PBS Kids, WGBH’s New ‘Molly Of Denali’ DVD Is A “Great One”

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/WGBH

PBS Kids’ animated series Molly of Denali has been in the news a lot in the past year or so.  The series’ fans got good news about the show back in April when WGHB and PBS Kids announced that more than two years after its launch, the series will get a second season. According to the information provided at the time, the award-winning series is set to premiere its second season “in Fall 2021.”  The announcement came only months after PBS Kids released an extensive collection of Season One episodes in the form of Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures.  Its released was followed up last month with the release of the show’s first single-disc presentation, Molly and the Great One.  The DVD is another wonderful presentation from PBS Kids and WGBH that audiences of all ages will enjoy.  The presentation’s positives begin with its primary content, which is the hour-long episode, “Molly and the Great One.”  It will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the main feature builds on the appeal created through the main content.  It will be discussed a little later.  Considering the content in terms of its breadth and depth, it makes the DVD’s pricing key in its own way.  To that end, this item will also receive its own attention here, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the presentation one of the best of the year’s new family DVDs/BDs.

PBS Kids and WGBH’s recently released DVD presentation, Molly of DenaliMolly and the Great One is a wonderful new presentation from PBS Kids and WGBH.  As with its predecessor, this first-ever single disc collection from the series (the first collection was a double-disc set) offers a lot for audiences to like, beginning with its primary content.  In this case the primary content is the hour-long episode, “Molly and the Great One.”  The episode serves as what would appear to be the season finale for the first season of Molly of Denali.  There is a lot going on in the story, but it is all woven together so seamlessly.  The central story finds Molly and her friend Tooey joining Molly’s Grandpa Nat as he and Molly’s dad, Walter, make their way up Mount Denali, North America’s tallest mountain.  The journey happens because Molly wants to help Grandpa Nat achieve a lifelong dream, a bucket list item so to speak.  Everyone has their own bucket list, so to that end, this is a starting point that will make it easy for even grown-ups to relate to this story.  Also along for the hike is the internet celebrity Mac McFadden.  Meanwhile, Molly’s other friend Trini is finally – albeit temporarily – reunited with her mother back in town.  Her mom ends up playing her own important part in what happens on Mount Denali, too.  Obviously everything has a happy ending.  That goes without saying.  What is really interesting here is the clear cultural divide between Molly’s father and grandfather, and Mac.  Mac is a solid representation of not only today’s internet celebrity culture, but also of so much American culture, specifically of white Americans of European descent.  Case in point is when Nat and Walter warn Mac to not try to get to the mountain’s peak alone during a major snowstorm.  Like the fool that he is, he ignores their warning, leading to the noted role that Trini’s mom ends up playing.  Mac’s behavior – that machismo, that refusal to listen to wiser people who know the land – is so representative of how dismissive Americans of European descent have been to people of other ethnicities for centuries, and it is fully deserved.  The writers are to be commended for taking on this matter and doing so without being preachy about it in the process. 

Getting back to Trini’s story, while it is secondary, it is still an important part of the story in its own right.  In this case, it is revealed that Trini’s mom is a helicopter pilot.  It should be obvious from here how she plays into what happens atop Mount Denali later in the story.  She works with the military to a certain extent.  This means that she is gone a lot, which would explain why it is the first time that audiences have seen her this season.  By showing the dynamic between parent and child here, it serves as a certain representation for those children whose parents serve in the military, whether full-time or as reservists.  It helps those children watching this program to see that they are not alone, and that they will be okay, even as emotionally tough as it may be to not have that parent there all the time.  To that end, it is a great addition to the story that works both as its own strong standalone story and as an equally enjoyable addition to the primary story.  Keeping all of this in mind, the main story featured here does a lot to make the DVD’s main story enjoyable and engaging.  While it does so much to keep viewers engaged and entertained, it is only one of the DVD’s positives.  The bonus content (of sorts) that accompanies the main feature is also of note.

The bonus content that is featured in this new DVD is actually composed of more episodes from Season 1.  For those who perhaps do not keep up with Molly of Denali, its current lone season (thankfully Season 2 is coming…allegedly) is composed of 38 episodes, each episode being composed of two separate stories.  Last year’s double-disc release, Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures featured 16 of those episodes.  That is just under half the season.  This DVD presents another four episodes, putting the total count now to more than half of the season’s episodes.  Even more impressive is that the stories featured in this DVD are not carry-overs from the previous collection.  They are all previously unreleased on DVD.  Yes, it’s sad that the entirety of Season One hasn’t been released to DVD, but maybe that will come sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, having these additional stories along with the mass of stories featured in the previously released box set should make any fan of Molly of Denali happy.  From making a journey to one of her people’s important cultural events in “Canoe Journey,” to adopting a frog in “Froggy of Denali,” to trying to save Trini’s garden from the work of some beavers in “Busy Beavers,” and more, the stories here offer entertainment for audiences of all ages.  Keeping these stories in mind along with the fact that technically, “Molly and the Great One” is in fact technically just another episode (just in hour-long format), and it makes the whole that much more appealing for audiences.  Considering the content and depth therein of this DVD’s content, the presentation’s pricing proves to be its own positive worth discussing.

The average price point of Molly of DenaliMolly and the Great One is $9.02.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store.  Believe it or not, while PBS often has the most expensive of listings for its DVDs, that is not the case with this case.  As a matter of fact, its listing of $9.99 is also not the least expensive, but is the most commonly occurring price.  In this case, Walmart’s listed price of $11.80 is the most expensive.  Amazon and Target’s listing of $6.69 is the least expensive.  Looking at these prices, that they are mostly less than $10 (technically right at $10 or a little more counting tax, and shipping and handling for online ordering), the DVD clearly will not break any viewer’s budget.  Those who are able to find the DVD in store will not have to pay that noted S&H, meaning the prices will be what they are.  To that end, it makes those less expensive listings that much more appealing.  Either way, the pricing for this DVD is largely positive.  That is especially considering the amount of content featured between the DVD’s primary and bonus content and the depth therein.  When this is considered along with the content, the whole makes the DVD that much more of a win for all involved.

