New ‘NOVA’ Episode Taking Audiences On Interstellar Journey Of Discovery Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

2015 was a major year in the world of space exploration.

It was in this year, that the New Horizons spacecraft gave humans their very first clear look at Pluto.  The pictures revealed a world completely unexpected, full of icy mountains and plains of frozen methane and nitrogen.

When it completed that mission, its overall mission was not yet over.  It kept going, and on New Year’s day 2019, it flew by another interstellar body called Ultima Thule.  The rocky body gave researchers brand new insight into how the galaxy’s planets were formed, and was also the most distant research mission ever undertaken — 4 billion miles away — by NASA.

Now next month, that story will be available for home viewers when PBS Distribution releases NOVAPluto and Beyond.  The DVD is scheduled for release on March 26 and will retail for MSRP of $24.99.  It can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

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

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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Shout! Factory, Sesame Workshop Partnership Produces Another New DVD

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! Factory

Sesame Workshop released another new Sesame Street DVD this month.

Sesame StreetCelebrate Family was released Feb. 6 in stores and online.  The latest in an ongoing series of releases from Sesame Workshop and Shout! Kids — Shout! factory’s children’s division — it teaches invaluable lessons about family.

The lessons are taught three five unique episodes, one of which finds Abby Cadabby visiting Elmo and his family for dinner. Abby learns during her visit, that not every family does things the same way, but families can still have fun making dinner together.

In another of the set’s episodes, Cookie Monster realizes that he forget to get a Mother’s Day gift for his mom.  He has to figure out what to do so that he can make his mom happy.

The dads out there aren’t forgotten, as Rosita works with her friends to make a video for Father’s Day in another of the DVD’s episodes.

In yet another of the DVD’s episodes, Abby gets a new step-brother, teaching young people that families can be related in different ways.

The fifth and final of the DVD’s stories features a big party at Hooper’s Store for children and their grandparents, celebrating the older members of the family.

The five primary stories are complimented with a bonus full-length episode that focuses on siblings, as well as a bonus episode of “Elmo’s World” and even a special musical number.  The full listing of the DVD’s bonus content is noted below.  A trailer for the DVD is streaming here.

Bonus Features:
·        Full-Length Episode: Siblings
·        Elmo’s World: Families
·        Sesame Studios: Marvie’s Song for Dad

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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‘NOVA: Last B-24’ Succeeds In Its Mission To Entertain, Engage Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

American audiences love drama.  A single run through any TV carrier’s lineup provides solid proof of that statement.  From Scandal to New Amsterdam to Criminal Minds to Empire to Black Mirror and more, drama is big business.  The thing is that none of the dramas noted here nor their unmentioned counterparts are real.  They are fiction.  The drama that has come from World War II however, is real, and none of the scripted garbage that is churned out by the TV (including streaming TV) companies can or ever will compare to the very real drama in the stories of World War II.  Early next month, PBS Distribution will present a trio of WWII-era stories full of drama on DVD in another new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA in the form of NOVA: Last B-24.  Set for release on Feb. 5, the episode follows the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to locate and return the remains of servicemen lost during the Earth’s most horrible conflict.  That story creates more than enough drama to keep any viewer engaged and entertained, and will be discussed shortly.  Keeping in mind the bigger picture of the DVD’s story, its title is its only downside.  This will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s average price point is another positive worth noting, and rounds out its most important elements.  It will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of NOVA: Last B-24.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will appeal to history and military history buffs just as much as students and lovers of forensic science and even anthropology and marine archaeology.  Simply put, it is a program that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

