‘A Chef’s Life’ Continues To Cook Up Success In Its Fourth Season

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

PBS’ hit reality series A Chef’s Life has become one of the network’s most popular shows since it first debuted some years ago.  The show wrapped its fourth season in 2016 and saw that season released late last November on a two-disc DVD set.  For those who haven’t yet seen Season Four, the series’ fourth season is in itself an enjoyable human drama; so much better than all of the obviously scripted “reality” series on television today.  The story at the core of the series is once again its cornerstone.  However, its home release on DVD does present at least one negative, a lack of printable recipes.  Thankfully, it is the only truly noticeable of the season’s negatives in its recent home release.  The collective information presented throughout Season Four makes up for the season’s one glaring negative.  That information includes the history of the featured ingredients, the stories of the people around Eastern North Carolina and other general information.  When all of that material is coupled with the stories at the center of Season Four, the whole of those elements makes up for the set’s one negative, and in turn makes it another mostly enjoyable collection of episodes from this fan favorite series.

The fourth season of A Chef’s Life is a mostly enjoyable new collection of episodes from PBS’ hit reality series.  That is due in part to the fact that the stories presented throughout the season continue to keep this series completely apart from all of the clearly scripted reality series on television today.  There is no fake drama generated through sharp editing and producers who are aimed only at getting ratings.  Mrs. Howard’s struggle to balance her personal and business life and to maintain her humility through it all is clearly something very real.  Even as Sous Chef John leaves and has to be replaced, there are no alligator tears shed.  It would have been so easy for Howard and others at the restaurant to go that route.  But they didn’t.  They showed they really cared about John and his wife and wished them the best.  Their uncertainty moving forward was just as clearly real.  The emotional struggle going on within Mrs. Howard as she works to balance her life is also fully believable.  This makes Season Four all the easier to watch from one episode to the next.  Speaking of that entertainment that the stories offer, the whole of said stories shows why they are so integral to the season’s presentation in its recent DVD home release.  While there is plenty to appreciate in the stories this season, it is just one of the season’s positives.  While it clearly has positives, there is at least one negative that can’t be ignored in the season’s home release.  That one negative is its lack of printable recipes.

The true reality of the stories in the fourth season of A Chef’s Life is the cornerstone of the season’s enjoyable presentation.  It is clear in watching each of the season’s episodes that there is no fake drama at any point in any of the season’s episodes.  While the stories do plenty of good for the season’s overall presentation, not everything in this season’s home release is positive.  This season’s home release comes without the ability to print out the dishes presented throughout the season.  This is important to note because audiences have been able to print out the recipes for the featured dishes at least in the third season.  So to not have them available for print-out here is a little disheartening.  It forces audiences to either go online to find the recipes or to just buy Mrs. Howard’s new cookbook.  The sad reality is that the recipes were likely left out as a means to push her book since it took so much precedence throughout Season Four.  One can only hope that wasn’t the case.  If it was, then it is not the best way to promote her book.  Thankfully though, this issue is Season Four’s only negative.  The collective information that is presented throughout this season makes up for that negative.

The lack of printable recipes in this season’s home release is a negative about its presentation that cannot be ignored.  It takes away a significant amount from the season’s presentation in its home release.  Luckily though, it is the season’s only negative.  There is still one more positive that can and should be noted.  That positive is the collective information presented throughout the season.  The information in question involves the history of the given ingredients in each episode and the stories of and from the people of Eastern North Carolina.  Audiences will be interested, for instance, to learn of the lack of respect that catfish has as a seafood option.  Just as interesting to learn in this same moment is the southern take on the phrase “more than one way to skin a cat.”  The man who explains its root is partially right, but also partially wrong.  The root he gives is just one of many roots of the verbage.  There are also lessons about the difference between artichokes and sunchokes in “All Sunchoked Up” that will interest foodies and audiences in general.  As if that isn’t enough, the lessons on cabbage are just as interesting even for those who aren’t fans of cabbage.  When these tidbits of information and others are coupled with the season’s engaging stories, they do plenty to make up for the lack of printable recipes this time out.  Overall, they do so much that even with that one glaring negative, the home release of A Chef’s Life: Season Four still proves another enjoyable installment of PBS’ hit reality series.

