Power Rangers Time Force Is One Of Saban’s All-“Time” Great Power Rangers Series

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Twenty-three seasons. That is how long Saban’s Power Rangers franchise has been on the air. To be more precise, it has been on the air for twenty-three seasons over the course of twenty-two years. August 2016 will mark twenty-three years on the air for the Power Rangers. A lot has changed for the Power Rangers since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The teams have changed. The locations have changed. And so have the stories. They’ve ranged from fantasy to sci-fi from one season to the next and at times even included both. The one thing that hasn’t changed throughout the years is the franchise’s popularity. And thanks to Shout! Factory’s long-running partnership with Saban, fans of the franchise’s early years have been able to relive the joy of those early years for themselves on DVD. Now next Tuesday another of those early seasons will be available in stores and online thanks to that partnership in the form of Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series. The five-disc DVD box set offers plenty for audiences to appreciate beginning with its writing. There’s plenty of action and adventure. But the story at the center of this season is the key element of the season’s writing. Just as important as the season’s story is the work of the season’s cast. Rounding out the presentation is its mix of stock footage and special effects. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of this season. Altogether they serve to make Power Rangers Time Force one of the most standout seasons of the Power Rangers franchise and in turn this season one that every Power Rangers fan should own.

Power Rangers Time Force is one of the most standout seasons of the Power Rangers franchise. It is a season that every Power Rangers fan should own. The main reason for this is the work of the season’s writers. The writers behind this season of the Power Rangers have crafted a story that is unlike any before or in reality even since. It is the second installment of the Power Rangers franchise in the post-Zordon era. What’s more it stands alone from its predecessor Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. The one link that it does hold to that series is that this season sees the Power Rangers as yet again a semi-militaristic organization, this time upholding the law and taking down bad guys from the future. It is based just as much in sci-fi as that series, too. What sets it apart from that series (and every Power Rangers franchise before) is that it is the first time ever that a Power Rangers team has been led by a female character. That is a real breakthrough for the franchise. Sure, Wes as the Red Ranger is the team “head.” But in all reality Jen is the real team leader in this series. On another angle, Ranksik’s source for evil henchmen is not endless. But it is not so limited that it limited the show’s run. After all, forty episodes for one season of the Power Rangers is not bad. That was enough to run the show a little more than nine months. Keeping all of this in mind, it all comes together to show why the writing in general this season was integral to its success. It isn’t all that makes the writing key, though. The stories within the episodes is just as important as the season’s overall writing.

The general writing behind Power Rangers Time Force does plenty to make this season of the Power Rangers stand out. As important as it is to the season’s success, the writing behind the episodes within the season is just as important as the season’s writing in general. Audiences will laugh as Lucas (Michael Copon — The Scorpion King 2, Bring It On: In It To Win It, One Tree Hill) has to earn his driver’s license in “A Blue Streak.” Here is a man who in his time is a championship race car driver. But in 2001 is just another person. The setup for this situation makes for its own share of laughs. “A Parting of Ways” is another important example of how the writing behind this season is so important. It is a mini-coming-of-age story for Wes as he stands up to his father and becomes his own man. He also becomes even more solidified as a member of Time Force as a result. The series final four episodes are perhaps its most important. It is in these episodes that some very important revelations are made and some very important decisions are made, too. Those revelations won’t be revealed here for those that haven’t yet seen this season. But they do have an important impact on everything that had led up to that point. Now keeping this in mind it is clear why the writing behind Power Rangers Time Force in whole is so important to this series. It isn’t just the writing behind the season’s episodes, but in whole. While the season’s writing proves hugely important to its whole it is just one aspect of the season that makes it stand out. The work of the show’s cast is just as important as that of the show’s writers.

