It’s hard to believe, but there is officially a little more than a week left in the almost old year. For most of the country, it means winter break is here and kids are out of school, getting excited over Christmas and relaxing. That means lots of parents out there are struggling to find ways to entertain their kids and maybe also keep their brains growing at the same time. Phil’s Picks’ final “best of” list for this year will hopefully help with those efforts.
The last of this year’s “best of” lists focuses on the year’s top new single-disc family friendly DVDs and Blu-rays. It features new releases for families from PBS, Shout! Factory, and Nickelodeon, as well as Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network, and even 20th Century Studios. It runs the gamut from the educational to the entertaining, too.
Without any further ado, here is the last of Phil’s Picks’ “best of” lists for 2021, this year’s Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs
Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Animal Rescue
Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island
Molly of Denali: Molly & The Great One
Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows
Victor & Valentino: Folk Art Foes
Ron’s Gone Wrong
Paw Patrol: The Movie
PBS Kids Christmas Collection
Thomas & Friends All Engines Go!: Time For Teamwork
Sesame Street: Things Elmo Likes
Sesame Street: Wonderful World of Friends
Baby Shark’s Big Show!
PBS Kids 15 Girl Power Adventures
That’s it for this year, folks. Again though, there are lots of new titles already announced and scheduled for 2022, so Phil’s Picks is already looking forward to next year for all the new family DVDs and BDs and so much other content. Stay tuned!
Between families and grown-ups, plenty of positive content has been released this year on DVD and Blu-ray in the form of newly released box sets. Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s full series presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Arrow Video’s classic creature feature collection, Cold War Creatures, and the latest collection of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood do well to support the noted statements. Between them and so many others, there is more than enough to create a list of this year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall. Enter Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets.
As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the top 10 titles from this year as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15. There’s already some positive news about new releases coming in the new year about new box sets, but in the meantime, the titles on this list will help people pass the time. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets list.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD BOX SETS
1.Cold War Creatures
2. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series
3. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection
4. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
5. The Watch
6. How To Train Your Dragon: Ultimate Collection
7. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack
8. Jekyll & Hyde
9. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 12
10. Rugrats: The Complete Series
11. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
12. Doom Patrol: Season 2
13. Josie & The Pussycats In Outer Space: The Complete Series
14. Human: The World Within
15. Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series
Okay that it’s for this list. There is still one more list to go for this year. It will come tomorrow in the form of the year’s top new family friendly DVDs/ Stay tuned!
The unofficial start of the annual holiday season is only days away. For those who don’t know, that is a reference to Halloween. As Halloween nears, many are already turning their attention to colder weather and Christmas, including officials with PBS Kids and PBS Distribution. The companies are scheduled to release two new seasonal DVD collections Oct. 19 on DVD in the form of PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids Christmas Collection. The collections, one a double-disc collection and the other a single-disc set, are successful new offerings. Their success comes in part through the episodes featured in the set. This will be examined shortly. While the featured episodes do plenty to keep viewers engaged and entertained, the sets are not perfect. Each collection suffers in the way of their packaging. This element will be examined a little later. The sets’ pricing rounds out their most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collections. All things considered, they make the collections wonderful ways for families to get into the seasonal and holiday spirit.
PBS Kids and PBS Distribution’s upcoming DVD collections, PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids Christmas Collection are mostly successful offerings from the companies. Their success is due in large part to their featured episodes. The episodes are culled from a variety of PBS Kids’ most beloved series past and present, such as Arthur, Splash & Bubbles, and Word World just to name a few. Also featured are episodes from the likes of Let’s Go Luna!, Dinosaur Train, and World World just to name a few more. For the most part, the episodes feature stories that match the collections’ titles, too. The only episode that is out of place is the Dinosaur Train episode, “Cretacious Conifers.” Featured in the 20 Snowy Stories collection, it has no snow or even ice. Yes, there is a mention of the winter solstice at points throughout, but it also focuses heavily on more of a Christmas theme as the story progresses. To that end, it seems more of a fit on the Christmas Collection set. While the Ready Jet Go! episodes featured in the 20 Snowy Stories collection are a little bit of a stretch – they feature Jet and his friends bringing ice back from outer space to beat the summer heat in two separate ways and for two separate reasons – they do at least fit a little bit.
In the case of the Christmas Collection, its episodes are more uniformly in line with its title. One of the most notable of its episodes is “Luna’s Christmas Around the World.” After getting stuck in Antarctica thanks to the captain of the ship on which they are riding, Andy, Carmen and Leo lean from the members of the Circo Fabuloso how Christmas is celebrated in different regions of the world. By the episode’s end, the kids learn the most important lesson of all about Christmas as they finally get the boat working again and leave Antarctica.
WordWorld’s episode, “The Christmas Star” is another of the most notable of the Christmas Collection episodes. The title sounds like something that might present a religious theme, but that could not be farther from the truth. Rather, in this case, Duck is on a search for the Christmas star because it belongs on top of the Christmas tree that he and his friends have put up. Duck wants to use the star as his present to his friends. Of course it has a happy ending that also ties in a basic spelling lesson.
Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas has already been released on a standalone Wild Kratts DVD. That aside, it is still welcome here. In this extended episode, it’s up to Chris, Martin and their friends to save a group of animal babies from Zach Varmitech after he kidnaps the cute, cuddly creatures for use as ornaments on his own metal Christmas tree. As with every other episode in which the guys face off against Zach, they come out on top and get the animals back to the wild and living free. How it happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves if they have not yet seen this special episode. Between this episode, the others examined here and the rest of those in this set and in 20 Snowy Stories, the episodes in whole make for more than enough reason to add these collections to one’s home library. This is the case even though at least one episode is a bit out of place in its collection.
