‘Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series’ Is A Success For The Series’ Fans, Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Later this month, home entertainment company Shout! Factory will resurrect the short-lived Fox sitcom Ned & Stacy on DVD when it releases for the first time ever Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series.  While the series only ran for two seasons, it still garnered its own cult following, a following that will most assuredly appreciate this presentation.  That is due in part to the set’s episode listing, which will be discussed shortly.  The set’s packaging is another of the set’s elements that audiences will certainly applaud, and will be discussed later.  Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series.  All things considered, they make this collection a solid full-series set for the show’s fans.

Shout! Factory’s forthcoming release of Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series is a collection that fans of the short-lived Fox sitcom are certain to enjoy.  That is due in part to the set’s episode listing.  The series originally ran from 1995 to 1997 for a total of 35 episodes.  However, 11 other episodes produced before the show was cancelled early in 1997, bringing the series’ total episode count to 46.  Those previously unaired episodes are included in this collection along with the other 35 episodes that did make it to air.  That in itself is a bonus for the series’ most devoted fans as it gives those audiences the complete series, and in turn a complete viewing experience.  This forms a solid foundation for the set’s presentation and is hardly its only key element.  The set’s packaging is just as important to note as its episode listing.

The packaging used for Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series is important to note because once again, it has set the standard for multi-disc television collections.  As with so many of Shout! Factory’s other multi-disc sets, this collection places each of the series’ six discs on their own plates inside the standard size DVD case, two of which are placed on the inside of the case, one on the inside front and the other on the inside rear.  By taking this approach, the discs are protected from damaging each other while still allowing the set’s packaging to remain ergonomically sound.

On another note, each of the set’s discs is clearly labeled with its respective season and disc number.  This coincides with the set’s episode listing printed on the inner front and rear of the case. Season One is listed disc by disc on the inside front while Season Two is printed on the case’s inside rear.  Each season’s episode listing is noted chronologically with short but concise summaries of each episode.  When this is considered alongside the packaging of the set’s discs, the end result is a packaging that, again, sets the standard for every multi-disc set out there today and that strengthens the set’s foundation even more.  While the set’s packaging clearly proves to be another key piece of its whole, it is still not the last of the set’s most pivotal pieces.  The set’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included with Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series is its own important piece of the set’s presentation because of the extra touch that it gives to the set’s viewing experience.  The bonus material includes a nearly 22-minute documentary that features interviews with the series’ lead stars—Thomas Haden Church and Debra Messing—and their co-stars, Gregg Germann and Nadia Dajani alongside a full audio commentary on the series’ premiere episode.  While that episode’s commentary offers its own insight and entertainment, the behind-the-scenes featurette proves in the end to be the most important of the pair.  Audiences will be surprised to learn in that featurette that Church apparently signed on to star in the show not for its premise but because he was impressed by the series’ characters.  Viewers will be just as interested to hear Church’s praise for the series’ writers.  On a related note, audiences will be just as interested at Messing’s commentary that she thought the series’ “edgy” writing was what prevented it from lasting longer.  Those were her words in her interview.

Of course Church and Messing’s commentaries are not the only key discussions included in the set’s bonus documentary. Dajani laughs as she discusses at one point the point that her role as Amanda played in other roles that she landed since the series ended.  She also recalls happily in her interview her tendency towards laughing throughout so many episodes’ tapings, a comment that will in itself have audiences laughing.

As if the cast’s interviews are not enough, audiences also get to hear from series creator Michael Weithorn about the series’ roots, its fans base and more during his interview segments.  Those commentaries add even more interest to the series’ viewing experience.  When they are joined with the commentaries from the cast, the series’ episode listing and its packaging, the whole of all three elements makes clear why this first-ever full-series release of Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series is a success for the series’ most devoted fans and for Shout! Factory.

Ned & Stacey: The Complete Series is a successful first-ever full-series release for the short-lived Fox sitcom.  It is a set that is certain to impress any of the show’s most devoted audiences.  That is, as already noted, due to the presentation of each of the series’ 46 episodes (including all 11 of the series’ never-before aired episodes).  The packaging has once again shown why Shout! Factory remains the gold standard for multi-disc sets.  The bonus material included with the set puts the finishing touch on the set.  Each element is important in its own right, as noted before.  All in all, they make this collection, again, a success both for the series’ fans and for Shout! Factory.  It will be available in stores and online Sept. 26 and can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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.