The work of the writers in Power Rangers Time Force shows to be hugely important in the overall picture of the season. Between its episodes and its overall premise and approach, the writing behind Power Rangers Time Force stands out from almost everything else that had been presented in every season of the Power Rangers up to that point and honestly since then. As important as the writing proves to be to this series it is just one element of this season that makes it stand out. The work of the show’s cast is just as important to the season as its writing. Right off the bat, Vernon Wells has to be mentioned here. He is spot on as the maniacal villain Ransik. Even as over-the-top as he can be at times, he is still believable in his role. That is because he really does try to keep from getting too much over-the-top at any point. He really makes audiences appreciate him in his role because of this. There is almost a classic villain sort of figure in his portrayal even as he comes to his ultimate revelation in the season’s finale. It really feels like something that a person would see in a classic broadway stage production. On the other side of the spectrum, Erin Cahill (Fast Track: No Limits, Saving Grace, General Hospital) is just as believable as the Rangers’ leader Jen. Early on she makes audiences feel for her in her belief that Alex was killed. That belief makes her a strong leader for the Rangers. And even as her relationship with Wes blossoms, she still maintains that strength rather than letting herself become the standard damsel in distress figure. It is honestly a refreshing sight considering how often strong female leads end up taking a backseat to their male counterparts. Switching gears quite a bit Douglas Fisher is impressive in his own right as Wes’ butler and limo driver Phillips. Fisher (Intolerable Cruelty, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Imagination Movers) may only play a supporting role here. but even in that role he still adds his own touch to given scenes. His disbelief early on as Wes jumps out of the limo to fight Nadira is great. And even as Phillips has to take a woman and her child to the hospital near the season’s end he doesn’t try to ham it up. He takes the moment and fully embraces it. His reaction to a child hitting a ball onto Mr. Collins’ limo earlier in the season’s run is yet another example of his ability to handle the role. Audiences see the surprise and frustration. It shows his character’s displeasure with the moment. However, his reserved reaction only serves to make audiences hate Mr. Collins even more as he tells the boy that he is going to keep the boy’s baseball. So even in a non-speaking moment, Fisher plays his own important role that helps to make the moment all the more powerful. To that extent, it shows why even a supporting actor is just as important to a presentation as the leads. He is hardly the only other member of the seasons’ cast worth mentioning, too. One could go into each member of the show’s cast. But that would take far too long. So keeping that in mind, it can be said in full confidence that the work of the season’s cast holds its own importance to the season as the season’s writers. Both together go a long way toward making this season stand out. Even with their combined influence they are still not the season’s only notable elements. The special effects and stock footage incorporated into this season are just as important to its presentation as the work of the show’s writers and cast.

The combined work of Power Rangers Time Force’s writers and cast is hugely important to the season’s overall presentation. Through the combined work of all involved, audiences are certain to remain engaged from one episode to the next. While they are unquestionably important to the season’s overall presentation they are not the season’s only important elements. The combined stock footage and special effects are just as notable. The stock footage lifted from Super Sentai Mirai Sentai Timeranger is used sparingly throughout each of the season’s forty total episodes. Where it is used, it is almost seamlessly combined with the live action footage recorded for the show. More often than not, that incorporation is used in the major fight scenes. Other than that, the show is made up largely of live action footage recorded specifically for the show. Moving on to the show’s special effects, the special effects retain the same look as those in the series’ predecessors. There are lots of cool lasers and explosions. And the effects used to grow Nadira’s nails into almost Wolverine-like claws is just as notable. Speaking of Nadira, her makeup and costume are part of yet another element that should be noted–the show’s costume and makeup department. Getting back on track, the time travel sequences, the effects used to make it appear as if Katie Walker (the Yellow Ranger, played by Deborah Estelle Phillips–The Cavanaughs, 7th Heaven, The Company We Keep) had super strength, and other effects were just as impressive. That certain camp feeling that the effects had early on the Power Rangers run is just as prevalent here yet it is still just as fun to watch. Whether through these or other moments, it can be seen just why the special effects and stock footage together play such an important part in the overall presentation of Power Rangers Time Force. Interestingly enough they are still hardly the last of the season’s notable elements. Those that handled the show’s costumes and makeup are just as deserving of credit as anyone else. That’s a story for another time. Altogether, all of the elements noted here paint a picture of Power Rangers Time Force as being one of the franchise’s most standout seasons. They reveal this season to be one that any Power Rangers fan will want to have in his or her own collection, especially if he or she doesn’t already own Shout! Factory and Saban’s previously released mega-Power Rangers multi-season sets.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series is a collection that any Power Rangers fan should have in his or her personal DVD library. That is especially the case for those fans that might not have been lucky enough to get their hands on Shout! Factory and Saban’s previously released mega-Power Rangers multi-season sets. That is most evident in the show’s writing. From its episodes to its overall presentation, it is clear that a lot of work and thought was put into this season’s writing. The work of the show’s cast is just as important to its presentation. This includes both the lead and supporting cast. The combined efforts of the show’s editors, special effects staff, costume department and makeup department are all just as pivotal to its presentation. Each element is important in its own massive way. Altogether, they make Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series a collection that once again every Power Rangers fan should have in his or her own personal DVD library, especially if said fans don’t already own the previously released mega-Power Rangers multi-season sets. Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be available next Tuesday, February 9th in stores and online. It will retail for MSRP of $19.97 but can be pre-ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store now at a discounted price of $16.97 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-time-force-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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Take Me To The River Hits All Of The Right Notes At All Of The Right Times