While the episodes featured in these collections form a strong foundation for the sets, the collections are not necessarily perfect. The lack of an episode guide anywhere in the packaging detracts from the presentations to a point. The episode guides are obviously there when audiences put the sets’ discs into their DVD and/or Blu-ray players, but they are not printed anywhere within the packaging. As a result, audiences are forced to figure out and essentially memorize which episodes are aligned with which discs. Yes, this is an aesthetic issue, but it would certainly help the presentation because it would save audiences time and effort in trying to decide which episode(s) they want to watch. Instead of the episodes, the packaging lists the episodes’ sponsors inside the case. That could have been done on the back of each set’s case. This is not enough to make the presentations failures, but certainly would have benefited the sets’ presentations.
Keeping in mind that the lack of episode guides in the set is not enough to completely ruin them, there is one more positive to address. It comes in the form of the collections’ pricing. The average price point for PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories is $7.95. Rounded up, it is a mere $8.00. That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. Books-A-Million and PBS are the only retailers that exceed that price point, while the majority of the others list the double-disc collection at either $6.95 or $6.99. Best Buy lists the collection at $7.99, which while a few cents over the average, is still right in line with the average price point. Considering the amount of content featured across the set and the representation of the PBS Kids shows, that affordable price point definitely proves positive and money well-spent.
The average price point for PBS Kids: Christmas Collection is $11.33. That price was reached by averaging prices at the noted retailers. Amazon’s listing of $29.99 is either an anomaly or just outright incorrect, but for the most part, it is listed between $6.69 and $9.99, with a middle ground of $7.99, listed through Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Books-A-Million and PBS each list the single-disc set at $9.99. Walmart and Target each have the least expensive listing, at $6.69. Yet again, these prices are mostly such that they will not break anyone’s budget. Knowing how much content even this set features, that knowledge makes purchasing the set even more encouraging, too. Keeping in mind the affordability noted in each set along with the content featured in each collection, those elements make the sets well worth owning and successes in their own right. That is even with the issue of the lack of episode guides in mind. One becomes one more of this year’s top new family DVDs and BDs while the other more than earns its spot among the year’s top new family DVD and BD box sets.
PBS Kids and PBS Distribution’s forthcoming seasonal/holiday DVD sets, 20 Snowy Stories and Christmas Collection are successful new offerings from the companies. Their success comes in large part through their featured episodes. The episodes largely follow the theme of each set’s title. They also teach important lessons within the stories. That education and entertainment that they offer is sure to keep audiences engaged and entertained. While the episodes are the key point of the collections, the lack of any episode guide in either set detracts from the sets’ presentation to a point. It is not enough to make the sets failures, but still does hurt them to a point. Keeping in mind the breadth and depth of the content featured in each set, the sets’ pricing proves positive, too. That is because their pricing proves so affordable for the most part. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the collections. All things considered, they make each set successful by themselves and collectively.
PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids: Christmas Collection are scheduled for release Oct. 19. More information on these and other titles from PBS Kids is available online at:
PBS Kids’ animated series Molly of Denali has been in the news a lot in the past year or so. The series’ fans got good news about the show back in April when WGHB and PBS Kids announced that more than two years after its launch, the series will get a second season. According to the information provided at the time, the award-winning series is set to premiere its second season “in Fall 2021.” The announcement came only months after PBS Kids released an extensive collection of Season One episodes in the form of Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures. Its released was followed up last month with the release of the show’s first single-disc presentation, Molly and the Great One. The DVD is another wonderful presentation from PBS Kids and WGBH that audiences of all ages will enjoy. The presentation’s positives begin with its primary content, which is the hour-long episode, “Molly and the Great One.” It will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that accompanies the main feature builds on the appeal created through the main content. It will be discussed a little later. Considering the content in terms of its breadth and depth, it makes the DVD’s pricing key in its own way. To that end, this item will also receive its own attention here, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the presentation one of the best of the year’s new family DVDs/BDs.
PBS Kids and WGBH’s recently released DVD presentation, Molly of Denali: Molly and the Great One is a wonderful new presentation from PBS Kids and WGBH. As with its predecessor, this first-ever single disc collection from the series (the first collection was a double-disc set) offers a lot for audiences to like, beginning with its primary content. In this case the primary content is the hour-long episode, “Molly and the Great One.” The episode serves as what would appear to be the season finale for the first season of Molly of Denali. There is a lot going on in the story, but it is all woven together so seamlessly. The central story finds Molly and her friend Tooey joining Molly’s Grandpa Nat as he and Molly’s dad, Walter, make their way up Mount Denali, North America’s tallest mountain. The journey happens because Molly wants to help Grandpa Nat achieve a lifelong dream, a bucket list item so to speak. Everyone has their own bucket list, so to that end, this is a starting point that will make it easy for even grown-ups to relate to this story. Also along for the hike is the internet celebrity Mac McFadden. Meanwhile, Molly’s other friend Trini is finally – albeit temporarily – reunited with her mother back in town. Her mom ends up playing her own important part in what happens on Mount Denali, too. Obviously everything has a happy ending. That goes without saying. What is really interesting here is the clear cultural divide between Molly’s father and grandfather, and Mac. Mac is a solid representation of not only today’s internet celebrity culture, but also of so much American culture, specifically of white Americans of European descent. Case in point is when Nat and Walter warn Mac to not try to get to the mountain’s peak alone during a major snowstorm. Like the fool that he is, he ignores their warning, leading to the noted role that Trini’s mom ends up playing. Mac’s behavior – that machismo, that refusal to listen to wiser people who know the land – is so representative of how dismissive Americans of European descent have been to people of other ethnicities for centuries, and it is fully deserved. The writers are to be commended for taking on this matter and doing so without being preachy about it in the process.
