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:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cbs.com/all-acess

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cbsallaccess

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory Kids, Hasbro Studios Partner For Ninth New Pound Puppies DVD

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios

Ace, Cookie, Niblet, and the rest of the Pound Puppies return next month with another new collection of episodes.

Shout! Factory Kids will release its latest collection of Pound Puppies episodes next month.  Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups will be released Tuesday, April 12th.  It will be available in stores and online exclusively on DVD.  The series’ ninth collection of episodes, it features five more episodes from the animated series.  This time out, Rebound becomes an internet sensation when a video of him goes viral in “The Accidental Pup Star.”  Rebound’s fame leads McLeash to plan use his fame for his own gain.  So it’s up to the Pound Puppies to keep that from happening.  In “It’s Elementary My Dear Pup” the Pound Puppies and the Super Secret Pup Club have quite a mission on their hands…er…paws when a young boy named Chucky (Danny Cooksey – Salute Your Shorts, Tiny Toon Adventures, Diff’rent Strokes) is accused of vandalizing his school.  The episode is lifted from Season Three.  Also featured in this collection is another Season Three episode, “Hot Dawg!”  this episode introduces a casanova Chihuahua named Antonio (Carols Alazraqui—The Fairly Oddparents, Family Guy, Phineas and Ferb) who has quite the effect on both humans and canines alike.  The Pound Puppies are no exception as Cookie and Strudel fall for him and start fighting, forgetting along the way about placing their latest pup, Pupster.  So it’s up to Lucky to deal with the frustrating four-legged friend since Shelter 17 is his last hope to be adopted.  It’s just one more of the adventures featured in this collection.  There are two other episodes for families to enjoy together included in the collection’s single-disc presentation.  The complete episode listing for the collection is noted below.

Episodes

EPISODE EPISODE TITLE
1 Pound Puppies: The Accidental Pup Star
2 Pound Puppies: It’s Elementary My Dear Pup Club
3 Pound Puppies: Hot Dawg!
4 Pound Puppies: The Watchdogs
5 Pound Puppies: Back In Action

 

Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, April 12th.  It will retail for MSRP of $12.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $11.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/pound-puppies-showstopping-pups.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

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.

Denver The Last Dinosaur Is Extinct No More

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Denver The Last Dinosaur is extinct no more!

Courtesy:  Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Courtesy: Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment

Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment will release Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series on Tuesday, September 16th. The series ran a total of fifty-two episodes from 1988 to 1990. It follows the adventures of Denver—a Corythosaurus—and his human friends who discovered him after he unexpectedly hatches from a fossilized egg. The series received a recommendation from the National Education Association for its engaging and nonviolent story lines. The series features the talents of some of today’s most well-known voice talents including: Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold!), Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), Kath Soucie (Dexter’s Lab, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures), June Foray (The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Garfield & Friends), Brian Cummings (Duck Tales, Garfield & Friends, Adventures of the Gummi Bears) and three of the voice talents from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series in Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, and Rob Paulsen among so many others.

The upcoming box set will contain not only the series’ complete fifty-two episode run but also a handful of bonus materials, too. Those bonus materials include interviews with the series’ Creative Director Jeremy Corray, image galleries, and even a glimpse at other classic cartoons including the likes of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. The six-disc set will retail for SRP of $59.99. More information on this and other releases from Cinedigm is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm, http://twitter.com/cinedigm and

http://www.cinedigm.com. 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.

Shout! Factory, Nickelodeon Announce Release Date For New Nicktoons Box Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have announced that the companies will release Hey Arnold!: The Complete Series on DVD box set later this month.

Hey Arnold!: The Complete Series will be released Tuesday, August 19th on DVD box set from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory. The box set comes on the heels of the recently released fifth and final season of the classic series. The new sixteen-disc set will retail for SRP of $29.93.

Hey Arnold! features a who’s who list of voice talents across its ninety-nine episode. Among some of the series’ more notable voice talents are: Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), Francesca Smith (Disney’s Recess), Toran Caudell (Disney’s Recess), Jamil Walker Smith (Stargate: Universe), Jim Belushi (Life according to Jim, The Blues Brothers), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs) and many others.

More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.com. 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.

WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at http://www.wbshop.com/product/this+is+america%2C+charlie+brown-+the+complete+series+dvd+1000411223.do. 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.

