‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Is The Worst Of DC, Warner Brothers’ Superhero Flicks So Far

Courtesy: DC/Warner Brothers

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.  Everybody knows that old adage.  Warner Brothers and DC’s recent presentation (and home release) of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive of that old adage.  Released through HBO Max after years of protest by Snyder’s minions, the movie was released this summer on DVD and Blu-ray.  Given, the original 2017 cut (which used only part of Snyder’s work before his departure from the project) was hardly memorable, it is far better by comparison than the Snyder cut.  This four-hour presentation is even worse than the movie’s original 2017 cut, and that is saying something, too.  There is little if anything to like about this take of Justice League.  The most prominent problem with the Snyder Cut is its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The story ties into another prominent problem, the pacing.  Rounding out the movie’s problems is its general presentation.  This item will also be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  All things considered, they make the movie the least memorable of DC and Warner Brothers’ DC titles to date.

Warner Brothers and DC’s presentation of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive that people really should be careful what they wish for.  That is because while its 2017 predecessor is not necessarily the greatest of the companies’ offerings, it is also not their worst.  That dishonor belongs to the recently premiered (and home released) “Snyder Cut” of Justice League.  The movie suffers from so many problems, not the least of which being its story.  The story, which runs four hours, two minutes in length, is marred right from the get go.  The first two hours are spent building up the background for each member of the Justice League.  The story plods along as a result of this, leading to an issue in the pacing, which will be discussed a little later.  It is not even until almost two hours into the movie that audiences finally get the movie’s first fight scene between the Justice League’s members and Steppenwolf.  This critic is a lifelong DC fan, but this approach to the movie’s first half is completely counterproductive.  By comparison, Marvel Studios did create a number of movies for each member of the Avengers.  There is not denying that.  At the same time though, those movies do all of the buildup for the key characters, thus allowing more time for more important elements in the big final presentation that was the Infinity Saga.  This is the model that DC should have used from day one for its Justice League buildup.  DC and Warner Brothers sort of tried that with Wonder Woman and Man of Steel (which was terrible to say the least in itself) but what with so many batman movies out there, it was next to impossible to figure out how to build up his back story and make it work for this story.  The companies also tried a setup for Green Lantern in 2011, but that movie flopped, with even star Ryan Reynolds decrying the movie in hindsight.  It likely explains why the Green Lantern Corps was mentioned only in passing in this movie.  Add in everything from the story’s epilogue and things get even more problematic.  The whole just adds too much to the whole.  Perhaps the only true positive (or really positives) is Steppenwolf’s acknowledgement of the multi-verse at one point in the story and the Joker’s mention of alternate timelines in the movie’s epilogue.  Considering all the talk of the Flashpoint crossover and the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the DCEU’s television world, it all actually ties together at least a little better.  Though, the use of what is apparently a Lazarus Pit in Superman’s ship and everything else that went into the story of his resurrection offsets all of that, too.  Simply put, the whole of the movie’s story is forgettable.  It simply tries too hard and falls flat.

As noted already, the pacing tied in to the story makes for even more problems for this presentation.  Because of all of the brooding and buildup in the movie’s first half, things really do plod along at nearly a snail’s pace.  Again, if that buildup had been relegated to the standalone movies for the JL’s members, then the story could have just gotten right to the point and moved along at a much more pleasant pace.  What’s more, the epilogue involving Bruce Wayne’s dream (what proves to set up an alternate reality story line) and everything involving Cyborg’s story slows things down even more, as does the completely random meeting of Deathstroke/Slade Wilson and Lex Luthor.  It’s like Snyder just threw that in like so much more and thought it would work.  Sadly it just slows things down once again after the movie could have ended following Steppenwolf’s defeat (not to give away too much).  Simply put, the movie moves too slow too often and just the right speed at too few spots.  The result is that the pacing proves just as problematic as the movie’s story.

As if the negative impact of the story and its pacing are not enough, the general presentation is also problematic.  Audiences who are familiar with Zack Snyder’s work will easily catch the over the top slow motion effects, and the blood and gore.  He follows the same stylistic approach throughout this movie, with more than enough bloodshed (and even Superman holding a skeleton at one point) to appease the most bloodthirsty viewers.  Such approach really is disappointing, as is the unnecessary use of so much foul language and dark, gritty look throughout the story.  People go to movies to escape the grim reality of reality, not to be exposed to even more grim, brooding presentations.  Snyder needs to realize and just accept this.  When and if he ever does, it will hopefully change his ways.  Otherwise, audiences are just going to get the same kind of presentation from Snyder from one movie to the next.  Hopefully, keeping this in mind, DC and Warner Brothers will employ Snyder less as time goes on.  Between this realization and that of the negative impact of the movie’s story and pacing, all three elements leave the movie a nearly complete failure.  The introduction of the Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. J’on Jonzz) is about the only positive, as it and Darkseid’s determination to get the Mother Boxes sets up more Justice League movies; movies that hopefully will not be written or even helmed by Zack Snyder.

Warner Brothers and DC’s recently released presentation that is Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a problematic new presentation from the companies.  There is little if anything to like about this movie.  Really the only positive that it has is that it sets up another Justice League movie that hopefully will not be helmed or written by Zack Snyder.  There was also the acknowledgement of the multiverse and alternate timelines, which aligns it (to a point) with DC’s television offerings.  What with the new Flash movie coming, it would seem that said presentation will take those mentions into account.  That is because the Flashpoint storyline did in fact involve Darkseid and Steppenwolf following its events in the comics.  Other than that, the movie fails with its story and pacing, as well as its general presentation.  All things considered, Zack Snyder’s Justice League proves to be the worst of DC and Warner Brothers’ superhero offerings to date. 

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  More information on this and other DC titles from Warner Brothers is available at https://www.facebook.com/DECU2013.  

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

‘Doom Patrol: Season Two’ Is A Successful New Entry To One Of DC’s Most Unique Properties

Courtesy: DC Comics/Warner Brothers

Aaaaah, family.  Family is one of the best things in the world.  Family is also one of the worst things in the world.  Good or bad, family is all that we have in this world.  That is really the crux of the second season of DC’s Doom Patrol.  Released early this year on DVD and BD, the series’ second season is an interesting continuation for the series.  That is due to the noted story featured in this season.  It will be addressed shortly.  The cast’s work throughout the season is also of import here, and will be examined a little later.  The bonus content, as little as it really is here, also plays at least some part in the set’s presentation.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Doom Patrol’s second season.  All things considered, they make this season one more of this year’s gradually growing list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-up audiences.

The second season of DC’s Doom Patrol is an interesting outing for the series.  The series, and group is among the lesser-known of DC’s properties, but this season is sure to help bring both much more attention.  That is proven in part through the season’s story.  The story, as noted already, is on the importance of family.  Even as emotionally heavy as the story is throughout, that emphasis remains.  Audiences will be moved as they watch Larry (a.k.a. Negative Man) try to make amends with his family following the revelation of his son’s death.  Viewers will be just as moved (albeit in a more lighthearted way) as they watch Cliff try to make amends with his daughter after finding out that she survived the wreck that led to him becoming Robot Man.  On yet another note, Rita facing the demon that is the trauma caused by her mother is just as engaging and entertaining because of the subtle way in which it is tied into the whole of the story.  Crazy Jane even has her own family of sorts in her head that she has to deal with over the course of this season.  Looking through this, the first thing that one might feel that there is a lot going on.  That would be right.  However, even as much as is going on in the bigger story, the ability of the writers to balance all of these interweaving story lines is on full display.  What’s more, the depth in each character’s story and the very stories themselves prove relatable to so many audiences.  Case in point is the revelation of who Cliff’s daughter is marrying.  His reaction to that revelation is reflective of so much of America in the current age.  Most people likely will not admit to it, but in a case such as that of Rita, lots of people deal with the emotional trauma brought on by toxic relationships with their parents during their formative years, so even that is believable.  Larry’s case is similar to that of Rita, just in a different fashion, which perhaps is why the pair bonds so well this season.  He made his son feel like he was not good enough, being a hot shot pilot in his normal life, and that led to the rift between the pair. 