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Music, it is often said, is the universal language. It is a language that bridges cultures and transcends generations. Even with audiences’ varying tastes music still does more to bring together the world’s people than any politician could ever do. That includes not just American politicians but politicians in general. That has been proven time and again throughout the music industry’s rich history. It has helped make some of America’s best moments even better. It has also helped the country get through some of its most trying times. That ability to get America through its best and worst times shows its immense power. In 2014 director Martin Shore presented audiences with just one example of that power in the documentary Take Me To The River. The roughly hour and a half documentary follows the collaboration of a number of legendary Memphis musicians and modern artists in the creation of a new album that resurrects the songs of said legends. While that presentation lies at the heart of the documentary it is just one aspect of the program’s story. There is far more to the documentary than that process. And thanks to Shout! Factory, audiences will get to see just how much more there is to the story when Take Me To The River will finally be released in stores and online next week. That story is just one part of what makes the documentary worth the watch, too. The music that audiences get to hear throughout the course of the documentary is just as important to the program as its multi-faceted main presentation. Rounding out the documentary’s presentation is its bonus interviews and recording session featuring the recording of ‘Be Like Me’ with The Bar-Kays and rap duo 8Ball and MJG. Each element plays its own important role in the whole of Take Me To The River. Altogether, they make it a documentary that even not being new per se, still hits all the right notes at all the right times from beginning to end even almost two years after its original debut.

Nearly two years after its theatrical debut, director Martin Shore’s music documentary Take Me To The River is finally coming home. Why it took so long for it to finally be released on DVD and Blu-ray is anybody’s guess. Regardless of why it took so long, it can still be said that it is a welcome “new” release for music lovers even if audiences were not lucky enough to see it in its original theatrical release. This is proven primarily through the program’s multi-faceted main story. At the heart of that story is the recording process for an album that was meant to celebrate the relationship between some of Memphis’ most legendary performers and the artists who were influenced by those legends. Audiences will be interested to see the broad spectrum of acts that were influenced by the Memphis music scene of days gone by. On a related note, the respect shared between the two groups exhibited in the recording process is just as impressive. Of course that portion of the program’s main story is just one part of its whole. Along with that story Shore also presents the story of Stax Record, which was based in Memphis and its role in not just the Memphis music scene but in the nation’s history in whole. That story is the real story. Viewers learn about the founding of Stax and how its founding was influenced by the racial tensions of the day. Despite said tensions, it became a refuge of sorts; a place where artists white and black alike could record their music together. And as is revealed in the extended interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell, it was much more than that. It played just as much of a role in the music industry at the time as it did in the nation’s culture and history. There is even a lesson on the artists that made Stax so great then and still does today as the recording process for the album proceeds. Audiences get to learn about William Bell, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T, Charlie Musselwhite, and a number of other legends of the Memphis music scene. The combined music history lessons and recording documentary that are presented within the main presentation of Take Me To The River show clearly together why the program’s central story is key to its overall presentation.

The multi-faceted story that lies at the center of Take Me To The River shows in itself quite clearly how this documentary hits all the right notes at all the right times. Of course it is just one element within the program’s presentation that proves this argument. The songs that are featured throughout the recording process are just as important to note as the story of the process of their recording. The songs–twelve in all–are classic pieces that have been re-worked with a modern touch. One of the best of the featured songs is ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ The song featured Memphis legend Bobby “Blue” Bland teaming up with rapper Yo Gotti for a piece that is one of the recording’s best numbers. Bland’s gentle chorus works with Yo Gotti’s verses and the song’s solid, infectious hip-hop style backbeat to make it a song that gives the classic tune a welcome update. ‘Wish I Had Answered’ is another great number. Audiences will find themselves tapping their feet in time as legendary singer Mavis Staples and North Mississippi All Stars work their magic in this bluesy/gospel hybrid. ‘If I Should Have Bad Luck’ is another impressive and enjoyable song that audiences get to see come to life. Charlie Musselwhite’s vocal delivery and harmonica work are the song’s magic elements. It’s just one more example of how the songs featured in the documentary make it more enjoyable in whole. It’s not the last example of the song’s importance to the documentary either. Any of the recording’s dozen tracks could just as easily be cited as examples of what makes th songs their own important element of the documentary. The songs, when coupled with the documentary’s central story, make even clearer why Take Me To The River hits all the right notes. They still are only a portion of what makes the program such a worthwhile watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the program give it even more interest.

