The Wonder Years’ Fourth Season Is 2016’s First Great Box Set For Grown-Ups

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Time Life Entertainment has made quite the name for itself in recent years. That is thanks to the release of box sets from some of television’s greatest classic series. Those series include the likes of China Beach, The Carol Burnett Show, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and a number of others. The release of said series is in itself just part of what has made the two companies quite the surprise in the home entertainment market. The overall presentation of said programs is really what has served to make Time Life such a surprising contender in that market.  Every one of the box sets released by the companies has offered not just the classic series in one capacity or another but a number of wonderful bonuses and smart packaging, too.  The series noted above are just some of the examples in which this has held true time and again. The companies’ release of ABC’s classic drama The Wonder Years in both its current standalone sets and its full series set are no exception to that rule, either. That can now also be said of the series’ upcoming fourth season DVD set.  There is so much more that could be noted of this set (just as with the series previous standalone season sets) than time and space allow. The stories that were crafted for Season Four are a good starting point, though.  Even as the stories were set against the backdrop of the then 1970s by that season, the experiences that Kevin, his family and friends go through in these episodes still remain as relevant today as they were to audiences in the show’s original broadcast.  The work of the show’s cast in interpreting the show’s scripts should be noted by relation.  From Fred Savage’s portrayal of the then awkward teenage Kevin Arnold to Josh Saviano’s portrayal of Paul as he matures to Dan Lauria’s continued impressive take on Kevin’s dad Jack, the cast’s work in whole is really what makes the stories so believable and in turn so entertaining. Looking at this new box set from another angle the episodes themselves are only a portion of what makes it another must have for fans of The Wonder Years. The companion booklet that is included in Season Four’s standalone set is yet another impressive addition to the show’s overall viewing experience. It offers extra tidbits on the season’s episodes from the music to behind-the-scenes extras, to even a recipe for a Mousse au Chocolat among so many other extras.  Collectively, the extras that are once again included in the companion booklet make it more than just a companion booklet but a bonus in every sense of the word.  Of course it is hardly the last element that could be presented in an examination of The Wonder Years’ fourth season.  There are also bonus interviews with the cast included in the set’s fourth disc that add even more insight into this season’s run.  One could even note the episode listings both within the set’s companion booklet and on the discs as a positive. Again, there is so much more here (as with previous standalone season sets of The Wonder Years) than could be tackled in a single setting.  Considering this, it can be said of The Wonder Years: Season 4 that this brand new box set from Time Life Entertainment is 2016’s first great box set for grown-ups.

