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2007 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part II

December 9th, 2007

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Festivas, Saturnalia, or even Tulzscha Day, it's a busy time of year for shopping. TV on DVD releases are a little more troubling to deal with than regular movies, because you have to worry about full series Megasets vs. full season sets. But at least with most of these you don't have to deal with a Format War. ... for the most part.

For those with issues...
Dr. Katz Professional Therapist - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Description: The first series done in Squigglevision, it stars Jonathan Katz as a shrink who deals with a large number of patients, mostly stand up comics.
Pros: Most full seasons sets are like a big, "Screw you!" from studios to fans. First they release each season on DVD and fans dutifully pick them up, then they re-release them in a much cheaper package. However, this time around they only released the first two seasons before releasing the full series, so even if you collected everything they released so far, this Megaset is still worth it.
Cons: The humor is so dry at times that people used to broad humor might not even recognize the jokes. Also, Squigglevision has been known to cause migraines, seizers, and on rare occasions, spontaneous brain explosion (it's not as bad as it sounds).
Notes: If you like Squigglevision, grab Home Movies as well.

For those who really do celebrate Festivus...
Seinfeld - Buy from Amazon
Description: Jerry Seinfeld's show about nothing struck a cord with audiences and lasted nearly a decade on TV.
Pros: There's a reason the show lasted as long as it did. Not only was it a high quality show to begin with, it maintained that level right until the final episode.
Cons: ... That final episode. I don't know what to say about it. Also, there's not a lot here to warrant upgrading, so if they have the season sets, beware.

For those who like making stupid noises...
The Young Ones - Extra Stoopid Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: The new wave of stand-up comics from the 1970s created a new, and very strange TV show about four college students living in squalor. It has a surreal sense of humor that was completely different from everything else on TV at the time. Add in guest stars (like Hugh Laurie, Terry Jones, Robbie Coltrane), and musical guests (like Madness, Moterhead, and Dexy's Midnight Runners), and you can see why it really caught on.
Pros: The original SpongeBob SquarePants, in a way. The fans of this show were evenly divided between young kids and drunk college students. Of course it was made for drunk college students but attracted kids, which is the opposite of SpongeBob. But it has twice the audience and should please more people.
Cons: Don't let your kids watch this show. This is the second time it has been released on DVD here, but this 3-disc set does have enough extras to be worth the upgrade.
Notes: If you like this DVD, grab Bottom as well.

For those who remember buying seasons for $150 each...
The X-Files - The Ultimate Collection - Buy from Amazon
Description: This ground-breaking Sci-Fi series lasted nine years on TV and spawned two movies. For most of its run, it was one of the most popular shows on TV.
Pros: Originally the series were sold for $150 each season, which when you take into account inflation and Amazon's discount means this full series Megaset is not much more than a single season was when it first started coming out. Also, this 61-disc set contains the full series, the first movie, and the extras from the theme releases. In other words, everything any fan could want.
Cons: There might be a 62-disc Megaset released after X-Files 2 is released on DVD.

For those who haven't quite decided to go to High Definition...
Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete First Season on HD-DVD / DVD Combo Discs
Description: Exactly the same release as last week, but it is a TV on DVD release and it is a HD-DVD / DVD Combo release, so I thought it deserved mentioning twice.
Pros: As an HD-DVD / DVD combo release, it is a good gift for those who have not yet made the leap to High Definition. And there are more features than on the original DVD release.
Cons: It is expensive, especially if you don't have an HD-DVD player to get the full features.

For those who want other short-lived shows to be resurrected...
Futurama - Bender's Big Score - Buy from Amazon
Description: The return of Futurama, which was never given the respect it deserved from the network and was constantly pre-empted before eventually being canceled.
Pros: This Sci-Fi Time Travel-athon should please fans of the show, while the replay value and the extras are more than enough bang for the buck.
Cons: None really. Obviously buying the show for someone who hated Futurama when it was on TV is a risk, but this is good enough to win over new converts.
Notes: Speaking of short-lived TV shows that deserve to be resurrected... Firefly - The Complete Series. (I am going to pimp this show until I get my sequel.)

For those who always wanted to travel to Africa to clear their head...
Chappelle's Show - The Series Collection - Buy from Amazon
Description: Both seasons of David Chappelle's Show plus the lost episodes from season three.
Pros: This show was one of the funniest on TV during its short run.
Cons: Everything on this 6-disc set has been previously released on DVD. But it makes a good gift for those who loved the show, but aren't big into buying TV on DVD.