Through all of the emotional issues that the Doom Patrol faces this season in dealing with their pasts with their families, they grow as individuals.  As a result of that growth, viewers see the group, including Cyborg, start to develop into the heroes that they will be as the show continues.  Speaking on that note, the series is currently in the midst of its 3rd season.  Its home release will likely come early in the new year just as this season was released early this year, considering the air date for Season Three’s finale.  Getting back on topic, the character development that audiences see this season makes the season, in hindsight, really a transitional season of sorts.  It is a continuation of Season One, and in turn is sure to lead to something even more interesting and exciting in Season Three.  Keeping that all in mind, the story featured in the second season of Doom Patrol is reason enough for audiences to give the season a chance.  It is just one of the season’s positives.  The cast’s work adds its own appeal to the presentation.

Brendan Fraser leads the way once again in terms of the cast’s work.  His general personality and sharp tongue brings a much needed looseness and unique comic relief to the show.  Given, every other word out of his mouth is made up four letters, but just his sheer delivery in every scene is so great.  His nonstop declaration that he’s going to kill the chief after being launched out of the chief’s space ship and landing in a fiery ball into a random field is a prime example of his expert timing.  Audiences know that he is really made, but there is just something about his delivery that makes audiences laugh as hard as ever even as they feel sympathy for Cliff.  This especially considering the heart that he developed for Dorothy shortly before that happened.  On a similar note, the chemistry that he shows alongside Dianne Guerrero (Crazy Jane) creates its own dynamic.  The way he just casually accepts that she has so many personalities is funny in its own way because of the very subtlety in that relationship of sorts.

Similarly, the aforementioned onscreen work between April Bowlby (Rita) and Matt Bomer (Larry) is just as enjoyable to see even with it being more of a secondary performance of sorts.  The duo knows that its wok is secondary, too, and makes the most of it as their characters lean on one another.

Staying on the note of the pair, Bowlby is inspiring as she takes Rita through her emotional journey in facing her own past.  There were so many opportunities for Bowlby to really go over the top, considering all of the drama in this season.  Thankfully she did not go that route.  The end result is that she makes Rita that much more of a sympathetic character throughout the season. 

Much the same can be said of Bomer’s work as Larry.  The moments when he is in the shed next to his son’s home, reading the letter that his son wrote as a child is absolutely heartbreaking.  Because his face is covered with bandages, Bomer is forced to do his emoting more through his actions, and they do so well to reveal the depth of Larry’s remorse for the past.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s performances make for so much depth this time out.  Between the performances noted here and so much more exhibited by the cast, the cast’s overall work here is so enjoyable to watch.  When the whole is considered along with the depth in the season’s story, the two elements join to make for that much more reason to watch this season of Doom Patrol.  It still is only a part of what makes this season engaging and entertaining.  The bonus content that accompanies the season in its home release rounds out the most important of its items.

The bonus content featured in the home release of Doom Patrol’s second season is limited to say the least.  One of the bonuses is just one of the show’s creative heads talking about shooting the show in Georgia.  The brief discussion is basically just an advertisement for filming in Georgia and is honestly irrelevant.  The other bonus feature, which focuses on the season’s makeup and special effects gives audiences at least a brief glance into the work that went into this season’s look.  Audiences will appreciate the determination that the show’s makeup and costume heads had for something as minute as the freckles on Dorothy’s face, making sure that they stayed the same in each episode.  Such dedication to the show’s look is admirable to say the least.  Understanding that the twin brother duo has always been so serious about makeup, going all the way back to its childhood, makes for even more appreciation for the pair’s work.  It will lead, in hindsight, to even more appreciation for the look of Doom Patrol in its second season.  One can only hope that considering this is the season’s only other bonus feature, there will be more bonus content in the third season’s home release.  At least this bonus adds a little bit more appreciation for this season, if only for its aesthetics.  Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the season’s story and the cast’s work, the whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  It collectively makes the season in whole a great continuation for the series and one more of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown up audiences.

Doom Patrol: Season Two is an overall impressive offering.  Its appeal starts with its story.  Yes, the story is extremely emotionally heavy, but in understanding the character development hat takes place throughout the season, it makes the heaviness that much more understandable and bearable.  It shows the group on the verge of becoming “super heroes” of sorts.  Hopefully that growth and change will become even more evident in Season Three, considering this.  The cast’s work interpreting that development adds to the season’s appeal.  That is because the group’s work is just that believable.  Being so believable, it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more.  Keeping in mind the positive impact of the cast’s work and of the story, there is just one more item to note.  That item is the bonus content.  The bonus content featured in this season’s home release is minimal to say the least, but at least one of the bonuses offers more appreciation for the season.  In this case, it focuses on the season’s look.  That item works with the season’s other noted items to make the whole well worth watching and one more of this year’s top new DVD and BD box sets for grown up audiences. 

Doom Patrol: Season Two is available now.  More information on the season and other DC Universe series is available online at:

Website: https://dccomics/com/tv

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dccomics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dccomics

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

Hulu’s ‘Animaniacs’ Reboot Falls Flat In Its Debut Season

Courtesy: Hulu/Studio Distribution Services

Reboots are big business for Hollywood, or so it would seem.  Looking at recent headlines for TV shows rebooted by the major TV studios (including digital servers), reboots do not actually seem to be doing as well as studio executives and advertisers would like people to believe.  Punky Brewster became the most recent reboot to be cancelled this month.  The show was axed from NBC’s Peacock streaming service after just one seasons.  Also cancelled this year are reboots of MacGuyver, Murphy Brown, Charmed (which did not even get past the pilot stage), and even Lizzy MacguireFuller House, the reboot of the classic sitcom Full House also got the axe from Netflix this year after five seasons.  Even the reboot of Rod Serling’s classic series The Twilight Zone was justifiably canceled early this year after just two seasons. Between that reboot, the update of Hawaii 5-0, and that of MacGuyver, which itself ran for five seasons before its end (two seasons less than the original series’ run), it is safe to say that reboots really are not the safe bet that studio execs and advertisers thought they would be.  Even Roseanne ended up being “cancelled” and re-tooled as The Connors.  Now keeping all of this in mind, one cannot help but wonder how long Hulu’s reboot of the classic cartoon series Animaniacs will last.  It was just recently announced that the series, which saw its first season released to DVD June 1, will launch its sophomore season in November.  If the lead season of this reboot is any indicator, one can only imagine that it will be lucky to be renewed for a third season.  That is proven in part through the content featured in the first season of this reboot.  It will be discussed shortly.  The lack of any bonus content with the season’s home release is also of concern, especially considering the original series’ legacy.  So this will be discussed a little later.  Looking at all of the negatives noted here, it makes the DVD’s pricing problematic, too.  This will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recently released collection.  All things considered, they make the first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs a completely disappointing presentation.  It additionally is more proof that reboots are clearly not the best investment for any network.

