Grown-Ups Had Just As Much To Enjoy As Younger Audiences In All The New TV Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

This year offered lots for families to enjoy together in the way of television and movies.  It also offered plenty for older viewers, whether those audiences needed the occasional break from the more family friendly fare or just needed and wanted something to enjoy.  Between imports and domestic releases, this year’s field of new viewing options for grown-ups offered much to appreciate. 

DC and Warner Brothers’ second season of Doom Patrol, BBC America’s The Watch (It is sadly still unknown if the show will get a renewal for a second season) offered plenty of enjoyment in their own right.  Meanwhile, CBS/Paramount’s third season of Star Trek: Discovery finally got that ship righted.  Along with so many domestic and import releases from PBS and other sets from WB and DC, this year’s field of new offerings for older audiences helped audiences escape and relax every day.  So much new content was released that it gave Phil’s Picks more than enough for another annual list of the year’s top new offerings in said field. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list offers the Top 10 new entries in said field alongside five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Each entry in this list is deserving of applause in its own right, too.  Without further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Grown-Up DVD/BD Box Sets.


  1. Cold War Creatures
  1. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
  1. Doom Patrol: Season 2
  1. The Watch
  1. Miss Scarlet & The Duke: Season 1
  1. Human: The World Within
  1. Jekyll & Hyde
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
  1. Black Lightning: Season 4
  1. Superman & Lois: Season 1
  1. Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 6
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 7
  1. The Twilight Zone: Season 2
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Seasons 1-3

That’s it for this list, but before the attention turns from the box sets, there is still one more category to check in on tomorrow.  That category is the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall between the stuff for families and that for older audiences.  From there, later this week, the attention will turn toward the year’s top new family DVDs and BDs to finish this year’s field of year-end lists.  So there’s still plenty to come.  That means as always, stay tuned!

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CBS All Access’ ‘The Twilight Zone’ Reboot Takes Another Step Back In Its Second Season

Courtesy: CBS All Access/PAramount

Remembering the past is critical to the present.  If one does not know one’s past, then how can one appreciate the present. This is noted as one takes into consideration the forthcoming home release of The Twilight Zone: Season 2.  The second season of CBS All Access’ latest iteration of the classic series is scheduled for release Tuesday exclusively on DVD.  For those who have not yet seen this season of the timeless series’ latest reboot, it sadly does little to improve from the first season of the series’ latest take.  That is proven in part through its stories.  The overt explicit content within the episodes is just as prevalent as in the first season.  It detracts even more from this season.  The general lack of bonus content is the final nail in the coffin of this season in its home release.  When it is considered with all of the set’s primary content, the collection in whole proves worth watching at most once, but sadly no more.

The second season of CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone does little if anything to improve on the series from its debut season.  In other words, it does little if anything to make this reboot of Rod Serling’s timeless original series worth watching.  That is proven in part through this season’s featured stories.  Ten more episodes are featured in this season.  The stories themselves are new in comparison to the stories in the original series (and even its 1980s reboot).  The problem is that while the stories are new, they are not necessarily original in content.  Audiences can link at least nine of the season’s stories to those in the original series.  Right from the season’s outset, “Meet in the Middle,” longtime audiences will recognize that all the show’s writers have done is re-imagine the classic episode “Penny For Your Thoughts.”  The difference between the two stories is their execution.  In the original story, Hector Poole (played by Bewitched star Dick York) develops telepathic ability and uses them for what he thinks is good, though things don’t go exactly as planned.  It is a warning about knowing whether what we are doing is really for the betterment of others.  On another level, it takes on the equally timeless topic of whether the “super power” of telepathy is really a good thing.

In the case of “Meet in the Middle,” what audiences get is lonely bachelor Phil (Jimmi Simpson – Date Night, Westworld, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home) developing a telepathic link with a woman in another town hundreds of miles away.  Yes, he gets ahead of himself in his own way, but in this case, the result is far worse, and the topic is more centered on the dangers of social media.  How the story ends will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The comparison between the two episodes is important in that where the message in the original episode is timeless, that of the latter episode is more timely.  Yes, being aware of the dangers of social media is important, but people should still be just as aware of simply getting ahead of themselves in any aspect in life.  That is where the original episode wins and this one falls short.  Simply put, this episode lifted liberally from a classic episode and basically just re-imagined it for the 21st century.  It, again, is an example of how this season’s stories are new but not necessarily original.

“Ovation,” which comes almost halfway through Season 2, is yet another story that while new is itself not original.  This episode is a direct lifting of the classic episode “A Nice Place to Visit.”  “A Nice Place to Visit” starred Larry Blyden (Cain’s Hundred, The Witness, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) as “Rocky,” a career criminal who ends up in what he thinks of a paradise of sorts after he is killed by police in an effort to flee the scene of a crime.  As things progress, he realizes that his paradise is anything but.

“Ovation,” which spoofs all of the karaoke singing competitions on television today, stars (Jurnee Smolllett – Underground, The Great Debaters, Lovecraft Country) as struggling singer-songwriter Jasmine.  Jasmine is given a coin one day by another famous young starlet (who then proceeds to commit suicide – happy thought, eh?) only to gain all the fame and fortune that she wanted and more.  That nonstop fame and fortune eventually leads jasmine to realize her heaven had in fact become her own hell.  Again here is that similarity.  What happens from there will be left for viewers to find out for themselves, but that personal hell becomes even more shocking as star Mynx’s fame increases while her own fades.  The ultimate outcome is Jasmine’s final punishment.  It will also be left for viewers to learn for themselves.  The overarching story here is one that is a direct lifting of the noted classic episode.  Yes the matter is timeless, in that desire that people have for fame and fortune, but it still is not necessarily original, once again.  Just as “Rocky” got all that he wanted in the original story, but ended up despising it, so did the same thing happen with Jasmine in the latter episode.  So again, this is yet another example of how the primary content featured in the second season of CBS All Access’ The Twilight Zone reboot comes up short.

“A Small Town,” the eighth of Season 2’s 10 total episodes is just one more example of how the reboot of The Twilight Zone continues to fall short o expectations in its primary content.  The very title “A Small Town” is a blatant rip-off of the title of the classic TZ episode “Stopover in a Quiet Town.”  That is just the tip of the iceberg here.  The story finds Jason (Damon Wayans, Jr. – The Other Guys, Big Hero 6, Let’s Be Cops) discovering the model of his town, Littleton, in the attic of the church that he attends.  He soon discovers that the changes he makes to the model also happen to the town itself.  This is a direct lifting of the little girl in the earlier episode as she played with the couple in her own model town.  The little girl was, of course an alien and the couple humans that were kidnapped by the girl and kept as pets.  That aside, Jason is still kind of the same way as he tries to improve the town. 

