NOVA: Nazi Attack On America Is One Of 2015’s Top New Documentaries

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

From 1939 – 1945, the world faced one of its greatest challenges when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime rose to power in Germany and started their efforts to take over the world. The stories that came from those that rose to the challenge are some of the greatest in the world’s modern history. They are numerous to say the least. There are so many stories in fact that many have yet to be told. Sadly, just as many likely will never be told. That is because so few people that fought and served in World War II are still around today to tell their stories. Thanks to PBS and its hit science-based series NOVA though, at least one more story from the Greatest Generation has been told in the recent episode Nazi Attack on America. The story presented in this episode centers on the actions of Navy officer Commander Herbert Claudius. Commander Claudius was responsible for heading the operation that sunk a German U-boat right off the coast of the United States during WWII. However, it would not be until decades later that he would receive the credit and honor that he so rightly deserved. It was all thanks to the efforts of one Robert Ballard, the same man that discovered the final resting place of the RMS Titanic. It is that story that serves as the centerpiece of this episode’s enjoyment and its success. The re-enactments and footage of Ballard’s search for the elusive sunken U-boat together add even more interest to the episode. Rounding out the whole thing is the episode’s pacing. The combination of all three elements together presents yet another story from WWII that audiences will be thankful to have experienced in the end. They prove it to be a story that also will hopefully be passed down at the very least to the next generation now that it will be released on DVD later in July.

On Tuesday, July 14th, PBS will bring to audiences another new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA. The episode in question is one that viewers of all ages should watch. That is because the episode in question tells one of the countless stories from The Greatest Generation that needed to be told. Had it not been presented by PBS, this surprising story of service might have otherwise faded into history without ever being given the proper respect that it deserves. The story in question centers on Navy Commander Herbert Claudius’ sinking of the German U-boat U-166. As audiences learn via this episode, despite sinking a U-boat that was lying in wait right off of the Gulf Coast, he was never given the respect that he so rightfully deserved. That is because his superiors did not believe him. Rather the credit for the sinking, again as audiences will learn, was given to another U.S. Navy officer in a later operation. More than seven decades would pass before Claudius would get his due credit. That is thanks to the efforts of one Robert Ballard, the same man that discovered the final resting place of the RMS Titanic. Thanks to the work done by Ballard and his fellow researchers, Claudius finally received the posthumous recognition that he had for so long deserved but never lived to see. Anyone that has any interest in military history in general or more specifically that of naval combat will take great pleasure in experiencing Claudius’ story. Those viewers will be shocked to learn of the original disregard and disbelief that Claudius’ superiors had towards his actions; actions that likely saved countless American lives. They will watch in awe as Ballard discovers U-166 and confirms without a doubt that it was in fact Claudius who deserved credit for stopping the long-elusive U-boat. The story in whole is one that not only needed to be told but deserved to be told. It is one more story from The Greatest Generation that hopefully will also be passed down to not just the next generation but generations to come so that the world will know of the service of one more great American.

The story that lies at the center of NOVA: Nazi Attack on America is a gripping story in its own right. It is one of so many stories that in having experienced it, audiences will agree far more than proves to be a story has needed and deserved to be told. The story itself is only one aspect of the presentation that makes it worth the watch. The collective re-enactments and the footage of Ballard’s discovery of U-166 add even more interest to the program. In regards to Ballard’s discovery, audiences actually get to see U-166 first-hand. The shocker comes as U-166 is revealed to be largely intact. So viewers will see, as Ballard and his companions discuss, where the depth charges must have hit the sub and ultimately doomed it. In the same breath, the re-enactments provide an equally clear view of the showdown that led to Claudius’ sinking of U-166. The sepia tone effect that is used ever so sparsely in the re-enactments are a nice touch. They help to establish that classic vibe even though audiences know that they are watching re-enactments. Getting to see the actual sub as it lies in its watery grave along with re-enactments, audiences will in turn have even more appreciation of the story that lies at the center of NOVA: Nazi Attack on America.