The first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is proof positive that for all the reboots out there, reboots do not make the best business sense for any network, whether on TV or online.  This is proven in large part through the content featured throughout Season 1.  Given, there was plenty of adult-themed humor that ran through the original series during its five-season run from 1993-1998.  Steven Spielberg himself was even quoted as saying much of the humor in the original series was inspired by the humor of Looney Tunes and none other than Groucho Marx.  At the same time, there was also plenty of more family friendly content included throughout the show in the noted time frame.  By comparison, this updated take on the series is nothing but dated, adult humor.  It is all snarky shots about the world’s current social and political atmosphere. The only time when the show actually goes full family friendly comes late in its run in the short, “Here Comes The Treble.”  The celebration of classical music finds the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot going toe to toe against a very self-righteous conductor.  The story is a reboot in itself of a certain classic Looney Tunes short in which Bugs Bunny faces off against an arrogant opera singer.  Even worse is the moment in the “Pinky and the Brain” short, “Mousechurian Candidate” in which the writers decided to go blue.  Brain tells Pinky in one line that he is going to put one character “through hell.”  Yes, the writers went there.  Thankfully it is the only point at which such language is used.  The original series succeeded without ever having to use foul language, so why did the show’s writers feel the need to go such route here? 

Speaking of Pinky and The Brain, they are they and Ralph are the only secondary characters who are regularly featured in this season.  There is one episode, “Good Warner Hunting,” in which the writers bring back all the old secondary characters (E.g. The Hip Hippos, Slappy Squirrel and her nephew Skippy, Katie Kaboom, etc.) but instead of paying tribute or even hinting at them being brought back long term, the story in the episode feels more like the writers were thumbing their noses at viewers.  They were acknowledging the absence of those characters from the reboot, but basically just kept them as a secondary element in that one sole episode.  In their place are far worse secondaries “The Incredible Gnome in People’s Mouths” and “Starbox and Cindy.”  These characters and their shorts come across like something that was crafted when the writers were high on something.  One cannot help but wonder, in looking at these new secondaries, if the writers from Ren & Stimpy were involved in this season, considering this and all of the primary writing concerns.  All things considered here, the content featured in the lead season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is reason enough to not watch or even buy the show’s two-disc set.  It is just one of the problems from which this set suffers.  The lack of any bonus content detracts from the presentation’s appeal even more.

The lack of bonus content is important because while Animaniacs only ran for five seasons in its initial run in the 90s, that was still a long run.  To this day, it is still very much a beloved property.  That is again because of the brand of verbal and physical comedy that it brought forward.  Yes, it was modern at the time, but it resurrected a brand of comedy that was far more common to cartoons and movies of the early 20th century.  What’s more, the work put in by the voice cast and the animators added even more appeal.  Sadly, none of that is discussed here.  As a matter of fact, there is no bonus content to speak of.  There is no retrospective on the importance of the original series.  There is no defense made by the show’s cast and crew for this unnecessary reboot.  That someone or certain parties felt that the show did not need defense in its rebooting (considering it is among so many reboots) is just lazy and irresponsible.  Maybe had someone taken the time to try to defend this reboot, it might have led some viewers to rethink their views especially after watching the featured main content.  That is not guaranteed, but the possibility is there.  On another note, that the only references made to the original series came in the shorts (and in rather sarcastic, dismissive fashion at that) is only that much more disrespectful to the legacy of the original show and to the fans.  It leaves audiences feel that the writers wanted to bring in the audiences who watched the original show, but did not care enough to actually keep things family friendly.  It is all just so disappointing.

Now keeping in mind everything addressed here, it makes the two-disc set’s pricing problematic in its own right.  Walmart has the set available in store at a price of $20.  It should be no more expensive than $15, honestly, considering It runs 13 episodes.  If it were more expansive, that would guarantee the price.  That is the same price at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million each list the set at $24.99 and $24.98 respetively, far exceeding the more commonly occurring price of $20.  All things considered, neither price is worth paying considering how little this set has to offer audiences of any age.  Between the dated, adults-only content that fills out most of the season and the lack of any bonus content, the prices are just too much all the way around.  Keeping this in mind, it is yet another negative and shows once more why this two-disc debut season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is a failure.

Hulu and Studio Distribution Services’ DVD presentation of Animaniacs Season 1 is a disappointing offering from the companies.  Knowing that the series has already been re-upped for a second season, odds are that those behind this reboot or even its home release have learned anything from the mistakes of this presentation.  There is nothing redeeming about the set.  The main content is clearly aimed mainly at adults, unlike the original series.  To make it worse, the content featured here does not even have any longevity.  It is dated throughout so much of what is shown.  All of this in mind, the content is just one of the set’s shortcomings.  The lack of any bonus content in the set decreases its enjoyment even more.  Taking that into account along with the less than memorable primary content featured in this set, the whole makes the set’s pricing even less appealing.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole makes this presentation anything but appealing.

Animaniacs Season 1 is available now for those who actually want the set.  More information on the set is available along with all of the latest Animaniacs news at:

Website: https://www.hulu.com/theanimaniacs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theanimaniacs

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

Watertower Music Announces Release Date, Art, Track Listing For ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Soundtrack

Courtesy: Watertower Music

The official soundtrack to the upcoming reboot of Godzilla vs. Kong will release later this month.

The soundtrack is scheduled for release March 26 through Watertower Music, a division of Warner Records. Its release will come less than a week ahead of the movie’s premiere on March 31. The reboot will come through Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers. The music featured in the soundtrack was composed by Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a. Junkie XL).

Holkenborg said taking part in the movie by composing its score was a special experience.

“I’m a huge fan of Godzilla and Kong!,”  he said. “I’ve watched over 35 Godzilla movies over the years, so geeking out with Adam over this film came naturally. Kong is such an iconic character with over 90 years of scoring history behind him, and this was a perfect project for me to flex the retro monster orchestral scoring side of my brain, mixed with my very contemporary electronic side – in this case `80s sequences and basslines in the vein of John Carpenter. In this score I am trying to emphasize the insanity of Godzilla and the humanity of Kong. In the spirit of the film, it was fun to get my mad scientist coat on and make some monstrous sounds!”

The soundtrack’s track listing is noted below. Two of its songs — ‘Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme)‘ and ‘Skull Island (Kong Theme)‘ — are available now digitally.

01) Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme)

02) Skull Island (Kong Theme)

03) Apex Cybernetics

04) A New Language

05) Just Now

06) Tasman Sea

07) Through There

08) Antarctica

09) Hollow Earth

10) The Throne

11) Lunch

12) Nuclear Blast

13) The Royal Axe

14) Mega

15) Hong Kong

More information on this and other titles from Watertown Music is available along with all of the label’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.watertower-music.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaterTowerMusic

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

Goo Goo Dolls Debuts ‘This Is Christmas’ Video

Courtesy: Warner Records

Goo Goo Dolls debuted the official video for its single ‘This Is Christmas‘ Monday. The video’s debut comes more than a month after the band debuted the song’s “fireplace video.” The song and its video was followed by the premiere of its cover of the holiday standard ‘Let It Snow‘ Oct. 15 through USA Today.

The new video for ‘This Is Christmas’ finds front man John Rzeznik and longtime band mate Robby Takac in a car set against a blue screen making their way to someone’s home as Rzeznik sings to the song. The blue screen plays images of snow-covered trees and road to add to the song’s wintry/holiday sense.

‘Let It Snow’ and ‘This Is Christmas’ are featured in Goo Goo Dolls’ first-ever holiday album It’s Christmas All Over, which is available. The record’s track listing is noted below.

