Category Archives: TV

Three broads (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer and Hillary Clinton) and their “Broad City” (mis)adventures

Think of them a 2 broke girls.

Broad City is an odd couple comedy about two best friends navigating their twenties in Madhattan. Their (mis)adventures always lead down unexpected and outlandish paths. They’re broke, flawed and don’t shy away from the sticky situations NYC throws at them . . . they dive right into the shi…, er, muck. But no matter how bad it gets, these young broads are always down with whatever hits them.

Think of it as comedy central.

Upright Citizens Brigade alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came up with the idea for the show; the gals also star and their dynamic relationship, combined with their impeccable comedic timing and chemistry, has been described as “passionate, funny and sometimes raunchy” by The New York Times.

Broad City: Season 3 hits stores on January 10. The two-disc set brings back TV’s baddest BFFs for a whole new set of adventures. Join Abbi, Ilana and a lineup of special guests as they find true love (or one-night stands), get high on life (among other things) and show New York City how it’s done. Just ask one of the season three’s guest stars, Hillary Clinton. 

Have the Time of Your Life with “The Red Skelton Show in Color,” not seen for more than 50 years!

Leave it to Time Life to make the New Year the time of your life. And in color! And with such guests as Clem Kadiddlehopper and Freddie the Freeloader!

Welcome, with open arms, The Red Skelton Show in Color. Home audiences will be entertained by America’s Clown Prince with brilliant full-color episodes of The Red Skelton Hour, some of which have been unseen for more than 50 years.

After purchasing an old movie studio and converting it for TV productions, Skelton was the first CBS host to begin taping his weekly programs in color. And now Time Life brings viewers back to a simpler time, showcasing never-before-released shows as they were originally broadcast more than five decades ago.

One of the country’s most treasured comedians, Skelton kept TV audiences in stitches for 20 groundbreaking seasons on The Red Skelton Show. The son of a circus clown, Red always had a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step (often accompanied by a cowbell sound effect); his heart was pure gold, his jokes were silly and his gifts for physical comedy remain priceless. And from his inimitable comic mind also came a memorable lineup of zany characters including the country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper, the lovable hobo Freddie the Freeloader and Sheriff Deadeye.

The Red Skelton Show in Color is available in two configurations. The three-disc collector’s set features 12 never-before-released episodes, including best-loved sketches with Freddie the Freeloader joining a love-in with hippie Tim Conway; Sheriff Deadeye facing off with Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne); and Clem Kadiddlehopper being mistaken for a robot by mad scientists Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. Other fan favorite sketches include classics such as “Dial M for Moron” with Phyllis Diller, “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Dumb” with George Gobel, and “Eenie Meenie Minee Schmo” with Mickey Rooney. The single disc release includes 4 complete episodes. Additionally, both releases include exclusive new interviews with Bobby Rydell and Vicki Lawrence.

Boris, Red and Vincent. Boo!

You thought it was easy being green? Think Red!

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best from PBS Distribution

A Downton Abbey fan? That’s number 567,340,027. This holiday season will be the ultimate celebration for those millions. PBS Distribution has released two all-new complete box sets of the series, as well as a stocking full of officially licensed Downton Abbey merchandise. Visit shoppbs.org for deals that will dazzle fans.

First we tease you with a clip. How many times have you seen this episode?

Downton Abbey: The Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set is the ultimate gift. All six seasons–52 episodes–of the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG-winning program are offered. The set contains 13 hours of bonus content including 5 all new hours as well as exclusive collectible keepsakes that lovers of the series will cherish forever. This is the ultimate Downton Abbey box set and a must-have for every fan.download
The beautiful gold keepsake box contains a working Downton Abbey pull-bell, ready to hang on the wall or stand on a shelf. There’s a collectible set of six elegant cork-based coasters featuring the official Downton Abbey crest. There’s The Costumes of Downton Abbey, an exclusive photo-filled booklet featuring a forward from executive producer Gareth Neame. Then there’s a collectible hardcover book with 22 discs featuring the 52 episodes, including each season finale Christmas special, video extras from each season, full color photography and favorite quotes from iconic characters.