“Stopover in a Quiet Town” is not the only classic TZ episode that is featured in this episode.  The writers also incorporated an element of the equally classic episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” as mayor Conley (David Krumholtz – The Santa Claus 1-3, Numb3rs, The Deuce) accuses Emilio (Andrew Alvarez) of causing the unexplained events to happen.  This is a direct mirror image of the Maple Street residents accusing each other of being aliens and communists.  Keeping that in mind along with the direct lifting of the story’s primary story line, yet again here is another example of how the story might be new but still not necessarily original.  It is hardly the last example of how this season directly lifts from the original series, too, making for even more disappointment.

Even the one “original” story “8” is not entirely original.  In the case of this story, it focuses on a team of scientists in the Antarctic who face off against a killer octopus with the sentience of a human.  The very concept of a killer octopus feels like a direct lifting not of anything from The Twilight Zone, but the 1955 creature feature It Came From Beneath The Sea.  That movie centered on efforts to stop a giant mutant octopus that rises from the depths to try and take over the city of San Francisco.  What does throw back to the original Twilight Zone run is the discussion between two of the team members (one American and one Chinese) about using knowledge gained for good or for military use (I.E. democracy versus communism).  This was a classic theme from the original series.  Even while this episode is maybe slightly original at best in comparison to the original series, it also leads to another problem posed by this season, its overtly explicit general content.

The general content featured within Season 2 of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone is just as concerning as the general lack of originality in the episodes.  Once again, the episodes are rife with excessive foul language and violence.  One of the lowest moments when this happens comes halfway through the season in “Among the Untrodden.”  This episode, which itself can be likened somewhat to the classic episode “Mute,” and to a slightly lesser degree to “The Lonely,” features f-bombs and s-bombs in almost every line.  What’s more, hearing one of the characters talking about one of her friends performing oral sex on a 30-year old man, and another girl watching her own father pleasure himself is just disturbing to say the very least.  There is also the explicit drug and alcohol use by the teens.  This just is collectively not necessary.  On another note, “8” features one character’s eyeball popped out by the killer octopus.  Yeah, that really was not necessary.  “Ovation” features a scene in which a man undergoing open heart surgery starts clapping as he lays on the operating table.  Audiences can see all the blood and gore there.  This was just as unnecessary.  As if all of that is not enough, the way in which the girl commits suicide in the story’s opening is pretty harsh to say the least, as if the very act of suicide itself was not explicit enough.  Going all the way back to the season premiere “Meet in the Middle,” the final act features its own share of blatant explicit content.  It won’t be fully revealed, but it involves lots of blood and a very unsettling scene.  Along the way there are plenty of f-bombs and general cuss words to boot.  It’s just one more way in which the general content featured in these episodes hurts the season even more.  The rest of the season’s content is problematic in this aspect, too.  Yes, art is said to be a reflection of the times, but audiences who are familiar with the original run of The Twilight Zone will agree that said series remains timeless today more than 60 years after its premiere in part because it did not rely on that content in order to be so memorable.  It just relied on good writing, originality and accessibility.  To that end, why the writers behind the series’ latest reboot think that so much explicit content continues to be necessary (they used just as much explicit content in the reboot’s debut season) remains a mystery.  This aspect paired with the general lack of originality in the season’s stories weakens this season’s presentation even more.  The final nail in the coffin for this season’s presentation is its lack of bonus content.

The first season of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone offered audiences at least something to appreciate in its home release thanks to its bonus content.  This season is the polar opposite.  All audiences get in this season is a very small handful of deleted/extended scenes and a “gag reel” as bonus content.  The extra footage is not companion to every episode.  It is at the most, featured along with about three episodes.  One of those episodes is the blatant re-imagining of “The After Hours,” “Downtime.”  The scene that is featured is all of maybe three seconds at best.  Yes, it is that short.  It features star Morena Baccarin – Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Serenity – running to the rooftop of the hotel that she manages.  That is it.  There is nothing else.  When audiences watch the episode in whole, the overall scene is long that the shortness of the extra footage is largely forgotten.  To that end, that “bonus” footage proves more inconsequential than any bonus.  The other notable “bonus footage” comes with “Ovation.”  It shows Jasmine losing her cool so to speak when she discovers that Mynx had taken her fame.  Watching the episode in whole, it is understood that the story could have kept the footage or left it out.  It did not really matter.  Other than those two episodes, audiences really will not find much more bonus footage.  The only other extra content is the noted gag reel, which is short in its own right.  Keeping this in mind, this general lack of any redeeming bonus content works with the concerning general content and unoriginal stories to make the second season of The Twilight Zone’s latest reboot another disappointing offering from CBS All Access.  It is more proof that some things are just better left as they were.  It proves not everything needs to be rebooted.

The second season of CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone is a step backward for this series.  Where the reboot’s debut season offered at least some positives, this season fails to provide audiences much if anything to appreciate.  The stories that are featured in this season are new, but not necessarily original.  Like the episodes featured in Season 1, the stories in these episodes  once again lift liberally from the original, timeless series launched more than six decades ago by Rod Serling and CBS.  They just re-imagine so many of the original series’ episodes for their own presentations, rather than offering audiences anything truly original.  The general content featured within the stories is problematic, too.  The original series continues to be timeless today in part because it relied on good writing and acting, rather than a bunch of explicit foul language, blood and gore.  The lack of any worthwhile bonus content in the season’s forthcoming home release puts the final nail in this season’s coffin.  All things considered, this season falls even shorter than the rebooted season’s debut season.  It is worth at the most one watch if only for its stories, but sadly little more if at all.  The Twilight Zone: Season 2 is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD.

More information on this and other content from CBS All Access is available online at:




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Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of TV To Enjoy In 2020

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

Families nationwide got a lot of worthwhile ways to spend time together during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, thanks to all of the new DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets.  Of course while families got plenty to watch together, grown-ups also needed something of their own to enjoy.  Thankfully this year produced just as much for grown-ups to enjoy as children.  That is why Phil’s Picks is taking a look at what were among the best of this year’s new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-ups.  This year saw a bunch of new content from Warner Brothers and DC, some better than others (E.g. the new Swamp Thing reboot and new seasons of Black LightningBlack Lightning proved better this year than Swamp Thing, but the latter still proved worth watching at least once.  Itv and PBS presented a rather intriguing new season of itv’s crime drama Endeavour.  The season was okay but left something to be wanted.  The short-lived deep comedy The Good Place finally met its end this year and also received its only full-series release on Blu-ray thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory.  In an even more surprising move, ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family got a full series release this month exclusively through Target.  While not inexpensive, it is a presentation that devotees will appreciate.  It is just one more entry in Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets For Grown-ups category. 