The fourth season of A Chef’s Life is another enjoyable installment of PBS’ hit reality series.  That is even despite the fact that audiences aren’t able to print out the recipes this time.  The stories make clearly evident that there is no generated drama from behind lens.  Everything that audiences see on camera is clearly real.  The information that is shared throughout the season adds even more interest to each episode.  Those elements are more than enough to make up for the lack of printable recipes this time out.  All things considered, this season proves to be worth at least one watch and gives hope for the series’ fifth season.  A Chef’s Life: Season Four is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and the series’ previous seasons is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.achefslifeseries.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chefsouth

 

 

 

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PBS Has “Dug Up” A Brilliant New Work In ‘AmEx: The Race Underground’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Mass transportation is one of the most important pieces of any metropolitan region’s infrastructure.  From the wheels on the bus to the wheels on the trolley to the wheels on the subway cars, moving the masses from place to place is just as important to any metro region and its neighbors as anything else.  So it only makes sense that eventually PBS would present a documentary on the history of one major mass transit method.  The last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television, it did just that earlier this week when it released to DVD American Experience: The Race Underground.  This lesson on the history of America’s subway systems will appeal to everyday audiences just as much as it will people who run America’s major metro regions.  That is due in no small part to its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The information presented within the story is just as important to discuss as the story itself.  The transitions used to keep the program moving rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays its own important piece in the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make American Experience: The Race Underground another welcome episode of PBS’ hit history-based series and one more of this year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: The Race Underground is a program that will appeal just as much to everyday audiences as it will the people who run America’s major metropolitan regions.  It is a presentation that those audiences will want to *ahem* race to see.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  The story at the center of the program is just one of the elements that makes it such an interesting presentation.  A close, analytical viewing of this episode of American Experience reveals to be a two-part tale.  The primary story presented in this program shows, of course, the birth and evolution of America’s subway systems.  On another level, it presents a story of one man’s dream realized and denied.

The primary story presented in this episode follows the evolution of America’s subway system from a mere dream in Frank Sprague’s mind to one of the most revolutionary means of transportation (if not the single most revolutionary) at the time.  That in itself is its own intriguing history lesson.  The secondary story shows how Sprague’s dream has obviously become realized through the growing evolution of subway transportation across the country (and even across the world) yet denied because he never got the full credit he deserved for his invention thanks to one Thomas Edison.  That story, when coupled with the program’s main story, becomes the stuff of major Hollywood blockbusters.  The combination of those two stories into one whole is just one part of what makes this episode of American Experience such an interesting documentary.  The information that is presented within those stories is just as important to note in examining the program’s presentation as the stories themselves.

The stories that form the foundation of American Experience: The Race Underground are in themselves key to this program’s overall presentation.  That is because they make the program just as interesting as any major historically-based blockbuster ever churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios.  While they are critical to the program’s presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The information provided within the stories is what makes the stories so interesting.  One of the most intriguing pieces of information that audiences learn over the course of the episode’s nearly hour-long run time is that even after Sprague’s idea was finally taken on by the city of Boston, it didn’t just fly right through.  Instead, there was a lot of opposition from the city’s residents.  That created quite a rift between the city’s residents and its government.  Just as interesting to learn is that for many people, their opposition was based on puritanical religious beliefs.  For others, the opposition rose from concerns about where the city wanted to run the subway.  Even more interesting to learn is that if not for Sprague’s success with his experiment in Richmond, there’s no telling how long it would have taken for America’s first subway station to be developed or where.  So really, while Boston had the first subway system, Richmond should really take credit for being the true birthplace of American’s first subway system.  It’s like the battle between North Carolina and Ohio over which is the true birthplace of aviation.  This is all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg with this story’s information.  Audiences will be shocked to learn that despite the eventual success of the new subway system, Sprague’s dream ultimately was denied thanks to his company being bought out by none other than Thomas Edison.  That ultimately denied Srpague the fame and wealth that he could have had, and shows yet again how Edison profited off of someone else’s success rather than his own.  Between this revelation, the others already noted and so many others, it becomes clear why the information shared throughout this program is so important to its presentation.  When all of that information is coupled with the program’s two-part story, the end result is one that will most definitely keep audiences enthralled right to the end.  Interestingly enough, it still is not the last element to note in examining the program’s overall presentation.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its stories and its breadth of information.

The stories shared throughout the course of American Experience: The Race Underground and their companion information are both key pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  Both by themselves and together, they are certain to keep audience engaged from beginning to end.  While they are both clearly important in their own right to the program’s presentation, one cannot ignore the importance of the program’s transitions in keeping audiences’ attention, too.  The transitions used to advance the story are clear and concise from one segment to the next.  They are basic fade-ins and fade-outs. Their placement comes at all of the proper spots, too, never leaving audiences hanging at the end of any segment.  They aren’t hard fades, either.  Rather, they are smooth fades, and in turn make stopping and starting between segments so easy.  The thought put into those transitions adds one more layer of enjoyment to the program’s presentation.  When set against the program’s equally interesting stories and companion information, the whole of the elements makes this program one to which audiences will “race” themselves to watch.  They combine to make it a work that will “race” up any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: The Race Underground is just the latest episode of PBS’ hit history-based series to be released so far in this still young year.  Even being so new to home release, it can be said that it is certain to “race” up any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

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PBS Announces Home Release Date For Upcoming ‘AmEx’ Mini-Series

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Public Media Distribution will release a special American Experience mini-series on DVD this Spring.