The re-enactments used in partner with the footage of Ballard’s discovery of U-166 go a long way toward making NOVA: Nazi Attack on America a truly intriguing presentation. They and the story itself are still collectively not all that audiences will appreciate about this episode of NOVA. The program’s pacing is solid from beginning to end of the nearly hour-long program. It wastes no time on any one element of its story. Yet at the same time, it doesn’t rush through any one aspect of the presentation or another. The resultant effect of this solid pacing is an easier and better grip on the story. It makes the story easier to follow and in turn makes for more appreciation for the story itself. That solid pacing coupled with all of the previously noted factors makes NOVA: Nazi Attack on America even more gripping, proving entirely why this episode of NOVA is one of the year’s best new documentaries.

NOVA: Nazi Attack on America is one of this year’s best new documentaries. Its central story is itself plenty of reason to watch it. The re-enactments and companion footage of Ballard’s hunt for U-166 offer even more interest to the whole of the episode. The program’s pacing brings everything together, making NOVA: Nazi Attack on America a program that every history buff and military history buff alike will want to see. In watching it, those same viewers will agree that it is one of this year’s best new documentaries. NOVA: Nazi Attack on America will be released on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015. It can be ordered online now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=61808026&cp=&kw=nova+nazi+attack+on+america&origkw=NOVA%3A+Nazi+Attack+on+America&sr=1. 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/NOVAonline

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Curious George: The Complete First Season Is Complete In Name Only

Courtesy:  Universal Studios Home Entertainment/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: Universal Studios Home Entertainment/PBS/PBS Kids

Curious George is one of America’s most beloved literary figures. For generations everybody’s favorite curious little monkey has been entertaining readers and viewers of all ages with his adventures. From an extensive series of literary adventures to a classic animated series of sorts in the 1980s to his most recent series, which debuted in 2006, George’s adventures have been teaching important lessons and putting smiles on families’ faces for ages. And this past May fans of George’s most recent animated series were finally rewarded for their loyalty to the series as Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) finally released the series’ first season in its entirety on DVD. Its release marks the first time that this series’ first season has seen the light of day in whole on DVD. And as entertaining as it is, it has to be said that it isn’t a perfect release. On the good side, audiences get the entire sixty episode (yes, sixty episodes) run from Season One on just four discs. That equals to roughly ten hours of entertainment and education for audiences of all ages. This is especially important for a number of reasons and will be discussed shortly. Sixty episodes is a lot of episodes. So one would naturally think that an episode guide of some sort would have been included in this set. Sadly the exact opposite proved to be the case. There is no episode guide. And that’s just one of a handful of cons that weigh down the set. For all of the cons that weigh it down, there is at least one more positive to consider. that positive is in fact the writing that went into each of the set’s episodes. More simply put, the mix of entertainment and education incorporated into each episode offers its own value to the whole of Season One. That value set alongside the set’s cons and its one major positive, Curious George: The Complete First Season isn’t a total loss for audiences. It is one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families. Though, sadly it can’t be said that it is the year’s best.

Curious George: The Complete First Season has been a long time coming. Ever since the series made its debut nine years ago, audiences have waited patiently for its release. Yet for some reason the people at USHE instead started with the series’ sixth and seventh seasons and only now released its first season. Why USHE would take that route is anyone’s guess. Getting back on track, audiences will appreciate that while it is complete in name only, Curious George: The Complete First Season is complete at least in terms of its episode listing. Season One boasts a total of sixty (yes, sixty) episodes. Those episodes are spread across a total of four discs that are packaged wisely inside a standard DVD case. The inclusion of all sixty original Season One episodes here is a positive in that it replaces a number of USHE’s previously released standalone Curious George compilation discs. This critic alone owns no fewer than a dozen of those standalone DVD compilations. That means that no less than half of those DVDs can now be eliminated. In other words, that means less DVDs cluttering up the house. Any parent will welcome less clutter. What’s more, owning sixty episodes in one set means that much less worry about missing George when it comes on TV regardless of whether it be on PBS or a family’s local PBS Kids affiliate. Keeping all of this in mind, the inclusion of all sixty Season One episodes in a wisely packaged four-disc set definitely makes Curious George Season:  The Complete First Season worth the addition to any family’s home DVD library.

