Michael Schenker Fest Debuts ‘Take Me To The Church’ Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker has debuted the video for the latest single from his new Michael Schenker Fest record.

The band debuted the video for the song ‘Take Me To The Church‘ today.  Mixing footage of the band’s recent performance in St. Petersburg, Russia with footage of Schenker and his vocalists — Doogie White, Graham Bonnett and Robin McAuley — inside a church in the city, the video is the third to come from the album.  It comes a little more than seven months after the debut of the lyric video for the album’s opener, ‘Heart and Soul.’  The album’s lead single ‘Warrior‘ saw its video debut on Dec. 1, 2017.

Schenker commented on the video, saying it was a positive experience.

“The process was an interesting experience!,” Schenker said.  “The fans in Russian were great for the video, too.”

MSF singer Doogie White expanded on Schenker’s thoughts, explaining the fan response to the song was what led to it becoming the album’s next single and video.

“‘Take Me To The Church’ was the obvious choice, given the terrific response in the live arena and from fans and reviewers alike, so we decided to bite the bullet and shoot a video,” White said.  “This was the first of three songs Michael and I wrote for the Resurrection album, continuing the partnership we started with ‘Temple of Rock.’ It is always fascinating to see how others interpret lyrics and bring them to life visually.  We also knew that fans would want to see live footage of the line-up. We added that, too.  So once you have watched the video and learned your lines, you can sing along when we come to a town or city near you. Alright.”

Along with the video’s debut, the group debuted the finished video’s behind-the-scenes making of companion video August 14.  The video clocks in at just one minute, 44 seconds, but offers its own entertainment value.  It is streaming here.

Michael Schenker Fest will be touring Japan later this month and next month.  After taking some time off following that run, the band will launch the European leg of its tour in support of Resurrection.  All of those tour dates are noted below.

featuring 3 original M.S.G. singers Gary BardenGraham Bonnet and Robin McAuley plus Doogie White (ex-RAINBOWMichael Schenker’s TEMPLE OF ROCK)

29.08. JP Osaka – Zepp Namba
30.08. JP Nagoya – Zepp
31.08. JP Tokyo – Pit
02.09. JP Sapporo – Zepp
04.09. JP Sendai – Pit
05.09. JP Tokyo – International Forum

Presented by:
Rock Hard, guitar, Rock It!, musix, Nuclear Blast, a.s.s. concerts, Dragon Productions
27.10. ES Málaga – Paris 15
28.10. ES Madrid – Sala Riviera
30.10. IT Milan – Live Club
31.10. CH Pratteln – Z7
01.11. DE Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle
02.11. DE Karlsruhe – Festhalle Durlach
03.11. NL Amsterdam – Melkweg

05.11. UK Glasgow – O2 ABC
06.11. UK Birmingham – O2 Institute
08.11. UK Gwynedd – Hard Rock Hell *SOLD OUT*
09.11. UK Newcastle – O2 Academy
10.11. UK London – O2 Forum Kentish Town
11.11. UK Manchester – Academy

13.11. PL Lodz – Klub Wytwórnia
14.11. CZ Prague – Kongresový Sál

More information on Michael Schenker Fest’s new video, tour dates and more is available online now at:


Website: http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MV_Schenker


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Anti-Flag Debuts Video For ‘American Attraction’ Rework

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Veteran punk band Anti-Flag is set to release a new acoustic compilation record this fall, and in anticipation of its release, the band has debuted the video for the album’s lead single.

The band debuted the video for its acoustic take of ‘American Attraction’ today via BrooklynVegan.  The reworked take is just one of 10 re-worked songs included in the band’s upcoming acoustic compilation American Reckoning, which is due out September 28 via Spinefarm Records.

The songs featured in American Reckoning are taken from the band’s 2017 album American Fall and its predecessor/companion record American Spring (2015), and also include a handful of cover tunes.  Its full track listing is noted below.

American Reckoning Track Listing
1. The Debate Is Over (If You Want It)
2. Trouble Follows Me
3. American Attraction
4. When The Wall Falls
5. Racists
6. Set Yourself On Fire
7. Brandenburg Gate
8. Gimme Some Truth (John Lennon cover)
9. For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)
10. Surrender (Cheap Trick cover)

The band said in a collective statement that American Reckoning is the final movement in a trilogy started with American Spring.