The Wonder Years: Season 4 is 2016’s first great box set for grown-ups. That is not to say that the material contained within the set is improper for younger audiences. It just means that it will more likely reach older audiences than their younger counterparts because of the depth of the material that is presented. Though, some older youths might actually be able to relate to this series. Regardless, it can be said in going through the fourth season of The Wonder Years in whole, that this season is yet another hit for Time Life Entertainment. The central reason for that is the episodes that were crafted for this season. Right from the season premiere, “Growing Up,” audiences will be locked in as they watch Kevin’s personal growth and the changes that his family is beginning to see amongst itself. This episode sees Kevin beginning to…well…grow up.  His tenuous relationship with his father continues as he tries to get Jack to lighten up en route to the annual company picnic but then go man to man against him in the company softball game.  The tensions that the family has been experiencing have been reaching a boiling point, but still manage to work themselves out by the episode’s end.  While it all seems rather schmaltzy, audiences will be pleased to know that the writers didn’t allow it to take that route.  Rather, there is something about the episode’s writing that kept the episode wholly believable.  They didn’t really have to go to any extra lengths to make audiences suspend their disbelief.  That is because the situations presented in this episode were all so relatable to one extent or another for one audience or another.
“Road Trip,” which comes later in Season Four, is another example of the importance of the stories that were penned for this season.  Much as with the season premiere, it also focuses on Kevin’s relationship with his father.  This time the pair hit the road to purchase anew suit for Kevin.  Of course things don’t go exactly as planned, which leads to even more head butting and eventual reconciliation.  That reconciliation even leads to a certain emotional growth within both characters and between them.  Even now as the twenty-first century plods on, such a story is one to which so many fathers and sons can still relate today.  That is because both parties still face similar hurdles to this day in their personal and collective growth.
Of course the Arnolds aren’t the only cast members that get to take center stage in The Wonder Years’ fourth season. Coach Cutlip takes center stage in “A Very Cutlip Christmas.”  This episode sees Coach Cutlip taking on a second job as a mall Santa during the holidays so as to make ends meet.  In his efforts to keep his secret, Coach Cutlip treats Kevin better than his classmates, which then inadvertently leads to the revelation of Cutlip’s second job.  On the one hand, the boys’ initial reaction to the discovery is something very relatable.  In regards to Cutlip’s attempt to cover up having to take on extra employment, that is all too real especially today. There are some states in this country today that see teachers having to take on extra work over the summers and even weekends so as to make ends meet.  And the stigma that is attached to that process is just as real today as it would have been for a teacher even in the 1970s.  It is just one more way in which the episodes presented in The Wonder Years’ fourth season show themselves to be so important to the season’s overall viewing experience.  They are hardly the only episodes that could be cited in showing the episodes’ importance.  “Graduation” is another episode that could be cited as it sees Kevin, Paul and Winnie graduating from junior high and taking that first big step into the next stage of their lives.  It is a situation that still happens with middle school students to this day.  And for people of that age, it is a very difficult situation because it really is the first time that young people face such uncertainty.  It can be very trying for some.  “Who’s Aunt Rose?” is perhaps the season’s most powerful episode as Kevin and Wayne have to learn a very hard lesson about the importance of family, even distant family after the death of Grandpa Arnold’s cousin Aunt Rose.  It is yet another way in which the episodes prove to be so important to the whole of the season’s presentation.  Together with each of the season’s other episodes, all twenty-three episodes present a viewing experience that will move audiences to laughter and to tears from one episode to the next and even within the course of one episode or another.  The end result of this experience is twenty-three episodes that will keep audiences engaged from beginning to end and agreeing, once more, why this season’s episodes are so important to the season’s overall presentation on DVD.  The episodes that were crafted for the fourth season of The Wonder Years are in themselves more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this new box set when it becomes available next Tuesday, January 12th.  That is because the situations presented within each of the season’s twenty-three episodes are wholly believable.  They are situations that families encounter in one way or another even to this day.  The writers didn’t even have to get overly schmaltzy in any of this season’s episodes either in order to make them enjoyable.  That makes them all the more entertaining.  They are just one part of what makes this season such a hit for Time Life Entertainment, though.  The cast’s interpretation of each episode’s script is just as important to the episodes’ enjoyment as the episodes themselves.
The episodes that make up the body of The Wonder Years’ fourth season are in themselves a hugely important part of the season’s overall presentation.  Even as important as they are to the season’s standalone presentation, they are just one of the set’s elements that should be noted.  The work of the cast in interpreting each episode’s script is just as important to the show in its fourth season as the episodes themselves.  And just as with the series’ first three seasons, the cast’s work in front of the lens is completely entertaining.  Dan Lauria’s reaction as Fred Savage calls him out over his new boss at the company picnic in “Growing Up” is a prime example of how the cast’s work proves to be just as important to the show as the show’s scripts.  It is a classic moment.  Jack’s reaction here is a reaction that audiences familiar with the show have seen before in the show’s first three seasons.  Daniel Stern’s narration makes the moment all the more entertaining.  On another note, Savage’s presentation of Kevin’s bravery as he demands his locker back in “Ninth Grade Man” is another good example of the cast’s expert ability to interpret each episode’s scripts.  