Shout! Kids’ Latest Pound Puppies Compilation Is Another Great Watch For The Whole Family

Courtesy;  Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Kids released the latest collection of episodes from Hub’s award-winning series Pound Puppies this week.  The latest collection of episodes from this update on the original 1980s series is just as much a jewel as the series’ previous compilation DVDs.  The episodes included in this compilation make it so enjoyable first and foremost because of the episodes’ writing.  By connection, audiences will appreciate the subtle lessons taught through some of the episodes.  Intentional or not, there are some subtle lessons taught through some of this set’s episodes.  It makes the set all the richer.  And last but not least, viewers (especially parents) will appreciate this latest compilation is the list of guest appearances.  Some very big names lend their talents to Pound Puppies in this collection.  Whether it be the guest talent, the lessons, the writing or all three factors together, Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match proves to be another wonderful set of episodes for the whole family.

The writing behind this collection of episodes is the central point of impact for this DVD.  Those that are familiar with this incarnation of Pound Puppies and with the original series from the 1980s know that both series emulate the classic WWII-themed sitcom Hogan’s Heroes in their theme songs.  The new Pound Puppies has taken things to a higher level, actually giving Ace and his canine friends an underground base just like Col. Hogan and his Allied forces friends in Hogan’s Heroes.  As viewers will see in this set’s opening episode, the writers even emulate Hogan’s Heroes in terms of the writing, too.  In “The Yipper Caper”, viewers see McLeash bring in a giant dog feeding machine just to impress his superiors much like Col. Klink would do in Hogan’s Heroes.  Klink was always taking on some wild, hair-brained scheme to impress his higher-ups.  On the other side of things, audiences hear Ace tell Yipper that the Pound Puppies have homes outside the shelter, but they stay there to help others.  Audiences familiar with Hogan’s Heroes will again recognize quite the similarity there.  This writing is a wonderful homage to the golden era of television and takes things one step farther than the original Pound Puppies series.  That homage is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes the writing so fun in these episodes.  Just as impressive to note is the fact that the show’s writers are able to time and again find ways for the Pound Puppies to complete their missions without McLeash ever knowing.  This is the case throughout all five episodes, not just the opener.  Again, this is an homage to Hogan’s Heroes.  It’s one more way to potentially get young viewers started on the road to an appreciation for television’s Golden Era.  And for that, the show’s writers are more than deserving of their applause.

As one should be able to tell by now, the writing behind the episodes included in the latest Pound Puppies compilation DVD is key to the collection’s overall enjoyment.  Even older viewers will appreciate the writing thanks to its throwback to what is one of television’s greatest ever sitcoms.  Just as important to these episodes are the lessons taught through the episodes.  “Hello Kitten” teaches a not so subtle lesson about the ability of people to get along and be friends despite opposing backgrounds.  It does this by having the youngest of the pound puppies help a kitten find his perfect person.  There’s just one problem.  The Pound Puppies’ feline counterparts, led by a feline mirror image of Ace is set out to keep the young kitten from becoming friends with dogs and finding a person for the kitten themselves.  In the end, the cats learn that it’s okay to be friends with dogs.  The secondary lesson taught here is that one must let go of things from the past.  All holding onto the past does is make a person bitter.  “Beauty is only Fur Deep” teaches a lesson about being one’s self when a much talked about dog comes to Kennel 17.  The Pound Puppies have their hands…*ahem*…paws full when the seemingly humble dog turns quite self-centered on getting a new coat of fur.  It creates lots of problems for the Pound Puppies especially when he shoots down the little girl they said was his perfect person. He of course learns a rather valuable lesson from this experience that viewers of all ages will appreciate.

