PBS Asks Are There “Killer Volcanoes” Around The World Today In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

With the recent news of a volcano in Bali threatening the nation, a lot of talk has come about the impact that volcanoes have not only locally and regionally, but worldwide. Next month, Public Media Distribution will release a new episode of NOVA that examines the global impact of volcanoes in the form of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19 the hour-long episode follows a group of researchers as they search for a “mega-eruption” believed to have turned the world deadly cold. The discovery of a mass grave in London containing some 4,000 men, women and children is where the story starts. Initially, the researchers think the remains were of plague victims, but further research disproved that theory.

The researchers’ investigation leads to the revelation that their deaths may have in fact been related to global impacts of an unidentified volcano’s “mega-eruption” within the time frame of their deaths. Their digging (both literal and figurative) led them to find that the eruption blew ash and sulfuric acid into the air, which then spread from Greenland to the Antarctic, turning much of the planet cold and leading to death around the globe from famine and other related causes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is a timely program considering the potentially impending eruption in Bali and the constant watch at one of America’s most well-known parks and at volcanoes around the world. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

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.

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‘Cook’s Country: Season 10’ Is Available Now

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The holiday season is here, and with it the cold weather. That means lots of kitchens and homes will be warming up. Those looking for some new dishes to try this holiday season are getting a hand courtesy of PBS and Public Media Distribution in the form of the 10th season of its hit series Cook’s Country.

Cook’s Country: Season 10 was released just this week. It offers plenty of sweet and savory recipes for weeknights and the weekend including plenty of pork dishes, stove top ideas and even some more southern and Italian offerings. Season 10’s full episode-listing is noted below.

The dishes dished out this season are collectively only one key part of its presentation. Once again, all 31 featured recipes are included in printable form for those home cookbooks. the familiar equipment and food testing segments are also included in whole throughout the season.

Cook’s Country: Season 10 is available now exclusively on DVD. It is retailing for MSRP of $29.99, but can be ordered at a reduced price of $24.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and previous seasons of Cook’s Country is available online now at:

Website: http://www.cookscountry.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TestKitchen

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.

PBS Examines The Knight’s Armor In A New Military-Centric Episode Of ‘NOVA’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution/WGBH

PBS next month will take viewers back to medieval times with a new episode of NOVA on DVD.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19. The hourlong program examines the importance of knights’ armor in battle. It does this through examination of the armor’s creation, its strength, and ability to withstand attacks from various weapons.

Not only does it examine all of the noted items, but even takes audiences into a workshop as a pair of blacksmith’s try to recreate armor originally crafted in the ROyal Workshop of King Henry VIII. Once the armor is finished, it is tested to see just how strong knights’ armor really was.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

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.

PBS Taking Viewers Back To Stonehenge Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution/WGBH

PBS is taking audiences back to Stonehenge this winter.

Public media Distribution will release a new episode of PBS’ hit series NOVA on Tuesday, Dec. 19 focused on the site titled NOVA: Ghosts of Stonehenge. It will come almost a year after the network released Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge on DVD.

This latest look into the ancient site follows archaeologists as they examine bones, remnants of meals and other material in an attempt to figure out the exact purpose of Stonehenge.It also attempts to explain, through its discussions, what led to the site’s downfall not long after it was established.

The one-hour program will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

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.

‘The Talk’ Will Have Audiences Of All Races Talking

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Race and traffic stops.  The two matters have been prominent in the public eye in recent years thanks to stories of interactions between police and the public going very wrong.  What led those interactions to go bad is still being discussed nationwide to this day both in the media and in other arenas.  Because the issue has remained such a hot button topic, Public Media Distribution and PBS tackled the topic this past April with the powerful new documentary The Talk: Race in America on DVD.  The roughly two-hour program focuses on the clear rift that continues to divide America’s law enforcement community and the people who said community is supposed to protect and service.  It does this by presenting a series of segments that examine what has formed that rift.  Those segments form the foundation for this presentation and will be discussed shortly.  The discussions raised in each of the segments strengthen that foundation and will be discussed later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted element is important in its own right to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, they make The Talk: Race in America a program that is certain to have everyone talking for a very long time.