“This chapter of our band started with the hope of American Spring, the anger of American Fall and comes to cessation with American Reckoning,” the band said.  “This piece focuses on songs from both records (Spring/Fall) that we felt maintain their relevance, even in the distraction politic Donald Trump America, where issues and truth are distorted in a second’s time.  We also wanted to provide insight into our influences that lead us to write the records, that’s where the covers come in.  They are songs that people may not expect to be influential to Anti-Flag records, but either in their messaging or sonics they were tremendously impactful to us as individuals and hence the song writing process.”

The band went on to say in its statement that American Reckoning was key because it is a record that serves to bring back statements that fight the issues raised by the nation’s current administration.

“We cannot be knee-jerk reactionary to a president that uses corporate media to endlessly lie,” the band said.  “We created statements and art that we feel directly combat these tactics.  American Reckoning has allowed us to revisit some of those previous statements and shine new light on them.”


Courtesy: Spinefarm Records/Brixton Agency

Some of the acoustic takes included in American Reckoning may be performed during Anti-Flag’s upcoming live North American and European dates. The band is currently scheduled to wrap the North American leg of its current tour with a run from August 26 to September 30.

After some down time, the band will head overseas for the European leg of its tour, which is scheduled to start October 11 in Vienna, Austria and run through November 6 in Dublin, Ireland.  the full schedule for the band’s upcoming dates is noted below.

Tour Dates:
8/26 – Pittsburgh, PA – Four Chord Festival
9/2 – Concord, VA – Blue Ridge Rock Festival
9/6 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory^
9/9 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works^
9/11 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s^
9/12 – Houston, TX – Revention Center^
9/13 – Dallas, TX – Toyota Music Factory^
9/15 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amp^
9/16 – Salt Lake City, UT – Complex^
9/17 – Boise, ID – Revolution^
9/19 – Bozeman, MT – Brick Breeden Fieldhouse^
9/20 – Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle^
9/21 – Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Expo Center^
9/23 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum^
9/24 – Seattle, WA – WaMu Theater^
9/25 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom^
9/28/18 Concord, CA – Concord Pavilion
9/29 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl^
9/30 – Irvine, CA – Five Point Amphitheater^
10/11 – Vienna, AT – Flex*
10/12 – Wels, AT – Alter Schlachthof*
10/13 – Salzburg, AT – Rockhouse*
10/14 – Prague, CZ – Meet Factory*
10/16 – Hannover, DE – Pavillon*
10/18 – Berlin, DE – SO36*
10/19 – Hamburg, DE – Fabrik*
10/20 – Köln, DE – Live Music Hall*
10/21 – Stuttgart, DE – Longhorn*
10/23 – Munich, DE – Backstage Werk*
10/25 – Saarbrucken, DE – Garage*
10/26 – Haarlem, NL Patronaat – ANTIfest*
10/27 – Hasselt, BE Muziekodroom – Groezrock Indoor*
10/28 – Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof – ANTIfest*
10/30 – Birmingham, UK – Asylum#
10/31 – Bristol, UK – SWX#
11/1 – London, UK – Heaven#
11/2 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2#
11/3 – Glasgow, UK – Garage#
11/5 – Belfast, UK – Foundry#
11/6 – Dublin, IE – Whelan’s#^ = w/ Rise Against, AFI
* = w/ Silverstein, Cancer Bats, Worriers
# = w/ Cancer Bats,Worriers



Courtesy: Spinefarm RecordsBrixton Agency

The band’s European run includes two festival shows, the first on October 26 in Haarlem, Netherlands and the second on October 28 at Wiesbaden, Germany.  The full details on those shows is noted below.

26 OCT 2018
city: Haarlem, Netherlands
venue: Patronaat
line-up: Anti-Flag, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Silverstein, Cancer Bats, Prestige, Black Peaks, Culture Abuse, Worriers, Tusky, Drones

28 OCT 2018
City: Wiesbaden, Germany
venue: Schlachthof
line-up: Anti-Flag, Silverstein, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Cancer Bats, Black Peaks, Worriers, Tusky

More information on Anti-Flag’s new album live dates and more is available online now at:


Website: http://anti-flag.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anti.flag.official

Twitter: http://twitter.com/anti_flag


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.




Tallah Debuts ‘Cottonmouth’ Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Metal outfit Tallah has debuted the video for its latest single.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Cottonmouth’ today via Loudwire.  The song is taken from the band’s debut EP No One Should Read This. Its video features some rather unsettling imagery that may not be suitable for all audiences.

