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

 

 

 

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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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PBS Heads To Brazil For New ‘Nature’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

PBS is taking audiences to South America next month with the second of tow new episodes of its hit wildlife series Nature.

Nature: Hotel Armadillo will be released Tuesday, June 20 exclusively on DVD.  The program takes audiences on a journey to Brazil’s remote 80,000+ square foot Pantanal wet land in search of the elusive Giant Armadillo.

Very little is known about the solitary, nocturnal creature.  That is why the conservation biologist Arnaud Desbiez and members of the Giant Armadillo Project, which is supported by more than 40 zoos and aquariums worldwide, set out to find the animals.

Desbiez and company took specialized equipment on their journey to capture pictures and footage of the giant armadillo in its natural habitat, and learn much more than they ever expected in the process.  They discover once the armadillo vacates its burrow, which can be as deep as 20-feet, the burrow is used for both food and shelter by any number of other animals.

Along with the discovery of the semi-symbiotic relationship between the giant armadillo and other animals, the research team also discovers the armadillo’s wide home range.  It also presents a serious man-made danger facing the creature, which plays such a crucial part in Pantanal’s ecosystem—ranchers who burn the area to promote vegetative growth.

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

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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PBS Taking Audiences To Austria In New Episode Of ‘Nature’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This summer, PBS is taking audiences on a trip into the Austrian wilds in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature.

Public Media Distribution will release Nature: Forest of the Lynx Tuesday, June 20.  The program, which will be available exclusively on DVD, follows two female Lynxes in Austria’s Kalkalpen National Park in two separate situations.  One works to survive on its own while the other works to prepare her young for life in the park.

They two Lynxes are not the only animals featured in this program, despite its title.  Audiences also follow a white-backed woodpecker and a pygmy owl as they go about their daily lives in the park, and even follows the life cycle of trees in the park along the way, too.

Nature: Forest of the Lynx 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 Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

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’ New Da Vinci Doc Paints An Interesting New Picture Of Leonardo

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

Leonard Da Vinci is considered around the world to be one of the most important figures in the realms of art and science.  His paintings are revered as masterpieces.  His inventions are said to be creations of a genius mind.  However his inventions may in fact not be entirely his as is argued in a new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series Secrets of the DeadSecrets of the Dead: Leonardo The Man Who Saved Science, released on DVD early this month, examines the reality of Da Vinci’s contributions to the scientific community.  That reality is the most important part of the program’s presentation.  It will be discussed shortly.  The re-enactments used to help tell Da Vinci’s story are important in their own right to the program’s whole.  They will be discussed later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.  Each item is important in its own right to the program’s whole.  All things considered, they make Leonardo – The Man Who Saved Science a secret worth sharing with lovers and students of science of all ages.

Secretes of the Dead: LeonardoThe Man Who Saved Science is a secret that should be shared with lovers and students of science of all ages.  Released earlier this month on DVD, it paints a picture of Da Vinci (yes, that awful pun was fully intended) that is rarely shown.  It uses new information found in Da Vinci’s own journals to reveal that inventions previously thought to be Da Vinci’s own creations likely were not entirely his.  Rather the program reveals Da Vinci likely took designs from other sources and enhanced them with his own specs.  Those designs included designs for the parachute, the tank and even catapult among so many other inventions.  This is such an intriguing revelation because Da Vinci has been considered a scientific genius responsible for so many of the world’s advances for centuries.  This revelation shows that while he obviously was a smart man, he might not have in fact been the full-on genius that he was previously thought to be.  That is not meant to mean he was not smart.  He clearly was very intelligent.  But the level of his contributions to the scientific community definitely needs to be re-evaluated as is evidenced in this program.  Interestingly enough, the changes that he seemingly made to the pre-existing designs is something that is done in companies worldwide to this day.  To that end, one could argue that Da Vinci’s approach is the model for so many major companies’ employees today.  To that end, one could argue that Da Vinci was a ground breaker in that avenue.  Keeping in mind all of this, the story at the center of this program and its related information ultimately proves to be the program’s most critical element.  It is just one of the program’s key elements.  The re-enactments used to tell the story are collectively just as important to its presentation as the story itself.

The story at the center of SOTD: Leonard The Man Who Saved Science is the cornerstone of the program’s overall presentation.  It sheds new light on Da Vinci and his contributions to the scientific community.  While clearly important to the program’s presentation, it is only one of the program’s key elements.  The re-enactments used to help tell the story are just as important as the story to the program’s presentation.  That is because they provide a full visual aid for audiences.  It serves to entertain audiences, much like so many other episodes of PBS’ hit series, at the same time that they are being educated.  The re-enactments are once again on the same level as those presented in the documentaries that once made History Channel so respected.  Audiences will enjoy seeing Da Vinci try to convince his assistant take a giant leap of faith with his parachute design early on in the program.  They will enjoy just as much, seeing the wheels spinning in his head as he examined another man’s plans as a young man, thinking how he could improve on them and watching him work on the designs throughout his life.  Between these and other moments, the re-enactments that are used throughout the course of this program add to the depth generated through the story.  They truly do make the story just as entertaining as it is educational.  To that end, they help make the program a success just as much as the program’s central story.  It is not the last of the program’s most important elements, either.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

The story at the heart of SOTD: Leonardo The Man Who Saved Science and the re-enactments used to help tell that story are both important parts of the program’s whole.  That has been made clear in the discussions already noted here.  They are not its only important elements, though.  The program’s pacing is just as important to its whole as those previously discussed elements.  The nearly hour-long program’s pacing is to be applauded as it remains stable from start to finish.  It would have been very easy for the program to get muddled at so many points in the discussion on Da Vinci’s contributions to the scientific community.  The same applies to the discussions on his personal life, as it does focus on that aspect of his life, too.  Instead of letting that happen, it never allows itself to get stuck on either aspect.  This is important to note because that expert balance keeps the program moving forward solidly from start to finish.  The result is a program that will keep audiences engaged and entertained the entire time.  That maintained engagement and entertainment ensures even more retention of the material presented throughout and in turn assures even more audiences’ appreciation for the program.  That appreciation will lead audiences to agree once more that the program in whole is its own enjoyable addition to this year’s crop of new documentaries.

Secrets of the Dead: Leonardo The Man Who Saved Science is an interesting and entertaining new look at the life and work of Leonardo Da Vinci.  It shows an important part of Da Vinci’s story that has rarely, if ever, been shown.  The re-enactments used to tell that important story deepen the story even more.  The solid pacing from start to finish puts the finishing touch to the program’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own right, as has been already been discussed.  All things considered, they make this episode of Secrets of the Dead its own enjoyable addition to this year’s crop of new documentaries.  It is available now and can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of SOTD is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

 

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.