Getting back to Trini’s story, while it is secondary, it is still an important part of the story in its own right. In this case, it is revealed that Trini’s mom is a helicopter pilot. It should be obvious from here how she plays into what happens atop Mount Denali later in the story. She works with the military to a certain extent. This means that she is gone a lot, which would explain why it is the first time that audiences have seen her this season. By showing the dynamic between parent and child here, it serves as a certain representation for those children whose parents serve in the military, whether full-time or as reservists. It helps those children watching this program to see that they are not alone, and that they will be okay, even as emotionally tough as it may be to not have that parent there all the time. To that end, it is a great addition to the story that works both as its own strong standalone story and as an equally enjoyable addition to the primary story. Keeping all of this in mind, the main story featured here does a lot to make the DVD’s main story enjoyable and engaging. While it does so much to keep viewers engaged and entertained, it is only one of the DVD’s positives. The bonus content (of sorts) that accompanies the main feature is also of note.
The bonus content that is featured in this new DVD is actually composed of more episodes from Season 1. For those who perhaps do not keep up with Molly of Denali, its current lone season (thankfully Season 2 is coming…allegedly) is composed of 38 episodes, each episode being composed of two separate stories. Last year’s double-disc release, Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures featured 16 of those episodes. That is just under half the season. This DVD presents another four episodes, putting the total count now to more than half of the season’s episodes. Even more impressive is that the stories featured in this DVD are not carry-overs from the previous collection. They are all previously unreleased on DVD. Yes, it’s sad that the entirety of Season One hasn’t been released to DVD, but maybe that will come sooner rather than later. In the meantime, having these additional stories along with the mass of stories featured in the previously released box set should make any fan of Molly of Denali happy. From making a journey to one of her people’s important cultural events in “Canoe Journey,” to adopting a frog in “Froggy of Denali,” to trying to save Trini’s garden from the work of some beavers in “Busy Beavers,” and more, the stories here offer entertainment for audiences of all ages. Keeping these stories in mind along with the fact that technically, “Molly and the Great One” is in fact technically just another episode (just in hour-long format), and it makes the whole that much more appealing for audiences. Considering the content and depth therein of this DVD’s content, the presentation’s pricing proves to be its own positive worth discussing.
The average price point of Molly of Denali: Molly and the Great One is $9.02. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. Believe it or not, while PBS often has the most expensive of listings for its DVDs, that is not the case with this case. As a matter of fact, its listing of $9.99 is also not the least expensive, but is the most commonly occurring price. In this case, Walmart’s listed price of $11.80 is the most expensive. Amazon and Target’s listing of $6.69 is the least expensive. Looking at these prices, that they are mostly less than $10 (technically right at $10 or a little more counting tax, and shipping and handling for online ordering), the DVD clearly will not break any viewer’s budget. Those who are able to find the DVD in store will not have to pay that noted S&H, meaning the prices will be what they are. To that end, it makes those less expensive listings that much more appealing. Either way, the pricing for this DVD is largely positive. That is especially considering the amount of content featured between the DVD’s primary and bonus content and the depth therein. When this is considered along with the content, the whole makes the DVD that much more of a win for all involved.
PBS Kids and WGBH’s recently released Molly of Denali DVD, Molly and the Great One is a wonderful new collection of episodes from the series. It is another great way for fans to pass the time as they wait for the show’s alleged second season to premiere “this fall.” The DVD’s success is shown in large part through its main feature, the hour-long story which bears the DVD’s title. The story is fully immersive, engaging and entertaining. That is thanks to the writing and acting alike. The bonus content that accompanies the main feature is actually more episodes from the series’ lone season. That content and the main feature, which is actually Season One’s finale, bring audiences even more episodes from Season One along with last year’s box set. Considering the content featured here and its depth, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. That is because it is largely so affordable, even when ordered online with shipping and handling. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the best of this year’s new family DVDs/BDs.
Molly of Denali: Molly and the Great One is available now. More information on PBS Kids and WGBH’s new Molly of Denali DVD is available along with games, activities, printables and more at:
PBS Kids is doing its part to honor its female viewers with a new DVD. The DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures, was released Sept. 7 through PBS Distribution. The episodes featured in this collection –15 in all as the DVD’s title notes – are the main strength for the presentation. While the episodes are important in their own right, the very fact that they are centered on just female audiences detracts notably from the DVD’s presentation. It will be discussed a little later. For those audiences willing to overlook this shortcoming, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. When it is considered along with the episodes featured herein, the DVD proves far from perfect, but still entertaining enough.
PBS Kids’ recently released compilation DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is an intriguing offering from the network. The DVD’s primary strength comes in its featured episodes. The episodes lift from the majority of PBS Kids’ series. There are some omissions, though (E.g. Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, Curious George, etc.) but by and large, the episodes pull from a respectable amount of the networks’ shows. Arthur is represented through the episode, “Muffy’s New Best Friend.” The story here finds Muffy and Francine learning a valuable lesson about friendship even when two people have differing opinions on things, and that those differences can actually help friendships grow. It is a familiar topic that will appeal not only to young females, but to audiences in general. This leads to the aforementioned discussion on the DVD’s one main shortcoming, which will be addressed shortly. Molly of Denali’s episode, “Stand Back Up” finds Molly learning a valuable lesson about pushing on through failings in any situation in life when she learns how to ski. Once again, here is a show that yes, is centered on a female character, but with a lesson that applies to girls and boys, men and women alike. Again, it leans toward the DVD’s noted concern. On yet another note, Let Go Luna!’s episode, “Aren’t We A Pair” centers on Carmen and her Egyptian friend Leyla and their search for their pets. The friendship element is there, but as with so many episodes of the family favorite series, the episode is more about promoting multiculturalism, which is wonderful in its own right. The thing is that the series focuses not just on a girl, but a group of friends (two boys and a girl, plus Luna, who is female). The story is a great way to teach and learn about culture in Egypt. Again, it will appeal just as much to boys as it will girls. It is one more way to show the importance of the DVD’s episodes to the disc’s presentation. That is done as it pulls from yet another of so many PBS Kids series. On the other hand it is yet another example of how problematic the DVD is in the bigger picture.