Here in this moment is Kevin acting more on hormones than on a clear head.  It’s something that every young person (especially younger boys) has done.  Someone says or does something that gets into a person’s head.  And that person in turn in what he or she believes is a brave manner.  In reality, it is a knee-jerk reaction that, just like Kevin realizes after the fact, probably was not the best course of action.  It’s part of that growth that everybody goes through even today.  Older audiences especially will look at this moment and laugh at it thanks to that understanding.  In the same vein, some older youths will find it an interesting moment because of their ability to relate to the moment in their own right.  On a completely different note, when Grandpa Arnold kicks Wayne and Kevin out of the car in “Who’s Aunt Rose?” both Savage and [Jason] Hervey are spot on in this moment.  It is a moment that stands out solidly against so many others throughout this season.  The look on the boys’ faces as they are left to walk the final two miles to their destination and their collective reaction in their collective epiphany is a gripping moment.  Considering the episode’s subject matter, their reaction will move audiences  deeply.  It’s just one more moment that shows why the cast’s work is just as important to The Wonder Years in its fourth season as the episodes themselves.  Even four seasons in, the cast shows its professionalism time and again.  Their collective interpretations and interactions make every episode wholly believable and engaging.  That professionalism partners with the work of the show’s writers to make the fourth season of The Wonder Years just as entertaining and engaging as the series’ first three seasons.  Of course it is hardly the only remaining element of this standalone season set that makes it worth the watch.  The set’s companion booklet once again proves to be just as important to the series here as in the series’ previous standalone season sets.
Both the episodes that are featured in the fourth season of The Wonder Years and the cast’s interpretation of said episodes are equally important in their own right to the season’s new standalone set.  While both elements exhibit great importance to Season Four’s overall presentation, they are not the only elements that should be considered.  The set’s companion booklet is just as important in its presentation as the episodes and acting this time out.  That is because of all of the extra information that is provided to audiences within the pages of the booklet.  That information includes insight into this season’s episodes from the writers, cast profiles, key episode specific quotes, and so much more.  In regards to the episode information, “Little Debbie” is one example.  Writer Mark B. Perry offers his insight in bringing the Pfeiffer family back in this episode and more specifically Debbie Pfeiffer.  Executive Producer Bob Brush also shares his thoughts on “The Accident” and what made this episode so pivotal in the grand scheme of the series’ six-season run.  The cast profiles include profiles on Robert Picardo, and guest stars Soleil Moon Fry and David Schwimmer.  There are also a few episode specific quotes, pop quizzes and more tossed in for good measure.  There is even a recipe for a Mousse au Chocolat (or chocolate mousse) that accompanies the episode summary and other information for It’s A Mad, Mad, Madeline World.”  It’s not just some play recipe either.  It is the real deal.  These are just some of the extras included in Season Four’s companion booklet that audiences will enjoy.  There is much more for audiences to discover for themselves when they purchase The Wonder Years: Season Four for themselves.  All things considered, the companion booklet that comes with The Wonder Years’ fourth season makes the show’s companion booklet once again not just a booklet but its own individual experience.  Together with the show’s writing this season and the work of the show’s cast all three elements come together to make The Wonder Years’ fourth season another must have for any of the show’s fans.  And it isn’t even the last element that could be noted to the set’s benefit.  The bonus cast interviews that are included in the set’s fourth disc and the episode summaries included inside the set’s companion booklet could just as easily be cited as positives to this set.  What’s more the fact that audiences get a full episode listing both within the set’s companion booklet and over the course of each disc.  The episode listing inside the set’s companion booklet includes not just a full listing of the set’s episodes but a short but concise summary of each episode.  The discs that make up the show’s fourth season each have their respective episodes listed on the discs.  What this means is that audiences can be doubly certain that they will know which episodes are on which disc and what’s more what each episode entails in terms of stories.  It might not seem like much on the surface.  But in the grand scheme of things this is a very important element in Season Four’s  overall presentation.  Together with everything else noted here, the overall presentation of The Wonder Years’ fourth season proves it to be in whole, another must have for any of the show’s fans and 2016’s first great new box set for grown-ups.
The fourth complete season of The Wonder Years is 2016’s first great new box set for grown-ups and another must have for anyone that grew up watching this standout drama.  Between its full complement of entirely engaging episodes and the work of the show’s cast, audiences are given more than enough reason to add this latest installment of episodes to their home DVD libraries.  The extensive bonus material included in the set adds even more enjoyment to the set’s overall presentation and viewing experience.  The interviews included in the set’s fourth disc and the extensive information included in the set’s companion booklet will impress audiences just as much.  Each element plays its own important part in the overall presentation of Season Four.  Altogether, they make The Wonder Years: Season Four, again, a collection that any of the series’ fans will want to have in their home DVD libraries and a collection that is 2016’s first great box set for grown-ups.  It will be available next week and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Years-Season-4DVD/dp/B017KIRUC0/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1452289869&sr=1-1&keywords=the+wonder+years+season+4.  More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:
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The Civil War Starts Again This Fall

