Here’s a simple rule for birthdays and Christmas: never give a gift that you wouldn’t want to receive. Because socks are the very worst Christmas present.
For television fans, the Christmas season never fails to produce a few high end DVD or Blu-ray box sets as well as new releases for some of the most popular series on television. This year is no exception... and there’s even a few great books about TV to read along the way.
Entourage - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
One of HBO’s longest running comedies gets the complete series box set treatment with all eight seasons. “Entourage” may be the ultimate wish fulfillment series for men as superstar actor, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) brings his half-brother, Drama (Kevin Dillon) and his friends Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) to Hollywood to pursue fame and fortune together.
But of course, the best reason to watch “Entourage” was Jeremy Piven’s super agent, Ari Gold, one of the most hilarious TV characters of the decade. And also one of the most human. Maybe there will be an “Entourage” movie someday, but until then, this is the best way to enjoy the series.
Firefly: A Celebration
For fans of the sci-fi series that just won’t die and the passionate Browncoats who carry the flame even to this day, Titan has produced a fantastic hardcover collection of its three previous Firefly companions. Firefly: A Celebration features interviews with the cast of Joss Whedon’s cult classic show, features and scripts for every single episode.
As a bonus, Firefly: A Celebration even comes with nine photos of the cast in costume and a reproduction of one of the banknotes used within the show. This is one of the greatest television tribute books that we’ve ever seen.
The Revolution Was Televised
Alan Sepinwall is one of the most influential TV critics in the industry and he’s written a ridiculously entertaining book about the dramas that ushered in a new era for television. Through conversations with the writers and producers behind the series themselves, Sepinwall explores the origins of “Lost,” “The Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” “The Shield,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “24,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and more.
The TV revolution wasn’t just televised, it never stopped. And this book is a worthy chronicle of the changing television landscape.
Game of Thrones The Complete 1st Season: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray / DVD)
TV’s reigning fantasy franchise is helping to keep the golden age of dramas alive at HBO. For the holiday season, HBO is releasing a massive box set containing both Blu-ray and DVD copies of the first season along with collectible sigils from the four main houses of Westros, a dragon egg paperweight and a Blu-ray bonus disk with the first episode from season two.
If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of a truly terrific TV series, this is a great place to start.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection: Limited Edition
If you know anyone who is a He-Man fan, this may be the ultimate collectible. This 22 DVD set has every episode from the original “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” animated series, every episode of the 2002 series revival and 20 episodes of “The New Adventures of He-Man.”
The set also has new featurettes about the franchise, a soundtrack from the Filmation series and an impressive Castle Grayskull sculpted into the package. This is the definitive box set for the He-Man series.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Complete Classic Series Collection
As impressive as the He-Man set is, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Complete Classic Series Collection outdoes it with 23 disks and all ten seasons of the original animated series from the ‘80s with a Turtle Van replica to hold the disks. And the van actually has working wheels!
Admittedly, not every episode of TMNT holds up to the test of time and the series could get pretty goofy. But the turtles are still a lot of fun to watch and this is absolutely the best way to enjoy the series.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Complete Series
On paper, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” shouldn’t have worked. The producers of “Power Rangers” recycled old footage from Japanese Super Sentai TV series with American actors and cheesy storylines spliced in.
But the series was a massive hit right out of the gate and twenty years later it’s still going. This box set contains every episode from the original incarnation of the series and the show still has a strange charm to it. Why is that TMNT and Power Rangers have such catchy theme songs? Once you hear them again, they won’t leave your head for hours.
Futurama Volume 7
For the discerning animation fans, it’s hard to do better than a fresh batch of “Futurama” episodes. Volume 7 has all 13 installments from the most recent Comedy Central run of the series with commentaries on every episode, deleted scenes, a karaoke sing-along and more.
“Futurama” rarely disappoints and not even Fox could kill this series for long.
Doctor Who - The 7th Series, Part 1
The Doctor never misses Christmas... even if there’s only half a season of “Doctor Who” available. Fair warning, there are only five episodes on this set. But it’s redeemed by a very powerful sendoff for Amy Pond and Rory Williams in “The Angels Take Manhattan.”
If you know a hardcore Whovian who can’t wait for the eventual complete seventh series on DVD, this could be a good holiday gift idea. But there is another “Doctor Who” set that blows this one out of the water...
Doctor Who: Limited Edition Gift Set
This is the ultimate gift for any “Doctor Who” fan: a limited edition box set of the first six seasons of the revived series packaged with a replica sonic screwdriver, three comic art cards featuring the Doctors portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith and a comic book chronicling the Doctor’s trip to Comic Con.
If anyone’s looking to buy me a Christmas gift, this is one I badly want. Any “Doctor Who” fan in your life is likely to feel the same way, so take the leap into the time vortex... “Geronimo!”