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection
Led by Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith, the acclaimed ensemble cast brings to life all the drama and intrigue of the inhabitants of Downton Abbey, the lavish English country manor, home to the Earl of Grantham.22409e5a802cdc22a0635db35c15d72e This complete collection set, available just in time for the holidays, includes all 52 episodes of the series of this Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy-winning series, following the Crawley family and their servants through all of the splendor and romance, desire and heartbreak, scandal and rumor that Downton Abbey viewers across the globe have grown to love.

Downton Abbey Resin Castle Ornament
Honor the history and elegance of the grand architectural style of Downton Abbey (actually Highclere Castle) withppbs3-16163847reg this beautifully detailed ornament made of high-quality resin that will allow you to enjoy Downton Abbey’s classic style for years to come. It stands 3.5 inches tall.

 

Downton Abbey Trio Pull Bell Ornament
Whether you spent your days upstairs or down, the ringing of bells was a constant sound. This replica of the trio pull bells used by the family and staff of Downton Abbey will help you ring in the holidays year after year.0fe9d670-fc4b-4816-a7dd-d15a695ae81b_1-50d68b43b789808346331535f9f509f2

Downton Abbey Rotating Musical Glitter Dome
This elegant glass glitter dome features a detailed look at the castle and with the flick of the wrist you can see the magic at Downton. This collectible is perfect for every fan in the family.ppbs3-21792925reg

Downton Abbey Porcelain Teacup LED Night Light
This stylish teacup and saucer night light will illuminate your hallway or any room with its bright LED light and easy ppbs3-24064145regon and off switch. It’s the perfect gift for tea enthusiasts and Downton Abbey fans alike.

“9/11 Inside the Pentagon” offers first-hand accounts of the attack we must never forget

America marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., a nightmare we just never forget. PBS Distribution offers 9/11 Inside the Pentagon on DVD, a documentary which reveals new, first-hand accounts of the attack that took place at the heart of the country’s military headquarters–an attack in which 184 people from inside the building and on board American Airlines flight 77 perished.

While most of the media coverage of the events of September 11 focused on New York City and United Flight 93, the story of what happened inside the Pentagon on that tragic day has never truly been told. Until now.

Produced by Lone Wolf Media, 9/11 Inside the Pentagon revisits the events of 9/11 from the perspective of those who were in Washington, DC, working at or near the Pentagon. Using exclusive first-person interviews with Pentagon personnel, first responders, aviation experts and journalists, as well as rarely seen Department of Defense footage taken from inside the Pentagon after the attack, the special tells the story of heroism and perseverance in the face of unimaginable, life-threatening obstacles.

Unlike those in New York City who were completely taken by surprise, those in Washington, DC, followed the news coming out of New York and realized than unaccounted-for flights still in the air would likely target significant, symbolic and strategic sites in the nation’s capital–including the Pentagon.

In the chaos that followed after Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, a group of workers inside would crawl through black smoke and pools of jet fuel looking for an exit, only to find themselves trapped behind a newly installed blast-proof window that was impossible to break open; emotional clashes over jurisdiction would break out between Pentagon personnel and first responders trying to find survivors in the wreckage; smoke would threaten to incapacitate the National Military Command Center; and an unaccounted-for plane would pose the threat of yet another strike.

Among those interviewed in the film are those who experience the attack first-hand: Steve Carter, assistant building operations manager at the Pentagon; first responders Mike Regan, Alan Wallace and Ed Hannon; Pentagon personnel Captain William J. Toti (U.S. Navy, retired) and Colonel Marilyn Wills (US Army, retired); air traffic controller Colin Scoggins; structural engineer Leo Titus; and Washington Post reporter Steve Vogel.

TV pioneer Norman Lear is impossible to stifle. PBS celebrates his career in “Just Another Version of You”

We call it 90 minutes of good times. How else would you explain a PBS special–the first documentary about the television legend– celebrating the career of Norman Lear? Savor American Masters: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You on Blu-ray and DVD.  Enjoyed the special on PBS? Take note that the home releases include more than 12 minutes of bonus features.

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Bea Arthur and Bill Macy in an episode of “Maude”.

Largely responsible for the explosion of bold American television in the ’70s, the writer/producer is synonymous with the sitcom. With unprecedented access to Lear, his work and his massive personal archives, the special combines stories from his turbulent childhood and early groundbreaking TV success (think All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and social activism.

The documentary also features colorful stories from Lear’s family, friends and collaborators, including John Amos, George Clooney, Alan Horn, Bill Moyers, Rob Reiner, Phil Rosenthal and Russell Simmons, as well as cinéma vérité moments with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Jon Stewart, Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham.