The story at the center of Take Me To The River and the program’s featured songs are both equally important elements in its success. That is because together they tell a deep and engaging story that any music history buff will enjoy. For all of the importance of the program’s story and its featured songs those elements are but a portion of what makes it worth the watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the presentation round out the documentary. Audiences will be interested to learn how Al Bell came to write the hit song ‘I’ll Take You There.’ Even as Mr. Bell doesn’t allow himself to become choked up in telling the story, the same cant’ be said of audiences. That is especially the case as he notes that he “didn’t write the song, but that it wrote through him.” He explains in full depth to narrator/interviewer Terrance Howard (Hustle & Flow, Iron Man, Red Tails) how the violence of the era played a direct role in the song’s creation. That is the extent of what will be told here so as to not ruin the story for others. Needless to say th full story is truly moving and enlightening. On a related note, the interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell is just as interesting. The pair’s discussion runs th gamut from the serious to the silly throughout. One of the most interesting discussions shared in this interview is the comparison of Stax Records to Motown. Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and Bell discuss how Motown wrote songs more for the masses while acts signed to Stax made music more for the people so to speak. They weren’t trying to make money in other words. They just wanted to get their songs out there and share the struggles that everyone felt through their songs. Snoop Dogg’s affirmation of the importance of Stax both to itself and the culture in which it was founded and to the modern hip-hop industry is believable. He really sounds serious about its importance. At a later point in the interview, Bell and Broadus change gears and start talking about DJs and Soul Train of all things. It was completely off th topic. But it was also so natural in the bigger picture of things. And it is hardly the last of th discussions shared between th pair in its interview. There is far more for audiences to take in here. And audiences that purchase the program for themselves will discover just how entertaining and informative those other noted topics are. They will also agree in discovering this that the bonus interviews included alongside the central story of Take Me To The River and its featured songs round out the presentation, making it a presentation in whole that once again hits all the right notes at all of the right times.

Shout! Factory’s new home release of Take Me To The River is a presentation that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. This is the case even with the documentary having originally debuted in theaters nearly two years ago. That is thanks in large part to its multi-faceted story. The program’s featured songs present their own interesting music history lesson. That lesson and the lesson taught in the program’s central story double up to show clearly why Take Me To The River hits all of the right notes at the right times. The bonus interviews included as part of the documentary’s home release round out the program. The background and bonus information that thy share rounds out the program and shows once and for all that while this documentary may not be new per se, it is still a piece that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. Take Me To The River will be available next Tuesday, February 5th in stores and online. It can be re-ordered online now direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/take-me-to-the-river. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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Shout! Factory, Saban Taking Audiences “Back To The Future” In New Power Rangers Season Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory and Saban are taking audiences back to the future next month so to speak. That is because they are teaming up to release another classic season of Power Rangers in the form of Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. The five-disc set features the full forty-episode run from the ninth season of Saban’s long-running sci-fi/fantasy series. This season marks the second time that the Power Rangers are presented to audiences as a semi-militaristic organization. It is not the last time that the Power Rangers would be presented in such fashion either. This season centers on the Rangers’ hunt for the evil criminal mastermind Ransik after he escapes their custody and slips from the year 2001 into the past (then present). It’s up to Pink Ranger Jen to lead the Time Force Rangers to find Ransik, apprehend him, and return with him back to 2001.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $19.97. It can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-time-force-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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SHout! Factory Kids To Release New Transformers Rescue Bots DVD Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios are teaming up yet again for another collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit animated series Transformers Rescue Bots.

Shout! Factory will release the new Transformers Rescue Bots DVD Adventures in Time and Space next month. The single-disc DVD compilation, the series’ ninth collection of episodes, will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, February 23rd. It features five more episodes lifted from Discovery Family’s hit animated series. Four of the disc’s featured episodes are pulled from the series’ third season and one from its debut season. The episode in question is “It’s A Bot Time.” This episode is the first half of a two part-time travel story arc that is rounded out in the episode “Bot To The Future.” That episode was previously released as part of the Transformers Rescue Bots DVD Return of the Heroes early last year. In regards to the series’ Season Three episodes, the Chase and Boulder have to head back into space to complete a mission involving an Energon Eater in “Unfinished Business.” “Switcheroo” sees a nebula causing the Burns family and the Rescue Bots to switch bodies. Dr. Morocco is back again in this collection, too in “The Last Of Morocco.” And in “Time After Time” Cody finds himself in a time loop that is being cause d by the Mayor Luskey Clock Tower.  The complete episode listing for the DVD is noted below.

