PBS Kids, PBS Distribution’s New Season, Holiday DVD Sets Will Entertain, Engage Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

The unofficial start of the annual holiday season is only days away.  For those who don’t know, that is a reference to Halloween.  As Halloween nears, many are already turning their attention to colder weather and Christmas, including officials with PBS Kids and PBS Distribution.  The companies are scheduled to release two new seasonal DVD collections Oct. 19 on DVD in the form of PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids Christmas Collection.  The collections, one a double-disc collection and the other a single-disc set, are successful new offerings.  Their success comes in part through the episodes featured in the set.  This will be examined shortly.  While the featured episodes do plenty to keep viewers engaged and entertained, the sets are not perfect.  Each collection suffers in the way of their packaging.  This element will be examined a little later.  The sets’ pricing rounds out their most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collections.  All things considered, they make the collections wonderful ways for families to get into the seasonal and holiday spirit.

PBS Kids and PBS Distribution’s upcoming DVD collections, PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids Christmas Collection are mostly successful offerings from the companies.  Their success is due in large part to their featured episodes.  The episodes are culled from a variety of PBS Kids’ most beloved series past and present, such as Arthur, Splash & Bubbles, and Word World just to name a few.  Also featured are episodes from the likes of Let’s Go Luna!, Dinosaur Train, and World World just to name a few more.  For the most part, the episodes feature stories that match the collections’ titles, too.  The only episode that is out of place is the Dinosaur Train episode, “Cretacious Conifers.”  Featured in the 20 Snowy Stories collection, it has no snow or even ice.  Yes, there is a mention of the winter solstice at points throughout, but it also focuses heavily on more of a Christmas theme as the story progresses.  To that end, it seems more of a fit on the Christmas Collection set.  While the Ready Jet Go! episodes featured in the 20 Snowy Stories collection are a little bit of a stretch – they feature Jet and his friends bringing ice back from outer space to beat the summer heat in two separate ways and for two separate reasons – they do at least fit a little bit.

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

In the case of the Christmas Collection, its episodes are more uniformly in line with its title.  One of the most notable of its episodes is “Luna’s Christmas Around the World.”  After getting stuck in Antarctica thanks to the captain of the ship on which they are riding, Andy, Carmen and Leo lean from the members of the Circo Fabuloso how Christmas is celebrated in different regions of the world.  By the episode’s end, the kids learn the most important lesson of all about Christmas as they finally get the boat working again and leave Antarctica.

WordWorld’s episode, “The Christmas Star” is another of the most notable of the Christmas Collection episodes.  The title sounds like something that might present a religious theme, but that could not be farther from the truth.  Rather, in this case, Duck is on a search for the Christmas star because it belongs on top of the Christmas tree that he and his friends have put up.  Duck wants to use the star as his present to his friends.  Of course it has a happy ending that also ties in a basic spelling lesson.

Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas has already been released on a standalone Wild Kratts DVD.  That aside, it is still welcome here.  In this extended episode, it’s up to Chris, Martin and their friends to save a group of animal babies from Zach Varmitech after he kidnaps the cute, cuddly creatures for use as ornaments on his own metal Christmas tree.  As with every other episode in which the guys face off against Zach, they come out on top and get the animals back to the wild and living free.  How it happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves if they have not yet seen this special episode.  Between this episode, the others examined here and the rest of those in this set and in 20 Snowy Stories, the episodes in whole make for more than enough reason to add these collections to one’s home library.  This is the case even though at least one episode is a bit out of place in its collection.

While the episodes featured in these collections form a strong foundation for the sets, the collections are not necessarily perfect.  The lack of an episode guide anywhere in the packaging detracts from the presentations to a point.  The episode guides are obviously there when audiences put the sets’ discs into their DVD and/or Blu-ray players, but they are not printed anywhere within the packaging.  As a result, audiences are forced to figure out and essentially memorize which episodes are aligned with which discs.  Yes, this is an aesthetic issue, but it would certainly help the presentation because it would save audiences time and effort in trying to decide which episode(s) they want to watch.  Instead of the episodes, the packaging lists the episodes’ sponsors inside the case.  That could have been done on the back of each set’s case.  This is not enough to make the presentations failures, but certainly would have benefited the sets’ presentations.

Keeping in mind that the lack of episode guides in the set is not enough to completely ruin them, there is one more positive to address.  It comes in the form of the collections’ pricing.  The average price point for PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories is $7.95.  Rounded up, it is a mere $8.00.  That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  Books-A-Million and PBS are the only retailers that exceed that price point, while the majority of the others list the double-disc collection at either $6.95 or $6.99.  Best Buy lists the collection at $7.99, which while a few cents over the average, is still right in line with the average price point.  Considering the amount of content featured across the set and the representation of the PBS Kids shows, that affordable price point definitely proves positive and money well-spent.

