‘Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour’ Returns Sunday

Endeavour returns tomorrow.

The fourth season of Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour begins at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide.  The series’ fourth season opens with yet another major mystery for Endeavour Morse to solve.  This time, the clock is ticking as Endeavour tries to solve the connection between a drowning and a chess-playing “thinking” machine.

Audiences can view a trailer for Season 4’s premiere episode online now here.

Courtesy: PBS/itv

Support for Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is provided by Viking River Cruises and Farmers Insurance.

More information on Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Peg + Cat’s New Movie Is An Out Of This World Hit For The Whole Family

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/Public Media Distribution

Late this past May, PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution released Peg + Cat’s new movie Peg and Cat Save The World on DVD.  The approximately hour-long movie is a fun and educational presentation that the whole family will enjoy time and again.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie.  It will be discussed shortly.  The musical numbers are just as important to note as the story, even as surprising as that might seem.  The lessons that are tied into the movie round out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right, as will be displayed here.  Altogether, the elements noted here make Peg and Cat Save The World one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Peg + Cat: Peg and Cat Save The World is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  That is due in no small part to the story at the center of this hour-long movie.  The story is a spoof of every big budget interstellar disaster flick that has hit theaters in the past five to ten years.  Whereas those movies were all centered on the threat of killer asteroids hitting Earth, this movie sees Peg and her furry blue friend Cat having to save Earth from being flattened by their giant porcine friend Pig.  Pig threatens Earth after eating some chips (that happen to be triangle – Pig’s favorite shape) that make him planet size.  He ends up floating into space and eventually makes his way back to Earth, inadvertently threatening its very existence.  What’s even funnier is that the series’ writers spoof not only so many interstellar disaster flicks here, but they even take a moment to pay homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as Pig floats back toward Earth.  Obviously the story has a happy ending, which won’t be revealed here for those who haven’t yet seen the movie.  The manner in which the ending happens is funny in itself.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why this family friendly movie’s story is so important to its overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes the movie so fun for the whole family.  The songs that are incorporated into the movie are just as important to discuss as its story.

The songs incorporated into Peg and Cat Save The World are so important because they are in themselves spoofs of so many well-known compositions.  Early on in the movie, Peg and Cat spoof Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass’ with a song called ‘All About The Shapes.’  At another point in the movie, the two friends are joined by Sandra Oh, who voices the President of the United States for their own take on ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’  The fun doesn’t stop there, either.  As Peg, Cat and their friends work to keep Pig from flattening Earth, they all join in for the movie’s own spoof of the timeless classic ‘We Are The World’ that sees Cat get his own solo; a moment that will have audiences of all ages laughing.  These three moments in themselves do plenty to make Peg and Cat Save The World entertaining.  When they are joined with the movie’s family-friendly story, which again is also a spoof in itself, the pair together makes the movie even more entertaining.  They are not the movie’s only important elements to discuss.  The lessons tied into the movie are just as important to note as the movie’s story and songs.

The lessons tied into Peg and Cat Save The World are so important to note in this discussion because they continue the tradition established by the series so long ago.  A lesson about patterns is taught as Peg and Cat try to link a pattern sung by Pig to a similar audio pattern picked up on radar in the President’s triangle office (yes, triangle office, which is apparently just below the oval office.  That joke in itself makes for plenty of laughs).  It also clearly teaches a lesson about shapes as Peg and Cat work to figure out how to keep Pig from flattening Earth.  From rectangles to spheres and other shapes, the story in this movie presents every possible basic shape for its young audiences.  So not only is the movie entertaining for the whole family, it is also educational for its younger audiences.  That solid balance of entertainment and education makes it a movie that ensures engagement by audiences of all ages, and in turn no less entertaining with each watch.  Keeping that in mind, the movie proves to be, once more, one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Peg + Cat: Peg and Cat Save The World is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  Not only that, but it is also a wonderfully entertaining watch for grown-up audiences.  That is thanks to a story that spoofs every interstellar disaster flick to ever fill the nation’s theaters in the past 10 years or so and songs that spoof a group of songs that only older audiences will know.  The lessons tied into the story are certain to educate children just as much as the story is certain to entertain them. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of those elements proves once more why Peg and Cat Save The World is such an enjoyable offering from PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution. They combine to make it one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  More information on the DVD is available online along with lots of Peg + Cat activities, games, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/peg

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

 

 

 

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PBS Kids Taking Families Back To Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Again

Courtesy: PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

PBS Kids is taking families on another trip to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood this summer.

