“Talks About Nothing” (Athena, 2010-11, three discs, $59.99, 10 episodes; 16-page booklet). Oddly fascinating interviews conducted at the New York Rubin Museum between purposeful “pairings” of such out-of-the-box thinkers as performance artist Laurie Anderson, author Charles Seife, documentarian Ken Burns, Tibetan Buddhist painter Traleg Rinpoche, etc.
“Vikings: The Real Warriors” (BBC, 2012, $24.98, three episodes). This three-part documentary series hosted by Scottish historian Neil Oliver takes the position that Vikings were not merely savage pillagers but that in less than 200 years, while settling Britain, Iceland and Greenland, went from illiterate pagans to Christian farmers, statesmen and kings.
“Beware the Batman: Shadows of Gotham: Season 1, Part 1” (Warner Archive/Blu-ray, 2013-14, $19.95, 13 episodes). The animated series shown on the Cartoon Network comes to video with the promise of more, though the cable show seems stalled at the moment. This reimagining has Batman aided by his butler Alfred and martial-arts/sword-wielding master Katana. (Also on DVD, $19.97, available at warnerarchive.com)
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Mayhem” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $14.99, six episodes). This is the third animated TMNT series, which is shown on the Nickelodeon cable channel, and these episodes are the first six of Season 2, from “The Mutation Situation” through “Target: April O’Neil.”
“Barbie: The Pearl Princess” (Universal/Blu-ray, 2014, two discs, $26.98, episode of “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse,” three music videos, trailers). Made-for-video feature (73 minutes) is essentially Barbie as “The Little Mermaid” with magical powers and a yearning to be a princess. (Also on DVD, $19.98)
“Angelina Ballerina: Spring Fling” (Hit/Lionsgate, 2014, $14.98, five episodes, interactive game, music video). The dancing mouse and her friends try different traditions from around the world to fend off the winter blues.
“Bubble Guppies: Animals Everywhere!” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2014, $16.99, six episodes). The Bubble Guppies make new friends of squirrels, ducks, rhinos and elephants, among other animals.
“Drawing With Mark: Something Fishy/A Day at the Aquarium” (Shelter Island, 2014, $14.98, two episodes).
“Drawing With Mark: Good to Grow/Life On the Farm” (Shelter Island, 2014, $14.98, two episodes). Artist/cartoonist Mark Marderosian offers drawing lessons for children, along with bouncy, humorous animation and educational explorations about the title topics. Think Mr. Rogers with a learn-to-draw component.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com
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