IT’S CHRISTMAS ALL OVER TRACK-LISTING

1. Christmas All Over Again
2. Shake Hands With Santa Claus
3. This Is Christmas
4. Christmas Don’t Be Late
5. Better Days
6. You Ain’t Getting Nothin’
7. Let It Snow
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5)

In other Goo Goo Dolls concert news, the band is scheduled to launch a new string of live North American dates July 22, 2021 in Nampa, ID support of Miracle Pill‘s re-issue.  The tour is scheduled to run through Aug. 18 in Boston, MA and to feature performances in cities, such as Holmdel, NJ; Morrison, CO and Huber Heights, OH.  The full tour schedule, which takes the band throughout the Midwest, is available at the band’s official website.

More information on Goo Goo Dolls’ new single, album, tour and more is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.googoodolls.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/googoodolls

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/googoodolls

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.

‘The Jetsons: The Complete Series’ Is In Fact Incomplete

Courtesy: Hanna-Barbera/Warner Home Video

When Hanna Barbera debuted its animated series The Jetsons in 1962 on ABC, few if any people would have thought that the series would go on to be such a prophetic program and so beloved.  So when the series’ first season was released on DVD in 2004 through Warner Home Video, it gave lots of people plenty of reason to be excited.  It would take another five years before audiences would see another release, which came in the form of the first half of the series’ second season.  That release was the last official release for the series, while the second half of the second season, the third full season and the whole season were released on DVD and Blu-ray respectively through an on-demand platform through a partnership between Amazon, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers.  Those releases were not official releases, meaning that audiences were pretty much left waiting and wondering when and if the rest of the series would ever get an official release.  Audiences got their answer Oct. 13 with the release of The Jetsons: The Complete Series on DVD.  The eight-disc collection is a mostly enjoyable presentation, though also imperfect.  Its main positive is it’s the fact that it does in fact contain all three of the series’ seasons in one set.  The importance hereof will be discussed shortly.  While the inclusion of all three of the series’ seasons is an undeniable positive, its overall lack of any bonus content hurts its presentation considerably.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the lack of any real bonus content hurts this collection’s presentation without argument, the set’s packaging actually helps that presentation.  This will be discussed later, too.  When it is considered with the very presentation of the full series, the two elements do just enough to make the set worth owning for the series’ most devoted fans, but just enough.

Warner Home Video’s recently released presentation of The Jetsons: The Complete Series is a presentation that while mostly enjoyable, falls somewhat short of expectations.  It is not a complete failure, though.  One thing about the collection that audiences will appreciate is that it is in fact the full three-season run of the timeless, beloved series.  This is important because this release marks the first time ever that the series has ever received an official full series release.  As already noted here, Warner Home Video and Hanna-Barbera partnered in the early 2000s to release the series’ first season in whole on DVD.  That was followed five years later with the release of the first half of the series’ second season.  After that though, the series never released any other official DVD releases.  Amazon partnered with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers to release the second half of Season Two and the whole of Season Three on an on-demand DVD platform, and the series’ full run on an on-demand Blu-ray platform.  Those releases, in other words, are recorded to DVD-R/BD-R discs when audiences purchase the sets online.  According to some reviews read by this critic, allegedly the Blu-ray series set may in fact not be the whole set, but only Season One.  That is stated by multiple people who reviewed the set through Amazon.  If in fact there is some credence to the allegation, then it makes this new DVD collection that much more appealing for the noted devotees of The Jetsons.  Now, for all that the actual full physical presentation of the series’ run does for this collection’s presentation, the lack of secondary content detracts greatly from its presentation.

Secondary content is, in this case, bonus content.  The only bonus content that is featured in this collection is the Jetsons movie The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones.  On the surface, having the movie seems okay.  However, it is a downfall because the movie in question is already featured in the much less expensive double disc set of The Flintstones movies and TV specials as one of the featured movies.  That collection in question costs only about $14.87 (using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellsers, and Books-A-Million).  This eight-disc collection of The Jetsons averages $26.18 (sing price listings at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – it was not listed at Books-A-Million).  Audiences will find themselves left scratching their heads and wondering why The Jetsons movie was not also featured as a bonus here.  Additionally, the box sets for the series’ first season and the first half of its second season featured lots of bonus content, such as a history of The Jetsons, the series’ cultural importance and even a pair of feature-length audio commentaries.  Those bonuses were not carried over to this collection.  Considering that each set was released in partner between Warner Home Video (Warner Media Group) and Hanna-Barbera, it seems odd that the noted content was not carried over.  As a result, audiences who (like this critic) enjoy that bonus content and already own the noted sets will basically have to keep them in order to enjoy them since they were not brought to this latest set.  That is a disservice to the noted audiences and is collectively an undeniable detractor from the set’s presentation.  Now for all that the lack of any real bonus content does to detract from the collection’s presentation, it does not make the set a complete failure.  One other item – the set’s packaging – makes up for the problems posed by the lack of bonus content.

The packaging in question actually takes up less space than the two official season sets that Hanna-Barbera and Warner Home Video released in 2004 and 2009.  In other words, it will take up slightly less space on audiences’ DVD/BD racks than those noted standalone sets.  This is unquestionably positive.  Even better is that the discs are themselves packaged well inside the case.  Each disc sits on its own “plate” inside the case, separate from the other discs.  There is no having to move the discs and risk damaging them in order to remove or replace them before and after watching them.  It may come across as a surprise, but there are still some companies who take that old packaging approach for their multi-disc DVD and BD sets.  To that end, this adds to the set’s appeal.  It still is not the last of the most notable of the packaging positives. 

The set also features an insert that clearly points out each episode’s title, on which discs the episodes are featured, and even which discs present which season.  Again, there are a lot of home video companies even today that will not take that approach.  So both companies are to be commended for taking this simple step, too.  Putting the proverbial cherry on top of this presentation is the exterior packaging.

The exterior packaging for The Jetsons: The Complete Series is simple.  The case is surrounded by a simple cardboard type outer “box” that slides simply on and off of the case that contains the discs.  This protects the case and the discs while also saving audiences time in getting to the discs.  This is important to note because in comparison, the Season One and Season Two, Volume One sets each essentially have to be shaken from their exterior packaging to even get to the cases.  That is because the cases are packed so tightly in their respective exterior packaging.  Having to shake the cases can lead the discs to potentially come undone from their spots inside the cases and get damaged.  It is also time consuming to have to take that extra time trying to just get to the case, let alone the discs therein.  To that end, this aspect of the packaging is definitely its own positive, even being more of an aesthetic aspect of the packaging.  When this aspect is considered with the other noted packaging elements, the whole of the packaging really stands out and shows its importance just as much as the fact that the entire series is actually presented here.  When these two elements are considered along with the concerns raised by the lack of any real substantive bonus content, the whole of those elements makes the collection enjoyable although imperfect.