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Rob Reiner and Carroll O’Connor bickering (as usual) in “All in the Family”.

Breaking down the fourth wall to create an evocative collage where past and present intermingle, Oscar-nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady reveal a psychologically rich man whose extraordinary contributions emerge from both his personal story and his own self-professed childlike view of the world.

The documentary traces how a poor Jewish kid from Connecticut started writing for The Colgate Comedy Hour with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, created All in the Family and became one of TV’s most successful showrunners.

All character-driven, with theatrical sets and live audiences, Lear’s TV series changed not only the face of national television but the content of national discourse. Bringing provocative subjects like war, poverty and prejudice to 120 million viewers every week, Lear proved that social change was possible through an unlikely prism–laughter–and created some of the greatest moments in television history.

Co-produced by Ewing and Grady’s Loki Films and THIRTEEN’s American Masters series, Just Another Version of You doesn’t shy away from the controversies Lear stirred with his TV series and advocacy organization People For the American Way (PFAW). The documentary also highlights his later years touring the country with the Declaration of Independence and promoting his memoir Even This I Get to Experience, spending time with his tight-knit family, and developing new productions.

Look at this way: Lear can never be stifled.

Premiere pitmaster Aaron Franklin serves up some might tasty menus

More food for thought, served by PBS Distribution and premiere pitmaster Aaron Franklin. Feast on BBQ With Franklin, 10 half-hour episodes that celebrate the traditions, techniques and histories passed along through generations, while serving up a new take on this distinctly American passion. The tour guide for this adventure is the owner and chief firestarter at Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, Aaron Franklin, widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the U.S.

Part pilgrimage, part noble quest, the series brings viewers into Franklin’s world as he visits notable BBQ joints and their legendary masters, tries new recipes, answers burning questions such as “Is it done yet?” and shovels wood at his own BBQ pits.

BBQ With Franklin is based on the popular YouTube web series of the same name, created and launched in 2012 by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. The broadcast series serves as an entertaining blueprint for barbecue buffs as Franklin treks across Texas, talking with big thinkers in the world of barbecue, from an old-timer pit boss to today’s game-changing BBQ artisans. The journey is full of experiments and detours, as Franklin cooks brisket in his backyard, builds his own smoker from scratch (out of a 250 gallon propane tank) and ponders whether or not to go whole hog by barbecuing a whole hog. Along the way, the Master of Central Texas ’cue serves up some of his hard-won knowledge and unlocks the secrets behind truly great barbecue for the backyard pitmaster.

Aaron Franklin’s interest in BBQ started with the backyard cookouts that he and wife, Stacy, would throw. When they opened up a small barbecue trailer on the side of an Austin, Texas, interstate in 2009, they had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into. Today, Franklin Barbecue has grown into the most popular, critically-lauded and obsessed-over barbecue joint in the country (if not the world)—and Franklin, a 2015 James Beard winner, is the recipient of every major barbecue award there is, including Texas Monthly’s coveted Best Barbecue Joint in Texas award and Bon Appétit’s Best Barbecue Joint in America. Six days a week, crowds stand in line for hours for a taste of his mouth-watering brisket. Franklin’s barbecue has been celebrated by everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Anthony Bourdain to President Obama.

Seconds anyone?

“Craft in America: Teachers” offers an inside look into artists who share creative lessons

PBS Distribution teaches us another valuable lesson by releasing the eighth season of Craft in America: Teachers, the Peabody Award-winning series. This time ’round, the program delves into artists committed to sharing the skills and passion for craft with students of all ages.

Craft in America: Teachers takes an inclusive approach to education and craft, emphasizing that it is never too early–or too late–to acquire skills and appreciation for craft. The education covered in this episode starts with kindergarten exploration and discovery; goes through high school and university where the curriculum becomes simultaneously more liberating and challenging; and develops into the curiosity and enthusiasm of lifelong learning.

These artists/teachers are a special breed. They are found in classrooms and workshops ensuring that their hard-earned wisdom and practical skills are passed on. Across the country these craft artists are dedicated to education–inspiring, evaluating, critiquing and praising their students’ achievements.