For those who didn't believe the studio when they said they were not releasing full season sets...
Masters of Horror - Season One Box Set - Buy from Amazon
Description: All 13 episodes from the first season of the horror anthology show, Masters of Horror. This show brought together some of the greatest horror directors for one series and had them create 50-minute mini-movies.
Pros: An excellent collection of episodes and even the weaker of them is still worth checking out. Combined with the extras there's more than enough bang for the buck here.
Cons: They are also releasing the first season on Blu-Ray, so there's the format war to deal with.

For those who think comedy is the best way to bridge the gap...
Little Mosque on the Prairie - The Complete 1st Season - Buy from
Description: A groundbreaking TV show about a Muslim community in a small town in Canada. The show made the news when it started (including being profiled on CNN), and has become a large hit in Canada and in many other countries where it has been shown.
Pros: It is a funny show with a light-hearted satire style to comedy. While there's a religious angle to it, the show is more about culture clash, including the adjustment needed when moving to a small town.
Cons: It's a Canadian show, so you will need to import it and pay a little more for shipping and handling.
Notes:: Also worth checking out are two other Canadian shows: Robson Arms - Season 2 and Corner Gas - Season 4, both of which are imports.

For those who are just as confused as I am...
Lost - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
Description: When this show started, it instantly became one of the most talked about shows on network TV. And even though the last two seasons were more uneven, it is still a weekly obsession for millions of people.
Pros: These people really know how to put out proper DVD releases and this 7-disc set is packed. It is also a show that really excels on DVD as it demands being seen in order, and all at once (or at the very least, in a few marathon sessions). Most shows are not like this.
Cons: It is also be released on Blu-Ray, and the Blu-Ray release is better, so you have to deal with the whole format war. Also, it was revealed that the show will run five seasons, which means in three years at the most there should be a full series Megaset.

For those who want to save the cheerleader, even if it's in Standard Definition...
Heroes - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
Description: Like the above show, Heroes is a show that created a lot of buzz from the very first episode. Not only did it draw in fans of the super hero genre, but it's crossover appeal is massive.
Pros: Also like the show above, this is a show that viewers need to be watch each episode, in order and as quickly as possible. This is also a DVD that is easily worth picking up.
Cons: Also like the show above, this is one that is being released on a High Definition format, this time HD-DVD, and the High Definition release is worth the extra cost, but dealing with the Format War could be a downside for many.

For those who want a show even more confusing than Lost...
Twin Peaks - Definitive Gold Box Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: Rarely does a show rise so far, so fast. And rarely can such a show sustain itself for very long. Here studio interference paid a price. In particular, they should have never moved the show nor should they have forced them to reveal the identity of the killer.
Pros: The entire show on one 10-disc DVD with more than enough extras to be worth upgrading, on the rare chance that the person has season one.
Cons: Not the first time its been released on DVD, but its been so long since season one came out that it practically is.

For those who like old school secret agents...
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series Megaset - Buy from Time Life
Description: A massive 41-disc set containing the complete four-year run of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It also contains 10 hours worth of extras, making it an ideal gift for any fan of the show.
Pros: Most times full series Megasets are risky gifts since fans of the show are likely to own the seasons on DVD already. Here, the full series Megaset was released first, so there's no issues with that.
Cons: Right now it is exclusively sold through the Time Life website and this might be an issue with people who like to shop at Brick & Mortar stores.

For those who were really looking forward to his presidential run...
The Colbert Report - Best Of The Colbert Report - Buy from Amazon
Description: Nearly three hours of the best bits of Stephen Colbert from his spoof of political pundit shows.
Pros: It's nearly three hours of the best bits of Stephen Colbert. What more do you want?
Cons: It's not the 250-episode, 40-disc set like we were promised on his show. On a serious note, I would have liked more recurring bits, more interviews, and less over-hyped specials.

For those who know cartoons are not just for kids...
Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 5 - Buy from Amazon
Description: 60 more cartoons from the best studio in the history of the animated short. Warner Bros. simultaneously lifted the medium to an art form while creating cartoons that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Pros: Not only are they some of the best cartoons ever made, they 4-disc set has tons of extras with the adult collector in mind.
Cons: My only complaint is the fact that they are being released in alphabetical order. I understand why this isn't happening (because they were worried the early releases wouldn't sell until Bugs Bunny showed up), but I would prefer chronological order.

For those who want the last item on my so-called list...
My So-Called Life - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Description: An amazing show that really felt true. Although it was about Angela Chase, a high school girl, it was such a powerful drama that it could draw in audiences of all demographics.
Pros: This six-disc DVD brings together all 19 episodes of this short-run series as well as plenty of extras. These extras feature many members of the cast and crew, which should be a real treat for fans of the show.
Cons: This show has been released more than a few times on DVD, but this is the first time that the DVD release lived up to the quality of the show. Also, as a short-lived show, it leaves you wanting more.


Filed under: The X-Files: I Want to Believe