While the episodes featured in this disc make for plenty of appeal, the very fact that they will appeal to boys and girls alike as well as men and women alike, it makes the very presentation format extremely problematic. As noted, the stories and lessons that are presented in the majority of this DVD’s featured episodes will appeal to and connect with boys as well as girls. Add in that the fact that many of the shows from which the episodes are pulled are examples of PBS and PBS Kids’ long-running tradition of trying to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities and it just makes the whole presentation seem like a knee-jerk reaction from someone or some people at PBS and PBS Kids. Given again, a show, such as Molly of Denali is centered on a young girl, but the stories and lessons involve her as well as her friends, who are male and female. Even a “newer” series, such as Elinor Wonders Why is centered not on just its titular character, but on her and her friends, who are male and female alike. Once again, the diversity is evident in the episodes and their lessons. That has been a trademark of PBS Kids shows for such a long time. It just leads one to wonder why someone would even take the time to try and release a collection of episodes that it claims are “Girl Power” adventures. The very approach is counter to everything for which PBS Kids has come to be known. It is really disconcerting. Even with the concern raised by the DVD’s very presentation, there is at least one more positive to examine, and that is its pricing.
The average price point for 15 Girl Power Adventures is $8.22. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS. The DVD was not listed through Books-A-Million at the time of the DVD’s review. An average price point of less than $10 for a DVD that for the most part will appeal to boys just as much as girls and that pulls from so many of PBS Kids’ shows new and old alike is not bad at all. Adding to the appeal is that for the most part, the separate listings are below that price point, save for PBS’ own listing of $9.99 and (surprisingly) that of Walmart, at $12.37. Target actually has the least expensive listing this time out at only $4.99. Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99 while Best Buy is not the best buy at $7.99. So in looking at these prices, the overall pricing really is not bad. It will not break any viewer’s budget. So taking that into account with the DVD’s content, the whole makes for at least some appeal even despite the incongruous nature of the content with the DVD’s title. Keeping this in mind, the DVD is problematic. There is no denying this matter. At the same time, it is not a complete failure.
PBS Kids/PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is hardly the best presentation that the company and its home distribution arm have ever released. At the same time it is not the worst, either. The DVD succeeds largely because of its episodes and their stories. The episodes pull from a healthy cross section of PBS Kids’ shows. The stories and their lessons will connect to boys just as much as girls because despite the DVD’s title, they are not centered just on females and will relate not only to girls, either. This leads to the DVD’s one major shortcoming, its titling. The DVD’s title markets the presentation as being “girl power,” but as noted the episodes are largely a continued display of PBS Kids’ successful efforts to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities without being preachy. Keeping that in mind, there really was no reason for any branch of PBS to present such a DVD since it has always treated males and females, blacks, whites, and otherwise equally. While this is clearly problematic, it is not enough to make the DVD a total failure. The DVD’s overall pricing proves positive, considering the amount of content presented therein. The pricing will, for the most part, not break any viewer’s budget. That selling point (no pun intended) along with the content is just enough to save the DVD. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD problematic but not a total failure.
15 Girl Power Adventures is available now. More information on this and other titles from PBS Kids is available along with all of the network’s latest news at:
Paramount Pictures’ Jurassic Park franchise is a hugely successful series of movies. That goes without saying. The property has spawned five movies with a sixth on the way next year. There is also a lego-based series on Nickelodeon and a series of related kid-friendly video games. It has even spawned any number of second-rate knock offs from so many independent studios that are anything but memorable. It really speaks to the franchise’s popularity and longevity. This past April, the franchise’s popularity was shown even more when PBS and PBS Kids aired a new Dinosaur Train “movie” in the form of Adventure Island. Unlike all of those noted knock-offs, this take on the Jurassic Park franchise this take is completely entertaining. That is thanks to its story, which will be discussed shortly. The bonus episodes that accompany the “movie” make the movie’s home presentation appealing in their own right. Considering that content featured in this DVD, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right. Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.
PBS Distribution’s home release of Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is a welcome new addition to the show’s ongoing series of DVDs. It is so enjoyable that there is no doubt it deserves a spot on the list of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs. The DVD’s appeal comes in large part through its main feature, its almost hour-long “movie,” Adventure Island. As has been noted, the “movie” is a spoof of the movies in the Jurassic Park franchise. In this story, the Pteranodon family is invited to Adventure Island, a theme part island populated by a bunch of robot dinosaurs and filled with what are supposed to be fun rides. The robotic dinosaurs are powered by steam, and when unexpectedly go wrong with some of the island’s systems, the dinosaurs get too hot and end up going haywire. Fittingly, it is up to the Pteranodon kids – Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy – as well as the park’s employees to set things right and get the automatons working right again. The head of the whole operation denies the problems at first, but eventually admits something is wrong, leading to the eventual happy ending. While the story is clearly a lifting from the Jurassic Park franchise, it is still its own story. That originality — and the very fact that unlike the Jurassic Park movies, this movie is family friendly – makes for even more appeal.
