PBS Distribution Announces Release Date For New Apollo 11 Presentation

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution continues its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission alter this month with another new story of the historic event.

8 DaysTo The Moon And Back is scheduled for release Sept. 24 on DVD.  The new program presents another new look at the Apollo 11 mission with the original audio of conversations held between the crew of the Apollo 11 and newly shot studio footage, NASA and news archives.

The upcoming release features Rufus Wainright (EastEndersMeet The RobinsonsI Am Sam), Jack Tarlton (The Imitation GameDr. WhoThe Genius of Mozart) and Patrick Kennedy (Mrs. KennedyAtonementPirates of the CaribbeanOn Stranger Tides) as the crew of the Apollo 11 in this re-telling of the Apollo 11 mission.

8 DaysTo The Moon and Back will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 through 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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PBS Distribution Releases New ‘Dinosaur Train’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution released another new collection of episodes from PBS Kids’ hit series Dinosaur Train this week.

Dinosaur TrainDinosaurs Big & Small was released Tuesday on DVD.  The collection features 10 more episodes from the family favorite animated series.  One of the multitude of episodes — titled “How Many Horns” — features Buddy Pteranodon and his friend Tank Triceratops learning why different dinosaurs have a different number of horns.

“The Tiny-Saur Train” sends the Pteranodon kids off to prehistoric China in a search for the smallest dinosaur of all.

“We’re Not All Dinosaurs,” another of the DVD’s featured episodes, finds the Pteranodon kids meeting a new mammal friend named Adele Alphadon and her friend Cindy Cimolestes.  The discussions in this episode point out that not all Mesozoic creatures were dinosaurs.

Dinosaur TrainDinosaurs Big and Small is available now.  More information on Dinosaur Train is available online now along with lots of activities, printables, videos and more at:

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain

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

 

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PBS Distribution’s Latest ‘Wild Kratts’ DVD Will Make Lots Of Positive Waves

Courtesy: PBS/PBS DIstribution

Early this spring, PBS Distribution released a new addition to its collection of Wild Kratts DVDs in the form of The Briny Blue Sea.  Released April 9, the DVD features two more episodes of the hit animated series.  The episodes in question follow the theme of the DVD’s title throughout.  This will be addressed shortly.  The secondary lessons about what makes the episodes’ featured creatures so great adds to the DVD’s appeal.  That content and the DVD’s primary content coupled, they make the DVD’s pricing affordable.  That affordability joins with the DVD’s primary and secondary content to make the DVD in whole another welcome addition to any family’s Wild Kratts collection.

PBS Distribution’s latest addition to its ongoing series of Wild Kratts DVDs is a welcome addition to that series and to any family’s Wild Kratts collection.  That is due in part to the DVD’s four featured episodes.  The episodes in question – “Osprey,” “Aye Aye,” “Puffin Rescue” and “Sea Otter Swim” – all follow the DVD’s central theme of the DVD’s title.  Given, “Aye Aye” does not necessarily follow the them in the purest sense of the word, as the story finds the Wild Kratts gang learning about the aye aye – a land creature – as they pretend to be pirates while aboard the Tortuga.  The other three episodes however, tend to follow the DVD’s central theme much more directly.  “Osprey” finds Chris and Martin having to recover the keys to the Tortuga after Jimmy accidentally loses them in the ocean.  It’s up to the brothers Kratt to recover them before Zach Varmitech gets his hands on them.  “Puffin Rescue” finds the Wild Kratts “gang” being separated after a rogue wave hits the Tortuga, spreading the group across the ocean.  Martin ends up washed up on a deserted island inhabited only by Puffins, which end up helping Aviva develop a Puffin creature suit for him.  He uses the suit to rescue the rest of the group, leading Chris to use his squid creature suit to help pull the Tortuga from the water.  “Sea Otter Swim” features Jimmy learning how to swim from a sea otter whom Chris and Martin have aptly named “Coach.”  In the process, the group learns about the “powers” that make sea otters stand out.  Again, all of thee episodes follow the DVD’s central theme of “The Briny Blue Sea.”  It’s hardly the first time a Wild Kratts DVD has done so, either.  To that end, it’s just one way in which the DVD impresses just as much as its predecessors.  The secondary lessons featured throughout the stories adds even more appeal to the DVD.