The average price point for PBS Kids: Christmas Collection is $11.33.  That price was reached by averaging prices at the noted retailers.  Amazon’s listing of $29.99 is either an anomaly or just outright incorrect, but for the most part, it is listed between $6.69 and $9.99, with a middle ground of $7.99, listed through Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Books-A-Million and PBS each list the single-disc set at $9.99.  Walmart and Target each have the least expensive listing, at $6.69.  Yet again, these prices are mostly such that they will not break anyone’s budget.  Knowing how much content even this set features, that knowledge makes purchasing the set even more encouraging, too.  Keeping in mind the affordability noted in each set along with the content featured in each collection, those elements make the sets well worth owning and successes in their own right.  That is even with the issue of the lack of episode guides in mind.  One becomes one more of this year’s top new family DVDs and BDs while the other more than earns its spot among the year’s top new family DVD and BD box sets.

PBS Kids and PBS Distribution’s forthcoming seasonal/holiday DVD sets, 20 Snowy Stories and Christmas Collection are successful new offerings from the companies.  Their success comes in large part through their featured episodes.  The episodes largely follow the theme of each set’s title.  They also teach important lessons within the stories.  That education and entertainment that they offer is sure to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  While the episodes are the key point of the collections, the lack of any episode guide in either set detracts from the sets’ presentation to a point.  It is not enough to make the sets failures, but still does hurt them to a point.  Keeping in mind the breadth and depth of the content featured in each set, the sets’ pricing proves positive, too.  That is because their pricing proves so affordable for the most part.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the collections.  All things considered, they make each set successful by themselves and collectively.

PBS Kids: 20 Snowy Stories and PBS Kids: Christmas Collection are scheduled for release Oct. 19.  More information on these and other titles from PBS Kids is available online at:

Website: https://pbskids.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbskids

More information on this and other titles from PBS Distribution is available at:

Website: https://pbsdistribution.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBSDistribution.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbsdistribution

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

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘Splash And Bubbles’ Movie On DVD

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution will release the Splash and Bubbles movie Pole To Pole on DVD Tuesday.

The movie follows Splash and his friends as they travel from the Antarctic to the Arctic, learning about the different ways in which life thrives below the waves.  The group learns about topics, such as migratory patterns, food chains within given habitats and the various types of life that make up each food chain through its global journey.

Splash and BubblesPole To Pole will retail for MSRP of $6.99. More information on the DVD is available online now along with lots of games, activities, printables and more at:


Website: http://pbskids.org/splashandbubbles

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


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.

Listeners Of All Ages Will Enjoy “Diving Into” ‘Splash And Bubbles” Season 1 Soundtrack

Courtesy: Varese Sarabande/Music Film Recordings/The Jim Henson Company/PBS/PBS Kids/Herschend Studios

Fourteen years ago, one of the worst moves that could have ever happened to the film and television worlds became a reality when the family of Jim Henson sold the rights to the Muppets and so many other related properties to Disney.  The result of that sale has proven to be anything but successful with a handful of Muppet movies that have flopped as well as an equally unsuccessful TV series on ABC.  The irony here is that allegedly Jim Henson wanted to sell to Disney way back in 1990, even farther back in time.  Even Disney’s recent attempt to reboot Muppet Babies has proven to be anything but enjoyable.  One can’t help but wonder how Henson would feel today if he were around and had sold to Disney all those years ago.  For all the damage that Disney has done to Jim Henson’s legacy and that of his creations, it luckily didn’t get full control of everything that The Jim Henson Company does.  That is evidenced in the form of the PBS Kids series Dinosaur Train, Sid The Science Kid and its newest creation, Splash and Bubbles.  The latter of that group debuted on PBS Kids only two years ago and has already gone on to become one of the network’s top 5 most popular series, even finally seeing its first DVD release last week.  The relatively young series even received its own soundtrack accompaniment as the month of June opened thanks to Music Film Recordings, Varese Sarabande, The Jim Henson Company and Herschend Studios.  The 22-song record is the first of its kind for any PBS Kids series.  Keeping that in mind, it shows that the network’s other shows could easily compete with Disney’s TV show soundtracks.  This is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical themes also support that statement and will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing supports that statement just as much as the lyrical themes and musical arrangements.  Each element is pivotal in its own right in proving the viability of soundtracks from PBS Kids’ shows.  All things considered, they make Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the ReefSongs From Season One a strong first ever effort in what could be a bright musical future for PBS and PBS Kids.

Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the ReefSongs From Season One is an intriguing new offering for fans of the family favorite PBS Kids series.  That is especially the case considering that its release early this month marked the first time that any PBS Kids series has seen a soundtrack accompaniment to the show released.  Considering that this is the first time that such a recording has been released, it is a strong first effort that will entertain the whole family.  That is due in part to the musical arrangements within each of its 22 songs.  The arrangements, from start to end, are fun, old school r&b and doo-wop style works.  That is evident right from the compilation’s opener, the series’ title song.  The fund definitely doesn’t end there.  Case in point ‘I Never Knew About You,’ with its bass-driven arrangement.  It conjures thoughts of some of the great songs included in the Blues Brothers movies, especially considering the inclusion of the keyboards and horns.  To that end, this song’s arrangement is just as certain as any other to entertain listeners of all ages.  ‘Hangin’ With Friends’ meanwhile conjures thoughts of Jackson 5, K.C. and the Sunshine Band among others.  As if that isn’t enough, ‘Living It Up’ instantly conjures thoughts of Tina Turner while ‘One Small Ripple’ leads to thoughts of Diana Ross and the Supremes with its gentle, flowing arrangement and harmonies.  One could even reach even farther back with ‘Only in the Ocean’ and compare its arrangement to the likes of The Trammps’ ‘Disco Inferno’ and Rose Royce’s ‘Car Wash.’  That’s the case even despite the fact that this song is only one-minute, 41-seconds long.  Stylistically speaking, there’s no denying the comparisons.  Between these comparisons, the others noted here and so many others that could be made throughout the record – including comparisons to works from Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic and so many others – the clear old school r&b style sounds exhibited throughout this record are sure to entertain adults just as much as their younger counterparts, if not more so.  To that end, one must admit that the record’s collective arrangements are critical in their own right to its presentation.  While they obviously play a key part in the album’s whole, they are not – again, collectively – its only important element.  The album’s lyrical themes are just as important to note here as the record’s arrangements.

The lyrical themes expressed throughout Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the Reef Songs From Season One present their own share of variance, just as with the record’s arrangements.  ‘My Best Friend Ever’ and ‘Hangin’ With Friends’ obviously present the theme of friendship.  ‘I Never Knew About You’ promotes diversity and taking the time to learn about others (I.E. tolerance).  In a time when it seems that xenophobia and racism have so overtly returned to the fore of society, such a theme is not just welcome, but needed as a reminder for children and adults alike.  On a much lighter note, ‘I Don’t Know What I’m Doing,’ – in its own way – seems to promote taking life as it comes and not being so serious about every little thing.  It’s not saying to be carefree about everything, but to not be so serious about everything because being a little bit looser makes life better.  While there are plenty of life lessons presented in the featured songs, there is also an emphasis on caring for the environment in the form of ‘Reeftown Rangers’ and ‘Keep It Clean.’  There are even biology lessons of sorts in the forms of ‘So Many Kinds of Fish,’ ‘Catch a Current,’ ‘The Changing Tide’ and ‘Seasonal Pond.’  Simply put, the lyrical themes featured throughout the record offer just as much to appreciate as the album’s musical arrangements thanks to their own variance.  This makes the album even more welcome in both the home and the classroom.  The compilation’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation, proving once more what makes this first-time effort a welcome recording from the involved parties.

Considering that Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the ReefSongs From Season One spans 22 songs and 27 minutes, plenty of thought had to have been put into its sequencing.  This is the case even despite the fact that the songs are not very long.  The longest of the featured songs – the southern gospel-tinged ‘Dark in the Deep’ – clocks in at only one minute, 42 seconds and the shortest – ‘Only in the Ocean’ – at 33 seconds.  By and large, the record keeps the energy flowing from one song to the next, slowing things down only three times – early in its run in ‘One Small Ripple,’ later in ‘And So We Celebrate (Coral Day)’ and in the album’s closer ‘Seasonal Pond.’  Other than those three moments, the record keeps things moving fluidly from one song to the next with plenty of mid-tempo and up-tempo arrangements.  It also works hard to keep the lyrical topics varied, so as to ensure even more, listeners’ engagement.  Keeping this in mind, the stability offered through the record’s arrangements does just as much to make this record a welcome companion to its TV series as its arrangements themselves and the album’s lyrical themes.  When all three elements are jointly considered, they make this compilation a fun, welcome accompaniment to its broadcast companion.

Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the ReefSongs From Season One is an enjoyable accompaniment to its broadcast counterpart that is just as certain to entertain grown-ups as it is children.  That is proven in part through musical arrangements that are deeply rooted in the old Motown sounds of the 60s and 70s.  Its lyrical themes present just enough variance – from friendship to environmental concern to general biology – to keep young listeners engaged and entertained.  The sequencing of those themes and arrangements shows that plenty of time and thought was put into keeping listeners engaged and entertained in this aspect, too.  When that thought is taken into consideration along with the thought put into the arrangements and lyrical themes, the whole of these elements makes the album in whole an enjoyable companion to the Splash and Bubbles series.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Splash and Bubbles is available online along with plenty of games, activities, printables and more at:




Website: http://pbskids.org/splashandbubbles

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




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.