The Talk: Race in America is one of the most powerful programs that PBS and Public Media Distribution have presented to audiences in a very long time.  This roughly two-hour program — which addresses the clear rift between the police and the people that they are charged with protecting and serving — offers plenty to talk about, including its overall presentation.  Over the course of its two-hour run time, the program tackles the topic through a handful of segments addressing some headline-making incidents between police and the public.  The incidents include the case of Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio; the fatal shooting of Michael Brown the same year; the fatal police shooting of Oscar Ramirez in Los Angeles, CA in 2015 and other high-profile cases.  Those stories make up only one side of the story addressed in the program’s segments.  The segments that make up the program’s second hour allow law enforcement their time to show why law enforcement officers act (and react) the way that they do, even admitting that there are issues that need to be addressed with those actions and reactions.  From there, the program addresses training efforts being undertaken by law enforcement agencies nationwide to reduce those instances including in-house video training scenarios that discourage a shoot now – ask questions later mentality among officers.  Simply put, the segments presented here show, in a fully unbiased fashion just how very serious the issue of race relations still is today between the police and the public.  They show that this is an issue that must be publicly addressed and not brushed under the carpet.  They also show that the issue of rogue law enforcement officers must be addressed just as aggressively.  Keeping all of this in mind, the segments that make up the body of this program form a solid foundation for the documentary.  They are collectively not the program’s only key element.  The discussions raised in each segment are just as important to its overall presentation as the stories told throughout the segments.

The discussions presented throughout the course of The Talk: Race in America are critical to the program’s presentation because they show that efforts are being made on both sides of the badge nationwide to address the rift addressed through the program’s segments.  Viewers hear from law enforcement officials, community activists, and even celebrities to show that for all of the black and white (literal and metaphorical) that exists in that rift, there are also shades of grey.  There are those people on both sides who do in fact want that rift to be mended and who are working to close that gap.  Law enforcement officials discuss during their time the efforts that (as already noted) are being taken to train their own to de-escalate situations.  They also discuss the uncertainty of interactions that leads many officers to be so tense.  On the other side, there are those noted activists who organize public discussions with law enforcement officials that allow both sides to talk.  The program also includes a discussion by a minority couple who is teaching their son about the two sides so that he won’t become the next statistic one day, showing that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for the future.  At the same time, the couple also proves once more in its discussion that the tensions between police and minorities must continue to be addressed if that hope is to grow.  These discussions and so many others build on the foundation formed by the program’s segments and in turn show not only their own importance, but the importance of the program in whole that much more.  Even with their importance clearly displayed here, it can’t be said that the discussions are the last of the program’s most important elements.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

The pacing of The Talk: Race in America is a critical part of the program’s whole because of its direct connection to the program’s segments and discussions (I.E. its overall content).  Considering that this program covers so much ground over the course of two hours, its pacing could have easily led audiences to fast forward through parts, ultimately making it a matter of what could have been.  Luckily though, that was not the case here.  From beginning to end, the segments and related material were balanced expertly both in terms of time and energy including even the segments’ transitions.  The attention to even the most minute details such as the transitions — and even the topics’ connections — ensures audiences’ engagement from beginning to end.  That ensured engagement will in turn lead viewers to see for themselves the importance of the program’s unbiased approach and the discussions connected to each segment.  That, in turn, will lead those viewers to agree to the importance of The Talk in whole to America and will most certainly leave viewers talking among themselves long after it ends.  The Talk: Race in America is available now.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBS

 

 

 

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New ‘Odd Squad’ DVD Shows Again Why Series Is One Of PBS Kids’ Best Series To Date

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

PBS Kids’ hit series Odd Squad recently got a new home DVD release, and this latest 4-episode collection of episodes from the Fred Rogers Company-run series is yet another enjoyable presentation that any family will welcome into its home.  That is due in part to the episodes that make up the DVD’s body.  They will be discussed shortly.  The stories presented within the episodes play their own crucial part in the DVD’s overall presentation.  They will be discussed later.  The lessons taught in each of the episodes put the final touch to the DVD and will be discussed later, too.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the DVD’s whole.  All things considered, they make Odd Squad: Villains The Best Of The Worst yet another enjoyable offering from a series that is one of PBS Kids’ most standout series to date.

Odd Squad is one of PBS Kids’ most standout series to date.  Along with the likes of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, The Magic School Bus, Curious George and so many others throughout PBS’ history, this series makes learning fun while also entertaining with its original adventures.  The series’ latest DVD release VillainsThe Best of the Worst­ is takes four of those adventures – ‘Now You Don’t See Me,’ ‘The Briefcase,’ ‘Flatastrophe’ and ‘Puppet Show’ — and compiles them for a nearly hour-long experience that proves just as much as its predecessors why this series is so beloved.  The episodes are all lifted from the series’ first season, and while not presented in the same chronological order as they were in their original broadcasts, still give audiences a clear look at the show’s growth over time in terms of its writing.  Speaking of the show’s writing, the stories at the episodes’ centers play their own important part in the DVD’s overall presentation.