 

Episodes

Episode Episode Title
1 Transformers Rescue Bots: It’s A Bot Time
2 Transformers Rescue Bots: Unfinished Business
3 Transformers Rescue Bots: Switcheroo
4 Transformers Rescue Bots: Time After Time
5 Transformers Rescue Bots: The Last Of Morocco

 

 

Transformers Rescue Bots: Adventures in Time and Space will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, February 23rd. It will retail for MSRP of $14.93but can be pre-ordered via Shout! Factory’s online store now for a discounted price of $13.93 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-adventures-in-time-and-space. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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Shout! Factory Offers Audiences Lots More Furry Fun In Its Latest Pound Puppies Collection

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory/Discovery Family

Courtesy: Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory/Discovery Family

The Pound Puppies are back!  Everybody’s favorite canines have returned once again with another new DVD in Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair.  It is available now in stores and online.  And just as with every Pound Puppies DVD that has come before this latest collection of Pound Puppies episodes boasts plenty to appreciate beginning with the episodes themselves.  The episodes are lifted largely from the series’ first season.  Although there is one episode that is pulled from Season Two included in this set.  The writing behind each episode is another important element of the featured episodes.  Last but hardly least of note is the work of the series’ voice cast.  This includes the guest stars that make appearances in these episodes.  Each element is in its own right important to the whole of Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair.  Altogether they make the DVD one more welcome installment from the all too short-lived animated series.

Shout! Factory’s latest Pound Puppies DVD is another welcome collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s all too short-lived animated series.  The DVD features five more episodes lifted from the series.  The episodes in question here are lifted largely from the series’ first season.  Though, there is at least one episode–“Once a Ralph, Always A Ralph”–that is lifted from Season Three.  The reason that this is important to note of the collection is that while this DVD is not yet the series’ last (if one is going by the numbers), it does finish off another hunk of episodes from the series’ first season.  Considering the episodes featured here and those presented in the series’ previous DVDs, only six episodes remain to be released from the series’ first season.  And none of those episodes are slated for the next Pound Puppies DVD Show Stopping Pups, which is slated to be released April 12th.  The remaining unreleased Season One episodes are: “Nightmare on Pound Street,” “Rebound,” “Rebel Without A Collar,” “Olaf In Love,” “Lucky Gets Adopted.”  Keeping in mind that those episodes will not be included in the next DVD and that the episodes that are on the way come largely from the series’ third season, that DVD is one of four more that should be on the way.  In other words, the episodes presented in this DVD are not the only ones left for the series’ fans to enjoy.  That is the key element to this DVD.  Yes, it takes another chunk out of the series’ first season.  But it is also still not the last of the series’ Season One episodes on the way nor is it the last overall Pound Puppies DVD on the way.  It’s just one part of what makes this DVD a win for audiences.  The writing–more specifically the stories behind each episode–is just as important to the episodes as the episodes themselves..

The episodes that are featured in Shout! Factory’s new Pound Puppies DVD are in themselves an important element of the DVD’s enjoyment.  Even as important as they are to the whole of the DVD, they are not the only element that is to be noted of the DVD’s overall presentation.  The writing that is behind the episodes is just as important to the episodes as the episodes themselves.  More specifically the stories that serve as the episodes’ foundation are just as important to the episodes as the episodes themselves.  That is evident right off the top as Lucky and the Pound Puppies end up having to team up with the Kennel Kittens in order to get a kitten and a puppy adopted by a brother and sister.  Originally the two sides face off against one another.  But of course they end up having to team up when they realize the only hope for either side is to work together and keep the puppy and kitten together in one home.  It’s a tried and true plot–two opposing sides having to work together for a greater cause–but even despite that it still works here just as much in other stories that have used the plot.  “The Really Weird Dog” sees the Pound Puppies having to reunite an alligator named Rover (yes, Rover) with his boy before something bad happens to him.  The ultimate outcome is somewhat predictable.  But it is still a fun little story that teaches audiences an important lesson about accepting others regardless of what they look like on the outside.  Regardless of whether or not that lesson was intentionally incorporated into the episode, it still is an important aspect of the episode.  And in “Kennel Kittens Return” audiences get some action and adventure when Squirt has to go undercover as a cat in order to retrieve a glove that lets the Pound Puppies type just like a human.  The glove is part of the Pound Puppies’ ongoing efforts to help keep their operations secret.  It’s a good change of pace from the Pound Puppies’ usual adventures.  The same can be said of the flashback episode “Call of the Squirreldog.”  That episode tells the story of how Mr. Nut Nut became a member of the Pound Puppies despite being a squirrel.  Even Season Three’s “Once A Ralph, Always A Ralph” offers its own surprises as Ralph returns once again to Shelter 17.  It’s one more story that proves the importance of the writing behind this DVD’s featured episodes.  Together with the other featured episodes, all five episodes present stories that audiences of all ages will enjoy just as much as the episodes presented in the series’ previous DVDs.  That being the case they show even more why the presentation in whole is another welcome installment of episodes from the all too short-lived series.