PBS Distribution’s forthcoming home release of NOVA: Last B-24 is a strong new offering from the long-running series that is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That statement is supported in no small part through the story at the center of the episode.  The story itself follows that U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as it efforts to find, identify and return the remains of American airmen lost during the WWII from points around the globe.  The main search is for the remains of three airmen killed in the crash of a B-24 in the Adriatic Sea.  The plane, which was the last to roll off the line at a plant in Alabama – and was owned by the factory’s workers – crashed just shy of a runway for which its 10-man crew was aiming.  Seven of the crew survived, but those three died in the crash.  The story ties in the search for remains of one of the famed “Red Tail” pilots and for the remains of another airman believed to be entombed in a B-17 that crashed near the site of the Tulsamerican in order to present the bigger story of the DOD POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s efforts to honor the military’s mantra of “no man left behind.”  That is really the bigger story here, not just that of the search for the remains of the lost Tulsamerican crew members, but of the military’s unending efforts to find every American service member, and return said service members home.  To that end, that overarching story of the military’s attempts to not leave even one person behind makes for a story that will appeal to plenty of viewers.  Staying on that train of thought that leads to the realization that the episode’s title is its only real negative.

The episode’s title is a con because considering the episode’s overarching story, the story is not necessarily about the research at the Tulsamerica’s crash site.  Rather, the story is – again – about the unending efforts by the U.S. government and military to bring home the remains of every single possible service member who has been lost overseas in America’s many military conflicts.  Maybe it could have been titled after the military’s mantra, No One Left Behind or something along those lines, but a close watch of the episode shows that Last B-24 is somewhat misleading and not necessarily accurate in relation to the episode’s overall content.  No one is perfect and mistakes happen.  What’s more, it is rare for PBS’ programs to be improperly titled.  That is not to say that it does not happen, but such an instance is not common enough to justify any major criticism.  To that end, the program’s title is a con, but it is hardly enough to ruin the presentation.  Now, keeping this in mind, there is at least one more positive to note in the overall presentation of NOVA: Last B-24, its average price point.

The average price point of NOVA: Last B-24 is $18.94.  That price point is reached by averaging prices from PBS’ store, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Amazon.  The most expensive listing is at Books-A-Million, which lists the DVD at $24.99.  Given, PBS also lists it at normal price of $24.99, but currently, it can be pre-ordered from PBS’ online store at a reduced price of $19.99.  To that end, that still makes Books-A-Million’s price the most expensive listing.  An average price of less than $20 set against a standard price listing of $24.99 is a price that audiences will agree is relatively affordable.   What’s more, the in-depth explanations of how scientists determine the identity of those lost through research of the discovered remains makes that price even more worth paying.  The same can be said of the very exhibited efforts of the military to bring home its service members.  Between that and the efforts to undeniably identify each set of remains, audiences get a presentation here that is more engaging and entertaining than any of the forensic crime dramas that currently pollute America’s airwaves.  In turn, it once again makes that average price point of less than $20 money well-spent.

NOVA: Last B-24 is just one of a handful of new episodes of NOVA to be scheduled for release early next month.  It is also one of this year’s first great new documentaries, even despite being slightly mis-titled.  The story at the center of this episode shows the U.S. military’s unending efforts to make sure no one is left behind, while also showing the extensive processes that are undertaken to ensure that no one is ever left behind.  The DVD’s average price point is hardly a bank-breaker, and considering the depth and breadth of the program’s story, that price is such that audiences will agree it is money well-spent.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Last B-24 proves to be a presentation that a wide variety of viewers will welcome in their home DVD libraries.  It will be available on DVD on Feb. 5.  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 Announces Release Date For ‘We’ll Meet Again: Season 2’

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release the second season of PBS’ hit series We’ll Meet Again next month.

We’ll Meet AgainSeason 2 is scheduled for release on DVD and digital on Feb. 5.  Season 2 features six more episodes of reunions between people searching decades for one another after being separated so many years earlier.

The episodes featured in Season 2 are: “Alaskan Earthquake,” “Surviving The Holocaust,” “Korean War Brothers in Arms,” “Escape From Cuba” and “The Fight For Women’s Rights.”  Each episode runs approximately 55 minutes in length.

