PBS Bringing ‘Odd Squad: The Movie’ Home Later This Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Things are going to get a little bit “odd” for lots of families later this month thanks to PBS Distribution.

PBS Distribution will release Odd Squad: The Movie Jan. 24 exclusively on DVD.  It marks the first time that the movie has ever been released since airing late last year on PBS Kids stations nationwide.  In its biggest adventure yet, the Odd Squad has to deal with a new group of problem solvers called The Weird Team.

The Weird Team is led by Weird Tom (Jack McBrayer—30 Rock, Despicable Me, Wreck-It Ralph) and has a gadget to solve any problem.  This forces the Odd Squad to call it quits and go back to their normal lives.  However, a discovery about that gadget leads the Odd Squad’s down time to be short-lived.

Instead of fixing problems, The Weird Team’s gadget only covers up problems instead of fixing them.  When this is revealed, the Odd Squad has to team back up to save the world from utter destruction.  Audiences can view a trailer for the movie online now here.

Odd Squad: The Movie will be released Jan. 24 exclusively on DVD.  It will retail for MSRP of $6.99.  More information on this and other Odd Squad DVDs is available online now along with games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/oddsquad

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

 

 

 

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‘Caillou Goes For The Gold’ Deserves Its Own Medal

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

The weather outside is frightful for most of the country right now, so the fire is definitely so delightful.  No, this critic doesn’t want it to just snow.  However, since there’s no place to go since most events happen during spring and summer, PBS Kids has a way for families to keep their kids entertained.  That resource is the latest DVD release from the network’s kid-friendly series Caillou, Caillou Goes For The Gold.  Originally released late last July, this DVD is just as useful in cold weather months as during the summer.  That is due in part to the episodes’ underlying theme.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lessons that are taught within each episode are just as important to note here as the episodes’ underlying theme.  The bonus material included with the DVD rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, these three elements together make Caillou Goes For The Gold its own gold medal winner.

When PBS Distribution released Caillou Goes For The Gold late last July, the company’s intent was to tie the DVD in to the 2016 summer Olympics.  That’s all good and fine, but even now six months later, the DVD has proven to be just as important for families to watch as when it was originally released.  That is due in part to the episodes’ underlying theme. The episodes were all sports-related as the DVD was, again, meant to tie in to the Olympics.  But in the bigger picture, each episode serves to support the push for physical activity.  Whether running in a race, learning karate, swimming or other activities, each episode promotes physical activity of some sort.  Obviously outdoor physical activity is difficult while old man winter has his icy grip on the nation.  But there are facilities out there that boast heated, indoor pools and indoor walking/running tracks.  There are even indoor batting facilities where young people can go to learn to hit a ball.  Heck, there are even bowling centers in almost every city across the country.  Considering the multitude of opportunities for families to get out and get active even in colder months, that underlying theme that runs through each episode makes this DVD a win by itself.  It is just one of the elements that gives the DVD such a solid score, too.  The lessons that are taught within each of the featured episodes are just as important for audiences to note as the episodes’ underlying theme.

The underlying theme of physical activity’s importance runs through all 11 episodes featured in Caillou Goes For The Gold.  While that theme is hugely important to the DVD’s presentation – since it gives plenty of inspiration for indoor activity even in cold months – it is not the DVD’s only important element.  The lessons provided within each episode are just as important to note as that underlying theme.  Young audiences are taught the importance of focusing on play rather than winning in the disc’s opening episode, “Everyone’s Best.”  “Caillou’s Big Kick” teaches an equally important lesson about perseverance in its short segment.  As if that isn’t enough for audiences, “Caillou’s Mini-Marathon” encourages families to get out and get active together and for children to try something that might be difficult.  Between these lessons and the lessons presented in each of the disc’s other episodes, it becomes clear in watching each program why their incorporated lessons are just as important as their underlying theme of physical activity’s importance.  Even with both elements in mind, they are only two of the key elements to note in examining this collection’s overall presentation.  The bonus material included with the disc rounds out its most important elements.