The story’s pacing plays into the presentation, too. It ensures the story plays out fluidly from beginning to end. The result of the attention to that item is that it ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment in its own right. Keeping that in mind along with the story’s very presentation, the whole shows clearly why this main feature is so important to the DVD’s presentation. It is just one part of what makes the DVD so appealing. The bonus episodes that accompany the main feature add their own enjoyment to the whole.
The bonus episode, “Junior Conductor’s Academy” stands out because it marks the first time that the series has taken on the issue of autism. It joins the likes of Arthur, Hero Elementary, and Sesame Street to focus on the matter as the Pteranodon kids go to the Junior Conductor’s Academy and meet a new dino friend named Dennis. Dennis is autistic, but at no point do the show’s writers bring extra attention to this matter. Rather, they ensure that the Pteranodon kids treat Dennis just like he is one of them. In other words, the writers have normalized the condition rather than pointing it out. This is actually something hugely important. It is important because in reality, pointing out such a condition and bringing that added attention can in fact do more emotional and mental harm than good for someone who is autistic. It can actually be in advertently turned more into a stigma even if one’s attentions in pointing out the condition are honorable. The same applies to anyone with any handicap, whether mental or physical. Just like someone in a wheelchair does not want special attention or accommodations, but to be treated like a person first and foremost, so would a person with autism want to be treated as a person first and foremost. That is exactly what the writers have done here. The writers are to be highly commended for that approach, just like the writers on the other noted shows for their approaches.
The second bonus episode, “Rollin’ on the Riverboat,” is completely opposite from “Junior Conductor’s Academy.” In the case of this episode, the Pteranodon family takes a trip along a river on a paddle wheel boat. The kids learn about the animals that call the river ecosystem home. This lesson stands out because for so much of the series, the focus on aquatic life has been in the ocean or at a beach setting. So for the family to go down a more contained aquatic setting and learn about its ecosystem is a major change of pace for the series. The show’s writers are to be commended just as much for this switch-up as for the approach taken to “Junior Conductor’s Academy.” There is even a musical number that, in its own way, pays tribute to the one and only Tina Turner and one of her greatest songs. Audiences will be left to take in this moment for themselves. Along the way, the passengers even meet a giant dinosaur that they thought was only a myth, leading to a lesson about another dinosaur, which is sure to engage audiences of all ages even more. The combination of these two fully engaging and entertaining bonus episodes enhances the viewing experience even more. When that impact is considered along with the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the DVD’s main feature, the whole shows the DVD’s content as one large whole that makes the DVD well worth the purchase. Considering the content featured in this DVD and its impact on the viewing experience, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right.
The average price point for Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is right at $8.00. That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. Considering that the average price point is less than $10 speaks volumes, considering how much content is offered in this DVD and its ability to keep viewers engaged and entertained. It is definitely something in itself that will encourage audiences to purchase the DVD. The least expensive listing is through Amazon and Target, at only $5.89. PBS, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD on the high end (so to speak) at $9.99. Walmart lists the DVD at $6.27, just above that lowest listing from Amazon and Target. Best Buy’s listing of $7.99 serves as the mid-range price. Looking at all of these prices, only three exceed the average price point, and Best Buy’s listing is the only one that even reaches that point. Walmart, Target, and Amazon all offer relatively affordable prices that will not break anyone’s budget by any means. Again, considering the amount of content featured in this DVD and that content’s ability to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment, it makes those prices all the more appealing. Keeping that in mind, it shows why it is just as important to examine as the DVD’s content. All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.
PBS Distribution’s recently released Dinosaur Train DVD, Adventure Island is yet another impressive offering for the while family. It continues to show why the series is such a beloved property in part through its main feature. The main feature is a nearly hour-long story that uses the beloved Jurassic Park franchise as its inspiration, while keeping the story family friendly at the same time. That blend of originality and familiarity pairs with the story’s family friendly nature to make the story so enjoyable in itself. The two bonus episodes make for their own entertainment because they are unlike one another and unlike the main feature. Considering the content and its impact, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. The pricing comes in largely at less than $10 both in terms of the average price point and the separate listings. In other words, it will not break any viewer’s budget. Keeping that in mind, the pricing works with the DVD’s content to offer audiences even more motivation to own this presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the year’s top new Family DVDs/BDs.
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is available now. More information on Dinosaur Train is available online now along with lots of activities, printables, videos and more at:
Fans of the hit PBS Kids series, Wild Kratts, got a special treat late last month. The surprise came in the form of the new DVD, Cats and Dogs. Released July 27, the single-disc compilation is another positive new offering for the series’ fans from PBS Distribution, PBS, and PBS Kids. The DVD’s success comes in no small part through its featured episodes’ stories, which will be discussed shortly. The lessons tied in to the stories add their own appeal to the DVD’s presentation and will be discussed a little later. All of this writing content makes for plenty of reason for audiences to take in this recently released DVD. Taking into account the engagement and entertainment ensured through all of that writing, it makes the DVD’s average price point its own positive worth noting. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs a presentation that will appeal just as much to every Wild Kratts fan as to cat and dog lovers.