We’ll Meet AgainSeason 2 will retail for MSRP of $34.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $24.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on We’ll Meet Again is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/meet-again/home

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

 

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PBS Distribution To Release Three New ‘NOVA’ Titles Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release a trio of new NOVA episodes on DVD next month.

Up first on the company’s schedule is NOVAThai Cave Rescue.  The hour-long program follows the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand that happened last summer.

The story made international headlines last July as the group sat trapped in the cave for 18 days.  An international group of rescuers partnered to bring the boys and their coach from the depths and back to safety.

NOVAThai Cave Rescue will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

 

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Next up on PBS Distribution’s February NOVA release schedule is NOVALast B-24.  Also scheduled for release on Feb. 5, this episode follows the investigation of the WWII B-24 bomber Tulsamerican after its discovery beneath the waters of the Adriatic Sea.

The bomber crashed in the sea 74 years ago. Seven of its 10 crewmen survived, and three died.  Seven decades-plus later, an expedition group composed of members of the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Croatian Navy and forensics experts examined the site and the remains of the fallen airmen in hopes of identifying them and answering why the plane crashed.

NOVALast B-24‘s run time is 45 minutes.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

 

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Rounding out PBS Distribution’s February release schedule is NOVA: Operation Bridge Rescue.  This episode will appeal to students and lovers of engineering and engineering history, as it follows the reconstruction efforts of the famed Blenheim Covered Bridge in New York State after its destruction by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and a group of thousand-year-old bridges in China.  The engineers face ongoing battles because of typhoons that destroy the bridges.

NOVAOperation Bridge Rescue runs 60 minutes, and will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

More information on these and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘AmEx: The Circus’ Is A Rich Presentation Of The Ringling Bros. & Barnum And Bailey Circus’ Early Life

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus is among the most famous and beloved institutions in America’s rich history.  From its humble beginnings in the 1800s up until 2017, when it shuttered its doors for the very last time, the circus has entertained countless masses the world over.  Early this past November, PBS Distribution presented a new profile of “The Greatest Show on Earth” in a new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series American Experience, The Circus.  The two-part, four-hour program is an interesting watch for fans of the circus and for history buffs in general.  That is due in part to the very history lesson presented throughout the course of the program.  While the history that is presented does plenty to make American Experience: The Circus interesting, the history that it does not present detracts from its presentation, to a certain point.  This will be discussed a little bit later.  Considering the information that is and is not shared in this program, the double-disc set’s average price point proves to be a positive in its own right, and will be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of American Experience: The Circus.  All things considered, they make American Experience: The Circus a presentation that is maybe not the greatest documentary of 2018, but is a still a good show.

American Experience: The Circus is an interesting look at the history of the famed Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus that will appeal to circus and history buffs alike.  Those audiences will agree that while not the greatest doc on the history of the circus, it is still a good show.  That is due in part to the history that is presented.  The history starts in the early 1800s, with the creation of two separate circuses by P.T. Barnum and James Bailey (and actually before that).  The story, from there, follows the course of each man’s career before the two eventually intersect through a partnership formed between the pair.  As the story progresses, audiences learn about the journey – both physically and metaphorically – on which the pair embarked in all of its highs and lows.  From a journey by one circus to Australia, Africa, the Asian-Pacific nations and other points around the globe, to fires the plagued the circus to labor disputes and of course all of the rave reviews that the circus would eventually receive as the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus and much more, audiences are presented a rich history of the circus’ infancy and later life.  Audiences will be interested to during that history, that the circus was originally aimed at adult audiences (due mainly to the outfits of the female performers at the time), that the circus did face issues of racism, and also presented the first moving pictures as well as plenty more information.  From the animal tamers to the high-wire performers to the sideshow acts, every part of the circus gets its own focus in this expansive presentation that takes audiences through that noted early history of the circus.  That rich history gives audiences plenty to appreciate, but for all that the doc does show, there is information that sadly is left out.  That omitted information detracts from the doc’s presentation to a certain point.