The secondary lessons featured in each of the DVD’s episodes are once again about various creatures and their interesting “creature powers.”  Audiences learn, for instance, in “Aye Aye” that the Aye Aye, which is a member for the lemur family, uses one of its fingers very much in the same way that a woodpecker uses its beak – to find and catch their meals.  It also notes the power of aye ayes’ ears.  “Osprey” teaches viewers how Ospreys use their wings and their powerful eyesight to spot fish in the water and catch them so quickly and precisely.  While “Sea Otter Swim” focuses mainly on sea otters and their powers, it also features other sea creatures, such as the starfish, bottlenose dolphin and the bald eagle, and how their interact with one another in and above the waves.  “Puffin Rescue” focuses on puffins’ beaks and wings, as well as their quite impressive vision.  Simply put, there is a lot of in-depth content that teaches young viewers what makes the featured creatures so interesting.  Once again, that content is delivered in a way that makes it accessible for any viewer.  Yet again, it’s a positive way to get young viewers interested in the biological and ecological sciences.  When this is considered along with the DVD’s primary content and its value, the whole of that content gives audiences a lot to appreciate.  On the same note, it makes the DVD’s average price point worth its low price point.

The average price point of Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea is $11.98.  Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy offer the lowest prices at $9.90 (Amazon and Walmart) and $9.99 (Target and Best Buy) while PBS and Books-A-Million list the DVD at the most expensive price at $14.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ price of $14.12 is just below that of PBS.  Given, PBS presents one of the most expensive listings, but regardless of where audiences get the DVD, a portion of the money will still go to benefit PBS, so the money is well-spent no matter which retailer consumers choose.  Add in the content featured in the DVD, the price is affordable and worth paying regardless of retailer.  Keeping this in mind, the DVD proves, in the end clearly why it is a welcome addition to any family’s Wild Kratts collection.

Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea is another enjoyable addition to PBS Distribution’s ongoing series of Wild Kratts DVD releases.  That is proven in part through the four episodes that make up the body of the DVD.  They all follow the DVD’s central theme of the ocean.  The secondary content, which features more lessons about the featured creatures and their powers adds even more enjoyment and engagement to the DVD’s presentation.  Collectively, they make the DVD’s average price point money well-spent, regardless of retailer.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD one that will make plenty of waves in the best way possible.  More information on the DVD is available online along with lots of Wild Kratts games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/wildkratts

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

 

 

 

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‘Endeavour’ Remains Among TV’s Top Crime Dramas In Its Sixth Season

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

British TV network itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour will return for a seventh season.  The announcement was recently made on PBS’ official Masterpiece website following the airing of the finale for the series’ sixth season on PBS.  That means that fans of the famed sleuth will have at least one more season to enjoy.  The announcement, which is posted at to.pbs.org/31PxG7Z, states the seventh season will air sometime in 2020, but does not specify the air date for the season premiere.  As audiences wait for the premiere of Season Seven, they can enjoy the series’ sixth season on DVD and Blu-ray.  Released July 9, this latest season is another positive addition to the ongoing series.  That is due in part to the season’s writing, which will be addressed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast adds even more interest and appeal to the season.  It will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the season’s home release rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be addressed later.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s home presentation.  All things considered, they make the collection another positive offering from itv and PBS.

The recently released sixth season of EndeavourSeason Six is yet another positive addition to the series.  That is proven in part through the season’s writing.  Audiences will note over the course of season six, that the series’ writers do not just rely on all of the same storylines that made up the series’ first five season in terms of the crimes.  To top it off, the character development – that ongoing storyline that started in Season One – continues to evolve throughout this season, too.  In regards to the crimes featured throughout each of the season’s four episodes, fans of Law & Order SVU will find appealing the story in the season premiere, “Pylon.”  The disappearance of a young girl leads Endeavour Morse and his now former partner DI Friday to an investigation into the Thames Valley’s seedy underworld of perverts, which leads to a years-old cold case being solved.  The suspect in the case is someone that no one would have expected.  The noted girl is eventually found, and her cause of death is just as unexpected.  It won’t be given away here, but it is a plot element that has not been used up to this point in the series.  The season’s second episode, “Apollo,” is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.  It serves as the basis of a murder mystery that also pays tribute to the late great Gerry Anderson and all of his supermarionation series.  The murder happens, as it turns out, because of a love triangle between three people who are working on the fictional puppet-based series.  “Confection,” the season’s third episode, is another whodunit centered on a romantic tryst.  The season finale “Duguello” takes the season out on a bang as it takes in the all-too-familiar crime drama plot elements of corrupt cops and government officials for its basis.  That is the extent of what will be given away here, but its outcome plays a key role in what happens at the Thames Valley headquarters.  Again that element will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.  All four stories offer more than their own share of entertainment and engagement for crime drama fans on both sides of the Atlantic.  The fact that the writers continued on this season, to bring viewers new, twist-filled stories that will keep them guessing right to the end is in itself just one key element of the season’s writing.  The writing involved with the season’s secondary story elements is just as important to note as that of the primary stories.