That imagery could also potentially cause epileptic seizures with its flashes and its rapid transitions from one scene to another.  So some viewer discretion is advised in more than one angle.

The band addressed that imagery in a brief collective statement saying the imagery was intentionally chosen, offering little other explanation.

“We purposely went with the most extreme song on the EP for our latest video,” the band said.  “And the video is just as brutal visually as the song is musically.”

Musically speaking, the song boasts a distinct death metal style arrangement complete with matching vocals from front man Justin Bonitz.

‘Cottonmouth’ is the second video and single from the band’s new EP.  It comes approximately three months after the debut of the video for the EP’s lead single, ‘Placenta.’


A Killers Confession Tour Poster

No One Should Read This is available now via iTunes.  The band is touring now, supporting A Killer’s Confession (which features ex-Mushroomhead front man Waylon Reavis) on its headlining tour. More information on Tallah’s tour schedule, its new video, EP and more is available online now at:


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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tallah_


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.


Mushroomhead Debuts ‘Devils Be Damned’ Video

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Mushroomhead is giving audiences another preview of its upcoming DVD.

The veteran Cleveland, Ohio-based band debuted the video for its song ‘Devils Be Damned‘ today. Filmed inside the infamous Ohio State Reformatory, which doubled as the infamous Shawshank Prison (yes, that Shawshank Prison), from Castle Rock Entertainment’s 1994 drama The Shawshank Redemption.  The video features the band performing its new single at various locations inside the prison as a young girl makes her way through its halls before finally finding a place of comfort inside the otherwise imposing structure.

Band founder and drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton offered his own interesting insight into the video in a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, saying that the same tunnel used by Tim Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption was also used in this video.

“There’s a scene [in the video] where the little girl is crawling through the tunnel — that’s the same tunnel that Tim Robbins crawled through at the end of the movie — you know, the whole ‘Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of s*** and came out clean on the other side’ line — that’s the same tunnel she crawled through.”

The video’s debut comes a little more than a month after the debut of the video for ‘We Are The Truth.’  That video is themed after Renaissance Pictures’ famed 1981 horror movie Evil Dead.  Specifically, the video debuted July 8.

Both songs are included in the Mushroomhead’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2014’s The Righteous and the Butterfly.  The videos will both be included as part of the presentation for Volume III.

Volume III is scheduled to be released August 17. The band will launch a tour in support of the DVD the same day. The nearly month-long tour includes stops in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Seattle, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah and a handful of other cities. The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

The Summer of Screams tour line-up:
Powerman 5000 (9-2 to 9-15)
The Browning
Psychostick (8-17 to 8-31)
Kissing Candice
Unsaid Fate
Voodoo Terror Tribe (8-17 to 8-30)/Earth Caller (8-31 to 9-15)

The Summer of Screams tour dates:
8/17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater

8/18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
8/19 – Toronto, ON @ Rockpile West
8/21 – Manchester, NH @ Bungalow
8/22 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
8/23 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
8/24 – Spartanburg, SC @ Groundzero
8/25 – Huntsville, AL @ Sidetracks Music Hall
8/26 – New Orleans, LA @ Southport Music Hall
8/28 – Houston, TX @ Houston Underground
8/29 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
8/30 – Laredo, TX @ Ethos Live
8/31 – Fort Worth, TX @ The Rail Club
9/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720
9/4 – Orangevale, CA@ The Boardwalk
9/5 – Portland, OR @ Dante’s
9/6 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/7 – Billings, MT @ Pub Station
9/8 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
9/9 – Denver, CO @ Roxy Theater
9/11 – Merriam, KS @ Aftershock
9/12 – Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s
9/13 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
9/14 – Ringle, WI @ Q & Z Expo Center
9/15 – Chicago, IL @ Patio Theater

Along with its live dates, the band has also announced a handful of signing dates, which align with the band’s tour.  Those dates are noted below.

MUSHROOMHEAD Signing Dates: 
8/22 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ Darkside (611 Dutchess Turnpike) – Begins 6:00 PM
8/28 – Houston, TX @ Cactus (2110 Portsmouth St) – Begins 6:00 PM
8/29 – Austin, TX @ Waterloo (600 N Lamar Blvd) – Begins 5:00 PM
9/5 – Portland, OR @ Music Millennium (3158 E Burnside St) – Begins 6:00 PM (tentative, check local listing)
9/6 – Seattle, WA @ Silver Platters (2930 1st Ave S) – Begins 6:00 PM (tentative, check local listing)
9/7 – Billings, MT @ Ernie November (1825 Grand Ave) – Begins 6:00 PM

Volume III comes 10 years after the release of the band’s second DVD, aptly titled Volume II (2008) and 13 years after the release of its debut DVD, Volume I (2005). A trailer for the DVD is streaming online now here.