Warner Home Video and Hanna-Barbera’s recently released The Jetsons: The Complete Series set is an enjoyable presentation, but is sadly not necessarily complete.  Yes, it has the series’ full three-season run.  Yes, its packaging definitely is complete.  However, it lacks any real substantive bonus content.  To that end, the series is complete in one aspect, but it still will leave some audiences wanting for more in the long run.  Keeping that in mind, one can only hope that if the set is ever re-issued, it really will live up to its title of being complete.  More information on this and other titles from Warner Home Video is available at:

Website: http://warnerbros.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Warnerbros

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DC, WB’s ‘Scooby-Doo,’ ‘Batman’ Crossover Is A Largely Forgettable Addition To Each Franchise’s History

DC/Warner Brothers/Warner Brothers Animation

Almost five decades have passed since Warner Brothers first teamed the Dynamic Duo with Mystery Inc. for the Scooby Doo Movie, Scooby Doo Meets Batman.  The movie also went by the title The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair.  That “movie” saw Mystery Inc. partner with Batman and Robin to stop a counterfitting ring set up by the Joker and the Pengin.  September 16 will mark 46 years since that “movie” first debuted.  Now all those years later, Scooby, Shaggy and the gang have teamed up with the Caped Crusader again, this time to face another of Gotham’s bad guys in Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  While the 75-minute “movie” does present an interesting story at its core, the writing therein proves ultimately to be the movie’s downfall.  While the writing ruins any chance of this “movie” being one of the more memorable of WB’s so many Scooby Doo movies, it can at least be said that the voice cast deserves its own share of credit in the final presentation.  When that work is considered along with the movie’s central story, the two elements together worth at least one watch, but sadly no more than that.

Scoob-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold marks the first time in almost 46 years that Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera have partnered Batman with Mystery Inc.  The story at the center of the “movie,” which is essentially an extended episode of Cartoon Network’s short-lived series (it lasted only three seasons from 2008-2011) is one of the only saving graces for a presentation that is otherwise a sadly forgettable addition to both franchises.  That is because of its simplicity.  The story follows Mystery Inc. as “the gang” joins an “elite mystery solving group” made up of other well-known DC characters – Black Canary, The Question, Jon Jonzz (The Martian Manhunter) and Plastic Man – after being tested by Batman and Martian Manhunter.  The catch is that the meddling kids didn’t know they were being tested until after the fact.  This is one of the problems with the movie’s writing that will be discussed a little later.  When the group decides on a case for the organization to solve, that quest turns into a journey to solve what is Batman’s only unsolved case.  Making things difficult for everyone along the way is none other than one Det. Harvey Bullock, who fans of Batman The Animated Series will recognize.  What audiences will appreciate about this story is that it shows that more human side of Batman even as he wears his “uniform.”  It shows he can be (and does get) affected by trying to solve cases.  It’s a rarely seen side of Batman that is nice to see.  Obviously the case does get solved, with a surprise twist, which audiences will appreciate, too.  While that twist is something that audiences will appreciate, it leads into a deeper discussion on the writing at the center of the story.  The writing proves problematic throughout the “movie.”

The story’s writing proves so problematic because of the plot holes and pacing issues that arise throughout the movie.  Right from the movie’s outset, one of those many plot holes appears as the gang is investigating a crime (or so they think) at an abandoned theater.  Obviously things are not quite as they seem.  This is only revealed after Batman just randomly appears on the theater’s rooftop to “help” the gang.  Freddy asks Batman what he’s doing there, and in an attempt to explain things away, Batman simply responds that he goes where crime is.  There’s no back story on how the gang came to investigate the “crime,” which obviously was just a test for the gang.  It would have been nice to have had some back story there, considering the outcome.  Had this been any other case, opening so abruptly might have worked, but not here.  As the story progresses, Batman’s super detective friends side with Bullock, just agreeing that Batman appeared guilty in the original case, not even questioning him.  Considering the connection between the group, one would have thought the group would have sided with Batman, not Bullock.  This becomes problematic, too since they just outright believe Bullock.  In the final act, audiences get a resolution as the real villain is revealed.  That is perhaps one of the few positives of the writing because the writing team behind the “movie” does admittedly at least do a good job keeping viewers guessing about the identity of The Crimson Cloak.”  The problem is that it would have made so much more sense to just wrap up the story where it was.  Sadly though, the 13-member writing team couldn’t let go.  They instead lead the story to go on well past where it should have ended, leaving viewers asking when it is going to end and why it didn’t end when it should have.  In the same breath, that final scene that should have been the final scene leads to yet another pot hole involving The Question.  Why did he disappear for such a long time after the bank heist, despite the explanation?  Why did he not rejoin the group and tell them what happened?  That was never explained.  If he had just re-appeared earlier and that point been explained away, it would have created the standard evil twin plot, given.  At the same time, though maybe it would have shortened up the movie, too, but the writers didn’t want to go that route.  Instead they take a route that even in the end leaves more questions than answered.  Even with all of the references to all of the classic Batman franchises (including the beloved series starring the late great Adam West thanks to the gang hanging out in the original Batcave and even an appearance by King Tut) these plot holes and the pacing problems leave so much to be desired here.  To that end, the writing in this story does more damage to Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold than any good.  The damage is, in fact, so intense that it leaves this story largely forgettable among the endless stream of Scooby-Doo movies.

While the writing at the center of Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold does significant damage to its presentation, the “movie” does have at least one more saving grace other than just its story.  That other factor is the work of the voice cast.  Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in every Scooby-Doo presentation since 2002’s live action/CG hybrid movie, once again returns to voice Shaggy this time out, and he shines again in his role, offering plenty of laughs, even as he don’s Nightwing’s old costume.  Freddy, voiced once more by none other than Frank Welker could have phoned it in, having voiced Freddy for so many decades, yet he gave it his all once again throughout.  The way he handled Freddy’s infatuation with Black Canary makes for plenty of laughs.  His act as he dons Batman’s “Year One” costume makes for one of the best moments as Freddy really does try to take on the strong persona that is Batman.  Freddy obviously fails to have that persona, yet is so endearing because of his effort to be so heroic.  Again, this is an example of a voice actor who fully understands and appreciates his character.  That makes his performance all the more entertaining.  Kate Micuci (Lego Batman: The Movie, Big Bang Theory, Steven Universe) is entertaining in her own right, too as the voice of Velma.  This is not her first time taking on the role, either.  She voiced Velma in the short-lived Scooby-Doo series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo and in the Scooby-Doo movies Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown, Scooby-Doo! And WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon and other Scooby-Doo properties.  The way that Micucci handled Velma’s starstruck behavior toward Batman adds even more entertainment to the presentation.  Her reaction to working with Batman is like a child getting to meet his or her favorite celebrity.  That especially comes through as Velma learns that the gang is joining Batman at the Batcave.  Her interactions with Detective Chimp (played by Kevin Michael Richardson – Lilo & Stitch, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Batman) make for even more entertainment as the two clearly talented sleuths try to outdo one another in their investigations.  Those are some subtle yet fun moments that audiences will remember, too.  Between those moments, the moments presented by Welker, Lillard and the rest of the main voice cast, that work offers its own collective enjoyment for audiences.  When the voice cast’s otherwise memorable collective work is coupled with the story at the center of the “movie” the two elements do just enough to save the movie, but not enough to make it more than just one watch.

Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a fun watch for the whole family, whether for everyone’s favorite K-9 case solver and his friends, for Batman and company or for both.  That is thanks to the story at the center of the “movie” and the work of the voice cast.  While those elements do plenty to make the movie an interesting watch, its writing creates its own share of problems thanks to its pacing problems and plot holes.  When this is all considered together, the end result is a presentation that while maybe fun, is regrettably an otherwise forgettable addition to the ongoing Scooby-Doo movies series.  It is available now in stores and online.