Public Media Distribution will release Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: King Daniel for the Day on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The single-disc compilation will feature eight more episodes spanning 110 minutes. The disc’s title episode follows Daniel as King Friday makes Daniel king for a day, teaching Daniel an invaluable lesson about kindness to others.

Also included in this collection is a special birthday episode in which Daniel and his friends celebrate Prince Wednesday’s birthday in “Prince Wednesday’s Happy Birthday.”  Daniel also learns important lessons about responsibility and sacrifices in “Daniel Takes Care of Snowball” and “Looking for Snowball.”

This is all just a taste of what PBS Kids’ latest Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVD offers families.  Even more fun and lessons are presented in the DVD’s other three episodes—“The Neighborhood Fall Festival,” “Sharing at the Library” and “Daniel Share With Margaret.”

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: King Daniel for the Day will retail for MSRP of $14.99. More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with activities, games, printouts and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/daniel

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

 

 

 

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PBS Kids To Tackle Sibling Rivalry On New ‘Arthur’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

PBS Kids will release another new collection of Arthur episodes on DVD this summer.

Public Media Distribution and PBS Kids will release Arthur: Brothers and Sisters on Tuesday, July 18. The single disc compilation features eight more episodes of the hit animated series at a total run time of 108 minutes (1 hr. 48 minutes).

All eight episodes feature plenty of sibling rivalry between Arthur and his little sister D.W. (Dora Winnifred for the uninitiated) that puts the pair in plenty of different situations including the arrival of Arthur and D.W.’s second sibling in ‘Arthur’s Baby,’ D.W. copy-cating Arthur in ‘D.W. The Copycat’ and a pre-summer showdown between Arthur and D.W. in ‘The Pageant Pickle.’

Arthur and D.W. are not the only Elwood residents featured in the series’ latest DVD release.  Sue Ellen learns a hard lesson about being careful what she wishes for in ‘Sue Ellen’s Little Sister,’ in which she gets tired of being an only child.  Arthur’s friend Francine and her sister go through some growing pains to which so many siblings can relate, too in ‘Francine Redecorates.’

As if all of that isn’t enough, everyone’s favorite troublesome twins, the Tribbles, get their own moment in the light in this compilation in ‘Two Minutes.’  When Timmy and Tommy discover which twin was born first, Timmy asks D.W. to help him solve, with quite the interesting result.

Between these episodes and the pairing of ‘D.W.’s Baby’ and ‘Arthur’s First Sleepover,’ Arthur: Brothers and Sisters offers families nearly two hours of animated entertainment.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.

More information on Arthur is available online along with lots of games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbskids.org/arthur

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

 

 

 

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PBS Announces Release Date For Ken Burns’ Latest Documentary Series

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Ken Burns and PBS have partnered to release the famed documentarian’s latest offering on DVD and Blu-ray late this summer.

Ken Burns: The Vietnam War will be released Tuesday, Sept. 19 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The 1,080-minute (18-hours) program examines the conflict in a previously untold fashion with interviews from almost 100 witnesses and uses rarely-seen, digitally re-mastered footage from historic news broadcasts, home movies and audio recordings from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Audiences can see a preview of the program online now here.

Lynn Novick, who co-directed and produced the documentary alongside Burns and fellow co-producer Sarah Botstein, said some surprising revelations were made over the decade in which The Vietnam War was created.