There is a lot for audiences to appreciate in American Experience: The Circus in regards to the history presented in the doc.  Of course, the doc is not a perfect presentation.  One of the program’s most notable omissions is that of a discussion on James Bailey’s death.  The program does note Bailey’s death, and how that eventually led to the joining of Ringling Brothers’ circus and that of Barnum and Bailey.  However, the mention is brief, at best.  As his death is noted, a picture of a newspaper article clearly noting the cause of death – Erysipelas.  Some might argue that this is not important, but considering that the cause of death was noted, it would have been nice to have had some background on what exactly Erysipelas is and how he might have contracted the infection.  Yes, it would have lengthened the documentary overall, but that is not a bad thing in this case.  That is because it is just some of the information that was disappointingly omitted.  The doc ends after the closure of the circus on July 16, 1956, the day when the circus held its then final performance in Pittsburgh, PA.  Of course, as is known today, it clearly was not the last time the world would ever see the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It would eventually be resurrected in 1967 when a group of investors bought the company from John Ringling North (the nephew of John Ringing).  The circus would go on to run until May 21, 2017, and as most audiences know, suffered from allegations of animal abuse and other problems in its modern era.  Again, adding this history would have lengthened the documentary even more, but by omitting the circus’ modern history as part of the documentary, audiences are not getting the full history of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus.  Rather, they are just getting a portion of its history.  True circus history buffs will certainly agree that considering all of the omitted information noted here and much more (including the revelations of what truly caused the fire of 1944 – which was just one of a handful of fires the plagued the circus), it would have been a wiser decision or PBS to do a full mini-series event for this doc than the four-hour presentation that was ultimately released.  That is not to say that what is presented here is not appreciated.  Rather, it is just that the featured presentation is only one part of the circus’ history.  To that end, it makes American Experience: The Circus an entertaining show, but definitely not “the greatest show.”

The information that is and is not presented throughout American Experience: The Circus makes it a program that is worth at least an occasional watch, as it does succeed in presenting a very rich picture of the circus’ early life.  Keeping this in mind, it makes the doc’s average price point of $21.89 relatively affordable.  That point was determined by using prices listed at PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The average price puts the per-hour charge at just over $5.  Considering this price point, and the depth and breadth of information that is featured throughout the presentation, the average price point is not a bank-breaker by any means.  Keeping all of this in mind, American Experience: The Circus proves to be not the greatest presentation of Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey’s circus, but still a good show nonetheless.

American Experience: The Circus is a strong new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series.  It is a presentation that will appeal to circus history buffs and history buffs alike with the expansive history of the circus’ early life.  Of course, there is still a certain amount of history that was omitted from the doc, that would have made it even more enjoyable had it been included in the final product.  Keeping this in mind, the doc’s average price point of just over $20 proves to be a relatively affordable price.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, it is a good show, but not the greatest.  It is available now.  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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Two New ‘Nature’ Docs On The Way This Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

PBS Distribution will release two new episodes of its hit wildlife series Nature on DVD this month.

NatureA Squirrel’s Guide To Success is scheduled for release Jan. 22.  The episode delves into the world of squirrels, examining just a handful of the roughly 300 species that exist today, such as the fox squirrel, Arctic ground squirrel and the red squirrel.

Audiences learn about the abilities and adaptations that have helped squirrels survive for eons in their various environments over the course of one hour. Those abilities and adaptations include, but are not limited to, being able to glide through the air, the ability to make astounding leaps and extensive memory.

NatureA Squirrel’s Guide To Success will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

 

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

NatureDogs in the Land of Lions is scheduled for release Jan. 29.  Filmed over the course of two years, the program follows a family of African dogs. The family is led by the mother — named Puzzles — after her mate — Jigsaw — is killed by lions, the African dog’s biggest enemy.  The moving presentation of motherhood and family loyalty exhibits what sets wild dogs apart from other large, social carnivores.

NatureDogs in the Land of Lions will retail for $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

More information on these 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.