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the category along with five honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Without further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 new DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets for Grown-Ups.


  1. Endeavour: Season Seven
  2. The Good Place: The Complete Series
  3. Modern Family: The Complete Series
  4. Doctor Who: Season 12
  5. The Expanse: Season 4
  6. Black Lightning: The Complete Second Season
  7. Black Lightning: The Complete Third Season
  8. Stargirl: The Complete First Season
  9. Mission: Impossible: The Complete Series
  10. Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Set
  11. Gunsmoke: The Movies
  12. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1
  13. Swamp Thing: The Complete Series
  14. Star Trek Picard: Season 1
  15. The Twilight Zone: Season 1

One more list is up to finish up this year’s lists.  That list is the year’s top new re-issues.  Stay tuned for that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at  

CBS All Access’ ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Fails To Live Up To The Legacy Of Rod Serling’s Original Series

Courtesy: Paramount Home Entertainment

When Rod Serlings’s The Twilight Zone made its television debut in 1959 on CBS, it was a groundbreaking and landmark moment in modern television history.  There was nothing like it on television at the time.  The series’ only competition, The Outer Limits didn’t come along until 1963, right as The Twilight Zone was nearing the end of its five-season run.  In the decades since The Twilight Zone ended its run, it remained one of television’s most influential programs.  Its stories have been spoofed by countless other series.  From the likes of The Simpsons to Tiny Toon Adventures and so much more, audiences of all ages have been entertained by this timeless series in one way or another.  It has even been rebooted on television now three times, the most recent reboot coming last year with a new 10-episode debut season, hosted and executive produced by Jordan Peele.  The full season run is available now on DVD and Blu-ray through CBS Distribution and CBS All Access, complete with some bonus materials.  The content is the core positive of this season’s home release and will be discussed shortly.  For all that the bonus content does, the stories featured at the center of this season’s episodes, which are supposed to be the show’s core, detract quite a bit from its presentation.  This will be addressed a little later.  While the stories that make up the body of Season One detract quite noticeably from the season’s presentation, Peele’s work as the show’s narrator makes up at least slightly for the problems posed by the stories.  Each  item noted is key in its own way to the whole of this Season One set from the latest reboot of The Twilight Zone.  All things considered, they make this collection worth at least one watch, but sadly falls short of the legacy maintained today by Rod Serling’s original series.

CBS All Access’ new reboot of The Twilight Zone is a presentation that is worth at least one watch in its debut season, but not much more.  Keeping that in mind, it is not a total loss.  That is due in part to the bonus content that is featured with the season’s home release.  The most notable of the set’s bonus content is the tribute to Rod Serling and the legacy that he left with his landmark series.  The 36-minute feature that is “Remembering Rod Serling” is a fitting tribute to Serling.  It tells the story of Serling’s life, career and impact on television (and media) history through the words of his family and friends as well as clips of Serling discussing his work.  One of the most powerful statements that Serling makes through the culled footage comes late in the feature.  He notes to a group of college students that they need not worry so much about a misplaced comma or a run-on sentence, but rather making sure the idea that they want to express is done so clearly in their works.  That is something that so many people need to take to heart today.  There are editors out there who are so nitpicky about those tiny items, that they lose total sight of the bigger picture.  The figures who were interviewed for the feature add their own comments, noting Serling’s desire to speak on social issues throughout his life. They stress that Serling used the series as a way to address those concerns while also entertaining audiences at the same time. What’s more, it is pointed out that he understood in doing what he did, that he also understood the role of advertisers and studios at the time, which played into his ability to so solidly balance the show’s more serious and lighthearted elements.  One of Serling’s daughters is among the interviewees featured in this semi-documentary. She talks about Serling as a family man away from work, and how committed he was to his family.  It is a truly uplifting, smile-inducing anecdote that is shared, and adds even more enjoyment to the presentation.  Between all of the items noted here and the rest of the discussions that make up “Remembering Rod Serling,” the whole of the bonus feature is in itself well worth the watch.  It is just some of the bonus content worth watching.  The introductions to each of the episodes, called “Opening The Door To…” are important in their own way to the set’s presentation.

The “Opening The Door To…” segments are brief, but they give viewers a concise explanation as to the commentary presented within each episode.  The topics are presented by the cast members who star in each episode, too, adding to the engagement and entertainment.  Audiences will learn through the introductions, that the topics tackled are at least in most part, just as timeless as the topics that Serling addressed in his stories.  ‘Replay’ for instance presents a commentary about the ongoing issue of the relationship between minorities and law enforcement officers.  The introduction to ‘Point of Origin’ explains that as complex as the episode is, it is essentially an allegory about how we as a people handle the issue of illegal immigration and how racist views play into that discussion.  The introduction to ‘The Wunderkind’ notes the story is a warning about letting identity politics control a nation rather than the important issues facing a nation.  Simply put, the explanation of each episode’s story might not seem like a lot on the surface, but in the bigger picture of things, it plays directly into the engagement and entertainment of the stories themselves.  The introductions are…well…introductions.  They set the scene so to speak for each episode, and allow audiences to better decide if they want to watch one episode or another.

Staying on that note of audiences’ ability to decide which episode(s) to watch, the set’s packaging plays into that decision, too, making for another positive worth noting.  The season’s episode listing is provided for audiences inside the collection’s box.  Each episode’s title is featured along with a brief episode summary, adding to the ability to decide which episode(s) to watch.  That initial decision can save time for audiences as they try to decide which episode(s) to watch.  The compliment of the episode introductions with each episode adds even more pleasure for viewers as they make the noted decisions.  Keeping all of this in mind along with the value of the bonus tribute to Rod Serling, it becomes clear why the bonus content is so important to the overall presentation of the first season of CBS All Access’ reboot of The Twilight Zone.