The writing involved with the season’s secondary stories – Morse’s relationship with Friday, Friday’s relationship with his (and Endeavour’s) new boss, and even Friday’s relationship with his own wife adds its own share of entertainment and engagement to this season.  The writers are to be commended for how they handled each element within the bigger picture of the season.  The change in Morse and Friday’s relationship is gradual and subtle.  That subtlety in this storyline  does just enough to leave viewers watching to see when the longtime friends’ friendship will finally reach its breaking point (and it does, too).  In the same breath, Friday’s relationship with his wife creates its own share of drama too because of the subtlety in how it was approached.  The balance of these secondary story lines with the primary story lines involving the crimes makes for more than enough entertainment and engagement.  It shows once again why Endeavour remains one of the best crime dramas on television today if not the absolute best.  While the writing at the center of Season Six does more than its share to keep viewers entertained and engaged, it is only one part of what makes this season work so well.  The work of the show’s cast does just as much to make it so appealing.

As noted, the story line involving Friday and Morse’s friendship creates its own interest for viewers.  While the work of the show’s writing team deserves its own accolades for that interest, stars Shaun Evans (Morse) and Roger Allam (Friday) deserves its own share of credit, too.  It would have been so easy for the pair to go over the top as tensions rose between their characters, but being the consummate professionals that they are, that never happened.  The same can be said of Allam’s work as he works on-screen alongside new co-star Simon Harrison (DCI Ronnie Box).  The duo’s work together creates just the right amount of tension as their partnership progresses.  Those developments play expertly off of the aforementioned work between Allam and Evans for a bigger developing story that shows in whole, just how hard the cast worked to keep viewers watching.  Much the same could be said of Allam’s interaction on camera with co-star Caroline O’Neill, who plays Thursday’s wife Win.  As the couple’s marriage seems to break down due to Thursday’s work life, it would have been just as easy for the pair to ham it up.  Thankfully that didn’t happen in this case, either.  The result is even more engagement for viewers.  All things considered here, the cast’s work interpreting each script within this season makes for just as much entertainment and engagement for viewers as the stories that form the season’s basis.  For all that it does to add to the season’s enjoyment, the work of the cast is not the last of the season’s most important elements.  The bonus content that is featured with the season’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus content featured within the home release of EndeavourSeason Six is a series of featurettes that finds the cast discussing various aspects of the season.  Harrison, Allam and Richard Riddell sit down to talk about the stylistic difference in law enforcement between Morse, Jango and Box in one of the featurettes.  The featurette in question even presents a tribute to the famed British crime drama The Sweeney as Harrison discusses Box’s methodology.  Fans of that series (which was the basis for FX’s former hit crime drama The Shield) will appreciate this mention, and in turn the noted relationships between Friday and Box, Friday and Morse and Box and Morse.  In yet another of the bonuses, the cast talks about the tribute to Gerry Anderson in the episode “Apollo.”  Viewers will be interested to learn about the episode’s tie to Anderson’s timeless series Thunderbirds with this episode, as well as the fact that the puppeteers had to be trained (yes, trained) in how to handle the puppets for certain scenes within the episode.  There are also brief vignettes with certain cast members that features those cast members sharing fond thoughts about their characters and scenes that they recorded for Season Six.  Some of those scenes made the final cut while others weren’t so lucky.  All things considered here, the bonus content featured with the home release of Season Six is brief, but still adds its own share of entertainment and insight to the whole of the season.  When that is considered alongside the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the season’s acting and writing, it becomes no mystery why the sixth season of Endeavour is another success for the series.