Caillou Goes for the Gold presents plenty of reason that it will earn its own awards through the underlying theme that runs through each of its 11 episodes.  The same can be said when placing the episodes’ separate lessons in place of their underlying theme.  While both elements are undeniably important to this collection both by themselves and collectively, they are only two of the disc’s key elements.  The bonus material that is included with the DVD is just as important to note in examining this collection’s presentation as its underlying theme and its lessons.  The bonus material in question comes in the form of three bonus activities that drive home both that underlying theme and lessons.  The first of the bonus activities encourages parents to hold backyard races in which the “contestants” can win ribbons.  The second activity is essentially a homemade ring toss game, and the third is a relay race that not only encourages physical activity but also teaches letter recognition for preschoolers.  It scores double for touching on not one but two different areas.  Each lesson is a positive in its own right.  Parents and educators alike will agree they are a wonderful bonus to this DVD’s viewing experience.  When they are set against the episodes’ lessons and their underlying theme, all three elements join to make the DVD well-deserving of its own award.

Caillou Goes For The Gold has been available in stores and online for about six months since its release in late July, 2015.  While the collection has been available for half a year, that does nothing to lessen its importance even now in the colder months of the New Year.  Its underlying theme promoting physical activity is a good start for discussions on physical activity among children and parents/educators before finding ways to get active indoors.  The lessons that are presented in each episode add even more depth to the disc’s presentation.  The bonus material included inside the disc’s case rounds out is most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way to the disc’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make this collection a medial winner for every family whether in the year’s colder months or its warmer months.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other Caillou collections is available online along with games, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.caillou.com

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

 

 

 

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

Students, Lovers Of Archaeology, Anthropology Will Appreciate New ‘SOTD’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is taking audiences back in time in another episode of its hit history-based series Secrets of The Dead as it opens the new year. The episode, After Stonehenge, is an interesting new look at life in one early English settlement and how the settlement met its end.  That central topic is just one of the program’s key elements.  The information provided throughout the program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.  The program’s audio options may not seem overly important in the grand scheme of things.  But in discussing those options, audiences will see that those options are just as important to note here as the program’s main topic and associated information.  Each element is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make After Stonehenge a program that students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology will want to see time “after” time.

Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge is a program that students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology alike will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the program’s central topic.  The topic in question is that of a Bronze Age settlement discovered in England in 2011.  The settlement, which was discovered at a location called Must Farm, was 3,000 years old and stood on stilts in what was then marshland. Audiences will appreciate in watching this program that while it is titled After Stonehenge, the program’s only mention of Stonehenge comes early in the program.  After that point, there is no mention of the ancient structure to be heard or seen.  This is so important to note because there have been some programs put out by PBS that, despite their titles, have not exactly followed the expected themes of those titles.  This program isn’t one of those cases.  It focuses solely on the settlement and its role in life in mainland Europe during the time in which its inhabitants lived there.  Those behind the program are to be commended for keeping that focus.  It ensures in its own right audiences’ maintained engagement from the beginning to end of the roughly hour-long program.  It is of course just one of the key elements to note in examining this episode of Secrets of the Dead.  The information that is presented throughout the program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.

The central topic presented in Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge is in its own right a key piece of this program’s whole presentation.  That is because those behind the program never allow its focus to stray.  Sadly some of PBS’ programs have been guilty of allowing that to happening.  Though, that luckily didn’t happen here.  It’s just one of the elements that makes this episode of SOTD such an interesting watch.  The information provided throughout the program is key in its own right to the program’s presentation.  One of the most interesting pieces of information provided within the program is the revelation that despite their location, the inhabitants of Must Farm were not solitary people. That is made clear through the discovery of bronze swords and other items that were obviously used for defense.  The fact that the settlement was surrounded by a palisade makes even clearer the settlement’s inhabitants had reason to be concerned for their safety.  This is despite apparently being a mostly peaceful people who thrived on textiles and trade.