More information on Mushroomhead’s new DVD is available online now at:


Website: http://www.mushroomhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mushroomhead


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.comphilspicks 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.



‘Wild Kratts’ Second DVD Of 2018 Is “Twice As Nice” As The Year’s First Offering

Courtesy: PBSPBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

Over the course of the past six years, brother Chris and Martin Kratt have taken families around the world and taught fun and unforgettable lessons in biology, ecology, zoology and more through their hit animated series Wild Kratts.  The series has become one of PBS Kids’ biggest hit series since its debut, running now five seasons and a sixth very likely to be announced soon.  It has also led to the release of now 17 DVDs featuring the adventures of Chris, Martin and their friends Aviva (Athena Krakanis – Manifest, The Expanse, Low Winter Sun), Koki (Heather Bambrick – The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Doozers, Atomic Puppet) and Jimmy Z (Jonathan Malen – The Mist, Mean Girls, Charlie Bartlett).  From North America’s desert southwest to the depths of the Atlantic to the frozen far reaches of the Arctic and Antarctic and beyond, the Wild Kratts gang has time and again given audiences unforgettable adventures and invaluable lessons in every episode.  Now thanks to Public Media Distribution, two more of those episodes are available in the latest Wild Kratts DVD, Adventures on the African Savannah.  As that title notes, this time the brothers Kratt and company are in Africa.  The two adventures featured in the 55-minute DVD are enjoyable in themselves.  The lessons connected to the stories are also enjoyable for the whole family.  Considering that content, the DVD’s relatively affordable average price point proves to be money well spent.  When it is considered alongside said content, all three elements make Wild Kratts: Adventures on the African Savannah yet another enjoyable addition to any family’s DVD library.

Adventures on the African Savannah, the second of Public Media Distribution’s Wild Kratts DVD releases so far this year – the first, Madagascar Madness, was released April 10 – is another successful and enjoyable presentation from PMD and PBS Kids.  It is a collection that despite featuring only two episodes, every family will find welcome in their DVD library.  That is actually due in part to the stories themselves.  This time out, Martin and Chris (and their friends) take on a game of tag in the first episode, “The Food Chain Game.”  Of course, this is no ordinary game of tag.  This game involves Chris and Martin racing to the top of the Savannah’s food web by touching and turning into various different animals that roam the savannah.  They start at the bottom and work their way up, all the while learning about each creature’s strengths and weaknesses.  By the time it’s all said and done, Aviva has crafted a giant food web from Chris and Martin’s friendly competition that plays directly into the lessons, which will be discussed shortly.  In the second of the brothers’ adventures, Chris and Martin face off in another competition.  This time it’s a test to see which is the dominant animal – a rhino or an elephant.  However, at least one person wants to ruin the fun.  That person is the Kratt gang’s longtime foe Zack Varmitech (Zachary Bennett – Designated Survivor, Total Drama All Stars, Ranger Rob).  Zach, who is jealous of Aviva’s accomplishments uses his mini-bots to disrupt Chris and Martin’s suits so that they can’t finish their competition.  In an added effort to ruin the group’s fun, his bots also disrupt the Tortuga’s systems, trapping Aviva, Jimmy and Koki inside…at least temporarily.  Obviously the story has a happy ending with Zack being defeated once again.  How that happens won’t be given away here, but it will leave viewers laughing once again.  Of course, this story offers its own subtle biology lesson that adds to the story’s enjoyment.  Said lesson will be discussed along with the biology lesson included in the DVD’s lead story.  Keeping in mind the enjoyment offered through the stories themselves, it creates a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  That foundation gives audiences plenty of reason in itself to add this DVD to their DVD libraries.  The noted lessons tied into the DVD’s presentation give families even more reason to add the DVD to their Wild Kratts collections.