EndeavourSeason Six is another strong new entry in the long-running crime drama’s run.  That is proven in part through the writing that went into the series.  Both the primary and secondary story lines show the strength of said writing.  The work of the series’ cast is just as strong as the writing.  The bonus content, though brief, adds its own entertainment and insight to the whole of the season’s presentation.  Each item is important in its own way to the season’s whole.  All things considered, they show why Endeavour continues to be one of television’s top crime dramas in its sixth season, if not the best.  More information on Endeavour is available online now at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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‘AmEx: Chasing The Moon’ Is One Of The Best NASA Histories To Be Created In 50 Years

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Fifty years ago last month, one of the most important events in the history of mankind took place when Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon and its occupants – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – stepped out of the capsule and became the first humans to ever walk on the lunar surface.  That moment, on July 20, 1969 was the day the world actually stopped and – for once – came together.  While everybody knows the story of the Apollo 11 mission, not everyone knows the full story that led up to that historic moment, that is until now.  PBS Distribution released a new documentary centered on the Apollo 11 mission July 9 to celebrate the mission’s 50th anniversary.  The story at the center of the six-and-a-half-hour documentary is in itself more than enough reason for audiences to own this presentation.  It will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content that comes with the documentary’s home presentation adds more for viewers to appreciate.  It will be addressed a little later on.  The documentary’s combined primary and secondary content makes its average price point such that audiences will agree that the money spent on the multi-part presentation is money well-spent.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make American Experience: Chasing The Moon a work that gives audiences the moon and more in terms of the Apollo 11 story.

PBS Distribution’s presentation of American Experience: Chasing The Moon is a work that more than exceeds expectations for history buffs and space history aficionados alike.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the program.  The story presents not just the familiar story of the Apollo 11’s groundbreaking lunar landing, but the evolution of America’s space program both within itself and as it pertained to America’s competition with Russia’s space program and government.  That is just one of the key elements of the program’s story.  Audiences will be surprised to learn some not so savory elements of the evolution of America’s space program, such as the fact that it dealt with some issues of race relations.  Apparently it was possible one of the first men on the moon could have been African-American if not for the sociopolitical climate of the times.  On a related note, it is argued through the program’s interviewees that NASA’s mission control was located in Houston because most of the congressional members who played a part in NASA’s evolution were from the south.  It is argued that this is also likely why the noted astronaut likely was eventually removed from the lunar program.  Hearing that astronaut’s comments about being scrubbed from the mission from actual recorded footage is a powerful thing.  That is just one more element of the story that makes it so engaging.  Viewers are also treated to anecdotes from media personnel who documented the evolution of the space program and the Apollo 11 landing.  Viewers will be entertained and engaged by the anecdotes about certain media personnel who allegedly liked the camera and the limelight a little bit too much.  On the same note, the recollections of the re-enactments that the media outlets used serves to show how pivotal they were in translating the astronauts’ journeys.  It serves as the starting point for so many mass communications college courses’ discussions.  As if everything noted here is not enough, the revelation that the Russians may have in fact managed to land a probe on the moon right around the same time that Apollo 11 landed is a part of history that is rarely if ever taught in any history class at any level.  All of this and more is told through firsthand accounts from those connected with the space race and the eventual Apollo 11 mission.  There is no one single narrator for this program.  It makes the program that much more personal.  The result is a presentation that connects with audiences that much more directly, and in turn ensures even more, viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  It makes a very strong foundation for the whole of American Experience: Chasing The Moon.  While it does more than its share to keep viewers engaged and entertained, it is just one of the elements that makes the program’s home release a positive presentation.  Its bonus content plays its own pivotal part to its overall presentation.

The bonus content that is featured with the home release of American Experience: Chasing The Moon is not as extensive as the story that forms the foundation of AmEx: Chasing The Moon, but is still interesting in its own right.  It will appeal more to those who have an interest in video editing than the program’s primary target audience.  The two bonuses featured within the program’s home release – “Interview with Robert Stone” and “Behind The Scenes With Film Crew” – take viewers into the genesis of the program and its creative process.  Stone reveals in his solo interview that director Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey is what first got him interested in the film creation process.  He adds in his most enjoyable anecdote, his first experience as a film maker involved a super 8 camera kit that was not even his.  It was not a criminal thing, but will certainly leave viewers laughing along with him as he recounts the story.  Stone also recalls his interaction with Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman helped bring some of the footage for this documentary into the program.  That story will be saved for audiences to discover on their own, but it is certainly an interesting story, needless to say.  It is just one more of a number of topics that he touches on in his brief interview.  When it is considered with the rest of the items that he discusses, the whole of the interview certainly proves entertaining and engaging in its own right.