The bonus material featured in the home release of The Twilight Zone’s first season reboot is clearly critical to its presentation, and does a lot to make this set worth at least one watch.  While it does a lot to make the set at least partially appealing, the stories collectively detract just as much from the presentation.  From start to finish, it is easy to see that all the show’s writers did was re-imagine Serling’s stories, rather than make something original.  Case in point is the episode “Six Degrees of Freedom.”  It is clear that this episode coupled elements of the original episodes “I Shot An Arrow Into The Sky” and “Where Is Everybody?” and made them into a re-imagined take on the two.  That realization does detract greatly from the enjoyment.  The same thing applies for instance in the new episode “A Traveler.”  “A Traveler” is essentially a mash-up of “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up” and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” what with the matter of the alien invasion and the matter of the friends fighting amongst one another as a result of the intervention by the alien.  Those familiar with Serling’s original series will remember that in “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street,” those neighbors who knew one another so well suddenly started fighting amongst themselves because of the intervention of the unseen aliens.  In this case, the alien was in plain sight, yet still unseen.  So again, it is in essence just an updated take on that story as well as the other noted tale.  “Not All Men” with its overly preachy product of the MeToo movement about toxic masculinity also lifts from “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” after asteroids land in a town and “infect” all the men in the town, and they all start going crazy and become violent.  Yet again, here is something from space causing the masses to go crazy.  On top of that, do we really need that preachy message about toxic masculinity?  The answer is a resounding no.  This episode was completely unnecessary, and just a knee jerk reaction to the times. For another example of the detriment of the stories, one need look no further than “The Wunderkind.”  This story is little more than a re-imagining of ‘It’s A Good Life,” which starred famed actor Billy Mumy as the “evil” child.  In the case of “The Wunderkind,” the evil controlling child becomes the tyrannical leader of the United States.  There is very little difference between the two stories in this case, other than this story clearly goes after Donald Trump, comparing him to a manchild of sorts.  Given, there’s nothing untrue or wrong with that.  After all, that is exactly what Donald Trump is.  He is the worst thing to ever happen to America in this critic’s own view.  But other than that, there is just no true originality in this case, either.  It’s just one more lifting of Rod Serling’s work instead of being an original story.  If all of this is not enough example of the detriment of the stories, the re-imagining of “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” is yet another example that proves how much of a disservice these stories are in Season One.  Rather than just being a fan piece about a man who sent crazy on an airliner (or did he?), this tale is loosely based on the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.  In this case, the outcome is quite different from what likely happened in reality.  To that end, it just takes so much from the enjoyment in this case.

On a slightly happier note, while the season finale, “Blurryman” is essentially just a re-imagining of “The Hitch-Hiker,” it is really the only story in this season that works.  It mixes elements of that story with the equally timeless episode “Time Enough at Last” to truly pay tribute to Serling and his legacy.  It is the only episode that can truly be forgiven for not being wholly original, just because of the way in which it was executed.  Other than that one story though, the other noted episodes and the others not directly addressed here prove themselves to be anything but original, much like the episodes in the previous reboots of The Twilight Zone.  Yes, they are at least worth watching once thanks to the acting and the cinematography, but in terms of the general writing, they are anything but positive.

Making things even more troubling for the stories is the overt inclusion of so much unnecessary foul language.  Between the adult cast and even the younger actors, there are lots of f-bombs, s-bombs and other related four-letter words tossed around so openly.  Serling’s series and even this series’ predecessor showed they did not need all that language in order to keep audiences engaged.  To that end, one can’t help but wonder why the show’s creative forces thought it was necessary to work blue.  The argument that this reboot is simply a product of its time does not hold water.  If previous series could go  without such language, then this reboot should be able to do the same.  It is just disappointing that it is there this time out.

Getting back to the matter of Mr. Peele, who has made quite the name for himself in recent years in Hollywood, he is deserving of his own share of applause in his time as the show’s narrator.  Peele only shows up in the episodes’ early and late moments, but there is something in his presence and his delivery each time that is so entertaining in their simplicity.  It is a presentation in itself that will make the most devoted fans of Serling and his timeless series happy.  He is just as stoic in his narrations as Serling was, his delivery so matter of fact, yet presenting just enough emotion to let audiences easily grasp the irony in each tale both at the start and finish.

On another note, Peele’s acting as he becomes one of the stars in the season finale is just as notable because he knows he is still more supporting cast than star.  He lets his cast mates take the lead while still offering his own lighthearted act along the way.  Between that impressive on camera role and his work as the show’s narrator, Peele proves to be his own key part of the season’s presentation.  Between his work on camera and the importance of the season’s bonus content, the two elements go a long way toward making the debut season of CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone at least somewhat engaging and entertaining.  The stories, while clearly not exactly original, do have at least some positive to note, slight as it is.  All things considered, the home release of CBS All Access’ 2019 reboot of The Twilight Zone hardly lives up to the legacy of Serling’s original series and is worth maybe one watch, but sadly not much more than that.

CBS All Access’ latest reboot of The Twilight Zone is a presentation that is anything but the memorable work that Rod Serling’s original series has proven to be more than sixty years after it debuted.  Sure, the bonus content featured in Season One’s home release is engaging and entertaining along with star Jordan Peele (through his performance), but the stories prove anything but original.  They are largely little more than mash-ups and re-imaginings of Serling’s original stories.  The unnecessary foul language and overt violence and darkness in each episode makes this season even more targeted in terms of audience base than its predecessors.  Sure, Serling’s original series might not necessarily be kid friendly, but at least it is known that audiences as young as 13 years-old can appreciate that series.  This series, by comparison is more appropriate only for audiences 18 and older because of the noted content.  Keeping all of this in mind, this latest take on The Twilight Zone is largely a failure that hardly lives up to the legacy of the original series and of Rod Serling himself.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other content from CBS All Access is available online at:










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CMG’s ‘Lured’ Re-Issue Leads Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues List

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

It’s hard to believe but there are now only two weeks left in the year.  There’s still so much ground to cover before the year ends, too in terms of year-ender lists. This morning we move on again, staying still in the DVD and BD category, though.  On tap today we have the list of the year’s top new DVD/BD Re-Issues.

Included in this list are box sets and standalone DVDs/BDs.  So it’s a mix.  But it’s a solid mix.  Topping this year’s list of top new re-issues is Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of the 1947 thriller Lured.  The movie was one of star Lucille Ball’s very rare non-comedic roles, and she shines brightly in this movie.  The bonus commentary included in the movie adds even more to its viewing experience.

Speaking of bonus material, this critic took into account the re-issues’ bonus material as well as their packaging in assembling this list. It wasn’t easy.  But it is what this critic feels is a solid list nonetheless.  As a reminder, the list includes not only the Top 10 New DVD/BD re-issues but five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  That being said, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues.