Speaking of trade, audiences also learn through the program that the settlement’s inhabitants’ trade routes might have reached as far inland as Italy and Germany.  That is proven through the presentation of glass beads made with items not common to Must Farm at the time.  The bronze stellar mask crafted by the settlement’s inhabitants shows just as much the group’s influence. It presents a precise measurement of the stars used to help determine harvesting and planting times; times that would have applied more to mainland inhabitants than the inhabitants of Must Farm.  It is truly an incredible presentation and just one more piece of information presented throughout the program that proves the importance of the program’s information to its overall presentation.  There is much more that audiences will appreciate than just this including an examination of how the settlement’s end might have come not externally but possibly internally and by accident no less.  All things considered, the information presented throughout this program proves to be just as important as the program’s central topic if not more important and is just one more important piece of the program’s whole.  The program’s audio options play their own integral part in the program’s presentation, too believe it or not.

The central topic of SOTD: After Stonehenge and its expansive information are both important pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  They are just two of its key elements, too.  The audio options presented in the program’s new home release are important in their own right to its overall presentation.  The audio options presented here include not just the standard subtitles for the hard of hearing but also the option of audio description for the blind, too.  This is something that has become increasingly common for PBS’ programs both on DVD and on TV throughout 2016.  It might not seem overly important on the surface.  But in the bigger picture of things, it shows an increased attention to the ADA by the people at PBS, and allows an even broader audience enjoy the program.  Audiences familiar with other older programs released by PBS Distribution don’t include the audio option for the blind community. So to see this option included in the program’s home release enhances its viewing experience and makes it just as laudable.  Again, it seems like a minor detail.  But in the bigger picture of the program’s overall presentation in its home release, it is a huge piece of the program’s whole. When it is set alongside the focus presented in the program’s main topic and interesting information, the whole of this program proves again to be one that students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology will appreciate.

Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge is a program that both students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology will appreciate.  It is another episode of PBS’ hit history-based series that shows why this program remains so popular.  The program never loses its focus in its main topic, mentioning Stonehenge only once in its whole length. This is important to note once again because some of PBS’ programs do fall victim to that lack of focus, though thankfully those shortcomings are rare.  Because it maintains its focus, it ensures in itself audiences’ engagement.  The information provided throughout the program ensures that engagement just as much.  The fact that the program offers not only subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, but also audio descriptive service for the blind is important to note, too.  That is because that is not commonplace for home releases of PBS’ programs.  To see that it is becoming more commonplace is encouraging and is laudable in its own right.  Each element clearly is important in its own right to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, this episode of Secrets of the Dead proves itself one that both students and lovers of archaeology and anthropology will appreciate.  It will be available Tuesday and can be ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

 

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

‘Super Hummingbirds’ Is A “Super” New Episode Of PBS’ ‘Nature’

nature-super-hummingbirds-bd-box-art

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Big things can and often do come in small packages.  Who out there hasn’t heard or said this or some variant thereof?  In the animal kingdom, one of the smallest creatures – the hummingbird – is one of the biggest surprises.  The tiny birds’ surprises are many, too.  Those surprises were recently revealed in a new episode of PBS’ hit wildlife-based series Nature in the form of Super Hummingbirds.  This episode isn’t the series’ first to ever focus on the tiny birds, but it is still an interesting program nonetheless.  That is due in part to the program’s central topic.  This will be discussed shortly.  The information that is presented within the program is just as important to its presentation as its central topic.  It will be discussed later.  The program’s transitions round out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Super Hummingbirds proves in the end to be its own super episode of Nature.