Both the episodes featured in this new Pound Puppies DVD and the stories crafted for each are equally important to the DVD’s overall presentation.  The episodes take out another chunk of episodes from the series’ first season, and the stories behind each episode offer their own enjoyment as not one is like the other.  They are just part of the DVD’s overall presentation. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as important here as the work of the series’ writers. Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Perception) is spot on once again as the Pound Puppies lead mutt Lucky. Whether providing comfort and motivation to young puppies looking for their people or confidently leading the Pound Puppies in their mission to place every puppy with its proper person, McCormack handles every one of Lucky’s situations with expertise thus making him not only a believable character but one for whom audiences of all ages will again love to cheer. Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Benson, The Little Mermaid) is just as entertaining as McLeish even in his more rare appearances in these episodes. Audiences will love to hate McLeish thanks to Auberjonois’ take on the dog catching dolt as he tries to keep Ralph from being adopted in “Once A Ralph, Always A Ralph.” And in “Kennel Kittens Return” when McLeish falls for Strudel’s (voiced by Allana Ubach – Legally Blonde, See Dad Run, Meet The Fockers) trick and goes out into the pound’s parking lot in his underwear, Auberjonois is just as spot on. On a different note, guest star Jeff Corwin (The Jeff Corwin Experience, Corwin’s Quest, Ocean Mysteries With Jeff Corwin) is just as entertaining in his appearance as alligator hunter Cap Wilder in “The Really Weird Dog.” What’s really interesting about his portrayal of Wilder is that unlike other similar characters presented in other series, Corwin doesn’t allow Wilder to become that megalomaniacal figure that is all too familiar. He is determined to catch Rover. That goes without saying. But he isn’t overwhelmed by his determination. That is what sets him apart from his counterparts in other series. He makes Wilder an entertaining character. But he doesn’t go over the top with him. That is why he is so entertaining. Even in the episode’s final reveal Corwin doesn’t ham it up either. His ability to balance Wilder’s more obsessed side and his softer side without going too far in either direction makes Wilder that much more entertaining to watch. His is just one more portrayal that shows the importance of the voice cast’s work throughout each of this DVD’s episodes. Each of the series’ regular cast members could be noted in their work, too. But that would take some time. So for lack of time and space, it will be noted that whether for one member of the cast or for all involved, the work of the Pound Puppies voice cast rounds out the most important elements of the episodes presented in the series’ new DVD. That work in itself is an important part of the episodes’ whole. Together with the work of the series’ writers and the presentation of the episodes themselves all three elements present Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair as yet another welcome collection from Discovery Family’s all too short-lived series. They show it as a potential candidate for this year’s list of the year’s best new children’s DVDs and Blu-rays.

Shout! Factory’s latest collection of Pound Puppies episodes is yet another welcome installment from Discovery Family’s all too short-lived animated series. That is exhibited primarily through the episodes culled for the collection. They represent another chunk of the series’ first season. At the same time, they are not the last of the episodes that had yet to be pulled from Season One. In the bigger picture the episodes are also not the series’ last that had yet to be presented on DVD. There are still plenty more on the way. There are at least four more collections on the way, one of which will be released this spring. The writing behind the episodes is just as important to the episodes as the episodes themselves. That is evident in each of the episodes’ stories. From a fun little look back in time in “Call of the Squirreldog” to the standard but still fun story in “Catcalls” to the adventure in “Kennel Kittens Return” and inspiring message of “The Really Weird Dog,” the stories change style from one to the next, ensuring audiences’ maintained engagement. Last but hardly least of note is the work of the show’s voice cast. Once again the cast is spot on in its delivery and timing in each episode. Even guest star Jeff Corwin is entertaining in his own right as Cap Wilder. The entertainment offered by the voice cast shows the chemistry between each person even that early on in the show’s run. Each element proves by itself to be an invaluable element in the overall presentation of Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair. Altogether they make this DVD one more welcome collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s all too short-lived series and an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factorys online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/pound-puppies-a-rare-pair. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