  1. Lured


  1. Sudden Fear


  1. Return of the Killer Tomatoes


  1. Charlie Brown’s All-Stars


  1. A Boy Named Charlie Brown


  1. Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home


  1. A Scandal in Paris


  1. The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series


  1. Transformers: The Movie


  1. Bump in the Night


  1. Kingdom of Zydeco


  1. Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series


  1. The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series


  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


  1. Beauty and the Beast


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‘Twilight Zone: TCS’ Re-Issue Is A Good Holiday Gift For Series’ Fans

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS Blu-ray/Paramount

The Twilight Zone is one of the most revered television series of the 20th century. The sci-fi series has inspired TV writers across the board ever since it first aired almost 60 years ago. It has enjoyed its own continued life both on television and on various home video platforms in that time, too.  That continued life on home video includes a new pair of re-issues this fall.  The series’ was re-issued on DVD early this past October.  That re-issue was followed up by a Blu-ray re-issue of the series last week.  The series’ latest Blu-ray re-issue is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the show’s fans who might not already own any of the series’ previous releases.  That is due in part to the presentation of the episodes themselves.  While the episodes’ presentation is key to the set’s overall presentation, it is just one of the set’s key elements.  The set’s episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes themselves.  The bonus material presented in this collection rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the collection’s presentation.  All things considered The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series proves to be a re-issue that any of the series’ fans will welcome to their home DVD/BD libraries.  That is especially the case for fans who might not already own any of the series’ previous releases.

CBS Blu-ray’s brand new Blu-ray re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is a set that the show’s fans will openly welcome in their own home libraries.  That applies primarily to those fans who might not already own any of the show’s previous full-series incarnations.  That is due in part to the episodes’ presentation.  The episodes are presented here exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast on CBS so many decades ago complete with commercial breaks and original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  In other words, it looks exactly as it did in its original broadcast.  The black bars are there on either side.  Of course, what with modern technological advances, audiences can handle that by setting their TVs to “cinema” mode (or whatever related mode each different brand might use) if they want a full-screen viewing experience.  The commercial breaks are perfectly clean both going to and coming back, too.  This could be chalked up to the fact that the episodes were taken directly from the transfers presented in Image Entertainment’s (now RLJ Entertainment) Blu-ray series presentation.  That set was released in 2010 along with the series’ separate standalone season sets.  Speaking of those releases, each disc even opens with the Image Entertainment slate, letting audiences know this collection was a direct transfer from that collection.  This plays directly into the bonus material included in this collection and will be discussed later.  Getting back on topic, the episodes’ presentation in this collection proves in the end to be key in its own right to the collection’s overall presentation.  It is just one shining piece of the set’s overall presentation.  The set’s episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes’ presentation to the set’s overall presentation.

The presentation of The Twilight Zone’s episodes in this latest re-issue is a key piece of the set’s overall presentation.  That is because the episodes are presented here just as they were in their original broadcast on CBS nearly six decades ago.  The commercial breaks are there and are perfectly edited both going and coming.  Each episode is also presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  In other words, nothing has been lost in this latest transfer from Image Entertainment’s previous Blu-ray re-issue of the classic series.  While the episodes’ presentation are key to this set’s overall presentation, they are only part of what makes this latest re-issue stand out.  The episode listing is just as important to note as the episodes themselves.  Audiences will note that each season’s episodes are listed clearly and chronologically not just once but twice.  Each season is listed separate from the others inside the box’s front cover with the episodes in the exact order in which they originally aired.  This instantly eliminates confusion for audiences.  Even more impressive is that the episodes are linked with their respective discs, too.  As if that isn’t enough, the people at CBS Blu-ray and Paramount even went so far as to include episode listings on each disc, too.  This completely eliminates any guessing when audiences are looking for specific episodes.  That makes the set’s overall presentation and viewing experience all the more enjoyable and entertaining.  It isn’t the last important element to note in examining the set’s overall presentation.  The set’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The presentation of the episodes in CBS Blu-ray and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series and their listing are both key pieces of the set’s overall presentation.  They are not its only key elements.  The bonus material included in the set is just as important to note as the episodes’ presentation and their listing.  As noted earlier, the set presented here is the exact same set presented to audiences back in 2010 by Image Entertainment (now RLJ Entertainment) right down to the Image Entertainment slate that opens each disc.  What this means is that audiences not lucky enough to get that set will still get to see exactly what audiences with that set get/got to enjoy in terms of its bonus material.  Not every episode comes with bonus material.  But there is still plenty of bonus material to go around.  Audiences will enjoy taking in Burgess Meredith’s interview with Marc Scott Zicree in “Time Enough At Last” in which Meredith reveals he didn’t know series creator Rod Serling before acting in that episode.  He also revealed that he had a dislike for doing series that required constant appearances in that interview.  “Night of The Meek” offers its own enlightening audio commentary track in which viewers learn about star Art Carney’s reason for taking on his role.  Audiences will find just as entertaining the revelation that this episode was filmed at CBS’ studios in Los Angeles, so the snow had to be created for the episode since the episode was filmed on a sound stage and the very fact that it never snows in Los Angeles.  As if all of this isn’t enough, many of the episodes even offer audiences the option of experiencing the episode in a radio-drama format.  This and so much more makes the bonus material included in this latest Twilight Zone full series re-issue just as important to examine as the episodes’ presentation and their listing.  Not every episode comes with bonus material, and the bonus material isn’t listed inside the box, either.  That is a little problematic.  At the same time though, it makes the discovery process enjoyable in its own right.  To that end, the bonus material still proves to be important in its own right to this set’s presentation.  When it is set alongside the presentation of the set’s episodes and their listing, all three elements make this set’s overall presentation hugely enjoyable and in turn, make the set in whole a collection that will be welcome in the home collection of any of the show’s fans.  That applies primarily to those fans who might not already own the show in any of its previous full-series sets.

CBS Blu-ray and Paramount’s new Blu-ray presentation of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is a set that will be welcome in the library of any of the show’s fans.  That applies especially to fans who might not already own the show in its previous full-series releases.  That is due in no small part to the fact that the episodes are presented here exactly as they were in the show’s original run.  The commercial breaks are there and are edited expertly both going to and coming back.  The episodes are shown in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, adding a certain element of nostalgia to the viewing experience.  The episodes’ dual listing adds even more to the set’s presentation.  It completely eliminates any confusion in looking for specific episodes.  The bonus material included in this set is the same material included in Image Entertainment’s (now RLJ Entertainment) Blu-ray set released in 2010.  While not every episode comes with bonus material, there is still a large amount of material for audiences to enjoy.  It includes interviews and audio commentaries along with standalone radio drama presentations of specific episodes just to name a few items.  The bonus material isn’t listed inside the set’s box.  But that actually makes discovering the bonus material all the more enjoyable for audiences. Viewers need just select “Episodes” instead of “Play All Episodes” in order to discover each episode’s bonus material.