Pound Puppies’ Latest Compilation One Of The Show’s Best Yet

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Hub Network/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Hub Network/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Factory has teamed up with Hasbro Studios and the Hub network once again another compilation of episodes from Hub’s Pound PuppiesPound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks is one of the best compilations from this family and kid favorite series to be released yet.  That is largely because of each episode’s writing.  This compilation offers viewers some of the series’ most heartfelt episodes to date.  Just as noteworthy in this compilation is the guest voice talent.  Both parents and kids alike will recognize the celebrity voices that are included in some of the episodes in this set.  Something more subtle, but just as worth noting in this collection of episodes is that each one features its own musical number.  It’s something that hadn’t been seen (or rather heard) in previous collections.  It’s a nice touch to the episodes in question.  The reason for that will be discussed later.  All things considered, Holiday Hijinks is one more great addition to any family’s home DVD library, whether it’s their first introduction to the new Pound Puppies or not.

The latest compilation of Pound Puppies episodes includes five more episodes from the Hub network’s hit children’s series.  This follows the same format as the previous DVD compilations that have been released.  The episodes collected for this collection stand out because they are some of the series’ most heartwarming episodes yet.  The collection’s opener, “I Heard The Barks on Christmas Eve” is the collection’s only actual holiday themed episode.  It’s still a wonderful story, nonetheless.  For the first time ever, viewers see that Mr. McLeish actually has a heart and isn’t the mean middle aged man that he comes across as being in most episodes.  It presents those classic messages that everybody needs somebody and that everybody deserves somebody, especially during the holidays.  Audiences will appreciate how writer Joe Ansolabehere expanded on the show’s central theme of family in the set’s second episode, “I Never Barked For My Father.”  Lucky meets his long lost father and brother for the first time ever in this episode.  These are two of the collection’s finest.  What’s more, older audiences will appreciate the guest vocal talent shared here.  That is another positive to this set of episodes.

The episodes collected for Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks offer plenty of heart and laughs.  The writers behind the show are to be applauded for their work.  Just as worth noting of these episodes is the guest vocal talent recruited for these episodes.  Lucky’s father is voiced by none other than Gary Cole in “I Never Barked For My Father.”  And his long lost brother is voiced by one Gary Cooksey.  Cooksey is best known for his time on Diff’rent Strokes as well as voicing Montana Max on Tiny Toon Adventures and portraying Robert “Buddy” Budnick on Nickelodeon’s hit 90s series, Salute Your Shorts.  Older audiences will recognize Gary Cole from his roles in Office Space, Dodgeball, Talladega Nights, and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law just to name some of his work.  Cole and Cooksey are just a couple of the well-known names that grace this collection of episodes.  Fred Stoller (Wordgirl, Everybody Loves Raymond) guests on the collection’s opener as the voice of Ralph.  Ralph is a stray that has lost his Christmas spirit because he has never had a single owner.  That all changes thanks to the Pound Puppies.  Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King, Jurassic Park, The Exes) also shares his talents as the voice of Ralphie, Mr. McLeish’s old friend in “Good Dog, McLeish.”  If that isn’t enough, then the addition of both Tress MacNeille (Futurama, The Simpsons) and Charles Shaughnessy (The Nanny) as guest talent in “Prince and the Pupper” will certainly convince parents to check out this latest collection of Pound Puppies episodes with their kids.  The list of guest talent included in Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks is only a glimpse of the big name actors and actresses that have lent their talents to this series over the course of three seasons.  And it’s just one more reason for families to enjoy this collection together.  There is one more reason that families will enjoy the episodes presented in this set.  That reason is that each of the set’s five episodes includes its own musical number.  It would have been so easy for the writers to go over the top considering the history of musical numbers in shows that aren’t known for musical numbers.  Instead, the show’s writers made each episode’s musical number respectable and within limitations.  They didn’t make them big, cheesy tongue-in-cheek numbers.  They actually add a certain amount of emotion and comic relief where necessary.  Just as with the guest vocal talent and the equally enjoyable writing overall, the musical number become one more part of the whole that makes Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks well worth the watch any time of the year.  It is available now on DVD in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/pound-puppies-holiday-hijinks.  More information on this and other Pound Puppies DVDs is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutactoryofficial.  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.