PBS Kids and WGBH’s recently released Molly of Denali DVD, Molly and the Great One is a wonderful new collection of episodes from the series.  It is another great way for fans to pass the time as they wait for the show’s alleged second season to premiere “this fall.”  The DVD’s success is shown in large part through its main feature, the hour-long story which bears the DVD’s title.  The story is fully immersive, engaging and entertaining.  That is thanks to the writing and acting alike.  The bonus content that accompanies the main feature is actually more episodes from the series’ lone season.  That content and the main feature, which is actually Season One’s finale, bring audiences even more episodes from Season One along with last year’s box set.  Considering the content featured here and its depth, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  That is because it is largely so affordable, even when ordered online with shipping and handling.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the best of this year’s new family DVDs/BDs. 

Molly of DenaliMolly and the Great One is available now. More information on PBS Kids and WGBH’s new Molly of Denali DVD is available along with games, activities, printables and more at:

Websitehttps://pbskids.org/molly

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MollyOfDenali

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.

Bibliophiles, Cinephiles Alike Will Appreciate ‘AmEx: American Oz’ Despite Its Pacing

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

It goes without saying that author L. Frank Baum’s timeless novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 1939 cinematic adaptation are among the most iconic presentations in their respective arenas.  There is some variance between the original fairy tale and its big screen adaptation, but that aside, the two tales have remained beloved by generations of audiences since their releases.  Early this spring, PBS offered a deep look into how each came about in a new episode of its series American Experience titled American Oz.  Audiences did not have to wait long for the nearly two-hour-long program to come to DVD, either, as it was released just last month on DVD.  While this episode of American Experience is an interesting presentation – thanks in large part to its story – it is not a perfect work.  It does suffer from one notable problem, that being its pacing.  Luckily, as much as the pacing does to detract from the program’s presentation, it is not enough to make the episode a failure.  The transitions throughout work with the story to make for even more reason to watch.  Keeping all of this in mind, the episode might not be as magical as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or even The Wizard of Oz, but is still an interesting presentation in its own right.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s home presentation of American Experience: American Oz is an interesting new episode of American Experience.  It is so interesting in part because of its story. Instead of just examining Baum’s book and related topics, the story instead takes a look at author L. Frank Baum and how his own experiences played into the creation of his now timeless fairy tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its equally timeless cinematic adaptation (from MGM), The Wizard of Oz (and the novel’s sequels).  So really, this episode is one part biography of Baum and one part examination of how his life and career played into his rise to fame.  Additionally, it examines the role of the novel and movie in America’s own culture.  Audiences will be interested to learn of Baum’s determination to be successful and how his time living in South Dakota likely played into the very setting for the story’s opening.  Additionally, the discussion about Baum’s disenfranchisement with certain things in the country played into the original story of Oz’s Emerald City makes for its own interest.  Even more noteworthy is the duality in Baum himself.  On one hand, he was clearly ahead of his time in his support for women’s rights.  That social and political leaning is believed to have played into the story of Oz.  On another hand, according to the information provided in this profile, he was also seemingly somewhat racist.  The allegations are supported through a show of the characters that he presented in his books and even comments he made about Native Americans in some newspaper editorials that he wrote early in his professional life.  That apparent duality in Baum’s personality is eye-opening.  Between everything noted here and so much more presented over the episode’s one hour, 52-minute run time, audiences get a rich, in-depth examination of Baum, his work and their place in society today.  It is reason enough for audiences to watch this episode of American Experience.  For all that the story does to make this episode of AmEx engaging and entertaining, that appeal is countered to a point by the story’s pacing.

The pacing proves problematic because it feels like it moves so slowly throughout all of the information provided throughout the story.  On one hand, that could be because of the way in which the story is presented.  On the other though, narrators Kent Drummond and Susan Aronstein feels so bland throughout, too.  Their delivery just does not do much to call on audiences’ attention.  Considering how important Baum’s own life experiences and views were one would have thought that the pair would have given more life to their narration.  Instead, it was the interviewees who helped tell the story that did that.  Meanwhile, Drummond and Aronstein instead make audiences feel as though they are listening to a lecture in a college class in a bad way.  Bringing things full circle here, the result is that even despite the best efforts of the interviewees, the pacing is just too slow.  As a result, it is easy to grow bored.  Thankfully though, the story is still interesting enough thanks to the efforts of the noted interviewees that audiences will just be able to keep themselves engaged.

Keeping in mind the duality in American Oz’s pacing, the episode is still worth watching occasionally.  Considering this, there is still one more item to examine.  That item is the collective transitions within the story.  The transitions are solid and keep the story moving fluidly.  This is important to consider because of all of the twists and turns that Baum’s life apparently took.  From his various businesses – raising chickens, running newspapers, running a store, being an author – to his career choices – working in theater, writing – to dealing with other matters, a lot happened to Baum and Baum did a lot.  Even despite the pacing issues in that story of all that Baum did and had happen, the story’s transitions still manage to make clear each chapter of his life.  This and the efforts by the interviewees to keep the story’s pacing moving, work together to make for even more encouragement to keep viewers engaged and entertained.  Keeping all of this in mind, this episode of American Experience is maybe not as magical as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or its cinematic adaptation, but is still engaging and entertaining.

American Experience: American Oz is a presentation that cinephiles and bibliophiles alike will find relatively interesting.  That is due in large part to its story.  The story featured in this episode of AmEx examines the life and work of legendary author Frank Baum.  The story examines ho Baum’s life and work influenced his novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its cinematic adaptation, The Wizard of Oz, and the place of those two works in America’s culture and history.  It is a rich, in-depth examination of all things noted.  While the story itself gives audiences plenty of reason to watch this episode of AmEx, the story’s pacing proves problematic.  That is due in large part to the narration.  The narration comes across as a lecture in a college classroom.  It is just that flat.  Thankfully, the commentary from the interviewees featured throughout the story just do make up enough for the problems posed by the narration.  The transitions work with the interviewees’ commentary to add even more appeal to the program.  That is because they keep the story moving fluidly, even despite the problems posed by the narration and pacing.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the episode engaging and entertaining even though it is imperfect.

American Experience: American Oz is available now. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

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.