The basic biology lessons incorporated into each story are easily accessible for viewers of all ages.  The lesson incorporated into the lead story is straight forward.  It teaches the interconnection of different organisms within a given food chain.  It’s just one example, but shows in a simple fashion, the depth and diversity that is possible in any given food chain.  At the same time, viewers also learn some interesting facts about the given organisms and animals featured within the given food chain.  What’s really interesting to note here is that the writers don’t try to hide the educational content here, unlike in other episodes in which said content is smartly woven into the story.  It’s right out front.  Yet somehow even with the content being right out there, the writers have still managed to keep the episode interesting both for grown-ups and children alike.  The writing staff is to be highly commended for that.  The lesson is a little bit more subtle in the second story.  It basically highlights the adaptations that make different animals fitted for various climates and territories.  For instance, the walrus is more fitted for cold climes while certain reptiles are definitely not suited for the savannah.  The strengths and weaknesses of the rhino and elephant are both pointed out in the long run, too.  It’s just interesting to see so much incorporated into one story and done so smoothly in the process.  It doesn’t make the educational content so outright, balancing very well with the story itself.    When this is considered along with the balance of educational and entertaining content in the DVD’s lead story, it makes the educational content that much more valuable to the DVD’s presentation.  While the stories and lessons are both key to the DVD’s whole, they are not its only important elements.  The DVD’s rather affordable average price point makes it that much more welcome in any family’s home DVD library.

The average price point of Adventures on the African Savannah is $5.19, not counting taxes.  Adding tax, that price probably rises to almost $6.00 if not barely more than that. Considering the amount of entertainment and education that this DVD offers, even with just two episodes (at 55 minutes), that honestly is a rather affordable price.  It’s money well spent to entertain and educate children while also bringing the whole family together in the process.  That is something of which this country needs more – family togetherness.  That’s especially the case considering how television is in itself ripping families apart more and more because of content aimed at specific audiences.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD’s average price point is the proverbial cherry on top for its  presentation.  It is not a bad price to pay, even with tax, for that togetherness, education and entertainment.  To that end, this second Wild Kratts DVD offering this year is another welcome addition to any family’s Wild Kratts DVD collection.

Public Media Distribution’s second Wild Kratts DVD of the year, Adventures on the African Savannah, only boats two episodes from the hit animated series, but despite that, those two episodes offer audiences of all ages plenty to appreciate.  That is evidenced in part through the stories that make up the body of the DVD.  The lessons tied into the stories are expertly balanced in their presentation.  That balance shows the amount of time and thought put into each story’s writing overall.  The writers, again, are to be commended for such attention to detail.  The DVD’s rather affordable price point makes that content extra valuable and the DVD that much more worth the purchase in turn.  Keeping all of this in mind, all three elements join to make this DVD a presentation that will lead the whole family to want to join the Kratt brothers on their African Savannah adventures again and again.  It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on the DVD is available online along with lots of printables, activities and more now at:




Website: http://pbskids.org/wildkratts

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




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! Factory TV, Twitch Team Up For Power Morphicon 2018 Coverage

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Twitch

Power Rangers fans rejoice, it’s almost time for the bi-annual Power Morphicon conference again.  This year’s conference launches August 17 and runs through August 19. For those who won’t be able to be there, Shout! Factory and Twitch have partnered to cover the final day of this year’s conference live online via Shout! Factory’s official Twitch Channel.

Power Morphicon Live coverage starts August 19 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET via Shout! Factory’s official Twitch Channel.  Shout! Factory’s Brian Ward will host coverage of the event, which features live interviews with various cast and crew members of each Power Rangers installment.  There will also be coverage of various panel discussions, special features and other highlights.

A stream of the event’s coverage will be available via VOD following the actual event’s close.  Viewers can view a trailer for Shout! Factory and Twitch’s coverage of Power Morphicon Live here.

More information on this and other events from Shout! Factory and Twitch 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.


NBC’s ‘The Good Place’ Shows Impressive Growth In Its Second Season

Courtesy: NBC/Shout! Factory

On September 27, NBC’s quirky new comedy The Good Place returns for its third season.  The renewal came as a surprise to many when it was originally announced, and now the show’s heads are promising plenty of surprises from the series in its upcoming season.  While audiences wait for Season Three’s premiere, they can catch up with the story so far thanks to the recent release of the series’ second season on DVD.  Season Two proves to be a notable improvement from Season One, despite the clear ratings drop between the two seasons.  That is proven in part through the series’ writing, which will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast is just as notable as that of the series’ writers.  It will be discussed later.  While writing and acting anchor the second season of The Good Place, the two-disc set’s average price point does just as much to make audiences appreciate this season as its content.  When it is considered alongside said content, the whole of this season’s home release proves to be a presentation that is an enjoyable installment of The Good Place.