The Behind The Scenes documentary will especially appeal to those who are students and lovers of the cinematic arts.  Audiences learn firsthand how the music for the program came to life for starters.  Viewers are also treated to discussions on the restoration of the original footage for the program.  Though brief, this is its own interesting discussion because it exhibits the painstaking efforts taken to restore the footage.  Looking back at the vintage footage used for the program, those efforts paid off, needless to say.  Even the sound editing is addressed in this bonus segment as well as the general video editing.  The whole of the topics will appeal primarily to the noted viewers.  When it is considered along with the content presented in Stone’s interview, the whole of the bonus content proves quite entertaining and just as valuable to the whole of American Experience: Chasing The Moon as the program’s central story.  When both the primary and secondary content are coupled, they prove the program’s average price point – both on DVD and Blu-ray – a number that while maybe not inexpensive, still money that is well-spent.

The average price point of American Experience: Chasing The Moon comes to $27.41 for its Blu-ray presentation and $24.49 for its DVD presentation.  Those prices were reached by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS’ store.  At the time of this review’s posting, the program was not listed through Books-A-Million’s website on DVD and Blu-ray.  Now keeping this in mind, the majority of the single listings were below that average price listing on both platforms.  The majority of the listings were below those price points, though a couple – Target and Barnes & Noble Booksellers did come close on the Blu-ray price point.  PBS’ listing was the only one that exceeded both platforms’ price point.  Each retailer’s price point for the program’s DVD price exceeded its average by only cents.  Keeping all of this in mind, that still makes the 3-disc set’s price less than $10/disc.  At a total run time of six-and-a-half hours, that is actually quite affordable, especially considering the depth and breadth of the presented information.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point of American Experience: Chasing The Moon proves just as integral in its own way to the whole of the program as its primary and secondary content.  When all three elements are considered together, the whole of the elements makes this documentary an out of this world hit, proving once more why this documentary, though length, is well worth the watch by space history aficionados and history buffs in general.

PBS Distribution’s new American Experience documentary Chasing The Moon is a program that will keep lovers and students of space history and general history buffs alike fully engaged and entertained throughout the course of its six-and-a-half-hour run time.  That is due in no small part to its completely engaging and entertaining story, which is told through the words of those connected to America’s space program and to the Apollo 11 mission.  The bonus content that couples with that primary content will appeal to a more targeted audience, but is still just as entertaining and engaging in its own right.  They collectively make the average price point for the program’s home release – both on DVD and Blu-ray – money that is very well spent.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the program.  All things considered, they make American Experience: Chasing The Moon a presentation that will give viewers the moon and more.  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 Distribution Taking Audiences Back To Space Again Later This Month In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution is taking audiences back into the cosmos again with another new episode of NOVA.

NOVAThe Planets is scheduled for release Aug. 27 on Blu-ray and DVD.  The five-episode presentation takes viewers from the Milky Way’s inner planets all the way to its outermost regions.

Narrated by actor Zachary Quinto (StarTrekStar Trek Into DarknessStar Trek Beyond), takes viewers on the intergalactic journey using the most up-to-date planetary research and footage captured by orbiters, landers and rovers.  From the mystery of why Earth is the only planet of the rocky planets that can sustain life to how the outer planets and gas giants came to form and sit where they do now, the program takes viewers on a previously inexperienced journey through the galaxy.

NOVAThe Planets will retail for $29.99 (DVD) and $34.99 (Blu-ray).  It can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $24.99 (DVD) and $29.99 (Blu-ray) through PBS’ 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

 

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PBS Distribution To Release New ‘NOVA’ Episode To DVD Next Week

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is taking audiences on another archaeological dig next week in another new episode of NOVA.

NOVA: Lost Viking Army is scheduled for release Aug. 13 on DVD.  The program follows a bio-archaeologist named  Cat Jarman who believes that a mass grave discovered roughly forty years ago is the final resting place of an infamous Viking force known as the “Great Heathen Army.”

The “Great Heathen Army,” also known as the “Great Danish Army,” was a group of Vikings who came together from Norway, Sweden and Denmark to invade England in 865 AD.  The army’s conquest lasted a total of 14 years.  The legend behind the raid is that it was a reprisal for the execution of the Viking King Ragnar Lothrbok by Aella of Northumbria.

As this episode of NOVA presents, investigations of the mass grave and stories behind the Viking raid lead to revelations about items, such as female warriors taking part in the conflict and a king reunited with his son in death.

NOVALost Viking Army will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 through PBS’ 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 entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.