“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy.  Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick said.  “In addition to dozens of Americans who shared their stories, we interviewed many Vietnamese on both the winning and losing sides, and were surprised to learn that the war remains as painful and unresolved for them as it is for us.  Within this almost incomprehensibly destructive event, we discovered profound, universal human truths, as well as uncanny resonances with recent events.”

Burns agreed, adding it remains a divisive topic even four decades after Saigon fell.

“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” Burns said.  “Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart.  There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way – from those who fought and sacrificed in the war to families of service members of POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens.  More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This latest offering from Burns and company also features new music composed by famed Academy Award®-winning producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  Reznor has also won numerous awards and accolades as the creative force behind Nine Inch Nails.

It offers more than 100 minutes of bonus material, too, including a 45-minute preview program, two programs focusing on contemporary lives of two people involved in the conflict and much more.

As if that expanse of bonus material is not enough, the program, which will air on PBS stations nationwide between Sept. 17 – 21 and Sept. 24 – 28, a companion outreach and public engagement program – provided by PBS stations nationwide – aimed at giving communities the chance to take part in a national discussion about the war.

A website and educational initiative will also be launched online at PBS Learning Media aimed at engaging teachers and students everywhere about the war.

The program spans 10 discs on both platforms and will retail for MSRP of $99.99 on DVD and $129.99 on Blu-ray.  It will also be available via digital download. The sets can be pre-ordered online now at discounted prices of $94.99 (DVD) and $124.99 (Blu-ray).

A companion standalone book is also available for order for $59.99.  The book and box sets can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store along with complete sets that include the box sets and book.

More information on this and other titles from Ken Burns and PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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 Kids Heads Skyward With New ‘Dinosaur Train’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/Public Media Distribution

PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution have partnered to take families into the sky with a new Dinosaur Train DVD.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Take Flight will be released Tuesday, June 13 in stores and online. The DVD features eight more episodes spread across a single disc at a total run time of two hours. The DVD will retail for MSRP of $12.99 and can be ordered online now via PBS’ online store.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Take Flight gets its name primarily from its special four-part episode which takes the Pteranodon family on the maiden voyage of the Dinosaur Train Zeppelin.  Tiny, Shiny, Don and their parents discover more than just more dinosaurs on the airship’s first flight.  They also learn about how Earth’s continents came to be spread across the planet, how craters and atolls are formed and even waterfalls.

The second group of episodes is unrelated to the disc’s main episodes. However, it does follow the flying theme in the collection’s title as Don befriends a dragonfly in “Don’s Dragonfly,” and as the Pteranodon family, with the help of Mr. Conductor, help a lost bird get back home in “The Lost Bird.”

The flying theme continues in “Pterosaur Flying Club” and “Petey The Peteinosaurus” as the Pteranodon kids and their friends practice for a flying show and as Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy meet new friend Petey Peteinosaurus respectively.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Take Flight will be released Tuesday, June 13.  More information on this new DVD is available online along with lots of Dinosaur Train activities, games and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain

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

 

 

 

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‘SOTD: Nero’s Sunken City’ Is A Splash Hit

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

Early last month, Public Media Distribution released a new episode of its hit history-based series Secrets of the Dead that examines what is one of the world’s great lost cities in Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City.  Now, it isn’t Atlantis.  This city is one that actually did exist.  It is the lost city of Baiae, a city that has been considered by many to be the Las Vegas of the ancient world. What happened in Baiae stayed in Baiae, as is noted in the program.  This nearly hour-long is a program that will appeal to students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology.  That is due in no small part to the story at the program’s heart.  The re-enactments used to help tell the story are just as important to note as the story itself in examining this program’s overall presentation.  The program’s pacing round out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s presentation, as will be pointed out.  All things considered, they make Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City a program that history buffs in general will appreciate just as much as those who have an interest in archaeology and anthropology.

Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City is a program that will appeal to history buffs in general as well as students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology.  That is due in part to the story at the program’s heart.  The story follows researchers as they examine the infamous city’s history and how roughly half of the city ended up beneath the waves. The city’s history includes the story of one of the world’s most nefarious rulers, Nero.  As the story reveals, it was at Baiae that Nero allegedly killed not only his aunt but his own mother, too just so that he could take their villas, which were located in Baiae.  It was also in Baiae that other Roman politicians came to take part in rather decadent and sometimes taboo activities.  Many of the political schemes that rocked Rome were also planned at Baiae.  The story of those activities, plans and of Nero’s own heinous actions is collectively eye-opening to say the very least.  The story of how the city nearly vanished thanks to volcanic activity (and how that same activity is in fact slowly bringing the city closer to the water’s surface) is in itself interesting.  As if all of that is not enough, viewers also learn of the seafood dishes that were once created at Baiae through the story.  Those same dishes are still made by residents of the region today. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the story at the center of SOTD: Nero’s Sunken City is so pivotal to the program’s overall presentation.  When people think of sunken cities, minds automatically go to Atlantis, not Baiae.  That being the case, this story takes viewers to a real sunken city; one whose story is just as interesting as that of the fabled Atlantis if not more so.  The story at the center of this episode of SOTD is only one of the elements that makes the program stand out.  The re-enactments that are used to help tell the story are important in their own, collective, way to the program’s presentation.

The story at the center of SOTD: Nero’s Sunken City is in itself plenty of reason for audiences to watch this program.  The story will appeal not only to history buffs in general but to students and lovers of archaeology, anthropology and even geology.  It is the story of a sunken city that is nowhere near as talked about as that of the fabled city of Atlantis, which may or may not even exist.  Baiae does exist.  That makes this story even more interesting.  The story here is only one part of what makes this program so interesting.  The re-enactments that are used to help tell Baiae’s story are collectively just as important to discuss as the program’s central story.  The re-enactments are so important to note because of their minimal usage.  Audiences do get to see a man portraying Nero as the discussions turn to him.  But the extent of what audiences get is basically that of the actor walking around.  Even as the story turns to the discussions of Nero’s heinous alleged acts of murder, audiences will be glad to know that there is no unnecessary gory re-enactment.  Those behind the program’s production are to be commended for the common sense of not going there.  Other networks clearly would have no problem going that route.  So it is good to see that those behind this engaging PBS program opted to take the high road.  Between that and the balance of the re-enactments to the live action footage, audiences get in the program’s visual experience an element that sits atop the foundation formed by the program’s story, strengthening it even more.  While the re-enactments (or the general lack thereof) serve to enhance the program’s presentation even more, they are not the last of its most important elements.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

The story at the center of SOTD: Nero’s Sunken City and the minimally used re-enactments used to help tell that story are both key to the program’s overall presentation.  While each element is important in its own right to the program’ presentation–as has been pointed out–the two are not the program’s only key elements.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.  From start to finish, the program’s pacing never moves too fast or slow.  Each segment gets its own share of time, and the information shared in each segment never gets so in-depth that everyday audiences will feel lost.  That being the case, audiences will find themselves feeling like the program progresses with ease, not even being moved to check their watches (or cell phones) for the time.  That is a testament to the manner in which the program was assembled.  It makes the program’s pacing feel wholly natural, in turn ensuring even more audiences’ maintained engagement.  When this is taken into consideration with the program’s story and the re-enactments used to tell the story (alongside the live action footage), the whole of these three elements makes SOTD: Nero’s Sunken City another enjoyable edition of Secrets of the Dead.

Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City is yet another example of what makes Secrets of the Dead one of the best history-based series on television today.  It also is more proof of the importance of public broadcasting to the world.  It offers an original story that will educate and surprise audiences at the same time. The balance of the program’s re-enactments and live action material adds even more interest to the program.  The program’s pacing puts the final touch to the program.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s whole.  All things considered, they make this episode of Secrets of the Dead more proof of why it is not *ahem* secret why Secrets of the Dead is one of the best history-based programs on television today.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

 

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