only exceptions to that rule come in the form of ‘Daniel Plays in A Gentle Way’ and ‘Daniel’s Toy.’  The episodes feature stories that do find Daniel and his friends outside, but are more about playing together outdoors than actually exploring the outdoors.  So they are a bit of a stretch, but do at least feature stories that take Daniel and company outdoors.  The other four featured episodes are more in line with the DVD’s theme.  From exploring the outdoors and appreciating all that nature has to offer in the title episode and in its companion, “Daniel’s Nature Walk,” to learning about lizards in another, to being active outdoors, playing with a kite in “Daniel Feels Two Feelings,” the DVD’s episodes largely stay true to its theme.

While not presented chronologically, the episodes present a snapshot of the series, as they are lifted from the program’s second, third and fourth seasons.  That in itself proves to be a positive for audiences.  That is because again, the episodes serve that latent function of showing various examples of the show’s writing over the course of its run.  To that extent, whether intended or not, the episodes play an even larger part in the DVD’s presentation.  When considered with the fact that the episodes do largely follow the DVD’s central title theme, they show even more why they are critical in their own right to the DVD’s presentation.  They are just one of the DVD’s key elements, to note.  The mid-show spacers that are featured with the episodes play their own important part to its whole.

The mid-show separators that are featured with Explore The Outdoors might not seem all that important to the DVD’s presentation on the surface.  However, their addition actually adds to the viewing experience.  Their inclusion with the episodes actually make it feel that much more like audiences are watching the episodes on TV rather than on DVD.  Keeping in mind that counterparts to the series, such as Let’s Go Luna, Curious George, and Arthur all have mid-show separators, but do not include them in the shows’ DVD releases makes for a clearer picture.  It’s an aesthetic element, but an element nonetheless that plays into the set’s presentation, and its inclusion here adds its own share of value to the DVD’s presentation, too.  It is not the last of the DVD’s most important elements, either.  The lessons that are tied into the featured episodes are key, too.

The lessons that are incorporated into the DVD’s featured episodes are important to note in that they will prove familiar to any of the series’ longtime viewers.  “Daniel Feels Two Feelings” presents audiences with yet another lesson about handling our feelings.  That is nothing new to the series, but still as welcome as ever.  “Daniel’s Toy” teaches young viewers that not everybody likes the same things, and that we should not degrade others just because they like different things.  That is a lesson that sadly adults need to learn over again.  The lesson about appreciating the importance of playing quietly and safely that is incorporated into “Daniel Plays In A Gentle Way” is reminiscent of the lesson in another story in while Daniel wanted to play loud, but his friend O The Owl wanted to play quietly.  Again, it is a lesson that deserves reminding.  The other three episodes featured in this DVD all present lessons about the wonder of nature, which will resonate with any child, and hopefully get said children outside and active.  All things considered, each lesson presents its own value and will certainly serve as a solid starting point for discussion between parents and their children about the noted topics.  When this is considered along with the importance of the DVD’s aesthetics and its episodes, the whole of the DVD becomes a presentation that is just as welcome in any family’s home DVD library as its predecessors.

PBS Distribution’s latest addition to its ongoing series of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs, Explore The Outdoors is another successful entry in that series.  It is a presentation that ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment just as much as those DVDs.  That is due in part to its featured episodes, which largely follow the DVD’s title theme.  The mid-show separators that come with the episodes add their own depth to the set’s presentation.  The same can be said of the lessons that are incorporated into the episodes.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD another successful offering that will be welcome in any family’s home library.

More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://pbskids.org/daniel

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

 

 

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 sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ DVD This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution will release a new collection of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes on DVD this fall.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Explore The Outdoors is scheduled for release Sept. 22.  The single-disc collection features six episodes of the beloved series, all of which center on the topic of going outside and appreciating all that the outdoors has to offer.

One of the most notable of the disc’s episodes — “Daniel Explores Nature” — finds Daniel and his parents spending the day outdoors.  Daniel discovers a bird, and in turn learn how birds build their nests.  The bird’s next falls out of the tree, so it’s up to Daniel and his parents to get the nest back in the tree.

“Daniel’s Nature Walk” is another episode featured in the DVD.  This episode’s story follows O the Owl and his uncle X The Owl as the duo goes for a nature walk in the forest.  Along the way, the pair sees all kinds of creatures, such as frogs and worms, and even gets to see a rainbow.

“Daniel Plays in a Gentle Way,” yet another of the DVD’s stories, reminds young viewers about the importance of being careful even when playing.  That lesson is taught as some of Daniel’s friends want to play fast, even though he wants to play slow and safe.

Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodExplore The Outdoors will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  Pre-orders are open now.

More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://pbskids.org/daniel

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

 

 

 

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

‘Arthur: The Ultimate Friendship Collection’ Is A Nearly Complete Success

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Friendship is one of the most important things that people can have in life.  Without friendships we as a species likely would have little chance of survival.  Friendships give us the experiences in life that help us become who we are.  They help keep us going in our highest and lowest points.  That is why they are central to almost every television show and movie ever created.  Early this month, PBS Distribution released a new collection of episodes from PBS/PBS Kids’ hit long-running series Arthur that focuses on the matter of friendship in the form of The Ultimate Friendship Collection.  While not perfect, the three-disc collection is largely a success.  That is due in part to its featured episodes.  They will be discussed shortly.  The episodes tie in to the set’s one negative, its lack of an episode guide.  This will be discussed a little later.  The stories that are featured within the stories add to the set’s appeal and couples with the episodes themselves to give audiences even more to appreciate even despite the concern raised by the lack of an episode guide.  Keeping all of this in mind, the set is one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.