‘NOVA: Beyond The Elements’ Goes Beyond The Enjoyment Of Its Predecessor

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Science, like math, is at the heart of everything.  Science can be and is also cooler than most people realize.  Just ask David Pogue, the host of PBS’ NOVA: Hunting the Elements and its recent follow-up, NOVA: Beyond The Elements. Released on DVD April 6 following its nationwide airing in February, NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that proves just how prevalent and fun science really is.  That is proven through the episode’s main feature.  This will be discussed shortly.  The three-part episode’s presentation style ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment in its own way.  It will be discussed a little later.  The episode’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation in its new home release.  All things considered, they make this episode of NOVA an unquestionably positive addition to this year’s field of new documentaries.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released home presentation of NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that fans of the popular, long-running, science-based series will enjoy.  That is proven in part through its main content.  The content here refers to host David Pogue’s experiences showing how the elements play into our everyday lives.  From partaking in a chili eating contest (no, not chili as in the stuff with beans and meat, but actually chilis), to watching stuff explode (who doesn’t love a good explosion?) to examining how glass can actually be unbreakable (truth is stranger than fiction), Pogue puts in layman’s terms how the elements work together play into our everyday lives in so many ways.  In the case of the chili eating contest (which will have audiences laugh uproariously), it is used to show how molecules in chilis actually act as a “defense mechanism” for the vegetables.  Pogue discovers in his discussion with a scientist that the molecules in question actually trick the human brain into thinking chilis are spicy when in fact they really are not.  It makes for a really interesting exploration and discussion in itself.  In regards to the explosions, the discussion turns to talks on how molecules in certain elements come together to make explosives, such as ammonium nitrate and C4.  The discussions are presented in an effort to show how construction resources are obtained at their base from quarries.   It is yet another clear, accessible discussion on how the elements play into our daily lives, and is certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained in its own right.  The noted exploration of how glass can possibly be unbreakable is used to show how elements and their molecules play together to create glass, another item which we use daily.  Audiences will be surprised here to watch as a super hot piece of molten glass is cooled quickly in water and made virtually unbreakable.   Throughout the experiments noted here and so many others, Pogue maintains a certain humility.  He never tries to be more than he is, making for even more  enjoyment.  His everyman presence makes him more relatable to audiences, sort of like fellow media personality Mo Rocca.

While the experiments featured throughout NOVA: Beyond The Elements go a long way towards making science so enjoyable and accessible, they are just a portion of what makes this episode’s primary feature so entertaining and engaging. The discussions about the ecological effects of products created by the elements make for their own interest.  What’s more, the discussions on the efforts that are being made to counter the noted effects makes for even more interest.  All things considered here, the primary feature of NOVA: Beyond the Elements makes for a strong starting point for the episode.   Building on the foundation formed by the main feature is the episode’s presentation style.

NOVA: Beyond the Elements runs just shy of the three-hour mark (two hours, 50 minutes to be exact).  Being that this episode is so long, it is divided into three separate segments in its DVD presentation, just as was done in the episode’s original broadcast early this year.  The segmentation seems minimal on the surface, but taking into account all of the information delivered through each segment, it is necessary.  It allows audiences to watch the episode at their pace.  In watching at their own pace, audiences will find themselves that much more inclined to remain engaged.  That increased engagement means that viewers will in turn more easily comprehend and remember the topics discussed in each segment.  Keeping all of this in mind, the way in which this episode of NOVA was presented proves important in its own right.

Moving from the matter of the episode’s presentation, the packaging of the episode in its home release proves important in its own right.  The packaging stands out primarily in that a brief but concise summary of each segment is provided on the back of the episode’s box.  What’s more, it lets audiences know before they even put the DVD in their DVD/BD player, that it is separated into each segment.  This is an aesthetic element, but is important in its own way.  It allows viewers to decide for themselves which segment to watch before they even start watching.  The decision might take a moment, but that moment will take less time than having to learn the topic of each episode one at a time by playing out the start of each episode.  The positive mindset that will result from the use of   the segment summaries will play greatly into the overall engagement and enjoyment in its own right.  When that impact is considered along with the impact of the episode’s main feature and its presentation style, the whole of that content completely rounds out the episode and makes it completely enjoyable.

NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a welcome follow-up/companion presentation or NOVA: Hunting the Elements.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that it is in fact an improvement from its predecessor.  That is due in part to the episode’s main feature.  The main feature is accessible because it presents so much heavy science content in a fashion that is accessible to the most average viewer.  That in itself will hopefully help viewers see the fun in and importance of science.  The fact that the episode is separated into its three segments here just as it was in the episode’s initial airing makes the episode even more appealing.  That is because the separation will encourage viewers to remain engaged and appreciate the whole even more.  The episode’s packaging in its new DVD presentation puts the finishing touch to the episode.  It does so through the brief but concise segment descriptions on the box’s rear artwork.  The summaries allow viewers to decide which segment to watch before they even place the disc into their DVD/BD players.  This in itself will give viewers a positive mindset, too.  When the positive mindset ensured by the packaging is considered along with the positive mindset generated by the episode’s content and its segmentation, that whole makes this episode of NOVA one more of this year’s top new documentaries.  NOVA: Beyond the Elements is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘NOVA: Looking For Life On Mars’ Will Leave Viewers Looking Excitedly To The Future Of Space Travel

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

NASA has made a lot of headlines in recent weeks thanks to its latest mission to Mars.  The agency’s Perseverance rover and its companion “helicopter,” Ingenuity have kept the agency in the news as they search for any signs of past life on the “Red Planet.”  While the machines’ main goal is to find any evidence of ancient life, that search is just part of their mission.  As is pointed out in PBS’ brand new DVD, NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars, NASA officials are hoping to eventually return that evidence to Earth with yet another mission to Mars when and if it is discovered.  The new DVD in question was released Tuesday, less than three months after the then latest episode of NOVA made its initial airing is another interesting episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series.  The noted story of Perseverance’s mission is at the heart of the episode, and it is a good   starting point for the program.  It will be discussed shortly.  The interviews that are featured within the bigger story add their own interest to the presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The program’s collective editing and pacing round out its most important elements.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars.  All things considered, they make this latest episode of NOVA another engaging and entertaining edition of PBS’ hit science-based series.

PBS’ newly released DVD presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars will appeal widely to NOVA’s longtime science-based series and to anyone with any interest in space science and even science fiction.  The episode’s appeal comes primarily through the episode’s central story.  Audiences will be interested to learn that the episode’s story is about more than just finding signs of ancient life on Mars, but about looking for ways in which life on Earth can survive on Mars.  The story opens with Perseverance’s landing on Mars back in February following months and years of preparation.  From there, the story turns to Perseverance’s mission, which is to find any traces of ancient microbial life on Mars.  It is pointed out (thankfully) that there is no expectation of finding any signs of more humanoid (*intelligent*) life.  That keeps the episode’s story fully grounded.  Audiences will be interested to learn as the episode progresses, that Mars did in fact once have water.  What’s more it is also revealed that the main components needed for life (CHNOPS – Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur) were all eventually found in Mars’ soil by Pereverance’s equipment, too.  As the program continues, it is revealed that gathering samples from Mars’ surface is only part of NASA’s latest mission to Earth’s “sister planet.”  One interviewee reveals that NASA also plans to send a rocket to Mars to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance and then return them to Earth.  That is certain to be an interesting mission in itself.  This and other interviews incorporated into the program will be addressed shortly.  Getting back onto the topic at hand, along with finding evidence of life on Mars, NASA is also researching how to sustain human life on Mars.  This leads to the discussion on ways to convert Mars’ carbon dioxide rich atmosphere into breathable oxygen.  Filtration company Lydall is working with NASA on that project, and even placed a filter on Perseverance.  That discussion in itself adds even more engagement and entertainment to the story.  The whole story rounds out with a discussion on how the Perseverance program started and where it is going today.  All things considered, the story ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment, in turn creating a solid foundation for the episode’s presentation.

The story featured in NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars makes for a positive starting point for the episode.  Building on the foundation that it forms are the collective interviews that accompany the story.  One of the most notable of the interviews comes in the discussion on Perseverance’s “companion,” the Ingenuity.  A couple of people on the Ingenuity team come right out during this discussion and openly talk about how the very idea was laughed down.  That is because the atmosphere on Mars is so thin that no one thought there would be enough air to get the Ingenuity off the planet’s surface.  Of course as news outlets nationwide reported recently, those doubts were silenced when the mini-“helicopter” did in fact go airborne.


This examination already noted that one of the interviewees featured in this documentary noted early on that Perseverance and Ingenuity were looking for signs of ancient microbial life.  This is important to note because the woman in question stresses that they are not looking for any signs of “alien” life.  This provides for far more credibility and ensures any conspiracy theory types will be silenced early on.  It is a brief statement from  one of the many interviews featured throughout the hour-long program, but is so important because it means officials involved in the project did not want anyone misconstruing what was going on.

Another interesting discussion featured through the episode’s interviews is that of the one-time existence of water on Mars.  The interviewees talk about the reality that at one point, a flowing river once made its way into the crater in which Perseverance landed.  The group talks about smooth rocks in the channel in question prove water once flowed through and into the crater.  Along with that discussion, there is also the discussion on what may or may not have happened to cause the water to evaporate, though no definitive   answer is provided.  Between these discussions, the others noted here and so many others provided through the episode’s interviews, the whole enhances the episode’s presentation even more.  The result is that the interviews prove just as important to the episode as the story.  The interviews and story are just part of what makes this new episode of NOVA so engaging and entertaining.  The episode’s collective pacing and editing round out its most important elements.

The pacing and editing of this NOVA episode are important to note because the episode’s topic is so specific.  It means the show’s creative heads had to make sure that it flowed fluidly and kept everything together solidly.  Viewers will note that it does just that.  The episode opens with the Perseverance’s landing, moves to the search for that ancient microbial life, and closes with the story of the Perseverance’s creation, launch, and landing.  Throughout all three of those segments, the discussions on the related topics and the video are solid in their connections.  Each segment ensures through that editing that viewers are never left feeling left behind or even that the episode drags at any point.  It   brings everything together, completing the episode’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the interest ensured by the episode’s story and its interviews, the whole makes this episode another enjoyable offering from PBS.

PBS’s recently premiered episode of NOVA, Looking for Life on Mars is an enjoyable addition to the long-running series.  The episode’s interest comes in part through its story which follows NASA’s work on its Perseverance rover project.  The story is so interesting in that it is straight forward.  It is the next step in NASA’s exploration of our solar system.  The interviews that are presented throughout the story add their own interest.  That is because of the extra insight that they give into everything that went into and is still ongoing in the project.  The collective editing and pacing that went into the episode rounds out its most important elements.  It ensures viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment as it brings everything together and keeps the episode moving fluidly.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  It is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘Miss Scarlet & The Duke’ Is Mostly Succesful In Its Debut Season

Courtesy: A+E Networks International/PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Fans of the British crime drama Miss Scarlet and the Duke received some positive news this week.  The series will return for a second season.  The announcement came Monday through an email newsletter from WGBH and PBS.  Season Two’s premiere date was not announced, as the global COVID-19 pandemic forced stoppage of Season Two’s filming early this year.  That means filming will have to resume first if it has not already restarted.  While audiences await the premiere of Season Two, they can watch the series’ debut season on DVD thanks to PBS Distribution and A+E Networks International.  Released Feb. 16, the lead season of the Victorian-era crime drama is an interesting presentation.  That is due in part to its writing, which will be discussed shortly.  While the writing makes for its own share of interest, the acting deserves its own share of attention, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  For all that the writing and acting do for this series, they are just a portion of what audiences will appreciate about this season of Miss Scarlet & The Duke.  The season’s look fits relatively well with the time, too.  Taking into account that aesthetic element along with the writing and acting, the whole of the elements makes the first season of Miss Scarlet & The Duke worth watching at least once.

Miss Scarlet & The Duke is a presentation that will appeal to most crime drama fans in its debut season.  That is due in part to its writing.  Season One’s writing follows Eliza Scarlett, daughter of well-known private detective Henry Scarlett.  The story opens with Eliza facing her father’s death, and in turn, taking over his business.  The move is a result of not only her own love of solving crimes – instilled by Henry – and a need to financially support herself.  That need to support herself comes because she is a progressive woman in a very male-dominated Victorian-era England.  She does not want to rely on a man, which will appeal to plenty of hardcore feminists today.  Ironically (and no to give away too much) it would seem that odds are she and William – her male counterpart at Scotland Yard – will likely end up together by Season Two. Season One starts off with what seems like a random story, but as the season continues, viewers eventually find that each case that Eliza investigates is connected to the prior, ultimately leading to one last case, which brings everything full circle back to her father’s death.  This writing style will keep viewers engaged throughout.  Of course for all that the writing does to entertain and engage with the storytelling itself, there are some problems.

The future of the relationship between Eliza and William is predictable to say the least.  What’s more, in that Eliza is so progressive yet that she and William are becoming closer, emotionally just seems very contradictory.  This is just one of the problems from which the writing suffers. The all-too-familiar plot element involving the private detective outsmarting the official law enforcement which shows up here detracts from the writing, too.  It has been done so many times in shows, such as Psych, Murder, She Wrote, and even Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? just to name a few shows that have used this approach. To that end, that the show’s writers would fall victim to that trapping is discouraging.  The same applies to Eliza getting herself trapped in “Cell 99.”  The detective getting into a dangerous situation has been done, too.  Even with these negatives in place, the writing in reference to the stories is enough to make the writing of at least some interest.  It is just one of the important items to note in examining this season of Miss Scarlet & The Duke.  The work of the show’s cast is also worth noting in examining this series’ debut season.

The work of Scarlett & The Duke’s cast is entertaining in its own right.  Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin do very well together onscreen as Eliza and William.  The duo’s chemistry is on full display even as their characters come across just as similarly as so many onscreen romantic duos.  It is obvious in watching them together, that as much as they argue, the connection is there.  To that end, the progression of the couple’s relationship and the result of that progression – which will not be revealed here – should come as no surprise.  Keeping that in mind, their acting will appeal to anyone who is already so familiar with so many similar on-screen romantic relationship stories. 

On yet another note, Ansu Kabia is just as impressive as Moses.  Moses becomes a key character in this season’s run.  Odds are, his finale with William makes one wonder if (and even hope that) he will return in Season Two.  It will not be a surprise if he does in fact become a regular in Season Two.  Not to reveal too much, but his acting leaves audiences fittingly wondering throughout, about his loyalties.  It leaves the final reveal that much more fulfilling. His work is just that subtle and impressive.

Speaking of unsuspecting, Danny Midwinter’s role as DS Frank Jenkins adds its own nice touch to the whole.  As William’s partner, he and Martin bounce off of each other so well throughout the season.  It makes the revelation of Jenkins’ truth that much more hard hitting, again, because at no point does he make it even possible to know what would come.  To that end, credit where due with his acting, too.

Looking at all of the notable work put in by the cast of Miss Scarlet & The Duke, it builds on the slightly shaky foundation formed by the writing to help secure that foundation.  That work is just one more notable aspect of the season’s presentation.  The sets and costumes featured in this season add their own interest to the presentation.  The sets that are used, including even the horse-drawn “taxis,” fully immerse audiences into Victorian-era England.  The sound of the horses’ hoofs against the cobblestone streets (yes, there are even cobblestone streets) is a minor aesthetic element, but adds so much to the believability in terms of the backdrop.  At the same time, the cast’s attire – from the men’s suits and tuxedos to the women’s hairstyles, dresses, and hats – is period  appropriate, too.  It serves to show the show runners’ dedication to making the show’s look just as appealing as its acting and writing.  That ensures the program’s engagement and entertainment even more.  When this is considered along with the program’s writing and acting, that whole makes this lead season of Miss Scarlet & The Duke a presentation that the most die hard crime drama will find is worth watching at least once.

The debut season of A&E Networks International’s Miss Scarlet & The Duke will find appeal among most crime drama fans.  That is due in part to its writing, imperfect as it is.  The writing keeps the season moving, as it connects each of the season’s six episodes without making the connections too obvious.  The way in which the season’s stories build on one another and ultimately bring everything together will generate appeal among audiences in hindsight.  The problem with the writing rests more in the plot elements that are tied into the stories.  They are all too familiar within the crime drama realm, and in turn become little more than tropes here.  Luckily, they do not detract from the writing to the point that they completely negate the importance of the writing.  The work of the series’ cast on camera adds its own touch to the whole.  It proves even stronger than the show’s writing because of the professionalism in that presentation.  The show’s look puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because the majority of the show’s look is era-appropriate.  It shows the dedication that went into making the show believable even in that aspect.  When it is considered along with the noted work of the writers and cast, the whole, again, makes this lead season of Miss Scarlet & The Duke a presentation that will appeal for the most part to most crime drama fans.  It is available now on DVD.  More information on this and other shows from A+E Networks International is available online at:

Websitehttps://aenetworks.com

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

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/AENetworks

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.  

Space, Geological Science Aficionados Will Enjoy PBS’ Latest Voyage To The Stars

Courtesy: WGHB/PBS/PBS Distribution

Two years from now, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a years-long mission when it returns to Earth with samples of material from the surface of the asteroid Bennu that it collected late last year.  The mission, which was itself years in the making, was important because it, like Japan’s Hyabusa missions, was aimed at better understanding the composition of asteroids and how their compositions may have played into the creation of our solar system’s planets.  Additionally, that understanding will help in efforts to protect Earth from potential future threats.  Now thanks to a new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA, audiences get to see first hand, the journey that the project took, from beginning to hopes for its end.  Released to DVD on Jan. 12, the nearly hour-long program is a presentation that will appeal widely to anyone who has any interest in space science as well as the geological sciences.  This is proven in part through the noted central story, which will be discussed in more length shortly.  The episode’s pacing adds its own appeal to its presentation and will be discussed a little later.  Keeping everything noted here in mind, the average price point for this DVD proves to be its own positive.  It will also be addressed later.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of NOVA: Touching the Asteroid.  All things considered, they make this episode one more example of what makes NOVA such a beloved series.  Additionally, they make the episode a presentation that will appeal equally to lovers and students of the space and geological sciences.

NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is a presentation that will appeal widely to anyone who has any interest in the realms of space and geological sciences.  That is proven in part through its central story.  As has already been noted, the story in question focuses on NASA’s ongoing OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission.  The mission in question started years ago after NASA staffers located a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu that really caught their attention.  Audiences are taken through the story of the agency’s project, which resulted in the spacecraft touching down on the asteroid in October 2020.  A visual timeline is presented throughout the story that follows each step of the project, all the way from 2016 right up to the touchdown of OSIRIS-REx spacecraft in October 2020.  This will help audiences keep track of everything happening.  The project members who are interviewed help to tell the story as they explain the significance and purpose of the mission.  From the very discovery of the asteroid, to the development of the spacecraft, to the surprise discovery of water and carbon contained within the asteroid, to its makeup, which they realized would potentially make it far less of a threat to the Earth than originally thought (apparently it might actually be on track to collide with Earth in a couple of centuries from now), to the stresses of making sure OSIRIS-REx would be able to touch down on Bennu due to its rocky surface, the whole story of the spacecraft’s   voyage to Bennu is presented here.  All of the discussions presented throughout will themselves keep viewers engaged and entertained.

Staying on topic of the featured discussions, the pacing of all of those discussions remains steady throughout the course of the program.  That is due in part to the aforementioned presentation of the visual timeline that is used to help track the project.  It is a simple element, but goes a long way to keep viewers engaged in its own right, too.  As long as audiences know the point at which the story sits throughout each segment, the discussions are that much more certain to keep viewers watching.  Getting to the discussions, none of the noted discussions allow themselves to get too in-depth.  That is not to say that the discussions are just point to point to point.  Rather, they give audiences just enough of a picture of where the project stood at each point in the timeline and what everyone was thinking as the OSIRIS-REx finally touched down on Bennu.  That means that the discussions themselves kept the program moving steadily from beginning to end.  The addition of the noted time line visual aid played alongside the discussions to help put the final touch to the program’s positive pacing.  Between the positive pacing and the story itself, the two elements collectively give viewers plenty to appreciate as they take in this episode of NOVA.  Keeping all that in mind, the program’s average price point on DVD will appeal even more for viewers.

The average price point of NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is approximately $22.00 when rounded up.  The price is reached by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ shop.  Amazon’s listing of $17.96 is the least expensive while PBS’ listing and that of Barnes & Noble Booksellers is the most expensive, at $24.99 each.  The DVD was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  This DVD is the rare case when even Walmart proved to exceed the average, listing the DVD at $23.94.  Best Buy offers the second lowest of the listed prices at $17.99.  Between that listing and that of Amazon, audiences can be assured that the cost will not break their budgets.  Even buying the DVD through those outlets, a portion of the sales will still go back to support PBS, so PBS still benefits in the end.  Audiences win because they will get an entertaining and engaging program for less than $20 through the noted retailers.  The engagement and entertainment is offered through the content already noted, and its pacing, also noted.  When all of this is considered collectively, the result is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of viewers.

PBS’ NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is yet another example of why the network’s hit science-based series remains one of the network’s most respected program’s to date.  That is proven in part through the story at the center of the documentary.  The story centers on the creation of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and the spacecraft’s interstellar journey to the asteroid Bennu.  Along the way, audiences learn about the discoveries that were made about the asteroid before and during the spacecraft’s mission goal.  The story’s pacing makes for even more appeal.  For all of the information provided throughout the documentary, that mass never causes the story to get bogged down in itself. Considering this and everything discussed throughout the program, the program’s average price point proves to be not too bad.  The noted price listings at Amazon and Best Buy ensure that the purchase of the DVD will not break any viewer’s budget.  Each item noted here is critical in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD another positive presentation from PBS and another enjoyable episode of NOVA.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

‘NOVA: Human Nature’ Succeeds In Its Gene Editing, Bioethics Discussions

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Technology can be a very good thing.  It can also be very bad.  It all depends on who uses it and how.  That is the central discussion of the recently debuted episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA, Human Nature.  The episode, which debuted in September, was released Dec. 1 on DVD.  The 90-minute documentary is a presentation that is certain to engage and entertain viewers from start to end.  That is due in no small part to the program’s central discussion topic.  This will be discussed shortly.  The way in which the program is presented adds to the program’s appeal even more and will be discussed a little later.  Considering these aspects collectively, they make the DVD’s average price point a positive in its own right.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD’s a presentation overall that many audiences will find a must in their personal documentary libraries.

NOVA: Human Nature is a powerful new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series that stands as one of the best of the series’ episodes this year.  That is proven in part through its central discussion topic.  The topic in question is that of the use of what is known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or “CRISPR” for short.  As is revealed through the discussion, “CRISPR” as something genetic has been happening for eons.  If what is discussed is understood correctly, it has played a big part in the evolution of many if not most biological creatures.  It has helped protect biological beings safe from viruses, allowing them to survive.  From there, the discussion turns to the use of “CRISPR” as a technological tool for humans.  Some of America’s top scientific minds discuss the possibility of using “CRISPR” to potentially eliminate diseases, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to even alter genes of embryos so that couples can have potentially disease-free babies.  The topics of whether even doing that is ethical and the long term impact – whether humans would even remain disease free throughout life – branch out from the central theme along the way.  No bias is shown one way or the other, as supporters are interviewed along with opponents to the use of “CRISPR.”  One of the noted scientists who comes across as a supporter of “CRISPR” points out that despite popular belief, scientists are not looking to use “CRISPR” to bring back dinosaurs and wooly mammoths.  Another points out that at this point, the military is not working to use
”CRISPR” to make “super soldiers” and other military technology.  Yet another even points out that “CRISPR” is in fact being used to potentially create plants that are able to adapt to the world’s changing climate conditions.  To its defense, this aspect of “CRISPR’s” potential positives is rather interesting.  Humans need agriculture in order to produce food, and with climate change’s impact on the planet (and the human impact on the naturally occurring process) so clear, creating plants that are adaptable (or resistant to) the impacts of climate change could proof beneficial for humans.  As one of the interviewed scientists points out in the program’s end (not to give away too much), hopefully the day won’t come anytime soon that humans would decide to use this clearly divisive tool that is “CRISPR” for anything bad.  Regardless of which side one takes on the ongoing discussion over the use of “CRISPR” it is clear in watching this episode of NOVA that the discussions likely will not end anytime soon.  That is not a bad thing, either, considering all of the issues raised through the program.  To that end, the central topic featured in this in-depth documentary creates a solid foundation for the program.  It is just one of the aspects that makes NOVA: Human Nature a success.  The way in which the program is presented adds to its appeal.

A lot of ground is covered over the course of NOVA: Human Nature’s 90-minute run.  It is all presented in one continuous program, too.  Keeping that in mind, the manner in which the episode is presented is key in its own right in order to keep viewers watching.  In order to keep viewers engaged, those behind the episode divided the episode into “chapters.”  The “chapters” are clearly pointed out on screen as the documentary progresses.  This leaves no doubt that the overall discussion is changing direction.  What’s more, the transitions between chapters are solid in their own right.  There is just enough space between the “chapters” to let viewers know that the program’s discussion is changing.  That and the visual presentation of each “chapter’s” title collectively makes for a wonderful presentation for the episode.  It breaks things up just enough to keep viewers from getting bored with the topic and its discussion.  That and the central topic collectively make NOVA: Human Nature even more successful, especially in the way it plays into the program’s pacing.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is one more aspect of the episode to discuss, the program’s average price point.

The average price point for NOVA: Human Nature is $21.52.  That price is reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  At the time of this review’s posting, the DVD was not listed through Target or Books-A-Million.  Amazon and Best Buy offer the least expensive of the noted retailers, at $17.99.  PBS’ listing once again is the most expensive at $24.99 while Walmart’s listing of $24.13 is just below PBS’ price.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $22.49 also exceeds the average price point.  So in the bigger picture of the DVD’s price, its average price point barely tops the $20 mark along with the majority of its single listings.  Two of the noted listings are well below that mark.  Now given the breadth and depth of the content featured in the DVD and its pacing (which works so well because of the episode’s construction) those less expensive listings prove to be money well spent.  They are prices that will not break any viewer’s budget.  The same can be said of the more expensive listings, even being that they exceed the DVD’s average price point.  Regardless of which retailer one chooses, at least some of the money spent on this fully engaging program will go back to PBS.  So it is a win for everyone.  Audiences get a documentary that they are sure to watch time and again, and PBS receives financial support that allows it to continue providing such top notch programming.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Human Nature proves itself to be a presentation that is one of this year’s best new documentaries.

NOVA: Human Nature is a powerful addition to the series.  Now that it is available on DVD, it is a presentation that so many audiences will want to watch time and again.  That is proven in part through its central discussion topic, that of the use of “CRISPR” and the ethics related to its use.  The unbiased discussions are sure to keep viewers engaged and entertained in their own right.  The episode’s construction works directly with the overall discussion to keep viewers engaged and entertained, too.  It keeps the whole from becoming monotonous.  That is especially important considering the amount of content covered in the discussions and the program’s overall 90-minute run time.  Keeping in mind the content featured in this episode and its delivery, the DVD’s average price point proves to be money well-spent, as audiences will, again, find themselves watching it more than once.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the episode a welcome addition to most audiences’ home libraries and one of the year’s top new documentaries.  NOVA: Human Nature is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

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 http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Secret Mind Of Slime’ Is An Intriguing Study On Evolutionary Science

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Defining intelligence is not an easy task.  The common belief among scientists and people in general is that in order for a being to have “intelligence” it has to have a brain, central nervous system, etc.  But what if that criteria might not necessarily be accurate?  That is the discussion at the base of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime.  The hour-long NOVA episode was released on DVD Dec. 8.  This recently premiered episode is a presentation that will appeal just as much to those with any interest in the biological sciences as evolutionary sciences.  Its foundation is formed through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly.  Considering how much is discussed in this episode in terms of theory and science, the program’s pacing turns out to be stable throughout.  This aspect will be discussed a little later.  The average price point of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime proves to be its own positive for this presentation, considering the episode’s content and pacing.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime a presentation that should be anything but a secret.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining program that will appeal to students and lovers of the biological sciences just as much as those of the evolutionary sciences.  That is proven in part through the program’s main feature.  The feature in question examines how a slime mold called Physarum polycephalumdoes what it does.  Audiences will be amazed as they watch the literally brainless organism find its way through mazes, make its way across salt bridges, and even “deciding” which sources of nutrients it “prefers.”  Again, this is all done without a brain.  What is ultimately discovered is that what is going on is that the slime mold is using what is known as bioelectricity and even a form of adaptation in order to accomplish everything.  Bioelectricity is exactly what it sounds like.  They are electric currents produced within living organisms that regulate organisms’ behaviors.  The revelation is made through examinations of how plants react to their surroundings, which is itself also documented in this episode.  Observing this ability of organisms that lack nervous systems or even brains to “make decisions” and react “intelligently” to given situations will leave many viewers’ minds blown.  As is noted in the narration, it is collectively an example of the earliest form of sentience in Earth’s biological organisms.  It is certain to generate plenty of discussion among audiences in itself.

While the content featured in NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime goes a long way toward making the program appealing, it is just one aspect of the episode that audiences will appreciate.  The program’s pacing adds its own touch to the show’s interest.  As noted, a lot of ground is covered in this hour-long program.  There is the examination of the slime mold’s ability to navigate mazes and to adapt to different situations (E.g. changing so as to deal with salt as it makes its way to a “food source” and even its ability to connect with other slime molds from other parts of the world in order to survive).  There is also the examination of how plants spread out their roots in much the same way that the Physarum polycephalum spreads out its “veins” as well as that of how ants use pheromone trails in equally similar fashion to find food sources.  Again, this is a lot of information.  Considering how much ground is covered through all of this, it would have been easy for the program to get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully, those behind the episode’s creation and assembly did not let that happen.  From start to end, the discussions ensure viewers’ engagement and entertainment, presenting topics rarely if ever considered by audiences.  The discussions remain mostly in layman’s terms, ensuring even more that noted engagement and entertainment.  That presentation style plays a big role in the program’s pacing if not the episode’s biggest role.  Between that aspect and the ability of the topics to move so fluidly from one to the next, audiences will never feel lost within the program or even bogged down.  The result is that that the program moves easily from one point to the next, never losing viewers along the way.  Keeping this in mind with the very content in the program’s main feature, the two elements collectively show even more why the documentary is such an appealing new presentation from PBS and PBS Distribution.  It also plays its own collective importance in considering the DVD’s average price point.

The average price point of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime barely tops the $20 mark.  This is determined by averaging prices listed through PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Walmart presents the least expensive listing, at $16.61 while Amazon and Best Buy are the mid-point price, at $17.99.  PBS’ listing of $24.99 is actually the most expensive while Barnes & Noble Booksellers is just a step below that at $22.49.   Looking at these listings, viewers have at least three retailers from which to choose that are below the noted average price point.  The noted listings will not break audiences’ bank accounts.  The more expensive listings will not hurt viewers’ checkbooks either, even being a bit more pricey.  Regardless of which outlet consumers choose, audiences will still get their money’s worth while also bringing in more money for PBS, the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.  When this is considered along with the pacing of this program and the content presented in its main feature, the whole of the program proves itself well worth the watch among students and lovers of the biological and evolutionary sciences.  NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

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 http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

Corinth Films Resurrecting Einstein Documentary

Courtesy: Corinth Films

Independent movie studio Corinth Films is set to release a vintage documentary about legendary physicist Albert Einstein next month.

Einsteins Universe is scheduled for release Aug. 25 on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and digital.  It marks the first time that the vintage documentary, based on author Nigel Caulder’s biography by the same name, has received a home release on any platform.

It originally premiered on television on March 14, 1979 in celebration of what would have been Einstein’s 100th birthday.  The broadcast was made possible through a partnership between the BBC and WGBH (America’s leading public television network).

Peter Ustinov — SpartacusLogan‘s RunDeath on the Nile — narrated the original broadcast.  As part of the documentary, Ustinov visited the University of Texas-Austin McDonald Observatory in his quest to learn about Einstein and the significance of his work.  He learns about topics, such as Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the “Doppler Effect,” and how the universe was formed.

The documentary’s run time is 118 minutes.  A trailer for the documentary is streaming here.

More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:

 

Websitehttp://www.corinthfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.como/CorinthFilms1977

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/corinthfilms

 

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

Animal Lovers, Biologists Everywhere Will Enjoy ‘NOVA: Cat And Dog Tales’

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Almost 30 years ago this year, the timeless animated series Garfield & Friends presented one of its most notable shorts, “For Cats Only.”  The episode is a hilarious telling of the history of cats (and to a point dogs) on Earth.  It is a laugh riot story that while largely fictitious, apparently had some truths, according to PBS’ recently aired NOVA episode Cat and Dog Tales.  Released to DVD in May, NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales is its own telling of the history of dogs and cats.  That story, complete with revelations about some other items – also addressed in the noted Garfield & Friends short – makes for its own reason to watch this episode of NOVA.  It will be addressed shortly.  The program’s general presentation adds to the DVD’s presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.  All things considered, NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales a presentation that will appeal to any feline fanatic and canine companion.

NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales is a presentation that pet parents and pals alike will enjoy.  That is proven in part through its central story.  The story in question tells the history of cats and dogs and how they came to become humans’ beloved companions.  Now unlike in the noted Garfield & Friends short, audiences learn here that cats did not come from another planet, but in fact from Europe and Asia while dogs descended from wolves that had existed around the world for thousands of years.  At the same time though, that noted short apparently proves right about cats being domesticated according to his real life documentary.  The documentary points out that humans did not domesticate cats, but that in fact they domesticated themselves.  The same can be said of dogs, according to this program.  It points out in its central story, that dogs (like cats) domesticated themselves over time.  How each species’ domestication happened is interesting to learn in its own right.  Another item addressed in the overall story is that of whether cats and dogs actually love us or if they love the food that we provide.  Not to give away too much, but owners of cats and dogs alike should find no surprise in either revelation here.  All things considered, the overall story of feline and canine history is certain to keep audiences wholly engaged and entertained throughout each segment of the two-part program.

As noted, NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales is a two-part program.  This is important to note as it plays directly into the episode’s general presentation.  Rather than bundling everything together into a single, nonstop, two-hour presentation, audiences can watch each “story” in itself.  As a result, audiences won’t have to worry about feeling mentally spent.  They will then have an easier time remembering everything presented in each story.  This is something that audiences are sure to appreciate.  To that end, those responsible for making the decision to separate the segments are to be commended for that decision.  It proves to be just as positive as the program’s overall, in-depth story to the DVD’s overall presentation.  Together with the noted content, this element gives viewers even more to appreciate in the DVD’s overall presentation.  It is just one more aspect that audiences will appreciate about the DVD.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.

The average price point of NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales is $19.32.  That price is obtained by averaging price listings through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ online store.  That is a price point that will not break anyone’s budget.  The same can be said of most of the separate listings.  While PBS’ listing, and that of Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listings exceed that average, they are not by much.  Meanwhile, the listing of $24.99 at Books-a-Million once more far exceeds the average.  Amazon, Walmart and Target each have the lowest price listing at $16.99 while Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 also comes in below that average.  It is not the least expensive listing, but is still less expensive than the average, proving once again that for the most part, the price for this DVD is not prohibitive for any viewer(s).  Considering all that the DVD offers in terms of its content and how said content is presented, it makes the DVD even more affordable and worth the price – save of course for that one noted listing.  Even with the listing at Books-A-Million noted, audiences should keep in mind that regardless of the retailer from which they buy the DVD, at least a portion of the price paid will go to benefit PBS.  That is always important to note considering how little funding PBS gets from the federal government.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales proves itself to be a DVD that pet parents and pals alike will appreciate.

NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales is a presentation that animal lovers everywhere will enjoy.  That is due in part to its central story, which presents the history of cats and dogs and much more.  The manner in which the overall story is presented adds to the appeal of the DVD’s presentation.  Considering all that the noted items show in themselves and collectively, audiences will agree that the DVD’s average price point is money worth spending.  Each item noted here is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Cat and Dog Tales a presentation that any animal lover will enjoy.  It is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

 

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

 

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 http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.