American Experience: The Great War will be released on Tuesday, May 16th.  The six-hour event will be spread across three discs and will retail for MSRP of $34.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $29.99.

The mini-series follow’s America’s neutrality to its eventual entry into what was then known as “The Great War.”  It tells the story of the nation’s involvement from a variety of angles.  Those angles include the experiences of African-Americans, Native American Code Talkers, Latino soldiers, suffragists and others.

The program also examines the leadership of then President Woodrow Wilson as he led America during the world’s first major global conflict.  This angle also examines how the nation’s entry in to the war led to one of the biggest crackdowns on Americans’ civil liberties in the nation’s history along with other items.

American Experience: The Great War premieres on PBS stations nationwide on Monday, April 10 and runs through Wednesday April 12.  Each of the mini-series’ two-hour episodes will run from 9 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET.  Audiences should check their local listings for variations in those times.

A trailer for the upcoming event is streaming online now here.  More information on this extended episode of American Experience is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

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PBS Distribution Announces New ‘Dinosaur Train’ DVD Release Date

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train will take families beneath the Earth’s surface this winter on a brand new DVD.

Dinosaur Train: What’s At The Center of the Earth? will be released on Tuesday, Feb. 21 exclusively on DVD – one day after it is scheduled to premiere on PBS Kids stations nationwide.  It will feature four more episodes that will focus on various geological topics from fossils to minerals and more.

The collection will also feature some fun other episodes for a total run time of two hours.  It will retail for MSRP of $12.99  The disc’s episode listing is noted below.

DINOSAUR TRAIN: WHAT’S AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH? EPISODE LIST

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Layers

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Fossils

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Troglobites

 

  1. What’s at the Center of the Earth? – Minerals

Dinosaur Train: What’s at the Center of the Earth? can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on the new DVD is available online now along with more Dinosaur Train episodes, games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain

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

 

 

 

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PBS Presents The History of America’s First Subway System In New ‘AmEx’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Public Media Distribution has announced it has another new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series American Experience due out later this month.

American Experience: The Race Underground will be released on Tuesday, February 28.  Based on the book by author Doug Most, this episode of American Experience takes audiences back in time to one of the most important eras of the nation’s transportation history—the advent of Boston’s first subway system.

Boston was America’s most crowded city during the 1800s, with almost 400,000 crammed into a downtown region of less than a single square mile.  More than 8,000 horses filled the streets, pulling people around the city.  Between the nuisance of their waste, the general crowding and noise caused lots of problems.

Frank Sprague changed everything when he developed the first model for a modern subway that rivaled that of London.  It wasn’t without its detractors, either.  The subway would eventually be constructed, and lead to the construction of subway systems in New York and Philadelphia, revolutionizing transportation in some of America’s biggest cities.

This episode of American Experience follows the story of how Sprague’s revolutionary idea laid the groundwork for what has become a primary means of mass transportation in those and other cities.  The hour-long program will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $19.99.  It is also available in a bundle pack with Most’s book for $31.99.

More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

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PBS Kids Releasing Another New ‘DTN’ DVD Next Month

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Public Media Distribution is taking families back to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood next month with another new collection of the series’ episodes on DVD.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Visits The Farm will be released on Tuesday, March 14 in stores and online.  The series’ latest DVD release, it will feature four more episodes from the family-favorite animated show.

This collection teaches young viewers important lessons about accepting help from others, responsibility and proper ways to express emotions all while entertaining them and their parents.  The DVD’s complete episode list is noted below.

 

DANIEL GOES TO THE FARM EPISODE LIST

 

  1. Daniel and Margaret Visit The Farm

 

  1. Clean Up Time

 

  1. Daniel Uses His Words

 

  1. Margaret’s Bath Time

 

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To The Farm will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood DVDs is available online now along with more Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/daniel

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

 

 

 

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Cooks Of Every Skill Level Will Enjoy The Ninth Season Of ‘Cook’s Country’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This past November, Public Media Distribution released the ninth season of PBS’ hit cooking series Cook’s Country on a two-disc DVD set.  Much like every season before, the series’ ninth season is loaded with lots of tasty dishes for every night of the week and for every season that cooks of every level can make.  That is the most important piece of the program’s presentation. While the dishes featured in this season of Cook’s Country do plenty to make it an enjoyable watch, it does suffer from at least one negative, that being one of its listed episodes is in fact missing from its presentation.  This is, again, despite being listed on the box.  It must be addressed.  Even as much as a problem as that one missing episode poses to Season 9’s overall presentation, it is the season’s only downside in its recently released DVD set.  On the positive side audiences once again get to print out the recipe for every dish displayed in this season.  That includes the chocolate truffles despite the episode missing from the set.  Cook’s Country Season 9 clearly isn’t perfect. Even with its one clear con, this season of Cook’s Country is still another enjoyable course in the bigger meal that is Cook’s Country.  It will leave audiences hungry for many more courses to come.