The second season of NBC’s the Good Place is an enjoyable new installment of what is one of the network’s most notable series, and now thanks to Shout! Factory, it is available on DVD.  Season Two is actually an improvement over the series’ debut season, despite what the ratings may lead some to think.  That is proven in part through the season’s writing.  This season launches with Michael struggling to constantly reboot his project because Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani keep figuring out that they’re really in the bad place instead of the good place.  Seeing Michael’s reaction each time is worth its own share of laughter, so compliments to the writers are deserved there.  His reaction at trying to cover up his constant failures is just as entertaining as another of the town’s demons basically blackmails him on one side and then the humans blackmail him on the other side, only to befriend him.  That reaction ties into another element of the writing that stands out this season – the character development – which will be discussed momentarily.  Staying on the matter of the story development, audiences see Michael and company eventually leave “The Good Place” and make their way to a “limbo” of sorts and eventually to “Bad Place Headquarters” before even being sent back to Earth, not to give away too much.  This is all important to note because it shows the writers’ ability to keep the story progressing, knowing that if they kept the whole thing in “The Good Place,” that it wouldn’t take long for ideas to dry up and in turn for the show to end.  Considering this, the way in which the writers progressed the story, moved it away from the “Good Place” and into other venues in itself keeps the story fresh and interesting, showing the show’s promise.  It’s just one part of what makes the writing stand out this time.  The character development, as noted earlier, plays into the writing, too.

This time out, the writers created far more character development not only for Michael, but also for Chidi, Eleanor, Jason and Tahani. It’s nice to see all five figures grow and interact together throughout the course of this season.  One of the most notable moments of the group’s interactions comes as Michael has an existential breakdown after realizing what humans deal with on a philosophical level.  It’s such a brief moment, but so entertaining to see the ability to use philosophy to generate laughs and also to show the reach of star Ted Danson’s acting abilities (which will be discussed later).  Staying on that same page (and not to give away too much), when Michael “turns” and “shows his true colors” it’s nice to see that the writers didn’t take the usual route, but instead leave viewers wondering which side he is on at first.  Of course it does become obvious which side he’s on as the demons tear down the town, but the overall execution of that part of that story arc is to be commended, too.  It shows that Michael really has the potential (and maybe even hidden desire) to be good just like his human friends.  This plays out even more later in the season, leaving audiences to see even more development from Michael that is certain to be a key point in Season Three.  That character development aspect won’t be given away here for the sake of those who have yet to see Season Two.  It is a nice element, though and is certain to entertain audiences plenty.  On a lesser note, Janet develops as a character this time out, too, and while at first this development is somewhat annoying – considering it takes that all-too-familiar romance story line – it’s good to see that said story line isn’t allowed to take over the season’s developments.  The same goes to the relationship between Eleanor and Chidi.  If either of these story lines had been allowed to have any more prominence than they did, they would have ruined Season Two.  Luckily though, they were kept under control, so compliments to the writers for keeping those story elements to a minimum.  Each writing element does its own part this season to entertain audiences.  When they are joined, they form a strong foundation for Season Two that gives audiences plenty to appreciate.  Of course the writing is just that, a foundation.  The work of the cast on camera strengthens that foundation even more.

As has already been noted, Ted Danson’s “Michael” is given more development over the course of Season Two.  That development also leads to some of the best acting this season.  His noted existential breakdown late in the season’s run is one of the season’s funniest moments.  That is especially the case as audiences see the result of that breakdown.  Not to give away too much, but it leads Michael to have something of a mid-afterlife-crisis that includes Janet and a sports car.  These moments are some of Danson’s shining moments in Season Two, but not his only highlights.  His subtle cues to his human friends during the roast make this moment entertaining, too.  That’s because he doesn’t go over the top in pointing out his clues.  Even viewers who pay the closest attention might miss them, adding to the enjoyment later after they are revealed.  The moment in which he reveals the truth of his plan to get the humans to the real “Good Place” is another wonderful moment in which Danson’s acting shines this time out.  It would have been so easy for him to ham it up in this clearly key emotional moment, yet he handled the moment expertly, revealing to viewers just as much to the humans that maybe, just maybe there is a desire to be good.  It’s a moment that makes him much more of a sympathetic character.  When it is considered with all of his laugh riot comedic moments, the whole of those moments (including those not noted here), they make Danson’s performances one of the best this season of any of the cast.