Super Hummingbirds is not the first episode of its kind to run on PBS’ hit wildlife series Nature.  Even with that in mind, it is still its own “super” episode.  That is due in part to the program’s central topic.  The program’s central topic focuses on the various adaptations hummingbirds have developed throughout their evolution.  One of those adaptations allows one species of hummingbird to survive at altitudes that would otherwise be fatal to humans.  That is because of the low levels of oxygen at those altitudes.  Another key adaptation that is displayed is the hummingbird’s tongue.  Audiences will be surprised to discover here that hummingbirds’ tongues (or at least one species of hummingbird) are actually split in a manner similar to snakes.  What is even more interesting to learn is the revelation that hummingbirds use channels of sorts in their tongues in order to lap up nectar from flowers.  They don’t just stick out their tongues and lap it up.  It is truly an interesting revelation.  It is just one more of so many interesting adaptations that are revealed as part of the program’s central topic.  There are plenty of other adaptations revealed throughout the course of the program that audiences will be just as interested to discover.  Even with that in mind, the program’s central program should not be considered the program’s only important element.  The information that is presented throughout the course of the program’s roughly hour-long program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.

The central topic presented in Super Hummingbirds is in itself a key element to the program’s overall presentation.  It is a topic that while touched on in previous similar episodes of Nature, is still original in its own right.  That is because it takes such a close look at the adaptations that have allowed the tiny birds to survive in different situations and settings.  As important as the presented topic proves to be, it is just one of the program’s key elements.  The information that makes up the body of the program is just as important to note as the program’s central topic.  One of the more interesting pieces of information revealed in the program is that of the ability of one species of hummingbird to survive at altitudes close to that of Mount Everest.  That information is provided as one scientist conducts experiments to see how low he can make the birds’ oxygen levels before they begin struggling to fly.  For the animal rights activists out there, no birds were harmed in the process.  Another interesting piece of information that is revealed in the program is the fact that allegedly hummingbirds spend the better part of their days competing. What’s more the males are the ones who do the competing, and they do so primarily for the purpose of creating the next generation of hummingbirds.  It’s so interesting to note because of the reputation that hummingbirds have as gentle, tiny creatures.  According to this piece of information, they are not the peaceful little creatures that most people think them to be.  What’s more it makes them seem about as competitive as most teen boys.  Yes, that bad joke was fully intended.  This revelation in particular is just one more of so many interesting pieces of information that will assuredly keep audiences engaged throughout the course of the program.  There are plenty of other intriguing pieces of information that are revealed from beginning to end.  All things considered, the information provided within this episode of Nature give audiences plenty to appreciate.  They prove collectively to be just as important to the program as its central topic.  The program’s overall information, important as it is, is still not the program’s only remaining important element.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its collective information and central topic.

The topic at the heart of Super Hummingbirds and the program’s collective information are both key pieces of the program’s overall presentation.  While both elements are clearly important pieces of the program’s whole, they are just two of three key elements that should be noted in examining its overall presentation.  The program’s transitions are just as important to note as its information and central topic.  From hummingbirds’ survival abilities to their competitive nature to their mating the transitions between subjects are clear and concise.  There is no jumping from one subject to the next.  While there are no fade-ins or fade-outs between subjects, the program’s writing makes the transitions stable and thus maintain the program’s pacing.  That being the case, the program’s transitions keep it moving forward and in turn, keep audiences engaged.  It proves the importance of the transitions to the program’s overall presentation.  When it is set alongside the program’s extensive information and its central topic, the whole of those elements makes this episode of Nature another “super” presentation from PBS’ hit wildlife-based series.

Super Hummingbirds is hardly the first ever episode of PBS’ Nature to focus on hummingbirds.  Even with that in mind, it is still a “super” new episode of the network’s hit wildlife-based series.  That is proven in part through the program’s central topic.  The program’s central topic focuses on the adaptations that have allowed hummingbirds to survive in so many settings around the world.  The information provided throughout the program to support its topic is just as important to note as the program’s topic itself.  The program’s transitions keep its pacing solid, and in turn keep audiences engaged.  Each topic is important in its own right to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make Super Hummingbirds, again, a “super” new episode of Nature.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct 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 reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Lionsgate’s Latest Literary/Cinematic Adaptation Leads Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Lionsgate Premium

Courtesy: Lionsgate Premium

The realm of family entertainment is as vast when it comes to DVDs and Blu-rays as it is in terms of musical offerings.  That’s a powerful statement. And it has proven true once again this year.  Between PBS Kids, Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory, and other outlets, the number of family friendly offerings released this year has been impressive to say the least.