The presentation of all sixty episodes from Curious George’s first season is within tiself plenty of reason for families to add this box set to their home DVD library. It potentially eliminates clutter from families’ homes. And it means that much less worry about missing Curious George when it comes on TV. Those are all great aspects of Season One. For every positive there is always at least one negative, though. Sadly, Curious George: The Complete First Season has its share of cons. The most glaring of those cons is linked directly to the season’s sixty-episode run. It is the lack of an episode guide of any kind. Considering that Season One boasts so many episodes, one would have thought it common sense that some thing as simple as an episode guide outlining which episodes are on which disc would be included in the set. Apparently someone at USHE thought otherwise. So audiences essentially have to either memorize the episode listing or write up an episode listing themselves and add it into the box. It’s sad that that was apparently an afterthought for the people at USHE. It is just one of a number of cons that weigh down this set, too. Along with that con, audiences will also note that there are no bonus features to speak of anywhere in the set.

The “mid-show” segments that feature kids doing what George did in the corresponding episode are nowhere to be found, either. The “mid-show” segments are commonplace with each broadcast on television. They are even there on the series’ standalone sets. So why not here? It’s doubtful having them in each episode would force an extra disc or even more to the set. So why not have them here? It seems a trivial aspect. But in reality those segments help to drive home the concepts being taught in each episode. They drive home the presented concepts because they present children doing the things that George did in the corresponding episodes. This makes them that much more relatable for young viewers and in turn more capable of reaching them. So not having them included here yet again weighs down the set even more. It means that parents and teachers have to find ways to keep those audiences engaged after the episodes are over and figuring out how to drive the lessons home themselves. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it would have been nice to have that starting point regardless. Because it isn’t there audiences are actually losing out by not having them included here. The same can be said of the lack of bonus features.

The bonus features that are so commonplace in the series’ standalone compilations also help to drive home the concepts being taught in the presented episode. They, too are starting points for bigger lessons that can be taught on the presented topics. A prime example is the rocket building game that corresponds with “Curious George’s Rocket Ride.” That game is included in the standalone DVD which features said episode as its focal point. That game in nowhere to be found anywhere on this set. It keeps children interested in rockets and space all while teaching a basic lesson about shapes. It’s just one of so many games and other activities not included in this set that could have been included. Because it and the others from other Curious George DVDs aren’t here, it means teachers and parents having to figure out how to come up with a cost-effective way to present the same games on their own. Yet again, that’s not a total loss. But still it would have been nice to have at least something there. Not having any bonus games, “mid-show” segments, or episode guide to go by, so much enjoyment and even education that could have been had is potentially lost from this set. Considering this, Curious George: The Complete First Season loses a lot of points and shows even more to be in reality complete in name only.

Curious George: The Complete First Season is sadly complete in name only. That is because despite having its full complement of sixty episodes, it is lacking in a number of other areas, as has been pointed out. For all of its cons, there is at least one more important pro that should be noted here that is directly related to the cons. That pro is the actual writing that went into this season’s episodes. The writers expertly balanced the series’ entertainment value with its educational content in every episode without fail. From one episode to the next there are various lessons that teach problem-solving skills, basic math and science skills, and so much more. For example, in “From Scratch,” George teaches viewers about using deductive reasoning by trying to solve what made scratches on the furniture at Chef Pisghetti’s restaurant and clear Gnocci’s name. Young viewers won’t even realize that they are being taught thanks to the fact that the series’ writers made the episode a whodunit sort of story with George playing the detective. “Zero To Donuts” teaches viewers basic math skills as George accidentally orders one hundred dozen donuts when he should have only ordered one dozen. So he has to learn about the values of certain numbers. And in “The All Animal Recycled Band” kids learn both about music and conservation as George wants to make a band of his own. The problem is that he has to figure out how to make his instruments and who will play them. His decision on who will play makes for plenty of laughs for the whole family. The lesson about conservation taught through George’s development of his instruments is just as important to the episode. It’s another example of the writers’ ability to balance important educational content with entertainment throughout Season One. There are plenty of other episodes that could be used as examples of how the writers’ ability to balance educational and entertainment content make Season One’s episodes makes them so enjoyable. There just is neither enough time nor space for a discussion on each one. Needless to say, the talent of the writers to balance both elements set along with the fact that all sixty episodes are finally presented in one complete set makes Curious George: The Complete First Season a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. This is the case even with all of its negatives. Those negatives make this season enjoyable but sadly complete in name only.

Curious George: The Complete First Season is a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. The fact that al slixty of its episodes have been presented together here for the first time is just one reason that it is such a welcome addition. The balance of educational and entertaining content within each episode makes for even more reason for families to add this box set to their home DVD library. Sadly there are some glaring issues with the set including the lack of something as basic as an episode guide, the “mid-show” segments that are commonplace in the series’ TV broadcasts and its standalone DVDs, and any bonus features that are common on those same standalone DVDs. Even with those cons noted, they don’t make Curious George: The Complete First Season a total loss. They only make it complete in name only. All things considered, Curious George: The Complete First Season is one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families. But it is hardly the best. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other available Curious George DVDs is available online along with the latest Curious George news at:

Website: http://www.curiousgeorge.com

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

Audiences can also get more information on Curious George, print out coloring pages, and play Curious George games at http://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge. 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.

PBS’ NOVA Tackles A Major Talker In Its Next DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

This summer, PBS will release a deep, insightful episode of its hit science-based series NOVA on DVD when it releases NOVA: Lethal Seas.

NOVA: Lethal Seas will be released on DVD on Tuesday, July 21st. The episode centers on the effects of carbon dioxide on the earth’s oceans. It points out that the rising amount of carbon emissions being released into the earth’s atmosphere are also being absorbed by the earth’s oceans. The result of that absorption is that the oceans’ acidity is increasing, thus having an equally negative and far-reaching effect on the creatures that live beneath the waves. In outlining these problems, the program follows a group of scientists that is searching for answers to the problem including a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that exhibits what the world’s oceans could potentially look like in the next fifty years. Audiences can check out a trailer for NOVA: Lethal Seas online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpIOk3ew8bc.

NOVA: Lethal Seas will be available on DVD on Tuesday, July 21st. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=62105326&cp=&kw=nova+lethal+seas&origkw=NOVA+Lethal+seas&sr=1. 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/NOVAonline

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 Down Under This Summer In New 3-Part Series

Courtesy:  PBS/Northern Pictures

Courtesy: PBS/Northern Pictures

This summer, PBS is taking audiences down under to one of the world’s seven natural wonders of the world when it presents the three-part documentary Life on the Reef.

Life on the Reef will be released on Tuesday, July 28th on DVD and Blu-ray. The documentary takes viewers both above and below the waves of the Great Barrier Reef, examining what makes it great and what continues to threaten not only its existence but that of the creatures that call it home, too. The first of the program’s three segments takes viewers along the reef during Australia’s tourist-heavy winter season. It shows rescue crews responding to both a human and ecological emergency in what is one of the most sensitive regions of the reef as they work to save the planet’s largest turtle rookery.

The second episode of Life on the Reef moves from winter into spring just as the reef really begins coming to life once again. Audiences are taken below the waves in this episode where they will get to see coral spawning and rays returning. On the dry side, viewers will see sea birds returning to the reef to nest and alligators protecting their own nests. Also in this episode, viewers will see rangers and scientists work to stop thorn starfish from creating a potential ecological catastrophe.

In the final of the program’s three segments, spring turns to summer but the threats to the reef don’t end. The entire North Queensland coast hunkers down as a Category Five cyclone bears down on the region. There are also other dangers such as shipping accidents and oil spills to deal with. Even through it all, life still goes on as countless turtles hatch and begin their lives.

Life on the Reef will be available on DVD Tuesday, July 28th. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99. the Blu-ray presentation will go for $29.99. Audiences can check out a trailer for Life on the Reef online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgFY16bloUs. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=65244396&cp=&sr=1&kw=life+on+the+reef&origkw=Life+on+the+Reef&parentPage=search. 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

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.

Nature: Owl Power Another High Flying Hit From PBS’ Hit Wildlife Series

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.  Is it getting redundant yet?  No?  Ok.  What is one of television’s best networks if not the single best network on television today, it has continued to live up to its reputation time and again throughout the first half of 2015.  Its release this past March of Nature: Owl Power is just one of so many examples of how it has maintained that reputation.  Nature: Owl Power is just one of so many wonderful episodes of the hit series made available to audiences so far this year.  The central aspect of its enjoyment lies in the fact that it isn’t just another wildlife documentary.  It focuses on owls, yes.  But that focus is centered on a pair of individuals that have established a sanctuary for the purpose of raising owls and helping those that might need special assistance.  It is through their story that audiences are presented with the “powers” of the different owl breeds.  That dual presentation is but one part of what audiences will appreciate in this episode of Nature.  As with so many episodes of Nature, the cinematography stands out once again in this episode.  It will be discussed at more length later.  Last but hardly least noting of this episode is the use of graphic illustrations to better explain the “powers” that owls utilize in order to survive on a daily basis.  The graphic illustrations make clearer why their “powers” are so extraordinary.  Together with the work of the episode’s cinematogaphy and its central premise, Nature: Owl Power in whole proves to be an episode of Nature that *ahem* soars.  Yes, that bad pun was fully intended.  It is one more episode that proves why Nature is the best wildlife program on television today and in larger part why PBS again remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.

When one sees the title of the Nature episode Owl Power, one can’t help but think of something used by the Kratt brothers in the hit PBS Kids’ series Wild Kratts.  Ironically enough, in doing so one isn’t that far off.  That is because in the high flying episode released on DVD and Blue-ray late this past March, audiences learn that the adaptations utilized by the different breeds of owls could in fact be considered powers of sorts just as much as adaptations.  Audiences will learn that owls’ faces aren’t flat to just be flat.  That design actually serves a certain functionality.  Just as intriguing to learn is that some breeds of owls actually have ear holes at different spots on their heads.  Again, this is not some genetic abnormality.  Even this serves a purpose for owls.  The purpose in question is one centered on owls’ ability to hunt their prey.  Even the design of owls’ wings serves a purpose, as audiences will learn.  Their design allows in many cases for near silent flight.  There are also some breeds whose wings allow virtually silent flight, increasing their hunting ability dramatically.  These are just some of the “powers” that audiences will learn owls use every day (and night) in their daily survival.  They really are intriguing “powers.” Those that have always had an interest in owls but never known that much about them will agree with that sentiment.  Of course they are just part of the central premise of Nature: Owl Power that makes this episode so enjoyable.  The discussions on owls’ “powers” comes as the program focuses on a pair of “bird parents” that have established a sanctuary for them.

The adaptations of owls put on display in Nature: Owl Powers give viewers plenty of reason to watch the program.  They are just one reason that audiences will enjoy it.  The discussion on the various “powers” used by owls on a daily basis comes as the program focuses on a pair of individuals that have established a sanctuary for owls.  The sanctuary was established for the purposes of raising owls and helping heal those owls that need the assistance.  Audiences will be interested to see that not only does the pair raise owls and help heal them but it also goes out into the community and educates people about owls and their “powers.”  In other words, they aren’t just a couple of people working in some facility.  Rather they are giving back to the communities that have helped keep their facility running.  Viewers will thoroughly enjoy seeing the true love that the pair has for its fine-feathered friends and its dedication to getting them to the point of living on their own in the wild.  Especially moving is the revelation of one of the owls that the pair raised having grown up and flown off on its own.  The pair shows the same emotion for that bird as a parent of a child would when said parent moves out and takes on the world for the first time.  It is a touching moment and one of the best of the program.  It is also one more example of why the central story presented in Nature: Owl Power is such a solid point in the overall scheme of this episode.

The story at the center of Nature: Owl Power and the “powers” themselves that are displayed throughout the course of the episode’s roughly fifty-three minute run time make for plenty of reason for viewers to watch this episode of Nature.  Collectively though, they make up just one reason that it proves itself worth the watch.  The cinematography used throughout the course of the episode is just as worth noting in the show’s enjoyment and success.  Specifically speaking, the cinematography used in this episode allows audiences to see owls in action both at regular speed and slowed down.  The slow motion presentation of the owls in flight is the real star of the program’s cinematography.  The slow motion used throughout the program allows viewers to see just what makes owls’ wings and their sharp talons such impressive adaptations as well as the rest of their adaptations.  What is most impressive about the use of the slow motion photography is the fact that it is used so sparingly across the program.  It would have been so simple for those behind the cameras to be less than sparing with this element.  But thankfully they didn’t go that route.  The end result is an element that becomes just as integral to the program as the rest of the program’s camera work.  The natural backdrops that are used in the regular speed flight scenes are just as impressive as the footage shown in the slow motion footage.  The backdrops in question are typically countryside backdrops.  There is something about the juxtaposition of the owls in flight to their natural habitats that audiences will truly enjoy.  Whether for that element of its cinematography or for the slow motion footage, the cinematography in whole that is presented in Nature: Owl Power proves even more why this episode of Nature is well worth the watch and another impressive piece proving once more why Nature remains today the leading series of its kind on television.