PBS Distribution’s latest Wild Kratts DVD release, Cats and Dogs will unite lovers of each furry, four-legged friend and fans of the series. That is proven in part through its featured episodes’ stories. The stories, four in all, each stay true to the theme of the DVD’s title. The DVD’s nearly hour-long title feature finds Chris and Martin presenting the many breeds of canines and felines that inhabit so many parts of the world while Aviva tries to make up her mind if she is on “team cat” or “team dog.” Audiences who have not yet seen this feature will be left to find out her decision for themselves. “Spots in the Desert,” the DVD’s second episode find Chris and Martin following a mother Ocelot and her cubs in the Sonoran Desert. Ocelots, for those who might not know, are part of the cat family, proving again how the stories follow the theme of the DVD’s title. Dog lovers get their turn here in “Adapto The Coyote” as the guys find out all of the places where coyotes call home while also dealing once again with the vile Zack Varmitech as he tries to shoo coyotes from near his mansion. “Little Howler,” the DVD’s closing episode, follows its titular character, a baby wolf (wolves are in the dog family), as it grows up. The episodes are lifted from the series’ first, sixth, and 18th seasons, making for a nice cross section of the series over the course of its run. Keeping all of this in mind, the episode featured in this set and their stories form a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation. Building on that foundation are the lessons tied to the episodes.
For the most part, the lessons that the stories teach are basic biology lessons. As already noted, “Adapto The Coyote” finds Chris, Martin, and their friends learning about all of the places in which coyotes live around the world. This is a lesson about how coyotes have adapted to the changes in the world around them in order to survive. At the same time, audiences also learn here about how coyotes communicate with one another through their various calls. “Spots in the Desert” presents another very basic lesson that will connect easily with younger audiences. It is a lesson about ocelots’ habitats, much like the lesson presented in “Adapto The Coyote.” “Little Howler” also presents a basic lesson, this time about how wolves socialize. The big lesson here comes in the form of the DVD’s title presentation. In the case here, the guys have to stop Zack once again. This time, they have to stop him from taking a bunch of big dog and cat cubs and trying to sell them to people as pets. The illegality of selling wild and exotic animals is no joke, and this “movie” brooches that subject on a very basic level that, again, young audiences can understand. It does that while also introducing the very many breeds and wild cats and dogs that inhabit the world. This is not the first time that Zack has ever trapped animals for his own nefarious means. One of the series’ holiday episodes found him kidnapping various animals to use as decorations on a giant metal Christmas tree. He has also tried kidnapping animals to help one of his fellow villains, Donita Donata. In this case though, again, is that all important message about the illegality of capturing and selling exotic animals. This is a topic that is in the news countless times every year. To that end, it is a subject on which audiences need to be educated even at a young age so that as they get older, they will have that understanding instilled. Keeping all of this in mind, there is no doubt as to the importance of the stories’ lessons. Considering the importance of the stories and their lessons, there is a lot of positive content to like here. That content makes the DVD’s fully affordable average price point its own positive.
The average price point for Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is $5.60. that price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, PBS’ store, and VideoETA. For those who might be unfamiliar with VideoETA, it is a very reliable source. Its listing of $3.85 is in fact the least expensive of all of the listings. Books-A-Million does not have the DVD listed. PBS and Barnes & Noble Booksellers have the most expensive listings, at $6.99. Looking at this, the prices do not even come close to the $10 mark. Even buying online, shipping and handling likely will not push the DVD’s price to that point, either, regardless of retailer. So to that point, this DVD is an affordable offering regardless of the retailer. The price that consumers will pay regardless of retailers is also worth it considering the content featured within the DVD. All things considered, the DVD proves to be a work that will unite lovers of cats, dogs, and Wild Kratts alike.
Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is another positive collection of Wild Kratts episodes from PBS Distribution, PBS, and PBS Kids. Its success comes in part through the stories presented in its featured episodes. The stories each follow the DVD’s title theme. The lessons that are connected to the stories make for their own appeal. That is because they are easily accessible for younger audiences. Considering the content featured in this DVD and its depth, the whole makes the DVD’s average price point appealing in its own right. That price point will not break any consumer’s budget, even taking into account shipping and handling for those who prefer to buy the DVD online. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will get two thumbs and four paws up. Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is available now.
More information on Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs is available online along with all of the latest Wild Kratts news and games online at:
Fans of PBS Kids’ reboot of The Berenstain Bears will finally get to own the series in whole on DVD starting next week. PBS Distribution is scheduled to release the series’ entire three-season run March 23 on a five-disc set. The collection is largely a positive presentation thanks to its packaging, which will be discussed shortly. While the packaging plays well into the set’s appeal, the collection is not perfect. Its lack of any episode listing detracts from its appeal. This will be discussed a little later. The set’s pricing pairs with the content and packaging to make for its own appeal. When all three items are considered together, the set in whole becomes a work that is still among the best of this year’s new family DVD/BD box sets.
PBS Distribution and Nelvana’s forthcoming release of The Berenstain Bears is a presentation that families will largely welcome. That is due in large part to the set’s packaging. The packaging is important to note because of the space that it saves on consumers’ DVD and BD racks. The case is the size of that which contains a single disc presentation, yet it contains five discs safely and ergonomically inside. What’s interesting is that while the new set spreads the episodes across five discs, the series’ three standalone season sets collectively spread the series across six discs, so one can only assume that some compression or something else took place in order to eliminate one disc. Either that or it simply turned out in the end that six discs were not needed in order to contain all 40 episodes. Each episode had two episodes, leading to the 80 stories noted on the box’s cover. A check of the episodes against a full listing through Wikipedia reveals that all 40 episodes are in fact presented across the set’s discs. So all in all, audiences get in this packaging, the full three season run of The Berenstain Bears in one box that is equal to that of one of the series’ three standalone sets. In other words, audiences get the whole series in a space-saving setting. It makes for a strong start for the presentation.