The stories at the center of this collection’s episodes are critical to the DVD’s presentation because of their originality and the balance of their educational and entertaining elements.  From one episode to the next, neither the stories’ educational nor its entertaining material ever overpowers the other.  Audiences never feel at any point that the show is forcing education down their throats.  At the same time, the agents’ adventures are never so outlandish (even as interesting as they can be) that they make themselves beyond watching.  There are programs out there on other networks that are in fact that outlandish, not to name any in particular.  However, they are there.  Luckily, this show’s adventures are not at that level.  Keeping this in mind, the educational and entertaining elements that combine to form each episode prove collectively form the cornerstone for the DVD’s foundation.  Building on that cornerstone are the lessons tied into each episode.

The lessons tied into each of the DVD’s episodes all center on basic math skills.  From telling time in ‘Puppet Show’ and ‘Now You Don’t See me’ to basic, elementary level geometry in ‘Flatastrophe’ to understanding weight balances in ‘The Briefcase,’ the lessons taught in these episodes are easily accessible for Odd Squad’s target audiences.  This is thanks, again, to the work of the series’ writers.  Case in point is the method that Olive and her partner use to find Ms. O’s hidden briefcase in ‘The Briefcase’ after The Shapeshifter steals and hides it in a warehouse.  The agents have to balance items to figure out which object is Ms. O’s briefcase in disguise.  In ‘Flatastrophe’ the agents teach young audiences about cubes and squares while trying to stop the villain Fladam from flattening every cube in the city.  It’s a simple story that makes teaching the story’s basic geometry lesson just as easy.  It’s one more example of the importance of the lessons incorporated into the episodes’ stories.  The writers make the lessons the crux of each story, thus making it feel more like audiences are being entertained than educated.  Kudos are in order for the writers here just as much as for the stories’ originality.  Considering this and the importance of the episodes all being culled from one season, it becomes clear in examining all of these elements that there is plenty to appreciate in the DVD.  That appreciation also leads audiences to agree that this new Odd Squad DVD another enjoyable offering from what is one of PBS Kids’ best series to date.

PBS Kids’ latest Odd Squad DVD Villains The Best of the Worst is not the first of the series’ DVDs to see a home release.  It is however yet another enjoyable addition to the already long list of the series’ DVDs that proves once again why the series is one of the network’s best series to date.  That is due in part to an episode list that pulls entirely from the series’ lead season.  While not in the same chronological order as in their original broadcasts, the episodes still go a long way in showing the show’s growth over the course of that season.  The stories at the center of the featured episodes are entertaining without being overly outlandish, unlike is the case with so many children’s programs out there today.  The lessons tied into the stories are not only part of the stories, but are easily accessible because of how they are tied into the stories.  Each element is important in its own way to the DVD’s whole.  All things considered, the noted elements make Odd Squad: VillainsThe Best of the Worst another enjoyable offering from what is one of PBS Kids’ best series to date.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on Odd Squad is available online along with games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/oddsquad

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

 

 

 

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.

‘Endeavour: Season 4′ Lives Up To PBS’ “Masterpiece” Moniker

Courtesy: itv/Public Media Distribution/PBS

Early this past September, Public Media Distribution released to American audiences the fourth season of PBS’ hit British import Endeavour.  The latest season of the phenomenal crime drama is yet another successful release for both itv and PBS that shows once again why this series easily bests any American crime drama on television today.  That is proven in part to the writing in more than one way.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast cannot be ignored in examining this latest of the series’ installments.  It will be discussed later.  Last but definitely not least of note in examining this season’s recent home release is its bonus material.  It, like the season’s writing and acting, plays its own important part to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, the fourth season of Endeavour proves to be yet another entertaining offering from one of the U.K.’s top crime dramas.