PBS Distribution’s new Arthur box set is easily one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.  That is due in part to the set’s episodes.  The episodes in question take audiences from Season One all the way to Season 21.  It’s not a full series set, considering the series is in its 23rd season (with at least two more seasons already planned), but is still a deeply rich presentation in its own right.  It features specific episodes that focus on different issues of friendship.  There is the matter of teamwork, that of treating others as equals, and even not letting power go to one’s head among much more.  This will all be discussed in more depth later in the discussion on the stories featured in the episodes. Making the matter of the episods even better is that the set runs almost chronologically.  It starts in Season One with the episode “Poor Muffy” and runs all the way to Season 21’s episode, “Muffy Misses Out.”  Now that is not to say that every episode centers on Muffy.  The episodes feature stories that focus on her, Francine, George, Arthur, Buster and the rest of Arthur’s friends (including the Tough Customers) throughout.  Keeping all of this in mind, the episodes that are featured in this in-depth collection form a strong foundation for the set.

While the episodes that are featured in Arthur: The Ultimate Friendship Collection go a long way toward making the set an impressive presentation, the lack of an episode guide to accompany them detracts somewhat from the set’s presentation.  Yes, there are 48 episodes here, and that is a lot.  That is understandable.  Even with that in mind, those responsible for the collection’s assembly could have just as easily printed the corresponding episode titles and disc numbers inside the case, as many companies do with their box sets.  Another option would have been to print a booklet of sorts that outlines the episodes and their corresponding discs.  The added material might have meant the possibility of the set’s average price point of $16.07 (determined by averaging prices at PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – It was not listed through Target and Books-a-Million ) slightly higher, but still would not have made that price a budget breaker.  Yes, it is more of an aesthetic element, but the less time that audiences have to spend trying to decide which disc to watch, the more the enjoyment grows.  But in the case of this set, the episode titles are only available when each disc is played.  There is not even an episode summary.  To that end, this aspect does hurt the set’s presentation.  Luckily, the issues raised by the lack of an episode guide do not do enough damage to make the set a failure.  It is just something that hopefully will be taken into account with the next Arthur box set (or box set from any PBS Kids series).

Putting aside the concerns raised by the lack of any kind of episode guide here, there is still one more element to examine in PBS Distribution’s new Arthur DVD box set.  That element in question is the stories contained within the featured episodes.  As already noted, the episodes all follow the theme of friendship in one way or another, and rarely repeat their themes.  This adds even more appeal to the set.  One of the stories that audiences are sure to appreciate comes in the Season Seven episode “Prunella Sees the Light.”  This episode finds Prunella and her blind friend Marina butting heads after Prunella visits Marina’s house one day.  Prunella brings to light once too often, the fact that Marina is blind.  The problem is that Prunella thinks in her own mind that she is helping Marina.  Marina on the other hand, points out to Prunella that she does not need to be reminded that she is blind and that she is offended when she is treated as anything other than a person.  This is a time honored theme for children’s series (and even to an extent, for grown-up shows).  Saved By The Bell did this many years ago when Zack befriended a young woman in a wheelchair.  Other series have taken similar approaches.  It is a lesson that sadly even now in the 21st century, still bears repeating for audiences of all ages.  Making the episode even more enjoyable for audiences is the blatant spoof of the Harry Potter franchise, of which both young women are part.

“Buster and the Daredevils” (from Season 2) is another key example of what makes the set’s featured stories so important to this set.  It’s another story that focuses on a character other than Arthur, yet is so enjoyable in its own right.  It shows that while Arthur is the series’ title character, some of the best episodes are the ones that do not center on him.  Buster learns in this episode that real friends are those people who like you for you.  Real friends are not people who make you do embarrassing things in order to be accepted.  He learns this after he tries to make friends with one member of The Tough Customers and his own friend because he thinks at first that they are cool.  This is just one of those difficult lessons that everyone learns as part of their development.  It makes this story timeless in its own right.

In yet another important addition to the set, George (another of Arthur’s friends) has to learn the important lesson that it is okay to say no to people.  This happens as Buster keeps asking for everything that George has.  Buster essentially is taking advantage of George and his kindness.  It takes George losing his pencil, his jacket, and even a dessert at lunch one day for him to finally reach his breaking point.  What’s important to note here is that while George does in fact blow his top at one point, he is much calmer in handling Buster.  How he addresses the situation with Buster will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It’s important because it shows it is possible for people to deal with conflict peacefully.  This is just one more of so many ways in which this box set proves such a success.  When all of the set’s stories are considered along with the episodes themselves, they make the set well worth watching.  Again, that is despite the one minor issue of the set’s missing episode guide.  Keeping all of this in mind, Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection proves to be a nearly complete success.

PBS Distribution’s new Arthur DVD box set The Complete Friendship is an impressive presentation that even despite its one negative, is still an enjoyable set.  The success comes mainly from the set’s featured episodes.  The episodes take audiences from Season One to 21.  Not every single episode from the series is featured here (especially considering that the series is in its 23rd season).  Even despite that, the episodes certainly present a rich picture of the series’ beginnings and evolution while also featuring stories that maintain the set’s central theme of friendship.  For all that the episodes do positively for this set, the lack of any episode guide detracts from the set at least to a point.  It does not make the set a failure, but certainly would have added even more to the set’s appeal regardless.  The stories entertain and educate audiences of all ages from one to the next, putting the finishing touch to the set’s presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection a nearly complete success.

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

‘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

 

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: 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.