This new full-series re-issue of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series boast plenty of positives even with one of those positives having a tiny negative that ultimately proves a positive, too.  Keeping that in mind, the set’s only other real negative is its packaging.  The packaging of the discs is touchy at best.  When trying to take out or replace discs, other discs might slip out, leading to an increased chance of discs being damaged via scratching.  This is an issue from which every one of CBS and Paramount’s recent series re-issues (I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Hogan’s Heroes, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., Star Trek) has suffered.  It is a troubling matter.  But comparably speaking, it does make the packaging more ergonomic than so many of the show’s other full-series sets.  To that end, CBS and Paramount can be forgiven.  Hopefully it will be taken into consideration with any of the companies’ upcoming re-issues of other CBS series.  All things considered, The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series proves, again, to be a collection that fans of the timeless series will welcome in their own home libraries if they don’t own any of the series’ previous full-series sets.  It is available now in stores and online.

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Peg + Cat’s New DVD Is Yet Another Great Treat For The Whole Family This Halloween

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

The countdown is officially on, everyone. September is finally in its final days. This Thursday, October will finally be here. And that means that it won’t be long before Halloween is finally here, too. And with it will be plenty of offerings for audiences of all ages to get into the festive mood. The problem is that it seems that most of those offerings are the same ones that are released every year. So what is a person to do in the search for something new? Well for those festive families out there, PBS Kids has an answer in the form of its latest collection of episodes from its math-based series Peg + Cat. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is another fun new offering for any family this Halloween. That’s especially the case for those families looking for options for their kids’ Halloween parties. It only boasts four episodes. But even with those four episodes, there is plenty to like about it starting with the writing behind each episode. Obviously basic math skills lie at the heart of each episode. But there is far more to each episode’s script than just that such as the writers’ direct tribute to The Twilight Zone in “The Highlight Zone Problem” all the way down to the episode’s twist ending and the not so subtle pro-ecology lesson tied in to “The Parade Problem.” Those are just a couple of examples of how the writing behind each episode makes this collection a joy for every family. The work of the series’ cast is another positive to the set. Voice actors Hayley Faith Negrin and Dwayne Hill (Mean Girls, Jimmy 2 Shoes, Arthur) are just as enjoyable together in these episodes as ever. Last but hardly least worth noting of this set’s positives is its pairing of activities included inside the DVD’s case. While there are only two activities, both are great ways to keep kids and their parents busy together for quite a while. And to quote the one and only Martha Stewart, that’s a good thing. Yes, that bad joke was fully intended. Whether for those activities, for the work of the show’s voice cast, the work of the show’s writers or for all three elements together, viewers of all ages will agree in watching this collection, which is available now on DVD, that it is indeed another great fit for any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. It is also more proof as to why PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today.

PBS Kids’s new collection of episodes from its math-centered series Peg + Cat is not the first of its kind to be released this year. Even with that being the case it is still its own great addition to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. The central reason for its enjoyment is the work of the series’ writers. The basic math skills and their ability to reach the show’s target audience are all there as with every other one of the series’ episodes. That goes without saying. What really makes the writing in these episodes so enjoyable is that the writers have incorporated elements that will entertain viewers of all ages. That is made clear right in the collections’ lead episode “The Parade Problem.” This episode is aimed in general at younger viewers with its lessons about organizing things into groups and of recycling. “The Highlighter Zone on the other hand targets audiences of all ages. Younger viewers are targeted through the lesson teaching them about finding things that are different. Grown ups are targeted with the episode’s direct tribute to The Twilight Zone. The writers even pay tribute to series creator Rod Serling as they have Ramone (Thamela Mpumlwana–The Gabby Douglas Story, The Warrior and The Savior, Group Home) open the episode. The writers also go so far as to present the story in black and white (at least until Peg and Cat find things that are different, thus bringing everything back into full color) and tie in a double twist ending to the story. “The Bermuda Triangle” problem is another great example of how the writers target adults and children alike in these episodes. This episode sees Peg and her four-legged friend get caught in the Bermuda Triangle after trying to save Pig (Tommy Wazelle–Noah). Children will appreciate the basic geometry lesson taught as they try to escape. Adults will appreciate the presentation of one of so many theories about the infamous area of the Atlantic. There are those that believe there is actually something inside the Bermuda Triangle, including a whole other dimension of sorts. And that is somewhat presented here, just in its own original manner. In the case of this story, it is hypothesized–playfully–that the Bermuda Triangle is actually a solid, tangible thing and place. That in itself is worth its share of laughs. It is just another example of what makes the writing behind these episodes so great for the whole family. That is not to take away from the set’s fourth episode “The Halloween Problem.” This episode teaches its own equally important lessons about counting, organizing, and even sharing. Altogether, the writing presented in all four of this collection’s episodes shows in whole exactly why it is so important to the whole of the collection’s enjoyment. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable for the whole family, too. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as noteworthy.

The work of the writers behind Peg + Cat is one of the big reasons that this family friendly math-centered series has proven time and again to be such a welcome addition to PBS Kids’ daily lineup. That is evident in all four of the episodes featured in the show’s new Halloween-themed collection A Totally Awesome Halloween. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as impressive as ever, too. Every one of the show’s young female viewers will love Hayley Faith Negrin once again as Peg. There s just something loveable about her that will put as much of a smile on parents’ faces as on those of their children. And Dwayne Hill proves once again to be just as entertaining as ever. Hill makes Cat such a comical character throughout each episode. From those moments in which Cat gets angry to his happier moments, Hill will leave audiences laughing together just as much as in the series’ other episodes. On another level, Thamela Mpumlwana is just as great taking the place of Rod Serling in The “Highlight Zone Problem.” It’s just one more example of how the work of the show’s voice cast adds to the collection’s enjoyment. Even with the enjoyment added to the episodes through the work of the show’s voice cast in each episode, there is still one more element to note to the set’s positive. That final element is the bonus material included inside the DVD’s case.