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The Image Revolution Is Not Just For Comic Book Fans

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

With great power comes great responsibility. Regardless of whether or not a person is a Spiderman fan or even a fan of comic books in general, most people know that timeless line spoken by Peter Parker’s uncle Ben.  It is also a piece of knowledge that would have served the founders of Image Comics well when they founded the independent comics company.  That is evident in watching Shout! Factory’s new documentary on Image Comics The Image Revolution.  While it is a documentary that centers mainly on the rise, fall, and re-emergence (of sorts) of Image Comics it is more than just a documentary about a comics company.  It is a documentary about a business.  That being the case, it is a presentation that will reach not just comic book lovers but even those with any interest and/or experience in the business world.  That is the central element of program that makes it worth the watch.  The manner in which the documentary was presented is another element worth noting.  That includes the interviews with those that founded Image Comics and the comic book panel style transitions and the vintage footage incorporated into the documentary.  Last but hardly least of note in this presentation is its bonus interview segments.  The bonus material in question presents the interview material not included in the program’s main presentation.  So basically they round out the documentary in whole.  It’s one more part of the Image Revolution’s whole that makes it such an interesting watch whether one is a comic book fan, an artist, or a business person.  Altogether, all three elements make The Image Revolution an early candidate for a spot on 2016’s list of Best New Documentaries.

The Image Revolution is an early candidate for a spot on 2016’s list of the year’s Best New Documentaries.  The documentary’s subject matter is the main element that makes it such a worthwhile watch.  The documentary’s subject matter centers on the history of independent comic book publisher Image Comics.  It follows the company’s meteoric rise to fame (and that of the men that started the company), its fall, and eventual return to greatness.  The story is one that will appeal not just to lovers of comic books and graphic novels but to artists of all types and even those with any interest and/or experience in the business world.  It is not just a niche presentation despite its subject matter.  It shows how a group of men working for America’s two biggest comic book companies left those companies in order to form a company that was to be the antithesis of those companies yet in its own way became everything that it stood against.  In turn it ended up struggling to a point before enjoying a revival that has continued to this very day.  Those that are lovers of comic books and graphic novels will appreciate the story of how far Image Comics has come as well as the collective story of the men that started Image and the titles that each used to launch the company.  Those that are experienced in art in its various forms will appreciate the discussions on how each man started out drawing his respective title but then found himself growing away and relegating that duty in large part to someone else.  Those that have any experience and/or interest in the business world will find interesting the very story of the financial irresponsibility of the company’s founders.  That irresponsibility would of course serve as a lesson for each as the men grew both by themselves and together.  Whether one focuses on the business aspect of the story, that of the men and titles that launched Image Comics, or the different art styles of each artist, there is something for a number of audiences.  This is just one way in which The Image Revolution proves itself to be such a worthwhile watch and standout documentary.  It isn’t the only element that makes it stand out so well either.  The manner in which the documentary was presented is another important element in the whole of its presentation.

The story that lies at the center of The Image Revolution is in itself an important part of this documentary.  It is a multi-faceted story that will reach more than just the obvious audience base.  This is just one element that stands out in The Image Revolution’s overall presentation.  The manner in which the documentary is presented is just as important to its presentation as the story at the center of the program.  The program is presented through a mix of interviews with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and the rest of Image Comics’ founders, classic footage from the company’s vaults, and transitions presented in the fashion of comic book page panels.  The interviews allow McFarlane and company to tell the company’s story in their own words.  While each man chooses his words wisely, none minces words at the same time.  Audiences will laugh as Rob Liefeld does his best impersonations of McFarlane from time to time.  On another note, Jim Lee’s discussion on being asked to take part in Rob Liefeld’s removal from Image is just as interesting.  Audiences can hear it in Lee’s voice and see it in his face how much it pained him to have to be part of that change.  Savage Dragon creator Erik Larson and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman have their own interesting anecdotes over the course of the documentary.  Audiences will laugh as Kirkman reveals how he got Image to take a chance on The Walking Dead.  That won’t be revealed here.  That is because of its link (so to speak) to The Walking Dead series.  Audiences will actually laugh at Kirkland’s ultimate revelation.  At the same time, said revelation will keep audiences watching the TV series just as rabidly as a result.  Erik Larson’s humility in discussing how he handled the fame and fortune early on and even later on is refreshing.  It shows that he didn’t and hasn’t let any of what he does go to his head.

