2016 TV Insider Holiday DVD and Blu-ray Gift Guide
It's not just the second Golden Age of Television, it's also the Golden Age of Television Watching. TV viewing is easier than ever with so many broadcast, cable and streaming channels to choose from. But there's one problem come December: If you're giving the gift of TV, you need something to wrap, that looks good under the tree, and feels great unwrapping. These TV shows-in-a-box all come Christmas ready:
When readers write to TV Guide Magazine lamenting recent cancellations, we probably get more letters about Person of Interest than any other show. You can hold all the episodes in one hand, close to your heart, in Person of Interest The Complete Series DVD ($85.99, all prices from Amazon). The last novel in the Wallander series by Henning Mankell was published in 2009, but Kenneth Bragh's UK television version contained in Wallander The Complete Collection DVD ($79.99) renewed interest in the ficitonal Swedish Detective. A new edition of Crime Story The Complete Series DVD (14.96) doesn't come out until January 10, so you can't give it as a Xmas gift. But buy it for yourself for the New Year and check out the widely praised but short-lived Dennis Farina starrer. (It couldn't compete against Moonlighting and Falcon Crest!)
Star Trek hit the big 5-0 this fall. One of the many commemorations include Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Blu-ray ($129.99) which contains the original series, the animated series, and the first six Trek movies with the original cast. Another take on the original series includes Star Trek The Original Series: The Roddenberry Vault Blu-ray ($49.99) with deleted scenes, outtakes, and original FX work kept in storage by creator Gene Rodenberry. But before we get too serious about sci fi: Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXVII DVD ($42.99) offers up snide commentary about such deservedly forgotten gems like The Horror of Party Beach and Invasion of the Neptune Men.
In the Walking Dead midseason finale, Rick and Co. finally decided that enough is enough. The Alexandria group is headed toward an alliance with the Hilltop and the Kingdom to gather numbers for an assault against Neegan and their Savior overlords. Of course, Rick himself has a lot to set right because of his bad choices, one of which was the ill-fated attempt to route the rock quarry zombies away from Alexandria at the beginning of season six. The Walking Dead: Season 6 Limited Edition Blu-ray ($149.99,) includes a “truck” walker from that episode as a collectible holding case. If hordes of zombies are too much, you can focus on just one cannibal who closed out a three season run last summer on NBC. Mads Mikkelsen's haunting work as Hannibal Lecter is just one of the highlights in Hannibal The Complete Series Collection Blu-ray ($21.99), a prequel to the mad psychiatrist's work made famous in Silence of the Lambs.
Two different decades, two different takes on the action cop series. Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were the original angel trio in Charlie's Angels The Complete Series DVD ($27.99) in 1976, but 1984 ushered in Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as the original bro duo with a bigger wardrobe budget then all the angels combined in Miami Vice The Complete Series DVD ($27.99)
Check out Ryan Reynolds' (The Proposal, Deadpool) humble TV beginnings in Two Guys and A Girl The Complete Series DVD ($54.28). You want the origin stories of an even bigger crowd of successful Hollywood types? How about producers Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Trainwreck) and stars Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen all starting together in Freaks and Geeks The Complete Series Blu-ray ($75.78) from 1999. One of the funnier modern workplace comedies? It's British tech geeks in The IT Crowd The Complete Series DVD ($45.47).
The third season of Better Call Saul won't be here until next spring, so you have plenty of time to enjoy Better Call Saul Season Two Blu-ray ($27.99) and connect all the story and character dots to Breaking Bad. Jim Sturgess (Feed the Beast) stars in Close to the Enemy Season One DVD ($40.58, available December 27) as a post WW II intelligence officer in charge of a getting a captured German scientist to work for the British RAF. (Close to the Enemy premiered on Acorn TV in November, a great streaming site for British TV) And here's an outstanding music documentary from Acorn that was broadcast on PBS: Soundbreaking: Stories From the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music DVD ($31.19).
We never pass up an opportunity to mention the greatest moment in television programming history: in the 1973-74 TV season, all of these comedies were on the same network (CBS) on the same night (Saturday): All in the Family, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, and The Carol Burnett Show. Yes, the only reaction is, "Wow." Check out the Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes Ultimate Collection DVD ($149.95) to relive some of that amazingness. You can reach back further into the vault with the Golden Age of Television: Classic TV Shows from Five Decades DVD ($104.95) with highlights from Johnny Carson, the Bob Hope Specials, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Andy Willliams Show. Country music fans have two great choices for box sets. There's Hee Haw The Collector's Edition DVD $(124.80) and Opry Video Classics Collection DVD ($75.47), 16 discs of performances from country music hall-of-famers from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
We usually focus on complete series sets for the gift guide, but Outlander Season 2 Collector's Edition Blu-ray ($75.99) was too pretty to pass up. And they've got the even prettier Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan inside the box. Game of Thrones The Complete Seasons 1-6 Blu-ray ($164.96) looks good enough for under the tree, too, with cool dragons outside and inside.