The work of both Peg + Cat’s writers and voice cast within each of the episodes in the series’ new Halloween-themed collection go a long way toward making it enjoyable for the whole family. While both elements together do plenty to make this collection so enjoyable for viewers of all ages, they are still not all that make it worth the watch. The bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case round out the presentation. There are only two lessons. but both are Halloween-themed and are sure to have parents and children interacting together for quite a while. The first of the lessons uses pumpkin seeds to drive home those basic counting skills. It requires adults to cut open a pumpkin and get a little messy first and foremost. Of course they can encourage kids to get messy, too. From there, parents and kids can pull out the seeds inside the pumpkin. And kids can estimate just how many seeds they think are there after grouping the seeds. From there, kids can count for themselves just how many seeds were actually pulled from the pumpkin. The lesson is furthered with a push for author Margaret McNamara’s book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? The second of the bonus lessons advances those sorting skills while also helping drive home the recycling lesson taught in “The Parade Problem.” It does so by showing parents and children how to make their own homemade recycling bins and sorting out anything that can be recycled. There is even a bonus within the bonus encouraging adults to take kids on a trip to a recycling center so that ids can learn even more about the recycling process and those that make the process happen. There is even a suggestion to find out about volunteering as a family at a recycling center. So not only is this a way to encourage recycling but a way for any family to do things together at the same time. It’s a win-win for all involved. And together with the lesson centered on sorting and counting pumpkin seeds, the two lessons together are the finishing touch on a set that every family will enjoy not just this Halloween but every Halloween.

PBS Kids’ new Peg + Cat DVD A Totally Awesome Halloween offers audiences of all ages so much to enjoy even with just four episodes and two bonus lessons. The writing will entertain grown ups just as much as it will their children within each episode. The voice cast’s work is just as entertaining here for viewers of all ages as it is in other episodes of the family favorite series. And the bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case put the finishing touch on the presentation especially considering that they not only help drive home the episodes’ lessons but also encourage that all-too important family interaction once again. All three of the noted elements by themselves make this collection another great addition to any family’s Halloween party this and every year. Together, they show once again why this series is such a hit in general and why, again, PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at More information on this and other Peg + Cat collections is available online now along with lots of Peg + Cat games and activities at:



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Lost And Found An Entertaining And Moving Story Of Friendship

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

The need for companionship is among the most basic of human needs.  Ironically enough, it is also among the most important of human needs.  Because of its importance, it has been the basis for countless movies and TV shows.  Even The Twilight Zone, one of television’s most beloved series, used this need as the basis for its very first ever episode in “Where Is Everybody?”  Now Entertainment One has teamed up with Studio AKA to release a story about companionship that will both entertain and move audiences of all ages.  The story, Lost and Found, is based on the children’s book by author Oliver Jeffers.  It follows the story of a young boy and a penguin that become friends.  The most interesting aspect of the story is the adaptation’s script.  Audiences that are not so familiar with Jeffers’ book will learn through the “Making of” featurette that the script for the small screen adaptation is different from the book.  But that’s forgiveable.  That’s because of the story behind the book itself.  Just as worthy of note is the adaptation’s animation.  Reference must be made to the story’s bonus “Making of” featurette again here.  It is obvious in watching the story itself that the near Claymation style animation was in fact CG.  But that the line was so blurred is just as impressive as the story itself.  And having noted the bonus “Making of” featurette twice already, it would be pointless to not note that feature as another reason to check out this new DVD.  All three of these factors taken into consideration, they combine to make Lost and Found a must see for any family.

Studio AKA’s adaptation of Lost and Found is not a direct translation of author Oliver Jeffers’ book.  This is noted in the DVD’s bonus “Making OF” featurette.  Just as interesting to note is that at first, Jeffers didn’t even want to have his book adapted to the small screen.  Ironically enough, the original story on which Jeffers’ own book is based came from a story that allegedly happened at a Scotland zoo according to Jeffers.  He explains the story in the DVD’s bonus “Making of” featurette in fell detail.  It’s so unbelievable that one can’t help but laugh.  What audiences get in this take on Jeffers’ book is a story that shows that friendships can begin in the most unexpected of ways.  It also displays the timeless message that one doesn’t know what one has until it’s gone.  How the boy comes to realize this will be left to viewers to find out for themselves.  But his moment of realization is one of the short story’s most moving of moments.  Anyone that is not left even slightly teary-eyed at this moment doesn’t have a heart.  It’s just part of what makes this story so wonderful for the whole family.

The primary story of Lost and Found is both moving and entertaining.  It is a wonderful piece for the entire family to watch together.  Just as noteworthy about this story is its animation.  At first its animation looks slightly similar to that of Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.  But it doesn’t take long to realize that it was in fact done entirely via CG graphics.  What’s so interesting here is that while it doesn’t take long to realize this, those behind its creation should be commended for making it unlike all the other cookie cutter CG based children’s features currently on the market.  It actually does look like Claymation.  This proves how much work went into giving this story the maximum amount of originality.  It goes without saying that it definitely was original.  It was original both in terms of its animation and its story, making it even more enjoyable.

The animation and the story behind Lost and Found both make this small screen adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ book a joy for viewers of all ages.  The DVD’s bonus “Making of” featurette plays its own role in the overall presentation, too.  As has already been noted, Jeffers explains in the “Making of” featurette how he came up with his literary take on the story.  Viewers will also learn what went into bringing the story to life as well as much more.  Those that have any experience and or interest in video production and graphics production will appreciate the discussions on how the world of Lost and Found was created.  There is much more discussed.  And again, audiences will discover everything that is discussed in this feature for themselves when they pick up the DVD in stores or order it online.  It can be ordered direct from Amazon at  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

The Haunting Hour Volume Six Offers Audiences Even More Scary Fun

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/The Hub Network

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/The Hub Network

The sixth and latest volume of episodes from R.L. Stine’s hugely popular series, The Haunting Hour offers four more frightful tales of terror for viewers off all ages.  And it’s not the end for fans of the hit series, either.  Volume Six brings home even more episodes from the series’ second season just in time for the start of the series’ fourth season.  Volume Six is another fright-filled joy for viewers not only because it continues the tradition of offering wonderfully fright-filled stories, but also because it carries on the traditions established throughout the series’ previous volumes.  From the disclaimer encouraging parents to be parents and watch the show with their kids to including young well-known guest stars, it’s all here once more, making Volume Six one more must have for any kid and kid at heart.