The content contained therein has been just as impressive as the DVDs and BDs themselves.  It is really what makes them so impressive.  From education to entertainment, this year’s crop of new family offerings has been quite balanced.  That balance has made choosing just a select list of the year’s best anything but easy.  Keeping that in mind, this critic has assembled a list of the year’s top new family DVDs and Blu-rays, which is presented here.  Topping this year’s list is a new offering from Lionsgate titled based on an equally well-known children’s novel.  Also included in this list are the 9th season of Curious George, a small handful of new titles from PBS Kids and a number of titles from Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory.

As with each Phil’s Picks list, this list features the Top 10 new titles in the list plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Family DVDs and Blu-rays.

 

PHIL’S PICKS TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

 

  1. The Great Gilly Hopkins

 

  1. Zootopia

 

  1. Curious George Season 9

 

  1. Goosebumps

 

  1. Ice Age: Collision Course

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To The Doctor

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes Camping

 

  1. Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech

 

  1. Transformers Rescue Bots: Adventures In Time and Space

 

  1. Transformers Recue Bots: Bots Battle for Justice

 

  1. Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups

 

  1. Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Super Daniel

 

  1. WordWorld: It’s Time For School

 

 

 

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.

Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Presentation Is The “Champion” Of Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries List

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

2016 was another great year for documentaries.  From ancient kings to movie magic kings and much more, the field of documentaries had plenty to offer audiences.  Believe it or not PBS showed again with its offerings why it remains the king of the documentary field and why it is the last true bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It wasn’t the only outlet that offered quality documentaries this year, though.  Virgil Films and MVD Visual both had some stand out offerings, too.  Their films are included in this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

Topping this year’s list of the year’s top new documentaries is Ken Burns’ new profile of MLB great Jackie Robinson.  It isn’t the first of its kind by any means.  But it is one of the most in-depth profiles of the baseball legend.  Also included in this year’s list is a profile of another legend in his own right, Ray Harryhausen from MVD Visual in the form of Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.  It isn’t the first of its kind, either. But its story, interviews, footage, information and editing all combine to make this presentation stand out.  There is even a pair of documentaries on the “timeless” cinema classic Back to the Future included in this list.

As with each of Phil’s Picks “Best Of” lists, this list features this critic’s top 10 choices in the given category along with five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  So without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

 

  1. Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson

 

  1. American Experience: Space Men

 

  1. American Experience: Tesla

 

  1. Nature: Natural Born Hustlers

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings

 

  1. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

 

  1. American Experience: Bonnie & Clyde

 

  1. Nature: Super Hummingbirds

 

  1. Nature: Moose Life of a Twig Eater

 

  1. NOVA: Vikings Unearthed

 

  1. OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine

 

  1. Back in Time

 

  1. Building Star Trek

 

  1. Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities

 

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 Takes Audiences To Africa In New Episode of ‘Nature’

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS will take audiences into the wilds of Africa later this month in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature.

PBS Distribution will release Nature: GiraffesAfrica’s Gentle Giants.  The hour-long program will be released December 20 exclusively on DVD.  The program takes new meaning this year with the recent news of the creatures’ potential fates.

The program follows research conducted by Dr. Julian Fennessy Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation as he studies the decline in the giraffe population and attempts to help protect a group of the giants.

Fennessy’s work isn’t without its dangers.  The film follows him as he travels to Ethiopia’s border with war-torn Southern Sudan to collect DNA samples from giraffes for his species analysis.

His research is responsible for the recent revelation that there are four distinct species of giraffes – the northern giraffe, southern giraffe, reticulated giraffe and Masai giraffe.

As Fennessy searches for one group of giraffes by helicopters, gunfire aimed at the chopper in which he rides forces quite the change in schedule.  This and much more is presented throughout the course of the program.

Nature: GiraffesAfrica’s Gentle Giants will be released on DVD December 20.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered now at a discounted 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.