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

This fall, PBS’ the Civil War returns.

Ken Burns’ famed documentary mini-series The Civil War will be re-issued this fall. Originally aired on PBS in 1990, the mini-series has been re-mastered and presented in high definition on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, October 13th. The upcoming release is in honor of its 25th anniversary. Its upcoming release marks the first time that it has ever been released on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray box set will retail for MSRP of $129.99 and the DVD box set for $99.99. Both presentations are spread across six discs. It will also be available for digital download.

Along with the central program, the upcoming re-issue will also feature two hours of bonus material including: “The Making Of The Civil War 25 years later,” uncut and re-mastered interviews with Shelby Foote, and much more.

More information on The Civil War is available online now at http://www.pbs.org/civilwar. It can be pre-ordered online now at:

Blu-ray: http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=69016416&cp=&sr=1&kw=the+civil+war&origkw=The+Civil+War&parentPage=search

DVD: http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=69016396&cp=&sr=1&kw=the+civil+war&origkw=The+Civil+War&parentPage=search

More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online now at:

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

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

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

ESPN Radio Announces Broadcast Schedule For 2014 College Football Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Officials with ESPN and ESPN Radio announced today the complete broadcast schedule for the 2014 college football season.

This year’s broadcast schedule includes a total of thirty games beginning the weekend of August 28th – August 30th. Boise State and Mississippi open the weekend’s events in Atlanta. That game is followed by a triple-header Saturday, August 30th. West Virginia and Alabama face off first at 2:30pm ET. Next up on the day are Oklahoma State and Florida State. The Trojans of USC host Fresno State to round out opening weekend’s schedule of games. More games will follow each Saturday and on select Thursdays. It all concludes on Thanksgiving weekend with UCLA hosting Stanford November28th, Michigan on the road against the Buckeyes of Ohio State on November 29th, and two championship matchups Friday and Saturday, December 5th and 6th. The first of those matchups will be the Pac-12 Championship December5th and the ACC Championship Saturday, December 6th.

The broadcast team of Bill Rosinski, David Norrie, and Joe Schad return this season for coverage of each game. Sites for College GameDay on ESPN Radio and post-season bowl schedule will be announced at a later date. The complete 2014 ESPN Radio college football broadcast schedule is listed below.

Date

Time (ET) Game
Thu, Aug 28 7 p.m. Boise State vs. Mississippi in Atlanta
Sat, Aug 30 2:30 p.m. West Virginia vs. Alabama in Atlanta
Follows 2:30 p.m. game Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in Arlington, Texas
7 p.m. Fresno State at USC
Sat, Sep 6 6:30 p.m. BYU at Texas
Sat, Sep 13 6:30 p.m. Kentucky at Florida
Thu, Sep 18 6:30 p.m. Auburn at Kansas State
Sat, Sep 20 7 p.m. Miami at Nebraska
Thu, Sep 25 9 p.m. UCLA at Arizona State
Sat, Sep 27 TBD Oregon State at USC
Sat, Oct 4 TBD Arizona State at USC
Sat, Oct 11 TBD Louisville at Clemson
Sat, Oct 18 TBD Kansas State at Oklahoma
Sat, Oct 25 TBD Mississippi at LSU
Sat, Nov 1 TBD Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, Fla.
TBD Auburn at Mississippi
Thu, Nov 6 6:30 p.m. Clemson at Wake Forest
Sat, Nov 8 TBD Alabama at LSU
TBD Texas A&M at Auburn
Thu, Nov 13 8 p.m. California at USC
Sat, Nov 15 TBD Florida State at Miami
TBD Mississippi State at Alabama
Thu, Nov 20 6:30 p.m. North Carolina at Duke
Sat, Nov 22 TBD Oklahoma State at Baylor
TBD Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Fri, Nov 28 TBD Stanford at UCLA
Sat, Nov 29 TBD Michigan at Ohio State
TBD Notre Dame at USC
Fri, Dec 5 8 p.m. Pac-12 Championship
Sat, Dec 6 7 p.m. ACC Championship

 

More information on ESPN and ESPN Radio’s 2014 college football broadcast schedule is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN, http://espn.go.com/ncf/index, and http://twitter.com/espncfb. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Announces Release Date For Endeavour: Series 2

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Officials with PBS announced Monday that the network will release the second season/series of its imported crime drama Endeavour.

Eandeavour Season/Series 2 will be released Tuesday, July 8th. The second season/series of the drama will be released both on DVD and Blu-ray. It features four more full length episodes totaling six hours. Season Two picks up right where the series’ first season ended. DC Endeavour Morse is back with the Oxford City Police and is re-united with DI Fred Thursday. The pair is investigating what appears to be a suicide. But when Morse starts to question that, his own mental health is questioned by his partner.

The second episode of Season Two is a ghost story of sorts. In “Nocturne,” Morse’s investigation of an elderly man’s murder leads him to a girls’ school. As it turns out, the school has a very dark past. That past threatens to become part of the present. And it’s up to Morse to keep that from happening as he investigates the man’s murder and how it’s related to the school’s past.

A serial killer is on the loose in “Sway,” the third episode of Season Two. And it’s up to Morse and Thursday to stop the killer after a woman is found strangled to death with a black silk stocking. Their investigation of the killer’s trail leads them to have to face their own issues along the way.