While Danson’s performance throughout Season Two stands out, one cannot ignore the performance of William Jackson Harper.  Harper’s presentation of the high-strung ethics professor Chidi is another highlight of the season’s performances.  His reaction at trying to teach his counterparts (and even Michael) different ethical and philosophical topics makes for just as much reason to watch as Danson’s work on camera.  This is especially apparent in his interactions with fellow co-star Manny Jacinto (who plays Jason).  The juxtaposition of Jason’s less than intelligent mindset to Chidi’s too-smart-for-his-own-good persona hints back at the likes of Laurel and Hardy or even the Skipper and Gilligan (which was in its own way, an updated take on Laurel and Hardy).  One could even make a comparison with this pairing to Abbott & Costello’s back and forth.  Every time the pair interacts, each man puts on his best face, giving such a wonderful performance and plenty of laughs.  This is just part of what makes Harper’s performance memorable this season.  His deadpan reaction to Michael as Michael gives a rather incorrect remark about the trolley predicament is another great moment.  Again, no to give away too much, but what he makes Michael do as punishment will have any grownup laughing.  On another note, when Chidi reveals his feelings to Eleanor, it shows Jackson’s ability to handle dramatic acting just as well as comedic acting.  It would have been easy for him to ham up the moment way too much, but he didn’t let the scene get away from himself.  Rather, he made the most of the moment, and truly made the revelation one of the season’s most shocking and powerful moments.  Considering this and his outright comedic prowess (which hints somewhat at his work on PBS’ short-lived reboot of The Electric Company – yes, Mr. Harper, this critic appreciates that work, too), Jackson’s performance is another highlight this season.  It still is not the last of the performances worth noting.  D’Arcy Carden’s (Broad City, Barry) is another notable performance.

Carden’s take on Janet as Janet develops presents its own share of interest.  One of her most notable moments comes as she tries to come to terms with the revelation of a previous relationship with Jason.  Again, not giving away too much here, but her deadpan, mechanical reaction (since Janet is supposed to be a robot) as she tries to process the situation and her feelings lends itself to comparisons with Brent Spiner’s take of Data trying to understand human emotions on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Watching her take in the reality despite knowing that she is an artificial intelligence so casually will definitely keep viewers engaged.  The same applies as she realizes that her glitching is tied to the aforementioned revelation.  On another note, her struggle to become a “Bad Janet” as the group makes its way to the “Bad Place Headquarters” and tries to navigate the party there is worth its own share of laughs.  Seeing her do something that is so out of place for her and seeing her discomfort shows her own growth as a character while also offering plenty of laughs.  She of course finally handles the needed change in a surprise twist that won’t be revealed here.  It is just as surprising as Chidi’s revelation of his feelings for Eleanor and helps the story advance nicely in the process.  When one considers Carden’s acting alongside that of Jackson and Danson (as well as the rest of the cast), it goes without saying that the cast’s work presents its own positives to Season Two’s presentation.  When those positives are coupled with the positives in the season’s writing, both elements show so much overall growth this season.  That growth, in turn, presents plenty of hope for Season Three.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point for Season Two’s two-disc set makes all the laughs and overall entertainment worth it.

Using the nation’s biggest retailers – Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon – and Shout! Factory’s own store – since the set has been distributed via Shout! Factory – the average price point of The Good Place: Season Two comes in at $14.68.  With taxes, that brings the set’s average price point to just over $15.  That is not an overly expensive price point, considering so many DVD box sets run anywhere from $30 – $40.  Paying on average $15 for two discs means that on average the set is a little more than $7 per disc or roughly $1.25 per episode.  Again that is a relatively affordable price.  Considering how much growth is displayed in this season both in regards to its writing and the cast’s work, that is saying plenty, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, this season’s set is one that clearly proves worth the purchase whether one is a fan of The Good Place or a new viewer.

The second season of NBC’s quirky ethics-based series The Good Place is a welcome new entry to the series.  It is an entry that new fans and those who have watched from the first season will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the season’s writing.  the writing displays plenty of growth from the characters and in the story itself.  The work of the series’ cast shows its own growth, too, offering just as much entertainment.  The set’s average price point is relatively affordable at $15.  That is not a bad price for the entertainment offered by the noted writing and acting.  Keeping all of that in mind, the second season of NBC’s The Good Place proves worth the purchase for fans of this quirky young comedy. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store now.  More information on The Good Place is available online now at:




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