The packaging used for The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Collection is unquestionably a positive for the set’s presentation. While the packaging is such a strong positive for the set’s presentation, the collection is not perfect. The problem arises in the realization that there is no listing anywhere in- or outside of the box to note which episodes are on which discs. It is a minor aesthetic issue on the surface, but on a deeper level, it means audiences will have to either take time memorizing the points at which the seasons split across the discs or they will just have to take time going through the episode listings on the discs. The displeasure that audiences will feel at having to go through the discs is certain to detract from the enjoyment. To the good, at least the series ran only three seasons, so audiences will not have to go through but so much content to find the episodes that they want to watch. To that end, while the lack of an episode listing does detract from the collection’s presentation, it does not make the set a failure. The set’s pricing works with its content and packaging to make it an overall success.
The average price point for The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Collection is $18.52 That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS. Interestingly enough, Target has the set listed twice at two completely different prices. The listings are for the same set, not divided between the 1985 series set and 2003 series set. Why Target would post the 2003 series set is anyone’s guess. Regardless, both listings are well below the average price point, at $16.59 and $14.199. Amazon and Best Buy each list the collection below the average price point, too, at $16.59 and 17.99. Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS each list the set above the average at $19.99 and $24.99 respectively. Looking at all of these prices, it goes without saying that the collection is relatively affordable for the most part. By and large, audiences will find themselves paying less than $20 for three seasons of content presented chronologically and ergonomically in their new package. All in all, The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Collection proves to be among the best of this year’s new family DVD/BD box sets.
PBS Distribution and Nelvana’s forthcoming release of The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Series is a presentation that any family will welcome by and large. That is due in large part to the set’s packaging. Audiences get all three seasons (40 episodes) of the 2003 series in one normal size DVD case. It is not some bulky box that takes up so much space. Rather, it will replace all but one of the standalone sets that families might own. That is because the case is, again, that normal, even containing five discs. While the packaging does a lot to make this collection so appealing, the lack of an episode listing to help audiences save time does detract from the set’s presentation to a point. Luckily it is not enough to make the set a failure. Keeping that in mind, there is one more positive to note, the set’s pricing. By and large, the collection’s pricing is relatively affordable, coming in at less than $20. Yes, there are a couple of listings that exceed that point, but for the most part, the collection’s pricing proves positive in its own right. When it is considered along with the set’s packaging and full series content presentation, the collection proves itself a welcome presentation in any family’s home DVD/BD library. The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Collection is scheduled for release Tuesday.
More information on The Berenstain Bears: The Complete Collection is available along with all of the latest Berenstain Bears news at:
Fred Rogers may have been an ordained Presbyterian minister, but considering the very real miracles that he performed for peoples’ lives during his own life, it goes without saying that he deserves some kind of special sainthood. Most of those miracles were performed daily on his beloved television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The series’ miracles came thanks to the invaluable life lessons that the show taught. From dealing with the wide range of emotions that we all go through, to handling interactions with family and friends in various situations, to even more simple topics such as how things are made and work, the series connected with – and continues to connect with – generations of audiences. That is especially thanks to the efforts of the people at PBS Distribution. The company has already released two multi-disc collections of episodes from the series and one single-disc collection since 2018. The company added to that already expansive collection of episodes Feb. 9 with the release of another impressive collection dubbed Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection. The collection impresses so much in part due to its featured episodes. They will be addressed shortly. The set’s packaging adds an aesthetic touch that audiences will appreciate, too. The set’s average price point rounds out its most important elements. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the collection. All things considered, they make the collection one of this year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.
PBS Distribution’s latest collection of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episodes is another presentation that any family will welcome into its home. Just as with the previous two box sets and single-disc collection already released, this collection stands out in part because of its featured episodes. The episodes in question pull from a span of more than 20 years (1979-2000) just as is the case with the series’ two other DVD sets. In the case of this collection, the episodes largely follow the overlying theme of meeting new friends, just in various ways. Those friends are both two-legged and four. The two-legged friends range from supermarket workers to musicians, to librarians. None of the episodes featured in this collection are repeats from its predecessor sets. However, there are some continuations for some. Case in point is episode #1498, “Mister Rogers Talks About Pets.” It compliments episode #1499, which is a continuation of the pet talk. Episode #1499 is featured in the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood collection, Would You Be Mine Collection. Episodes #1526, 1527, and 1529, all of which run under the title, “Mister Rogers Talks About Work” are all featured in the new set. They accompany episode #1530, also “Mister Rogers Talks About Work,” which is also in the aforementioned collection. These are just some of the episodes that continue in this new collection. There are many others that connect back to the set’s predecessors, so families who own those other sets now have even more reason to own this set. Between that and the fact that the collection’s episodes do, again, largely follow the central theme in the set’s title, there is all the more appeal. It forms a solid foundation for the new set, and is just one of the set’s most important elements. The set’s packaging adds to its appeal.
The packaging used for the Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection is important primarily for the episode listing therein. Every episode featured in this collection is outlined inside the case. It is printed on the inside of the box’s art in the form of a brief, but concise summary of each episode. What’s more, the episodes are listed within their respective discs. This inclusion means that families will have to spend less time trying to decide which episode(s) to watch and trying to find them. It may just be an aesthetic element, but in the bigger picture, the fact that it will help audiences navigate the set more easily means it will increase enjoyment of the set that much more, just in a different fashion than that which the content ensures. Adding to the discussion here is the fact that this is not the first time that PBS Distribution has gone this route. The company took the same route with the series’ first two DVD sets, so this is just a continuation of a positive track that PBS Distribution has already been riding so to speak. It still is not the last of the set’s most notable elements. The collection’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.