The program begins with the artistry of Navajo weavers Barbara Teller Ornelas and her sister Lynda Teller Pete, both of whom learned the craft of weaving the time-honored way–through family. Often this method of teaching begins with observation, when skills are absorbed. This legacy of learning is essential to Navajo weavers. The Teller sisters spent summers with their grandparents in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, ancestral home of the Navajo people, in an environment where weaving “is a way of life.”

In early childhood they were introduced to weaving by their mother, Ruth Teller, who instilled the belief that beauty and harmony should be woven into every rug. We film as they teach outdoors amidst the extraordinary natural beauty of the Canyon. They recount the story of Spider Woman who, as ancient legend has it, taught the Navajos to weave. Our cameras then move with them to the Idyllwild Arts Native American Arts Program, where in the summer, they teach the practice of Navajo weaving atop a mountain overlooking Palm Springs, California.

The program travels to Honolulu, Hawaii, where artist Mark Mitsuda introduces professional glass forming techniques to his students at Punahou School. In 1972, his mentor Hugh Jenkins started the high school glass program at Punahou, using recycled milk and mayonnaise bottles as raw materials. Mitsuda took charge of the program after Jenkins’ retirement in 1998. Since its inception, participation in the program has doubled. Underscoring the inter-generational mission of teaching, Mitsuda says that what he learned from Jenkins, he now passes on to his own students.

“I feel fortunate to be teaching something that I feel passionate about and being able to inspire other people in the place that inspired me to first go into glassblowing.” Mitsuda’s early work was a balance between conceptual and functional, slowly he was drawn back to making objects of utility which he finds in his teaching especially, carry tremendous meaning for the student in the process of learning.

The program next travels to Omaha, Nebraska, where Therman Statom, a major figure of the Studio Glass Movement, decided to start programs for underserved inner city students and economically challenged youth.

“I think teaching is the highest form of advocacy in terms of influencing the world or having the chance to be a part of something that you can change,” he explains. Cameras capture Statom at work in his studio and the excitement of his class at the Hot Shops Art Center, witnessing how art and glass blowing inspires youth.

Alfred, New York is home to Alfred University, School of Art and Design. Here, students perfect their craft and learn to become professional artists. The College of Ceramics includes a graduate program where conceptual thinking elevates the approach to clay. Professor Linda Sikoradescribes the program: “We teach many disciplines alongside what might be more strictly categorized as craft. This is deliberate and allows our students to become broad thinking in terms of visual and material culture regardless of how they specialize. It is also, I believe, what keeps our program vital and contemporary.”

Queen Latifah and a bunch of newcomers promise a gay ol’ time with the new series “Star”

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Gee, we hope the Queen doesn’t show up on “Star” this way . . .

A star is born. Well at least not until December 14, when Star, a new series featuring original music and stunning music performances, set for a special  premiere on FOX. Republic Records and Twentieth Century Fox Television have entered a partnership to present music from the show.

Created by Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lee Daniels, co-creator and executive producer of Empire, and Tom Donaghy, Star follows three talented singers–running from their pasts and desperate for a new start–with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cut-throat music business on their road to success.  But reality soon dawns on the girls’ fantasies, and they start to learn that ambition often comes at a cost.

“Monte Lipman and his team at Republic Records continue to be at the forefront of what’s new and evolving in today’s current music scene,” says Daniels. “They know how to push boundaries and take risks–which is the essence of this new series and our group of girls.  We’re looking forward to what is going to be a beautiful collaboration.”

Adds Mark Pearson, Executive Vice President, Brand Management and Digital, TCFTV: “Monte, Tom and everyone at Republic demonstrated a passion for STAR that impressed us all. They understood the show, they had a vision for what to do with our performers and they offered really innovative A&R and marketing ideas. Republic is the perfect musical partner for Lee and Tom’s inspired new series.”

So what the fuss? Meet Star (played by newcomer Jude Demorest), a tough-as-nails young woman, who came up in the foster care system and decides one day to take control of her destiny. Star tracks down her sister, Simone (second newcomer Brittany O’Grady), and her Instagram bestie, Alexandra (third newcomer Ryan Destiny), and together, the trio journeys to Atlanta with the hope of becoming music superstars.

Queen Latifah stars as Carlotta, a surrogate mother to the young crew;  the series will also feature guest star Lenny Kravitz.