The Haunting Hour Volume Six brings to viewers four more episodes from the series’ second season.  And just as with Volume Five, the first of those episodes is split into two parts.  The episode in question, titled “Creature Feature” is also one of the best from this set.  This episode sees a young classic film buff named John (Joel Courtney—Super 8) discovering that sometimes it isn’t just a movie.  He discovers this after being accidentally pulled into one of his favorite classic B-flicks at a haunted drive-in.  The twist comes when he escapes the movie.  It turns out that the movie was much more real than he or even his friends could have imagined.  In another of the season’s best episodes, the show’s writers pay homage in their own way to Rod Serling’s classic series, The Twilight Zone in “Brush With Madness.”  This episode sees teen comic book aficionado Corey (Dylan Minnette–Awake) getting to meet his favorite comic book artist, Allan Miller (Mackenzie Gray) at a comic book convention.  After being blown off by Miller, Corey takes Miller’s brushes, which leads to an ever more tense fight to stay alive.  These two stories are just a couple of examples of the scary fun offered up by R.L. Stine in Volume Six of The Haunting Hour.  There is much more in the remaining episodes that audiences will enjoy.  And it’s not the only reason that parents and kids alike will enjoy this latest release.

Volume Six is just as impressive as the series’ previous releases because it continues the traditions established in said compilations.  One of those traditions is the inclusion of a straight forward disclaimer before each episode.  The disclaimer states in no uncertain terms that the show may not be suitable for children under the age of seven, and that young viewers should only watch the show with their parents.  This is a polite yet straightforward way of telling parents that they need to step up and be parents, rather than just leave their kids to watch anything.  They need to take an active role in their children’s lives and make their own decision on what they think their children should watch.  This is a standard established from early on by The Hub network.  And it is good to see that those behind the show have continued it six volumes in.

The inclusion of a polite yet straightforward disclaimer at the start of each episode is an important part of the whole presentation.  It’s not the only important part of the whole.  Also continued in Volume Six is the tradition of bringing in famous young celebrities in select episodes.  This time out, Super 8 stars Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths guest star in two of the compilation’s best episodes.  Also on board this time out are Julia Benson (SGU: Stargate Universe) and Dylan Minnette (Awake).  While some younger viewers may not recognize all of these names, parents are more apt to know who they are, thus helping to encourage parents to take an active role in their kids’ lives and watch the show with them.  Along with the disclaimer before each episode, it’s one more ingenious way to get parents to get involved in what their kids are watching.  For that, those responsible for bringing the guest stars for these episodes are to be commended.  Those behind the show as a whole are to be commended.  Not just for these brilliant methods, but for crafting four more episodes full of fright-filled for the entire family.  Volume Six is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at  More information on this and other shows from Shout! Factory and The Hub Network is available online at, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Twilight Zone Fans Will Appreciate Show’s New Re-Issue

Courtesy:  RLJ Entertainment/CBS Home Entertainment

Courtesy: RLJ Entertainment/CBS Home Entertainment

Rod Serling’s classic series The Twilight Zone is one of the most beloved series in modern television history.  Decades after the show first debuted on CBS, it is still watched by millions of audiences the world over.  It has become a pop phenomenon, being referenced by any number of movies and television shows since its initial run.  The series has already been released to audiences in full on DVD in 2006.  Before that, the show’s single season sets began being released in 2004.  And in 2010, it saw release on Blu-ray.  Now nearly a decade after it was first released on DVD by Image Entertainment, fans of this timeless classic have gotten the chance to own the series once more as all five of the show’s seasons have been re-issued on DVD.  So with the show having been re-issued three years ago on Blu-ray, why would one want to own the series on DVD?  The answers to that are simple.  First and foremost, fans of The Twilight Zone will appreciate its cost effectiveness.  Secondly, these new DVD re-issues are far more ergonomically designed than the original DVD sets.  And third, audiences will get largely the same video quality on these new DVD re-issues as they would on the Blu-ray re-issues.  Me-TV and on Syfy, both networks run The Twilight Zone.  The problem is that they run it at times at which most audiences are asleep or getting ready for work.  Keeping this in mind, it makes the new re-issues even more of a must have for any Twilight Zone fan that has yet to own any of the show’s seasons, beginning with its first season.

The first season of the new Twilight Zone re-issues is far more cost effective for fans of the show than the previous DVD release and the more recent Blu-ray re-issues.  The original DVD release of Season 1 is listed on Amazon for a cost of nearly thirty dollars.  The new DVD re-issue of Season One (and the season to follow) are listed at nearly half that price.  And a look at in-store prices reveals roughly the in-store price is roughly half of that original price, too.  The blu-ray re-issues by comparison are listed via Amazon at nearly fifty dollars with a comparable list price of roughly one hundred dollars just for one season.  So suffice it to say that audiences have in the series’ new DVD re-issues five season sets that are far more affordable than any of the previous re-issues.  The cost effectiveness of the new Season One (and Season Two through five) set is a big factor in the decision as to whether or not to buy this set.  Also to take into account with this set is its packaging.

The packaging of the new Twilight Zone Season One box set is far more ergonomic than that of the first season’s original DVD release.  All five discs that contain Season One’s thirty-six episodes are placed into a standard size DVD case in the new DVD re-issue.  By comparison, the original DVD box set was much more bulky.  The new Season One box set is packaged much more in the newer packaging method used by most companies.  That method places discs on their own spot on either side of a given number of inserts.  And if necessary, discs are placed on either the inside front or back of the case.  This not only saves space all the way around, but it also protects the discs from one another.  The discs are prevented from touching one another, thus greatly reducing the chance of the discs being scratched up.  It is increasingly becoming the standard for every company that releases multi-disc DVD and Blu-ray sets.  So it is a wonderful thing to see that RLJ Entertainment and CBS Home Entertainment have followed this same path.  It is one more positive to Season One’s new re-issue.  It isn’t the last, either.

There is one more factor to consider in whether or not to order or buy the new DVD re-issue of The Twilight Zone Season One.  That factor is the show’s footage.  One of the great things about owning any movie or TV show on Blu-ray is getting to see said show or movie in full clarity.  There’s just one problem.  Not every show re-issued on Blu-ray was originally recorded in High Definition.  Such is the case with The Twilight Zone.  Audiences watching the DVD played back on a Blu-ray player and HDTV will get the same result as those watching the Blu-ray re-issues.  The Blu-ray player and HDTV will upconvert the footage on the DVDs to HD quality.  This goes back to the set’s cost effectiveness.  It makes the new DVD re-issue of Season One all the more worth picking up or ordering.   And for those that still have CRT monitors, the new Season One DVD re-issue will still have that same classic quality that audiences get with its TV broadcast.  Simply put, it all adds up to the same end.  Keeping this factor and the previously mentioned factors in the new Twilight Zone Season One DVD re-issue in mind, one will see just why it is one of five DVD sets a must have for any true purist Twilight Zone fan.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and future Twilight Zone re-issues is available online at

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