The average price point of PBS Distribution’s new Mister Rogers’ Neighorhood DVD collection is $15.88. That price is obtained by averaging listings at Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS. The set was not listed through Amazon, Target, and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting. PBS’ listing of $19.99 is the most expensive of the available listings, while Walmart’s price point of $13.55 is the least expensive. Barnes & Noble Booksellers lists the set at $15.99 while Best Buy lists it at $13.99. Looking at these prices, two exceed the average, but not by much, while the other two listings are well below that number. The prices basically range between $14 and $20. So regardless of which retailer audiences choose, they will not break their budgets. What’s more paying any of the noted prices also means viewers will once again get their money’s worth, considering the amount of content spread across the collection. Adding even more, no matter which retailer consumers choose, PBS will once again benefit financially so that it can continue to provide such great content to audiences. When this is taken into account with the set’s content and packaging, all three elements combine to make the Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection one of the early candidates for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new family DVD/BD box sets.
PBS Distribution’s new Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episode collection, Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection is another presentation that audiences of all ages will appreciate and enjoy. That is due in part to its episodes, which connect to the series’ previous collections. They also are not just repeats of the episodes in those sets. What’s even more, they largely follow the central theme of the set’s title. The packaging adds to the set’s appeal for aesthetic reasons, while the average and separate prices will hardly break any viewer’s budget. Considering the amount of content in this collection, the set’s price becomes even more appealing. Each item noted is clearly important in its own way to the collection. All things considered, these elements make the Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection a must for any family that is also one of this year’s best new family DVD/BD box sets. The Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection is available now.
More information on the DVD set is available along with all of the latest Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood news online at:
Fans of PBS Kids’ animated series Hero Elementary received some welcome news this week. Officials with the broadcasting company announced Wednesday, that the series will air new episodes during the week of March 29. If information researched is to be believed, the upcoming episodes are a continuation of the series’ debut season, which launched almost a year ago. While audiences wait for the premiere of the new episodes, they can enjoy a handful of already premiered episodes in the series’ first-ever DVD, Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! The DVD is a positive home entertainment debut for the series, thanks in part to its featured episodes. This item will be discussed shortly. The lessons that are featured in each episode are important in their own right to the whole of the DVD’s presentation, too. They will be discussed a little later. Keeping all of the noted content in mind, it makes the DVD’s average price point money well-spent. This 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 Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! a successful first home release from Hero Elementary.
Hero Elementary’s debut DVD, Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! is a positive first offering from what is one of PBS Kids’ newest programs. It is a presentation that will appeal to audiences of all ages. That is due in no small part to the single-disc presentation’s featured episodes. The collection is composed of approximately 10 episodes, all of which are featured in Hero Elementary’s debut season. The episodes are definitely not featured in chronological order, but that is okay. That is because all 10 episodes actually do follow the central theme of the DVD’s title. Given, not every episode necessarily deals with pets per se, but they do all focus on the central theme of animals. To that end, maybe the DVD’s title should have replaced the word “pet” with the more generic term “animal.” Regardless, that the episodes all follow one overarching theme in their stories is itself laudable.
Staying on the topic of the episodes’ stories, each story gives audiences something different. “Turtle Beach” for instance finds the kids cleaning up a local waterfront where a turtle has laid her eggs. This episode presents a pair of lessons that will be addressed a little later. On another hand, “The Feed for Speed” finds Sparks’ Crew’s “mascot” Fur Blur competing an animal competition with other “mascots” at the young superheroes’ school. It presents its own important lesson that will also be discussed later. “Bugging Out” takes on the familiar science fiction/superhero trope of the protagonist getting shrunken. In this case, it happens accidentally. Audiences will be left to find out for themselves how it happens and how the kids get out of their predicament. Between this episode, the others noted here and the others featured in the DVD, it should be clear by now why the episodes featured in this DVD are so important to its presentation. They form a solid foundation for the DVD in dual fashion. Enhancing that foundation are the lessons that each episode teaches.
The lessons that are taught in the featured episodes are not relegated to just the topic of animal care. “Turtle Beach” for instance presents an ecological lesson when Mr. Sparks’ students clean up the beach. It is not just to look out for the baby turtles who hatch at the story’s end, but to care for the planet. This is done in a non-preachy fashion, too, making it well-placed into the story. The lesson in “Feed For Speed” is one of the importance of proper pet care. Young viewers learn how important it is to make sure our furry, four-legged friends are properly fed and cared for. They learn through this episode, the importance of taking that responsibility seriously when Fur Blur struggles through the school’s animal superhero contest. It is yet another important lesson that bears repeating for any child wanting a pet. Children need to understand that it’s not all just fun and games. “What You Don’t See,” which comes late in the DVD’s presentation, teaches the all-too-familiar lesson about how animals use camouflage for survival. The lesson is learned as the kids have to save a wild horse. It is just one more way in which the various lessons featured in the DVD prove their importance to the collection’s presentation. When they and the rest of the featured lessons are considered along with the episodes and their stories, that depth and breadth of content leaves no doubt that audiences of all ages will remain engaged and entertained throughout this collection’s two-hour-plus run time. Now, keeping all of this in mind, that certainty means the DVD’s average price point is money well-spent.
The average price point of Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! is $8.39. That number was obtained by averaging listings at Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store. The DVD was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting. What is interesting here is that save for PBS’ listing of $9.99, $7.99 was the most commonly occurring listing. It showed up at each of the other noted retailers. While PBS’ listing exceeds the average price point, it is still less than $20. The other listings are less than $10. Of course after shipping and handling numbers do go up slightly, but only slightly at best. To that end, whether viewers choose the less expensive listings or that of PBS’ the reality is that this DVD is not going to break anyone’s budget. What’s more, audiences will get more than two hours of engaging and entertaining when they purchase the relatively affordable DVD. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue! proves itself to be a truly successful presentation and deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new family DVDs.
Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Pet Rescue is available now. More information on PBS Distribution’s new Hero Elementary DVD is available along with activities, printables, and more at: