PBS Asks Are There “Killer Volcanoes” Around The World Today In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

With the recent news of a volcano in Bali threatening the nation, a lot of talk has come about the impact that volcanoes have not only locally and regionally, but worldwide. Next month, Public Media Distribution will release a new episode of NOVA that examines the global impact of volcanoes in the form of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19 the hour-long episode follows a group of researchers as they search for a “mega-eruption” believed to have turned the world deadly cold. The discovery of a mass grave in London containing some 4,000 men, women and children is where the story starts. Initially, the researchers think the remains were of plague victims, but further research disproved that theory.

The researchers’ investigation leads to the revelation that their deaths may have in fact been related to global impacts of an unidentified volcano’s “mega-eruption” within the time frame of their deaths. Their digging (both literal and figurative) led them to find that the eruption blew ash and sulfuric acid into the air, which then spread from Greenland to the Antarctic, turning much of the planet cold and leading to death around the globe from famine and other related causes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is a timely program considering the potentially impending eruption in Bali and the constant watch at one of America’s most well-known parks and at volcanoes around the world. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online 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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PBS Taking Viewers Back To Stonehenge Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution/WGBH

PBS is taking audiences back to Stonehenge this winter.

Public media Distribution will release a new episode of PBS’ hit series NOVA on Tuesday, Dec. 19 focused on the site titled NOVA: Ghosts of Stonehenge. It will come almost a year after the network released Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge on DVD.

This latest look into the ancient site follows archaeologists as they examine bones, remnants of meals and other material in an attempt to figure out the exact purpose of Stonehenge.It also attempts to explain, through its discussions, what led to the site’s downfall not long after it was established.

The one-hour program 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 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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New ‘Odd Squad’ DVD Shows Again Why Series Is One Of PBS Kids’ Best Series To Date

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

PBS Kids’ hit series Odd Squad recently got a new home DVD release, and this latest 4-episode collection of episodes from the Fred Rogers Company-run series is yet another enjoyable presentation that any family will welcome into its home.  That is due in part to the episodes that make up the DVD’s body.  They will be discussed shortly.  The stories presented within the episodes play their own crucial part in the DVD’s overall presentation.  They will be discussed later.  The lessons taught in each of the episodes put the final touch to the DVD and will be discussed later, too.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the DVD’s whole.  All things considered, they make Odd Squad: Villains The Best Of The Worst yet another enjoyable offering from a series that is one of PBS Kids’ most standout series to date.

Odd Squad is one of PBS Kids’ most standout series to date.  Along with the likes of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, The Magic School Bus, Curious George and so many others throughout PBS’ history, this series makes learning fun while also entertaining with its original adventures.  The series’ latest DVD release VillainsThe Best of the Worst­ is takes four of those adventures – ‘Now You Don’t See Me,’ ‘The Briefcase,’ ‘Flatastrophe’ and ‘Puppet Show’ — and compiles them for a nearly hour-long experience that proves just as much as its predecessors why this series is so beloved.  The episodes are all lifted from the series’ first season, and while not presented in the same chronological order as they were in their original broadcasts, still give audiences a clear look at the show’s growth over time in terms of its writing.  Speaking of the show’s writing, the stories at the episodes’ centers play their own important part in the DVD’s overall presentation.

The stories at the center of this collection’s episodes are critical to the DVD’s presentation because of their originality and the balance of their educational and entertaining elements.  From one episode to the next, neither the stories’ educational nor its entertaining material ever overpowers the other.  Audiences never feel at any point that the show is forcing education down their throats.  At the same time, the agents’ adventures are never so outlandish (even as interesting as they can be) that they make themselves beyond watching.  There are programs out there on other networks that are in fact that outlandish, not to name any in particular.  However, they are there.  Luckily, this show’s adventures are not at that level.  Keeping this in mind, the educational and entertaining elements that combine to form each episode prove collectively form the cornerstone for the DVD’s foundation.  Building on that cornerstone are the lessons tied into each episode.

The lessons tied into each of the DVD’s episodes all center on basic math skills.  From telling time in ‘Puppet Show’ and ‘Now You Don’t See me’ to basic, elementary level geometry in ‘Flatastrophe’ to understanding weight balances in ‘The Briefcase,’ the lessons taught in these episodes are easily accessible for Odd Squad’s target audiences.  This is thanks, again, to the work of the series’ writers.  Case in point is the method that Olive and her partner use to find Ms. O’s hidden briefcase in ‘The Briefcase’ after The Shapeshifter steals and hides it in a warehouse.  The agents have to balance items to figure out which object is Ms. O’s briefcase in disguise.  In ‘Flatastrophe’ the agents teach young audiences about cubes and squares while trying to stop the villain Fladam from flattening every cube in the city.  It’s a simple story that makes teaching the story’s basic geometry lesson just as easy.  It’s one more example of the importance of the lessons incorporated into the episodes’ stories.  The writers make the lessons the crux of each story, thus making it feel more like audiences are being entertained than educated.  Kudos are in order for the writers here just as much as for the stories’ originality.  Considering this and the importance of the episodes all being culled from one season, it becomes clear in examining all of these elements that there is plenty to appreciate in the DVD.  That appreciation also leads audiences to agree that this new Odd Squad DVD another enjoyable offering from what is one of PBS Kids’ best series to date.

PBS Kids’ latest Odd Squad DVD Villains The Best of the Worst is not the first of the series’ DVDs to see a home release.  It is however yet another enjoyable addition to the already long list of the series’ DVDs that proves once again why the series is one of the network’s best series to date.  That is due in part to an episode list that pulls entirely from the series’ lead season.  While not in the same chronological order as in their original broadcasts, the episodes still go a long way in showing the show’s growth over the course of that season.  The stories at the center of the featured episodes are entertaining without being overly outlandish, unlike is the case with so many children’s programs out there today.  The lessons tied into the stories are not only part of the stories, but are easily accessible because of how they are tied into the stories.  Each element is important in its own way to the DVD’s whole.  All things considered, the noted elements make Odd Squad: VillainsThe Best of the Worst another enjoyable offering from what is one of PBS Kids’ best series to date.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on Odd Squad is available online along with games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/oddsquad

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

 

 

 

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‘Endeavour: Season 4′ Lives Up To PBS’ “Masterpiece” Moniker

Courtesy: itv/Public Media Distribution/PBS

Early this past September, Public Media Distribution released to American audiences the fourth season of PBS’ hit British import Endeavour.  The latest season of the phenomenal crime drama is yet another successful release for both itv and PBS that shows once again why this series easily bests any American crime drama on television today.  That is proven in part to the writing in more than one way.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast cannot be ignored in examining this latest of the series’ installments.  It will be discussed later.  Last but definitely not least of note in examining this season’s recent home release is its bonus material.  It, like the season’s writing and acting, plays its own important part to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, the fourth season of Endeavour proves to be yet another entertaining offering from one of the U.K.’s top crime dramas.

Endeavour: The Complete Fourth Season has been available to American audiences for almost two months, having been released Sept. 5 via Public Media Distribution.  For those who perhaps have not yet had the opportunity to view this latest installment in the ongoing series, it goes without saying that it is another enjoyable effort for the series.  That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers.  This applies both to the stories featured in this season and to the series’ interweaving subplots.  All four of this season’s episodes give something totally different from one to the next.  The season premiere, for instance, is easily comparable to the story at the center of the hit 19999 Denzel Washington/Angelina Jolie crime blockbuster The Bone Collector.  At the same time, a comparison to author Dianne Setterfield’s novel The 13th Tale in the story, too (not to give away too much of the plot).  The second episode, ‘Canticle’ plays directly off of the summer of love for its central story.  Even with this in mind, it still manages to make itself an intriguing story nonetheless.  ‘Lazaretto,’ the season’s penultimate episode, changes things up yet again by taking place almost entirely in a hospital ward as Morse tries to find out why occupants of one bed keep dying.  The answer plays out almost like something right out of today’s headlines (again, not to give away too much).  There is even a nice, action packed police foot chase complete with gunfire for action fans.  The season finale, ‘Harvest’ centers around a body found during an archaeological dig. The killer may or may not be connected to a pagan ritual held near a power station.  It is yet another story that stands easily on its own feet separate from its counterparts in this season.  That distinct identity of the season’s stories is but one part of what makes the season’s writing stand out so much.  The writers’ ability to balance the stories with their underlying, interweaving subplots strengthens the writing even more.

Audiences will note in watching this season that while the central stories are solidly entertaining in their own right, they are not the only stories featured throughout the episodes.  From one episode to the next, the writers make sure to not forget the Thursdays’ anxiousness over their daughter Joan as well as Endeavour’s personal struggle with himself over his feelings for her.  Given, it is a serial element, but the writers at no point ever allow this element to overpower the season’s central standalone stories.  That balance gives fans of serials and standalone series alike something to anticipate and appreciate.

As if the stories presented within each of this season’s episodes are not enough for audiences (and their balance with the episodes’ secondary stories), the writers’ ability to keep audiences guessing right up until the end of each episode proves to be yet another way in which the writing proves so critical.  The stories put in just enough red herrings and twists to keep viewers completely engaged right to each story’s end without leaving viewers confused.  When this is considered along with the already discussed elements in the season’s writing, it becomes wholly clear why the writing is so critical to the season’s overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes this season so engaging.  The work of the series’ cast is once again just as notable as the work of the show’s writers.

The series’ cast – most notably lead stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allum – is top-notch once more in this season. This especially the case as Endeavour and Thursday raise personal matters in each story.  Thursday becomes a powerfully sympathetic character as he tries to cope his daughter’s disappearance. Allum’s handling of Thursday’s emotional struggle makes these moments so powerful, even in their simplicity.  In the same breath, his stress at trying to fill in for Chief Superintendent Bright late in the season is just as engaging.  It is another way in which the writers develop Thursday’s character even more this season and another example of Allum’s expert acting chops.

Evans’ acting chops are just as notable as those of Allum this time around.  The way in which he handles’ Morse’s continued dedication to his job alone will keep audiences engaged.  His reaction at discovering the result of his Sergeant’s exam clearly exemplifies this.  His reaction at finally locating Joan (there again is that secondary story aspect) is just as moving and will keep viewers just as engaged as his handling of Morse’s casework.  When the work of the series’ supporting cast and extras is added alongside the work of Allum and Evans, the whole of the cast’s work does plenty to add its own share of engagement and entertainment to this season, showing in whole why the cast’s work is just as important as the work of the series’ writers.  It is not the last of the season’s most notable elements.  The bonus material that is included in the season’s home release is the last of those elements.

The bonus material included in Season 4’s home release includes a group of behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss a handful of items.  From the series’ look as it applies to the era in which the season is set (the late 1960s) to Evans discussing his take on his character and on Morse’s relationship with Joan Thursday to Evans even taking a shot at being a cameraman behind the scenes, audiences are given quite the insight into how this season came to life.  Viewers will appreciate the discussion on the sets and costumes in “Making Endeavour in Oxford” because it shows the efforts taken to recreate 1960s Oxford.  Evans’ discussions on Morse and Morse’s relationship with Joan adds even more to that one underlying subplot that runs throughout all four episodes, adding even more interest to this season.  When that interest is joined with the interest created through the cast’s work and that of the series’ writers, the whole of those elements makes this season of Endeavour some of the show’s best work to date.

The fourth season of itv’s Endeavour is some of the series’ best work to date.  Even at only four episodes, this season offers audiences plenty to appreciate including the extensive work by the series’ writers.  The ast’s work adds even more interest to this season.  The bonus material included in the season’s home release outs the finishing touch to the season.  Each element is important in its own right to the season’s home presentation. All things considered, they make the season in whole another fully engaging offering from what is one of the U.K.’s best crime dramas.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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PBS’ Latest ‘Arthur’ DVD Will Entertain Siblings Of All Ages

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

Brothers and sisters are the bet and the worst people in the world.  They make life great and they make it miserable all at the same time.  Through it all, they are family, and life would not be the same without them.  So in celebration of siblings, PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution recently released a new collection of Arthur episodes focused on the ups and downs and brothers and sisters in the form of Arthur: Brothers and Sisters.  Originally released this past July on DVD, this eight-episode collection boasts plenty of positives beginning with its episodes.  This will be discussed shortly.  The stories presented in the featured episodes are just as important to discuss in examining this DVD as the episodes and will be examined later.  The lessons that are presented within the featured episodes round out the collection’s most important elements.  All elements are important in their own right to the DVD’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Arthur: Brothers and Sisters proves in the end to be a DVD that brothers and sisters of all ages will appreciate.

Arthur: Brothers and Sisters, the latest DVD compilation from the hit animated PBS Kids series, is a collection of episodes that brothers and sisters of all ages will appreciate.  That is due in part to the episodes that are featured in the collection.  Eight episodes make up the DVD’s body.  They are pulled from a wide swath of the series’ current 20-season run, reaching all the way back to the series’ first season with the disc’s first four episodes—“D.W. The Copycat,” “Arthur’s Baby,” “D.W.’s Baby” and “Arthur’s First Sleepover.”  It also pulls from Season Two in “Sue Ellen’s Little Sister” as well as the series’ 17th and 18th season in “Francine Redecorates,” “Two Minutes” and “The Pageant Pickle” respectively.”  That far-reaching rundown shows that those behind the DVD’s sequencing did not want to just rely on one season for the DVD’s body.  Instead, they wanted to get what they thought were some of the series’ most engaging and entertaining episodes to date that focused on various sibling situations.  To that end, the thought put into selecting the disc’s episodes paid off with eight episodes that are certain to connect with siblings of several ages.  Keeping this in mind, the DVD’s featured episodes are only a small part of what makes this disc so enjoyable.  The stories featured within the episodes strengthen its presentation even more.

The stories featured in the DVD’s featured episodes are important to discuss in examining the disc because of the ability of the stories to reach a wide range of audiences.  From twins trying to find out who was born first in “Two Minutes” to the older sibling forced to include the younger sibling in a big social event in “Arthur’s First Sleepover” to siblings dealing with conflict in interior design (and in turn personal connections) and more, the scenarios presented in these episodes prove relatable to siblings of all ages including adult siblings.  The collection even gives those who are only children something to which they can relate in the form of “Sue Ellen’s Little Sister.” Sue Ellen, who is an only child, eventually learns through trial and error in this episode that sometimes, being an only child can be just as good as having a sibling, if not better.  That attention to siblings and only children in the episodes’ scenarios shows a sensitivity to a wide range of audiences that deserves its own share of applause as part of the DVD’s whole.

Speaking of the ability of the episodes’ stories being relatable to a wide range of audiences, the lessons taught through the stories prove to be important to the disc’s whole, too.  The lesson presented in “Francine Redecorates” supports that statement.  Francine and her sister learn here that despite their different views on interior design tastes, they are still sisters and even something as minuscule as that difference should not be enough to make them so determined to want to be apart.  The lesson presented in the disc’s opening episode “D.W. The Copycat” is another example of the importance of the episodes’ lessons.  Arthur learns in the long run that siblings’ differences are what make them special, and that maybe siblings being exactly alike maybe isn’t as good as they might think.  It’s a tried and true lesson that has been presented in so many other series, but is still as entertaining and engaging here as in those series.  As has already been noted, the lesson presented through “Sue Ellen’s Little Sister” is another key lesson as Sue Ellen learns through trial and error that being an only child isn’t necessarily as bad as one might think.  It’s another invaluable lesson from which especially younger audiences can learn.  Between that lesson, the others noted here, and those not noted, it becomes clear why the episodes’ lessons are critical to the overall presentation of Arthur: Brothers and Sisters.  When this is considered along with the importance of the episodes’ stories and the episodes themselves, the whole of those elements shows clearly why this DVD is another welcome addition to any family’s home, and why it is undeniably one of this year’s top new family DVDs.

Arthur: Brothers and Sisters is one of 2017’s top new family DVDs.  That is due in no small part to the episodes selected for the DVD.  They are pulled from the series’ roots and from some of its more recent seasons.  That shows that those behind the DVD’s creation wanted to pull the episodes they best felt followed the DVD’s central theme, rather than just pulling from one season or another.  The stories presented in the featured episodes are stories to which audiences of all ages (including grown-ups) will relate, and in turn find quite entertaining and engaging.  The lessons presented within the stories round out the set’s most important elements.  Audiences of all ages will find the lessons offer plenty for their engagement, too.  Clearly, each element played an important part in the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make Arthur: Brothers and Sisters one of this year’s top new family DVDs.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on Arthur: Brothers and Sisters is available online along with lots of Arthur games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbskids.org/arthur

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

 

 

 

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 Announces New ‘Wild Kratts’ DVD Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution will get a little “Wild” this October.

The company will release a brand new Wild Kratts DVD Oct. 10 in stores and online titled Wild Kratts: Wild Winter Creatures.  The four-episode collection will retail for MSRP of $14.99 and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.

The brothers Kratt have to deal with the vile Zach Varmitech in “Polar Bears Don’t Dance”, one of the disc’s featured episodes, after they find out he has kidnapped a walrus calf and Polar Bear cub.  In “Journey to the Subnivean Zone,” Martin and Chris get miniaturized and discover the world of the meadow vole.