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Time Life’s Latest Carol Burnett Show Box Set Is A Treasure In Itself

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Television today is not what it used to be. Between all of the drama, serials, and sex there really is not a lot worth watching anymore. That is not to say that there is nothing worth watching. But television’s true worthwhile commercial offerings are, at least in the eyes of this critic, few and far between. It goes without saying that in terms of current offerings on television, PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming. While it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television, there are other options available on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to the likes of Shout! Factory and Time Life Entertainment. Both companies have proven in the past ten years or so to be the leading names in the home entertainment market in terms of truly worthwhile television offerings. And next month Time Life Entertainment will show why it holds its title once again when it releases its latest collection of classic Carol Burnett Show episodes The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault. The six-disc set is a continuation of Time Life Entertainment’s previous Carol Burnett Show box set, The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. That set was released this past September. Just as with that box set, the episodes collected for this set lie at the heart of its presentation. The collective work of the show’s writers and cast is another important element in its presentation. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its most important elements. Each element plays its own important part in the whole of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Altogether, they make The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and of classic TV in general.

Time Life Entertainment’s latest collection of episodes from The Carol Burnett Show is one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and for classic TV fans in general. This is especially true in an age when commercial networks’ offerings are largely anything but being worth the watch. The main element that makes it such a wonderful treasure is its episodes. As with Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection from The Carol Burnett Show this collection lifts its fifteen total episodes from the series’ first five seasons. This is important to note because none of the episodes from the show’s first five seasons had ever been released in any of Time Life’s previous Carol Burnett Show box sets up until the release of this box set and its predecessor. Considering that the series’ first five seasons’ episode count totals 134 episodes, and only 30 of those episodes will have seen the light of day upon this box set’s release, that still leaves 104 episodes to be released. That means that this latest installment will hardly be the last collection to feature episodes from the series’ first five seasons. Since it looks like Time Life won’t be releasing the series in its complete season sets or even full series run anytime soon, this is a very good thing for fans. It means that the laughs and guffaws will keep coming for some time to come. And that’s just the beginning of this box set’s positives. The work of the show’s writers and cast together makes for plenty of entertainment for audiences.

The episodes featured in Time Life Entertainment’s latest Carol Burnett Show collection are important in their own right to the set’s overall presentation. That is because they are just one more collection of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five episodes. Collectively speaking they are hardly the last episodes from The Carol Burnett Show’s early years to be released. Considering the total number of episodes that made up the show’s first five seasons, there are plenty more to come. It would have been nice to have these episodes in full standalone season sets. But beggars can’t be choosers. Now considering this, they are collectively just one part of what makes this collection its own treasure. Throughout the course of this collection’s featured episodes, the writers and cast work together to give audiences loads of laughs. One episode that clearly exhibits this comes late in the set’s run in the form of “Cheek to Cheek.” This skit, included in Disc Twelve (Yes, twelve. That will be discussed later) pokes fun at the dance numbers that filled so many classic movies from the 1930s and 40s. It compares those classic scenes (and numbers) to what a real life scenario would look like if everybody suddenly broke out in song and dance. The very concept was, for its time, original to say the least. And the very thought is in itself pretty funny. Watching Harvey suddenly breaking out in song and dance, taking Carol and having her dance around in the “restaurant” adds to that hilarity. Harvey’s almost Woody Allen style character is a laugh riot with his New York accent and glasses. It is something that audiences simply must see in order to appreciate. On another note “The Secretaries” offers just as much entertainment. Carol stars opposite Harvey Korman as Ms. Farnum, Mr. Bradley’s secretary. Ms. Farnum has to choose her temporary replacement so that she can go on vacation. She ends up coming face to face with some candidates that definitely outshine her with hilarious results. The ultimate outcome won’t be revealed here. But it will leave audiences in stitches, needless to say. As if that isn’t enough, “The Wonderful World of Hospitals” offers its own share of entertainment. Guest star Jonathan Winters stars opposite Harvey Korman in this sketch. Winters is hilarious as the doctor being interviewed here. His character is one part Jonathan Winters and one part Groucho Marx. It’s something that must be seen to be believed and appreciated. At one point he laughs at one of his jokes and ever so subtly uses his stethoscope to check his own heart rate after the fact. The subtlety of that movement is so funny. Again, it’s one of those moments that is so absurd that one can’t help but laugh at it. The very concept behind the skit makes the writers well deserving of their applause once again here. The same applies to Korman for his ability to maintain a certain seriousness throughout the sketch even with Winters’ laugh riot performance. It’s just one more way in which the combined efforts of the series’ writers and cast make this latest collection of episodes a true treasure. There are plenty of other moments that could be cited as examples, too. Ken Berry’s footwork as he dances to “Mr. Bojangles” is another example that could be cited in this argument. As Carol and her castmates pay tribute to Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes, audiences will find themselves laughing just as much. And Carol’s set closing performance as the famed Charwoman is perhaps the highest of the set highest moments. The moment in question sees the Charwoman closing down the set of The Carol Burnett Show at the end of a season. She imagines that she is in each of the sketches that were churned out in the season in question. It is a truly memorable and moving moment that is certain to leave at least some audiences shedding tears of joy thanks to its beauty and gentility. Whether for that moment, those directly noted here or even those not directly noted, it can be said of the cast and writers’ work here that both play integral parts in the overall presentation of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Together with the episodes themselves, both elements combine to give audiences even more reason to purchase this box set. Even with their importance they are still not all that should be noted of the collection. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its presentation.

The episodes that are featured in Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set and the work put into each episode by the show’s writers and cast go a long way towards making the collection in whole enjoyable. as important as both elements are to the set’s presentation they are not the set’s only notable elements. The companion booklet that comes with the box set is just as important to the set as the previously noted elements. That is because it continues a tradition established by Time Life in the company’s previous Carol Burnett Show presentations. The tradition in question is making the booklet not just a booklet but a part of the set’s overall experience. It features a full episode guide that is specific to each of the set’s discs. Audiences will note of the listed discs that rather than simply labeling them as Disc 1 – 6, Time Life has instead labeled them as Disc 7 – 12. This is important to note because it tells audiences that Time Life didn’t just throw together a bunch of episodes and random discs. Instead it proves to audiences that the set is a direct connection to Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection. Time Life is to be applauded quite soundly for that. What’s more there are even little tidbits about different episodes throughout the guide that come from Carol herself and in general. All of this taken into consideration, it shows clearly why the companion booklet that comes with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is just as important to the set in whole as the set’s featured episodes and the content of each episode. It works together with those elements to show once and for all, without a doubt, that this set is indeed a treasure of its own both for Carol Burnett Show fans and for classic TV lovers in general.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is a treasure of its own both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic television lovers in general. It shows this mainly through its collected episodes. The episodes are another sampling of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five seasons. The work put into each episode by the series’ writers and cast make each episode a laugh riot for any viewer. The companion booklet included in the six-disc sets completes audiences viewing experience as it not only offers a complete disc-by-disc episode guide but also bonus background information on specific episodes. Audiences even get to choose from the episodes within each disc, making the overall viewing experience all the more enjoyable. Each element plays its own important part in the overall presentation of The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault. Altogether they show clearly why the collection is a treasure in and of itself both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic TV fans in general. It will be available on Tuesday, February 9th and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Treasures-Vault/dp/B018DQV44I/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1453840504&sr=1-1&keywords=the+carol+burnett+show+treasures+from+the+vault. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

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WHV Finally Gets One Right With Its New Peanuts Collection

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

This Thanksgiving, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox will team up to bring audiences the first-ever big screen Peanuts adventure that (go figure) is simply titled The Peanuts Movie. Personal opinions aside, it is interesting to note that as the movie’s debut nears, so is Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division–Warner Home Video (WHV)–stepping up its re-issues of the classic Peanuts TV specials. Already released this year WHV has re-issued Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. Officials with WHV have also announced that the organization will also release Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) and He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown along with the company’s new compilation set Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection. The latter of the trio is currently planne for a nationwide release on Tuesday, September 15th. Though, interestingly enough it has already been released through Target likely via a special deal between the retailer and the people at WHV. For those that were not lucky enough to pick up the dual-disc collection in its original release via Target will be pleased to add it to their personal collections. The main reason that audiences will be pleased to add it to their collections is its featured specials. It features eleven classic Peanuts TV specials that while previously released on one platform or another are now collected into this much more ergonomic collection. This will be discussed at more length shortly. Another reason that the collection proves so interesting and worth the purchase is the material presented within each special. Audiences actually get to hear an adult talk for the first time ever in one special (She’s A Good Skate, Charlie Brown). And while most audiences are familiar with the classic Peanuts holiday specials, some will be surprised that there is another holiday special of sorts that is just as deserving of attention in the form of What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? This special is a deeply moving Memorial Day special that will impact viewers of all ages. Last of note in regards to this collection’s positives is that classic hand-drawn animation style. The old school style of artwork is yet another example of what once made animated features truly animated and in turn truly entertaining. Each noted element shows in its own way that Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is a surprising new release from WHV. It would be nice to think that maybe it marks the beginning of WHV finally moving in the right direction after having slid in the wrong direction for the past couple of years or so. One can only hope. Even if it is just a random diamond in the rough from the once powerhouse studio, it proves through all three noted elements together, to be one that any Peanuts fan will happily welcome into his or her home DVD library.

Warner Home Video has been noticeably declining over the course of the past two years or more. That is evident through every one of its releases both for families and for select audiences. Said releases have shown that someone(s) at WHV apparently did not and does not care about providing audiences with quality home releases. For all of the problematic releases that WHV has put out in stores over the past couple of years or so, finally a random diamond in the rough from WHV will be released very soon in the form of the new Peanuts collection Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection. This collection of TV specials includes eleven classic Peanuts TV specials that some of which were nominated for Emmy Awards while certain others actually received the coveted trophy. It should be noted that all eleven of the specials featured in this new double-disc collection have each previously been released via one platform or another. Some have been released on VHS while others have previously been released on DVD. Others have even been issued and re-issued on one platform then another. Despite this, some viewers out there might not have been lucky enough to add one, another or more of the featured specials up until this point. That being the case, all eleven specials show collectively to be of the utmost importance for all viewers. That is because more than likely among the legions of Peanuts fans around the world few to any likely have all of the included specials.

The inclusion of each of its specials in one collection is good for Peanuts fans everywhere in large part because having them all in one place means just that. It means that for the first time ever each one of the specials has been finally released on one platform on which all audiences can watch them. No one is left behind. On another level, for those that had one or more of the specials in question from their previous releases can finally eliminate those platforms (or at least most of them if they own the original VHS copies of said specials). That will ultimately lead to saved space for many fans on their respective DVD racks. Again, this might not apply for every Peanuts fan. But it will definitely apply to many fans. And that being the case, it makes the collection’s ergonomic factor that much more important to the whole of its success and enjoyment.

The episodes presented in Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection show clearly why they are within themselves quite important to the whole of the collection. Examining the episodes on a closer level, ther writing shows to be just as important to the collection as the episodes themselves. In examining the specials’ writing it becomes clear why they were either nominated or in some cases even won an Emmy. That is most evident through the surprisingly moving special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown. This sequel of sorts to Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) follows Charlie Brown and company on their departure from France. Along the way, the Peanuts gang happens to arrive at Normandy and the site of the Allied landing on D-Day. The history lesson provided by Linus upon their arrival is unbiased and moving all at the same time. The writers don’t pull any punches here, revealing that the Allied attack on Normandy was in fact anything but perfect. Linus notes in his lesson that weather conditions had ruined the mission so much that Allied commanders even considered pulling back. That is a lesson that sadly very few history teachers and professors alike will teach in the classroom. So it is nice to have that historical truth noted in a special that is aimed at younger viewers.

In another of the collection’s episodes, She’s A Good Skate, Charlie Brown, audiences actually get to hear an adult speak for the first (and probably only)time in the history of the Peanuts TV specials. The adult in question is Peppermint Patty’s teacher. She continuously calls on Patty as Patty continues falling asleep in class thanks to her early morning skating practice. Yes, skating. That is another reason that the writing in this special proves so notable. Anyone that knows their Peanuts history knows that Peppermint Patty is more of a tomboy than a girly girl. Heck, she was even voiced by males in a number of the specials. So having Patty taking part in a sport that is traditionally more aimed at females than males shows a completely opposite side of Patty and to the Peanuts universe in whole.  It is a change that all audiences will agree now in the 21st century is a welcome change.  It shows that it’s okay for a girl to be girly and one of the boys.  Simply put, it really serves to defy those strict, standard gender roles established by society.  Whether or not that is the reason that it at least received an Emmy nomination, it is one more reason that the writing behind this special stands out so strongly as one more part of the whole of the collection’s writing.

Why, Charlie Brown, Why? is perhaps the strongest evidence of the importance of the writing behind the collection’s featured episodes. This episode tackles the issue of cancer. On a more specific level, it tackles the issue of childhood cancer and the impact of cancer on both the victim and his or her friends and family. Its story centers on a young girl named Janet who is diagnosed with leukemia. It just so happens that she is friends with Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Though, Linus is the main character of this story. That side element of the story’s writing will be discussed shortly. Sticking on the main topic, the manner in which the writers tackled the subject is hugely worthy of applause. It was handled with the utmost gentility and in a fashion that also made the topic accessible even for much younger viewers. That in itself makes this special more than just a special. It is special in every sense of the word. It’s just one aspect of the special’s writing that makes it so notable among the others included in this set. The fact that Linus was made the story’s central character makes it even more worth the watch. It’s not the first time that Charlie Brown took a back seat to his Peanuts pals. But it is one of the most successful episodes that featured someone other than Charlie Brown at the center of the story. That is especially the case as audiences see Linus actually lose his cool in a very rare instance. He loses it when another child makes fun of Janet for having lost her hair right in front of him. Audiences will find themselves cheering Linus on and even doing so with the slightest tear in their eyes. That rare moment really exemplifies the pent-up feelings that not only children feel in a situation such as that presented here, but grown-ups, too. So for that reason too, the writing behind Why, Charlie Brown, Why? shows even more the importance of the episodes’ writing in whole in examining the set in whole. It is just one more example of the importance of the writing within each of the set’s episodes. The writing within each of the remaining eight specials shows in its own way why the writing in whole is so important to the episodes’ enjoyment and the success of the set in whole. And together with the episodes themselves, both elements together make a strong argument why every Peanuts fan should have this new collection in his or her own home DVD library. They still are just part of the whole of the collection’s positives. Last of note is the animation style within each episode.

Both the episodes featured throughout the body of Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection and the writing within each special makes for plenty of reason for Peanuts fans to appreciate this latest collection of Peanuts classics. Of course what examination of such a classic collection would be complete without mention of the specials’ animation style. Every one of the specials featured as part of Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection was drawn by hand. That means that endless hours were spent bringing to leave each and every second of each special. Now being that each special runs roughly in the range of about twenty minutes (or just a little more in some cases), the math adds up to quite a bit of time spent on bringing each special to life for broadcast. That says a lot when these specials are compared to the largely CG presentations out there today that try to claim themselves as being animated. They are animated in name only. These specials show everything that was once great about true, animated features. Each one of the specials boasts a similar look. But there are also minute details within each special that set them apart. Audiences that have eagle eyes will catch that minutia. The same can’t be said of today’s CG creations. It really gives these classic specials a real soul and heart. Together with the episodes’ impressive writing and the episodes themselves all three elements come together to make Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection a clear must have for any real devoted Peanuts fan.

Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is a must have for any real Peanuts fan. That is the case whether or not said fan already owns any of the specials presented here on their original release platforms. The collective writing presented within each of the collection’s makes the episodes and the collection in whole even more enjoyable. The standout animation style presented across each of the collection’s specials rounds out the presentation. It reminds audiences by comparison of what once made animation so great. The animation is original. Even the upcoming Peanuts Movie that is due out this Thanksgiving doesn’t entirely hold up to that style of animation despite the efforts of those behind the movie to make it look like the classics on which it is based. Each element in itself proves to be an important part of the collections’ whole. Altogether they make Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection a collection that any true-blooded Peanuts fan would himself or herself be honored to have in his or her home DVD library. Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is available now exclusively in Target stores nationwide. It will allegedly be available nationwide in other stores beginning Tuesday, September 15th. More information on this and other upcoming Peanuts releases is available online now along with the latest Peanuts news at:

Website: http://www.peanuts.com

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Shout! Factory Unearths Another Shining TV Gem In Pee-wee’s Playhouse Seasons 3, 4, & 5

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

When Pee-wee’s Playhouse first debuted on CBS’ Saturday morning children’s programming lineup way back in 1986, there was nothing like it on television at the time. Fast forward nearly three decades since its premiere and roughly twenty-five years since it ended its original run and still there has been nothing like it since. In the years since it ended its run the zany, one-of-a-kind children’s series has seen various VHS releases. But it had never received a proper DVD or even Blu-ray release. That is until 2014 when its complete five-season run was released on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory. Shout! Factory also released the series’ first two seasons in their own stand-alone DVD box set alongside the full series Blu-ray box set. And last Tuesday, Shout! Factory finished off it’s release of this modern classic when it released on a separate stand-alone box set, the series’ third through fifth season. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5–Special Edition is another great addition to the collection of anyone that grew up with this series. Much as with the series’ first two seasons, the show’s writing continues here to make it stand out among other children’s offerings of the day. The writers continue here to exhibit such talent, crafting stories that both teach important lessons and concepts and entertain all at the same time. On a more subtle note, the continued inclusion of classic cartoons in various episodes adds to the enjoyment. the cartoons include more well-known pieces pulled from the Warner Brothers vaults and lesser known pieces, which is in itself important to the whole. that will be discussed later. Moving on for now, the bonus cast and crew interviews coupled with the audio commentary on the series’ special Christmas episode rounds out the reasons for audiences to pick up this box set. The interviews offer an extensive look behind the scenes of the show and its production. In its own right, the audio commentary included in the series’ Christmas episode offers its own insight into the show even if only on that one episode. But that commentary plays its own important role in the presentation’s whole when partnered with the set’s aforementioned positives. All three elements together show exactly why any kid and kid at heart will appreciate this final release from what is the most intriguing children’s series in television’s history. So many positives along with the fact that Shout! Factory would take on the series once more shows yet again, too why Shout! Factory remains the leading name in home entertainment to this day.

Shout! Factory has over the years gone slowly and quietly gone from being a little indie-home entertainment company that could to being the leading name in home entertainment. Partnerships with Nickelodeon, CBS, and other major companies have led to the release of some of the greatest movies and TV shows in the modern history of both mediums. Not only that but the releases themselves have proven far more worth the watch than releases from a bigger name such as Warner Home Video. Its latest release, Pee-wee’s Playhouse Seasons 3, 4, and 5–Special Edition is even more proof of both arguments. The arguments are supported mainly through the show’s writing. Just as with the show’s first two seasons, its writers have once again managed to balance its zany, one-of-a-kind look and feel with content that educates in its own original way. “Fire in the Playhouse” is just one example of the writers’ ability to balance both elements as it subtly teaches about fire safety when Ms. Yvonne brings over some bread to bake. “Front Page Pee-wee” teaches both a simplistic lesson about journalistic integrity and telling the truth alongside a subtle lesson about healthy eating. And “Playhouse For Sale” teaches its own lesson about spreading rumors and jumping to conclusions. The lessons and entertainment offered in these episodes each show in their own way the ability of the show’s writers to balance its educational and one-of-a-kind entertainment content. There are plenty of other episodes that exemplify that ability of the writers to craft such balanced stories. Audiences will see that for themselves when they add this box set to their own DVD library. It is not all that audiences will note that makes the set so entertaining, either. The classic cartoons that are used in various episodes actually play an important role of their own to Seasons 3, 4, and 5. That’s especially the case in an era when real cartoons are extinct for all intents and purposes.

The continued ability of the writers to balance the educational and entertainment content in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th season of Pee-wee’s Playhouse is its own important part of the whole that the show’s original audiences will all appreciate. Said audiences will appreciate that ability and talent in that in its own way, it manages to keep viewers fully engaged. It may even keep today’s younger viewers engaged. While it is obviously an important part of the whole, the cartoons incorporated into the show’s weekly broadcasts were also collectively just as important. The cartoons incorporated into the show’s last three seasons included both the more well-known Looney Tunes cartoons and a number of far more obscure pieces. The cartoons themselves serve as their own lesson on the history of both cartoons and television in general. When viewed as part of the whole of Seasons 3, 4, and 5, the cartoons included in each episode add to the series’ entertainment value, thus making it even more worth the watch. This is especially the case considering the fact that real cartoons have become extinct for all intents and purposes. Taking that into account, it makes the cartoons incorporated into each show all the more important an element of the whole and in turn shows once more why this box set is well worth the purchase by anyone that grew up with Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

The balance of educational and entertainment content within each episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse in its final three seasons by itself makes for plenty of reason for the show’s now grown up original audiences to add this new set to their own DVD library. The entertainment and historical value of the cartoons incorporated into the show makes Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5–Special Edition all the more worth the addition to the library of any of the show’s now grown up audiences. Both noted elements play an integral part in the enjoyment of the set in whole. But they are not all that is worth noting in this set. The bonus interviews with the cast and crew along with the bonus commentary in “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special” collectively round out the reasons that audiences will appreciate the second and last set of episodes from the modern classic series. the bonus interviews with the cast and crew offer quite the insight into the show and its creation. Audiences learn how the show’s main characters were created and some of the cast and crew’s favorite moments in the interviews. The bonus commentary included in the series’ Christmas special is just as enlightening. Audiences will be surprised to learn right from the episode’s outset that the men’s chorus wearing the Marine outfits were not in fact Marines. The reasoning for the show’s heads to proceed with having a “Marine chorus” is just as intriguing to say the least. There is much more that could be noted. That would take far more time and space than is available to this critic. Along with the extensive amount of information shared through the episode’s commentary, audiences actually get two different commentaries. The first of the commentaries comes from Pee-Wee himself, Paul Reubens, and his . The other comes from those behind the cameras. And it is just as in-depth. Both commentaries coupled with the set’s bonus interviews shows just as much in its own right why these elements are just as important to the whole of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5 as the work of the show’s writers and the cartoons included as part of each season’s episodes. Whether for those cartoons, the writing, or for the bonus material included in the set, all three elements prove key in their own way. Collectively, they show exactly why this final set of episodes from one of television’s most intriguing series is one that any of the series’ original fans should have in his or her own personal library.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4, & 5 is available in stores and online now at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-comedy/pee-wee-s-playhouse-seasons-three-four-five-special-edition via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.