Cook’s Country Season 9 is not a perfect installment of the long-running hit PBS culinary series.  Even despite being another perfectly appetizing offering from the long-running series, it is still another enjoyable course in the bigger meal that is Cook’s Country.  That is due in no small part to the dishes that are presented over the course of the season.  The dishes that are featured throughout this season are culinary delights that cooks of any level can make.  Grilled Sugar Steak, Husk Grilled Corn and Breakfast Pizza are items that any everyday cook can make any day or night of the week.  More “seasoned” chefs will enjoy cooking up Prime Rib and Potatoes with Red Wine-Orange Sauce, French Coconut Pie and Cedar-Planed Salmon with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce.

That the series would once again offer audiences such a broad swath of recipes is nothing new this season.  To that end, it is its own positive.  It is just one part of what makes this season’s offerings so important.  Just as important to note of the featured recipes is their broad cultural reach and their seasonal reach.  From Italian (Zeppoles, Pasta with Mushroom Sauce) to Latin (Chicken Chilaquiles) to Cajun (New Orleans Muffulettas) to Southern cuisine (Tennessee Pulled Pork) and beyond, this season offers tastes from a number of cultural sources, and some educational content that will keep viewers just as easily keep audiences engaged.  Add in the fact that these recipes are not specific to just spring, summer, fall or winter and audiences see even more why the dishes featured this season are so important to the season’s overall presentation.  When this information is set alongside the fact that the dishes can be made for cooks of every level, it shows with full clarity why the dishes are themselves so important to the overall presentation of Cook’s Country Season 9.

The dishes that make up the body of Cook’s Country Season 9 form the foundation of the season’s presentation.  They are so important because they will appeal to cooks of all abilities.  They also once again represent a broad swath of cultural backgrounds and are perfect for every season.  While the dishes featured in this season prove to be so integral to the season’s presentation, they do present at least one problem.  That problem lays in the fact that at least one episode is oddly missing from this season.  The episode in question is that of the Chocolate Truffles.  The episode, included in the set’s “Sweet Indulgences” segment is noted in the set’s episode listing.  However, in watching Season 9, audiences will find that this segment is missing from the episode selection.  The segment’s Milk Chocolate Cheesecake and Swiss Hazelnut Cake segments are both there.  But the Chocolate Truffles segment is missing.  Whether that was just an error on the part of PBS and Public Media Distribution or something totally intentional is anyone’s guess.  One must hope the omission of even one episode was unintentional.  It seems trivial to even make note of the omission, true.  But if a certain number of episodes is listed, one is going to expect to see every episode.  To that end, even that one omission takes away from the overall viewing experience in this season.  It’s not enough to completely negate the season’s positives, but it is still a con that must be noted, regardless.

The omission of the Chocolate Truffles episode in this season is a con that cannot be ignored.  That is because while it doesn’t ruin the season’s overall presentation, it does still detract from the season’s presentation.  Noting again that it doesn’t totally ruin the season’s presentation, that means there is still at least one more positive to note in examining the season’s presentation.  That positive is the availability of the season’s dishes for print.  Once again, Public Media Distribution and PBS have made it easy for audiences to print out the recipes for every single dish featured this time out.  Even though the Chocolate Truffles episode is strangely absent from the viewing experience, it is still there for print.  That means audiences can add to their own cookbooks even more delectable dishes from one of television’s culinary series.  It means being able to make any or all of the dishes at one’s own time, (hopefully) stress-free.  It rounds out the season’s most important elements.  When it is set alongside the season’s wide-reaching recipes, both elements more than make up for the season’s one single con.  They make Cook’s Country Season 9 yet another enjoyable course in the bigger meal that is Cook’s Country that will leave audiences hungry for many more seasons of the series.

The ninth season of PBS’ hit culinary series Cook’s County is yet another delectable entry from the hit kitchen-based series.  The dishes featured throughout the season are items that cooks of every skill level can make.  They also reach across so many different cultures.  The educational content that comes with each dish adds even more depth to each episode.  The fact that audiences can once again print out each dish’s recipe (including that of the missing chocolate truffles episode) adds even more enjoyment to this season.  Both elements are important in their own way to the ninth season of Cook’s Country.  Altogether, they make up for the fact that at least one of the season’s episodes is missing despite it being listed on the season’s box.  All things considered, Cook’s Country Season 9 will appease every foodie’s appetite in every way.  It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other 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

 

 

 

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