The interviews that are featured throughout the course of The Image Revolution’s eighty-three-minute run time are their own important part of the approach to the documentary’s presentation.  The classic footage that is incorporated into the documentary adds even more interest to its overall presentation, too.  It is clear that the footage was recorded via VHS camcorder.  That is because it is obvious no attempt was made to clean up the footage.  The footage in question features McFarlane and company at comic book signings that were jam packed with fans at every stop.  There is also footage of how things went in the Image offices on an everyday basis along with much more.  Audiences will love watching all of the vintage footage.  It will transport viewers back to Image’s golden age and really serve to show how high things were for all involved at the time.  At the same time, it helps to heighten the story as it advances.  Speaking of that advancement, the transitions are just as important to the program’s presentation as its interviews and vintage footage.

The transitions that are used throughout the course of The Image Revolution might not seem like all that important of an element to its presentation.  But believe it or not they are in fact quite important to its presentation.  The transitions are presented as panels from the pages of a comic book right down to their animation.  They serve a special purpose in the story.  That is because they really increase the story’s emotion in both directions, thus keeping audiences fully engaged.  Together with the interviews and vintage footage all three elements combine to make the presentation of The Image Revolution rock solid.  Of course they are still not all that makes this documentary worth the watch.  The extended interviews that are included as bonus material round out the documentary.

The approach that was taken in presenting The Image Revolution is in itself a powerful element in the whole of this new documentary from Shout! Factory.  So much thought and work obviously went into its thorough presentation.  That set alongside the documentary’s central story gives audiences plenty of reason to watch this program.  As much reason as they give viewers to watch this documentary, they are not its only notable elements.  The extended interviews that are included as bonus material round out the presentation’s positives.  The interviews in question are, as labeled, extended.  They feature more in-depth discussion than what is presented in the main body of the documentary.  Liefeld, Lee, and Kirkland are all featured in the interviews.  They discuss a variety of topics, too.  From the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead to working on specific books and more, there is plenty for audiences to appreciate here.  There is even a secondary set of interviews with those close to Image comics that adds even more interest for audiences.  Those collected interviews combine with the work put into the documentary’s presentation and the documentary’s primary story to make a nearly ninety-minute presentation that comic book fans will love just as much as artists and even those in the business world.

Whether it be for the story of Image Comics itself or for the manner in which the story was presented, or even for the bonus extended interviews, The Image Revolution presents plenty for audiences of all types to appreciate. In having so much to appreciate, that wide range of audiences will agree in watching this program, that it is easily an early candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new documentaries. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/the-image-revolution. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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Children, Families Won Big In 2015 With So Many New DVD, BD Offerings For Families

Young audiences were given quite a number of new offerings this year on DVD and Blu-ray. Between the standalone discs and box sets, there was quite a bit of material from which children and their parents had to choose this year. Having already covered the best of the year’s box sets for kids, it is time now for Phil’s Picks to turn its attention to the best of this year’s new standalone DVDs and BDs for children and families. Kindie rock act Josh and the Jamtones released its long-awaited DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie early this year. And that DVD was well worth the wait, too. Its original presentation and story, and extra music videos made it an instand shoe-in for this year’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for kids and families. Lionsgate’s new claymation movie Shaun The Sheep: The Movie is also on the list. That movie surprised with its largely family friendly story and the heart therein. PBS and Shout! Factory Kids each got in the act with new Reading Rainbow DVDs and DVDs from Discovery Family’s former series The Adventures of Chuck and Friends. Shout! Factory Kids’ Transformers Rescue Bots DVDs are each in this list, too along with other titles. That in mind, it’s time to stop rambling. Presented for your consideration dear readers, is Phil’s Picks list of 2015 Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs. As always, the Top 10 titles make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

1. TURKEY HOLLOW

2. SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE MOVIE

3. JOSH AND THE JAMTONES–BEAR HUNT: THE MOVIE

4. READING RAINBOW: IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE

5. READING RAINBOW: ANIMAL CAFE

6. THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS: REV YOUR ENGINE

7. THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS: DAY AT THE RACES

8. DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD: BIG BROTHER DANIEL

9. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: DINO BOTS

10. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: RETURN OF THE HEROES

11. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: JURASSIC ADVENTURE

12. CURIOUS GEORGE: SEASON 8

13. SUPER WHY: CINDERELLA AND OTHER FAIRYTALE ADVENTURES

14. WORDWORLD: BIRTHDAY PARTY

15. LETTER FACTORY ADVENTURES: AMAZING WORD EXPLORERS

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.