An investigation of a series of murders uncovers corruption and misconduct within the Oxford City Police and even the higher echelons of Oxford’s social circles in “Neverland,” the fourth episode of Season Two. Morse and Thursday are investigating the cases of a missing boy, a dead journalist and an absconder from prison in this episode, leading them to the revelations about the noted corruption and misconduct.

PBS’s upcoming release of Endeavour: Season/Series 2 will feature all four episodes in their complete UK length presentations. The DVD will retail for SRP of $39.99. The Blu-ray presentation will retail for $44.99. Both the DVD and Blu-ray will be available Tuesday, July 8th. They can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620626&cp=&sr=1&kw=masterpiece+mystery+endeavour&origkw=Masterpiece+Mystery%21+Endeavour&parentPage=search. More information on Endeavour is available online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/endeavour/, http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs and http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs. 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.

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers An Underappreciated Addition To The Power Rangers Universe

Courtesy:  Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Saban Brands and Shout! Factory released early this year, a massive box set containing all seven seasons of Saban’s original Power Rangers series.  The multi-disc set took viewers from the birth of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers all the way through the Rangers’ journey to the Lost Galaxy.  That mega-box set is the ultimate experience for any fan of the Power Rangers’ original series.  For some though, the cost of the set might have been a bit much.  That’s okay.  For those fans, Saban and Shout! Factory have also released each season in its own standalone box set.  The two companies have released the original series all the way up through the first volume of Power Rangers Zeo.  Even the ten-episode “mini-series”, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers has been released to the masses.  This connector series is one of the least remembered among the franchise’s legions of fans.  Why this is the case is anybody’s guess.  But the reality of the short-lived series is that it is just as important a part of the franchise’s early days as its previous seasons.  It is just as important as the previous seasons and the one that follows first and foremost because it is a solid bridge between the two seasons.  It is also an important addition to the overall franchise because it was a branching out from the original Power Rangers franchise.  All things considered, whether taken as its own attempted spinoff or a bridge between seasons, it showed that the show’s writing was just as strong as ever.  And now audiences that grew up with this “series” can re-live it any time they want thanks to Saban and Shout! Factory having released it to DVD by itself.

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers is one of the more underrated installments of Saban’s hugely popular franchise.  The reasons for this are varied.  But as deeper look at the “series” shows that it is just as important an addition to the franchise as any of the show’s other seasons.  The first reason for the “series’” success is it is a solid bridge between the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series and the franchise’s next evolution.  Those that grew up with the original series will recall that this “series” was not the first time that the Rangers had lost their powers.  That means that the show’s writers had to figure out a way to keep the franchise fresh while still maintaining its original ongoing story.  It can be said that they did just that and that they did it well.  By bringing in a whole new team of Power Rangers from another world, the show’s writers achieved two goals.  The first of those goals being that it presented a new “what if” scenario to the show.  It put the responsibility of saving the planet on a team of Rangers not of this Earth.  The second goal achieved through this story arc was that it showed the potential of a whole new Power Rangers spinoff, which is what the real reason was for this “season.”

The introduction of the Aquitian Rangers was a nice additional story arc for the Power Rangers franchise.  The show’s writers achieved their goal of keeping the franchise fresh with the “series” while maintaining the franchise’s integrity.  It also proved the potential of a new spinoff in the Power Rangers universe.  That was the real goal of this installment.  And it’s another reason that it is such an important addition to the property.  While the Rangers of Aquitar obviously didn’t seem to grab audiences enough to mandate a spinoff, the writers are to be commended for even having taken the risk with them.  As viewers have seen over the course of some twenty years, a massive number of spinoffs have been crafted from the original series.  Taking that into consideration, it can be argued that Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers was a groundbreaker.  That’s because next to one other very small early story arc, it is one of the very first spinoffs of the Power Rangers franchise.  That makes this an even more important piece of Power Rangers history.

Whether one sees Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers as a spinoff, a bridge between seasons in the ongoing evolution of the Power Rangers, or a little bit of both, it’s clear that despite its underrated and undervalued status, this addition to the Power Rangers universe was just as important as any other installment.  It showed that the show’s writing was just as solid as it was in the very first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  It also was a groundbreaker for the franchise, and proved that the franchise had the ability to branch out, as it later would and has since.  All things considered it proves to be that much more valuable an addition to the library of any Power Rangers fan and fanatic.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  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.