Endeavour: The Complete Fourth Season has been available to American audiences for almost two months, having been released Sept. 5 via Public Media Distribution.  For those who perhaps have not yet had the opportunity to view this latest installment in the ongoing series, it goes without saying that it is another enjoyable effort for the series.  That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers.  This applies both to the stories featured in this season and to the series’ interweaving subplots.  All four of this season’s episodes give something totally different from one to the next.  The season premiere, for instance, is easily comparable to the story at the center of the hit 19999 Denzel Washington/Angelina Jolie crime blockbuster The Bone Collector.  At the same time, a comparison to author Dianne Setterfield’s novel The 13th Tale in the story, too (not to give away too much of the plot).  The second episode, ‘Canticle’ plays directly off of the summer of love for its central story.  Even with this in mind, it still manages to make itself an intriguing story nonetheless.  ‘Lazaretto,’ the season’s penultimate episode, changes things up yet again by taking place almost entirely in a hospital ward as Morse tries to find out why occupants of one bed keep dying.  The answer plays out almost like something right out of today’s headlines (again, not to give away too much).  There is even a nice, action packed police foot chase complete with gunfire for action fans.  The season finale, ‘Harvest’ centers around a body found during an archaeological dig. The killer may or may not be connected to a pagan ritual held near a power station.  It is yet another story that stands easily on its own feet separate from its counterparts in this season.  That distinct identity of the season’s stories is but one part of what makes the season’s writing stand out so much.  The writers’ ability to balance the stories with their underlying, interweaving subplots strengthens the writing even more.

Audiences will note in watching this season that while the central stories are solidly entertaining in their own right, they are not the only stories featured throughout the episodes.  From one episode to the next, the writers make sure to not forget the Thursdays’ anxiousness over their daughter Joan as well as Endeavour’s personal struggle with himself over his feelings for her.  Given, it is a serial element, but the writers at no point ever allow this element to overpower the season’s central standalone stories.  That balance gives fans of serials and standalone series alike something to anticipate and appreciate.

As if the stories presented within each of this season’s episodes are not enough for audiences (and their balance with the episodes’ secondary stories), the writers’ ability to keep audiences guessing right up until the end of each episode proves to be yet another way in which the writing proves so critical.  The stories put in just enough red herrings and twists to keep viewers completely engaged right to each story’s end without leaving viewers confused.  When this is considered along with the already discussed elements in the season’s writing, it becomes wholly clear why the writing is so critical to the season’s overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes this season so engaging.  The work of the series’ cast is once again just as notable as the work of the show’s writers.

The series’ cast – most notably lead stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allum – is top-notch once more in this season. This especially the case as Endeavour and Thursday raise personal matters in each story.  Thursday becomes a powerfully sympathetic character as he tries to cope his daughter’s disappearance. Allum’s handling of Thursday’s emotional struggle makes these moments so powerful, even in their simplicity.  In the same breath, his stress at trying to fill in for Chief Superintendent Bright late in the season is just as engaging.  It is another way in which the writers develop Thursday’s character even more this season and another example of Allum’s expert acting chops.

Evans’ acting chops are just as notable as those of Allum this time around.  The way in which he handles’ Morse’s continued dedication to his job alone will keep audiences engaged.  His reaction at discovering the result of his Sergeant’s exam clearly exemplifies this.  His reaction at finally locating Joan (there again is that secondary story aspect) is just as moving and will keep viewers just as engaged as his handling of Morse’s casework.  When the work of the series’ supporting cast and extras is added alongside the work of Allum and Evans, the whole of the cast’s work does plenty to add its own share of engagement and entertainment to this season, showing in whole why the cast’s work is just as important as the work of the series’ writers.  It is not the last of the season’s most notable elements.  The bonus material that is included in the season’s home release is the last of those elements.

The bonus material included in Season 4’s home release includes a group of behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss a handful of items.  From the series’ look as it applies to the era in which the season is set (the late 1960s) to Evans discussing his take on his character and on Morse’s relationship with Joan Thursday to Evans even taking a shot at being a cameraman behind the scenes, audiences are given quite the insight into how this season came to life.  Viewers will appreciate the discussion on the sets and costumes in “Making Endeavour in Oxford” because it shows the efforts taken to recreate 1960s Oxford.  Evans’ discussions on Morse and Morse’s relationship with Joan adds even more to that one underlying subplot that runs throughout all four episodes, adding even more interest to this season.  When that interest is joined with the interest created through the cast’s work and that of the series’ writers, the whole of those elements makes this season of Endeavour some of the show’s best work to date.

The fourth season of itv’s Endeavour is some of the series’ best work to date.  Even at only four episodes, this season offers audiences plenty to appreciate including the extensive work by the series’ writers.  The ast’s work adds even more interest to this season.  The bonus material included in the season’s home release outs the finishing touch to the season.  Each element is important in its own right to the season’s home presentation. All things considered, they make the season in whole another fully engaging offering from what is one of the U.K.’s best crime dramas.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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.