The cinematography incorporated into Nature: Owl Power and the episode’s central story work together to make this episode another impressive episode of television’s top wildlife series.  They still are not the do all end all for this episode.  The graphic illustrations that are incorporated into the episode, alongside its cinematography round out the elements that make this episode worth the watch.  The illustrations in question clearly outline why the makeup of the different own breeds’ bodies make them “super-beings” of sorts of the animal world.  Audiences will see clearly how the “imbalance” of some owls’ ear holes actually turns their hearing into virtual radar and how the flat makeup of their faces actually heightens the effect of their hearing.  Viewers will also get to see how owls’ eyes give them “super-sight” so to speak.  It’s just one more of so many graphic illustrations used throughout the program that make it an interesting watch that is well worth viewers’ time.  Together with the episode’s cinematography and the two-part main presentation it rounds out the reasons that Owl Power proves to be so worth the watch.  All three elements together prove this episode to be one that “soars” above so many other aviary-based wildlife programs out there today.

Nature: Owl Power is a soaring hit of a documentary and another impressive episode of Nature.  Whether through its central story, its cinematography, or its graphic illustrations, it shows in more than one way why it is such an impressive presentation.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=owl%20power&origkw=owl+power&sr=1.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

 

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

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

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and reviews, 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.

Penguin Post Office Is Another Impressive Edition Of PBS’ Nature

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Throughout the course of its three decades plus on the air PBS’ hit wildlife-based series Nature has taken audiences to some of the most stunning spots around the world.  It has also taken viewers to some of the world’s most desolate regions throughout its now decades-long run.  Those journeys around the world have produced episodes that have time and again proven why Nature remains today the leading series of its kind even today.  That includes the series new episode Penguin Post Office.  This episode was recently released on DVD.  It is another interesting episode of the long-running series.  Though, it should be noted that there is some content in this episode that some viewers might find tough for younger viewers to handle.  So viewer discretion is advised in this episode.  That aside, the information shared in this episode is still one of its most important aspects.  The cinematography exhibited throughout the episode is just as crucial to its enjoyment and success.  Whether for the footage capturing the daily life of the Gentoo penguins or for the footage of their habitat, there are plenty of impressive visuals for audiences in this episode.  The program’s pacing is also noteworthy.  As is the standard with Nature, this episode’s pacing is rock solid.  The presentation moves at a pace that won’t leave anyone behind or leave anyone feeling like they need a program to know what’s going on.  When that element is set alongside the episode’s impressive camera work and its writing, all three elements show clearly why Penguin Post Office is yet another impressive episode of Nature.  In turn, the episode in whole shows once more why Nature is television’s leading wildlife-based series and why PBS remains, yet again, the proven last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

Penguin Post Office, PBS’ latest home release from its long-running wildlife-based series Nature is yet another impressive addition to the series’ extensive history.  The episode presented here shows itself to be so interesting and impressive primarily through its writing.  More specifically, the information shared through the course of the episode lies at the center of the episode’s enjoyment and success.  The information in question is so interesting because it focuses more on the Gentoo penguins that populate the Antarctic Peninsula at which Port Lockroy sits.  Audiences will be interested (and shocked) to learn that these penguins aren’t exactly what people think.  They are very territorial birds willing to go so far as to kill other penguins just to protect their territory.  And the male of the species apparently is not the most faithful creature, either.  Audiences might actually find themselves laughing as one male Gentoo penguin is busted with a female that is not its mate by the noted penguin’s mate.  It’s like an animal version of a soap opera.  For all of the eye-opening behavior of the penguins at Port Lockroy, audiences will be just as interested to see how devoted the penguins are to their young and how innovative they are.  Having seemingly no means to build nests, the Gentoo penguins actually dive beneath the waves and gather stones for their nests.  The stones aren’t just any stones, either.  They are the stones that are just right for the given penguins’ nests.  It really shows a relatively high level of intelligence among these birds.  The same can be said of their protective nature.  Though, that level of intelligence is debatable among the male of the species.  Yes, that bad joke was fully intended.  But in all seriousness, the ability of penguins to think at such a level (and to react accordingly regardless of the situation) shows quite a high level of intelligence.  Such intelligence is put on display throughout this episode.  It shows clearly why the writing portion of this episode’s presentation is so important to its enjoyment and success.  Again, it should be noted that some of the material shared throughout the course of the program might be considered questionable for younger viewers.  That aside, older viewers will still find all of the information shared about the penguins to be quite interesting.  It makes Penguin Post Office well worth the watch within itself.