The lessons taught through the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match and the general writing that pays homage to Hogan’s Heroes both make this latest compilation of episodes just as enjoyable as previous Pound Puppies DVDs. There is one more factor to consider in this DVD that makes its episodes so fun. That final factor is the list of guest stars that lent its talents to each episode. J.K. Simmons (Spiderman 1 3) and Tress MacNeille both share their talents in the episodes included in this DVD. Go figure, Simmons voices a character in “Working K-9 To 5” that is a newspaper man. Hmmmmm, now where have we seen that before? His character is even presented much in the same vein as J. Jonah Jameson from director Sam Raimi’s Spiderman Trilogy. MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama) voices a fellow canine in another episode. It’s only a bit part. But parents that know McNeille’s voice will love hearing her voice here, too. And of course, the true queen of comedy herself, Betty White, returns once more as the voice of McLeash’s not so nice mother. These are just some of the guests that appear in the episodes collected for this DVD. Also on board on these episodes are: Tara Strong (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly Odd Parents), E.G. Daily (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, Chalk Zone), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Napoleon Dynamite, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts, Diff’rent Strokes, Tiny Toon Adventures) and so many others. The fact that so many well-known actors and actresses would lend their talents to these episodes shows just how respected a series it proves to be. Parents will recognize most (if not all) of the names mentioned here. And that alone is enough to give the DVD just one watch if not more. And it is most definitely deserving of far more than just one watch.

Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/pound-puppies-perfect-match. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Kids 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.

Audiences will buy into We Bought a Zoo

Taking a risk is always scary.  Regardless of the reasoning behind it, we all have to take risks in life.  In his new movie, We Bought a Zoo, director/writer Cameron Crowe tells the story–along with co-writer Aline Brosh McKenna–of Benjamin Mee. Mee took the risk of leaving his job as a journalist to become the owner of a defunct  zoo/wildlife preserve after the death of his wife, Katherine, all while trying to raise the couple’s two children.  Boasting beautiful cinematography and more than enough animals to make any young viewer squeal with excitement, it’s a good family movie.  But it isn’t without a single, major flaw.

Movies based on actual events are nothing new to the entertainment world.  The thing is, though, that so many of those movies follow a given general theme of say, sports and other arenas.  Enter the new Cameron Crowe helmed/written We Bought a Zoo.  This story that is based on actual events is unlike most other movies of its ilk in that the story seems so outrageous that it’s nearly unbelievable.  It has lions.  It has tigers.  It even has a bear.  Sounds familiar, huh?  No, it’s not that movie.  And yes, that bad joke was intended.   But it has more than enough animals to keep the attention of even the youngest viewer.  As entertaining as all the animals may be, the deeper concept of Benjamin and his kids dealing with Katherine’s death may be a bit heavy for those younger viewers.

We Bought a Zoo centers on the death of Benjamin’s wife, Katherine.  The story doesn’t allow itself  to get bogged down in what exactly happened that led to her death.  It’s a good thing that it doesn’t spend extra time trying to delve into that storyline.  It’s a good thing because the resultant drama between Benjamin and his son Dylan (played by Colin Ford) and Bejamin’s own internal conflict do cause the story to get mired in itself.  The script does attempt to balance the family drama caused by Katherine’s passing, and Benjamin’s attempt to bring the zoo back to life.  But what happens as a result is that it noticeably slows the movie’s pace more than once, including at the story’s end.  It’s enough to make a person want to hit the fast forward button on the remote more than once.

That the story gets bogged down in itself is an issue in the movie’s overall enjoyment.  However, there are families out there who have lost a parent, leaving one parent to shoulder the burden of raising a child/children on his/her own.  It’s a monumental task to carry that burden.  And there’s no denying how well Damon and Ford present that emotional turmoil.  The pair’s acting make both Dylan and Benjamin sympathetic characters.  It makes them relateable to audiences.  Combine the impressive acting of Damon and Ford with the heart warming story and the beautiful scenery and cinematography, and  We Bought a Zoo ends up being a good family film.  Given, it’s hardly the best from 2011.  But it presents wonderful messages about healing and about the need to take risks in life.  Those are messages that even if it fades into the masses of movies based on actual events, will always keep it a favorite among at least a certain niche audience.

To keep up with all the latest entertainment news and reviews, click the “Like” button on the Reel Reviews Facebook page and its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141 and http://www.facebook.com/PhilsPicks