Watch the official trailer for STAR HERE

 

 

Dig in! Chef Vivian Howard offers a mighty tasty fourth season of “A Chef’s Life”

More food for thought, brought in a delicious serving by PBS Distribution: The release of the Peabody and Emmy-winning docu-series A Chef’s Life, Season 4 on DVD. (The program is also available for digital download.) The character-driven series takes viewers inside the life and kitchen of acclaimed Chef Vivian Howard and her restaurants located in the low country of eastern North Carolina.

This season Vivian takes viewers on a culinary journey that stretches from Kinston to Portland to the Big Apple. Things kick off in melodic gear with a benefit dinner where The Avett Brothers play second fiddle and spring onions take center stage. The program explores a lush landscape of watermelon, sunchokes, field peas, catfish, mayo and other unlikely food stars.

The program spans both American coasts, and the self-professed “Collard Queen” cooks cabbage and crowns it king. Vivian also realizes a longtime dream and embraces her new role as cookbook author;  this season takes viewers into the high-pressure and rewarding business of book writing. Major staff changes at the restaurant, a heavier workload and the drama of heightened emotions make each portion of this fourth season all the more delicious.

Some more tasty info: The program won a Peabody Award in 2014, a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015 and a James Beard Award in 2016.  Dig in!

“The Durrells in Corfu” is rewarding, though producers are under fire for “straight-washing”

We promise this won’t be Greek to you. Indeed, the PBS Masterpiece drama The Durrells in Corfu is a terrific event. Keeley Hawes stars as an intrepid widow who decamps from dreary 1930s England to a sun-dappled Greek island with her four recalcitrant children, ages 11 to 21, in this adaptation of conservationist Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and its two sequels.

Missed it on the tube? The Durrells in Corfu is now on Blu-ray and DVD; the program will also be available for digital download.

Co-starring with Hawes, who plays Louisa Durrell, are Josh O’Connor as her eldest son, Larry, the instigator of the family’s sudden move to Corfu and a budding writer on his way to becoming the famous novelist Lawrence Durrell; newcomer Callum Woodhouse as son number two, Leslie, an impulsive firearms enthusiast; Daisy Waterstone as daughter Margo, a man-crazy teen; and Milo Parker as 11-year-old Gerry, who only has eyes for wildlife and grew up to be a world-renowned naturalist.

Also appearing are Alexis Georgoulis as Spiros, a Greek taxi driver and all-around fixer for the disoriented Durrells; Yorgos Karamihos as Dr. Theo Stephanides, Gerry’s zoological soulmate; and Ulric von der Esch as Sven, a handsome Swedish expat, living his own bucolic fantasy on Corfu, into which he entangles Louisa.

A tight budget and desperation—not holiday-making—originally drive the Durrells to sink their meager savings into boat fare to Corfu, where they hope to find a refuge more welcoming for their unconventional ways than the stuffy UK. They arrive on an island with no beach resorts, night clubs, tourist shops, or even electricity—for this is 1935. What Corfu does have is endless opportunity for living, loving, shooting and animal collecting—depending on your preferences.

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Ulric von der Esch as Sven: gay in the books, straight in the film

Gerald Durrell drew on (and embellished) the family’s real-life adventures to create three bestsellers: My Family and Other Animals (published in 1956); Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (1969); and Fauna and Family (1978).  The PBS drama has come under pressure: Producers of the ITV drama are still under fire for changing the storyline to make a gay character straight. Handsome Sven, kisses Louisa Durrell in the show, but in the book by conservationist Gerald Durrell, Sven prefers men.  In 1971 novel Fillets of Plaice, Sven says of Louisa: “She’s so beautiful, in fact, it almost makes me wish I weren’t a homosexual.”

ITV’s response? “The series is loosely based on Gerald Durrell’s books and is not intended to be true to life. Characters originally included have been adapted and new characters have been created.”

Screenwriter Simon Nye created an adaptation that has a bit of the epic quality of Greek myth: There’s Gerry’s enchantment with the marvelous animals that populate the island; Margo and Leslie’s quest to cast a spell on members of the opposite sex; Larry’s titanic struggle to produce a novel that someone will publish; and Louisa’s futile stratagems to force her children to get jobs.

But the central odyssey is the children’s search for a suitable mate for their lovelorn mom. Of course, success hinges on whether mother and offspring can agree on what constitutes “suitable.”