The information shared throughout the whole of Penguin Post Office makes a solid foundation for the program.  It’s just part of the whole that audiences will appreciate about this episode of Nature, though.  The cinematography presented in this episode is just as noteworthy as the information that makes up the program’s foundation.  There is plenty of footage of the Gentoo penguins building their nests and interacting.  Some of the footage might be difficult to stomach, though.  As noted, some of the material shared might be unsettling for younger viewers.  That is tied directly in to the cinematography.  On a more positive note, the footage of the Antarctic peninsula is stunning.  Audiences get to see the massive icebergs set against the gentle blues and greys of the peninsula’s waters and rocks. They get to see the penguins diving for the rocks that make up their nests.  They also see the penguins defending their territory from one predator in particular.  Those wanting just a glimpse into the camera crew’s exemplary work can see it for themselves via the program’s trailer, which can be viewed here.  It shows better than any amount of words could ever do in showing the camera crew’s outstanding work; work that proves itself one more reason that audiences will especially enjoy Penguin Post Office.

The writing and cinematography incorporated into Penguin Post Office are both important elements in their own right to the program’s enjoyment and its success.  Both elements provide their own important piece to the whole of the episode that collectively will keep viewers engaged from beginning to end.  That is the case even in some of the more unsettling moments included in the feature.  For all of their importance to the program in whole, they are not all that makes Penguin Post Office work as well as it does.  The program’s pacing should be noted here, too.  Those behind Nature have maintained a certain standard in regards to the pacing of the series’ episodes throughout its three decades-plus run on PBS.  That standard is maintained just as well in the case of this episode as in every other episode that has come before.  At no point in the program will viewers feel lost or left behind.  Ample time is given to each portion of the program’s body.  The result is a near hour-long episode that will leave audiences surprised at how little they really knew about penguins and especially about the Gentoo penguins.  It rounds out the ways in which Penguin Post Office proves itself yet another insightful and entertaining episode of television’s leading wildlife-based series.

Penguin Post Office boasts plenty of positives across its nearly hour-long run time.  The information shared on the Gentoo penguins is within itself quite insightful.  It gives an in-depth look at just one breed of penguin that populates the world.  The cinematography incorporated into the series presents a stark and stunning landscape the few ever get to see.  The pacing of the program in whole will keep audiences engaged and in turn allow them to more thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the noted writing and cinematography. All things considered, Penguin Post Office proves to be a program about which plenty of people will want to write home (another bad joke fully intended). They serve to show why PBS remains today the last true bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television. Penguin Post Office is available now on DVD. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=57130986&cp=&kw=penguin+post+office&origkw=penguin+post+office&sr=1. 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

 

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PBS, National Geographic Take Audiences Beneath The Waves In A New Episode Of NOVA This Summer

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

This summer, PBS will take audiences beneath the waves in an eye-opening new episode of NOVA.

PBS Distribution will release NOVA: Nazi Attack on America on Tuesday, July 14th. The story presented in this episode of the network’s hit science-based series follows Robert Ballard’s attempts to unravel the mystery around the sinking of the German U-boat U-166. The sub was one of many that lurked right off of America’s coast in the early days of WWII as part of what German forces dubbed “Operation Drumbeat.” For more than seventy years, the sub has remained so controversial because no proof could be obtained to prove whether or not the naval officer believed by many–including his own family–to have sunk the sub was truly responsible for its demise and that of its crew. Ballard, who is best known for discovering the final resting place of the doomed ship Titanic, takes the NOVA and National Geographic teams beneath the waves in order to try and solve the mystery of U-166’s fate in hopes of bringing honor to the officer and re-writing one more chapter of WWII history.

NOVA: Nazi Attack on America will be available Tuesday, July 14th on DVD and via digital download. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and can even be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=61808026&cp=&kw=nova+nazi+attack+on+america&origkw=NOVA+Nazi+Attack+on+America&sr=1. Audiences can check out a trailer for this episode of NOVA online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCSZYtxp4II. 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/NOVAonline

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.