A search for Chris’ Creature souvenir leads the Kratts and their friends back to the Arctic and a lesson about the Musk Ox in “Musk Ox Mania.”  In “Mystery of the Weird Looking Walrus,” Chris and Martin have to deal with Zack Varmitech again after Zach and Donita Donata partner to kidnap a herd of walrus for evil purposes.

More information on Wild Kratts: Wild Winter Creatures is available online along with plenty of Wild Kratts games, activities, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/wildkratts

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

 

 

 

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.

Peg + Cat’s New Movie Is An Out Of This World Hit For The Whole Family

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS/Public Media Distribution

Late this past May, PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution released Peg + Cat’s new movie Peg and Cat Save The World on DVD.  The approximately hour-long movie is a fun and educational presentation that the whole family will enjoy time and again.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie.  It will be discussed shortly.  The musical numbers are just as important to note as the story, even as surprising as that might seem.  The lessons that are tied into the movie round out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right, as will be displayed here.  Altogether, the elements noted here make Peg and Cat Save The World one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Peg + Cat: Peg and Cat Save The World is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  That is due in no small part to the story at the center of this hour-long movie.  The story is a spoof of every big budget interstellar disaster flick that has hit theaters in the past five to ten years.  Whereas those movies were all centered on the threat of killer asteroids hitting Earth, this movie sees Peg and her furry blue friend Cat having to save Earth from being flattened by their giant porcine friend Pig.  Pig threatens Earth after eating some chips (that happen to be triangle – Pig’s favorite shape) that make him planet size.  He ends up floating into space and eventually makes his way back to Earth, inadvertently threatening its very existence.  What’s even funnier is that the series’ writers spoof not only so many interstellar disaster flicks here, but they even take a moment to pay homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as Pig floats back toward Earth.  Obviously the story has a happy ending, which won’t be revealed here for those who haven’t yet seen the movie.  The manner in which the ending happens is funny in itself.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why this family friendly movie’s story is so important to its overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes the movie so fun for the whole family.  The songs that are incorporated into the movie are just as important to discuss as its story.

The songs incorporated into Peg and Cat Save The World are so important because they are in themselves spoofs of so many well-known compositions.  Early on in the movie, Peg and Cat spoof Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass’ with a song called ‘All About The Shapes.’  At another point in the movie, the two friends are joined by Sandra Oh, who voices the President of the United States for their own take on ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’  The fun doesn’t stop there, either.  As Peg, Cat and their friends work to keep Pig from flattening Earth, they all join in for the movie’s own spoof of the timeless classic ‘We Are The World’ that sees Cat get his own solo; a moment that will have audiences of all ages laughing.  These three moments in themselves do plenty to make Peg and Cat Save The World entertaining.  When they are joined with the movie’s family-friendly story, which again is also a spoof in itself, the pair together makes the movie even more entertaining.  They are not the movie’s only important elements to discuss.  The lessons tied into the movie are just as important to note as the movie’s story and songs.

The lessons tied into Peg and Cat Save The World are so important to note in this discussion because they continue the tradition established by the series so long ago.  A lesson about patterns is taught as Peg and Cat try to link a pattern sung by Pig to a similar audio pattern picked up on radar in the President’s triangle office (yes, triangle office, which is apparently just below the oval office.  That joke in itself makes for plenty of laughs).  It also clearly teaches a lesson about shapes as Peg and Cat work to figure out how to keep Pig from flattening Earth.  From rectangles to spheres and other shapes, the story in this movie presents every possible basic shape for its young audiences.  So not only is the movie entertaining for the whole family, it is also educational for its younger audiences.  That solid balance of entertainment and education makes it a movie that ensures engagement by audiences of all ages, and in turn no less entertaining with each watch.  Keeping that in mind, the movie proves to be, once more, one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.

Peg + Cat: Peg and Cat Save The World is one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  Not only that, but it is also a wonderfully entertaining watch for grown-up audiences.  That is thanks to a story that spoofs every interstellar disaster flick to ever fill the nation’s theaters in the past 10 years or so and songs that spoof a group of songs that only older audiences will know.  The lessons tied into the story are certain to educate children just as much as the story is certain to entertain them. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of those elements proves once more why Peg and Cat Save The World is such an enjoyable offering from PBS Kids and Public Media Distribution. They combine to make it one of this year’s top new children’s DVDs.  More information on the DVD is available online along with lots of Peg + Cat activities, games, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/peg

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

 

 

 

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.