IWM2$’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

2014GiftGuide

Welcome back to the Seventh Annual iwantmytwodollars.com Holiday Gift Guide! As always, we’re focusing on the best gifts in the movie and TV worlds (all available now on Blu-ray and DVD), and we really tried to find the sets and releases that offer up the best bag for your buck. We also (as usual) focus mostly on releases that have come out since September, since stuff before that is likely to have already been bought or received by your intended giftee.

We’ve included a little something for everyone here, so we hope you’ll find exactly what you need! Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!

For Your Friend Who Just Loves Movies:

StevenSpielbergCollection

Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection

This amazing Blu-ray collection presents eight of Steven Spielberg’s most acclaimed and popular films, with a few lesser-seen gems thrown in for good measure. In addition to the ever-present Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, you also get some Spielberg films that aren’t as prolific in this type of movie collection. Duel is Spielberg’s first film, a terrific TV-movie about an innocent man being chased by a maniacal truck driver. It’s highly worth seeing and you’ll be surprised how often you see it quoted as an influence on filmmakers. That was followed up by his proper film debut, The Sugarland Express, a moving drama (with moments of action and social commentary) starring Goldie Hawn. 1941 is the World War II comedy that has always dogged Spielberg as being both a flop and publicly derided film, but its nice to have it included here anyway. Finally, Always is a sweet romance film with a supernatural twist starring Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter. While these films only encapsulate Spielberg’s Universal output, it’s still a terrific box set that is worth owning.

For Just About Anybody, Really:

GhostbustersGhostbusters & Ghostbusters II: 30th Anniversary Edition

I’m kind of going to skip right over any commentary on the first film itself because, well, it’s Ghostbusters. I mean, seriously, what am I gonna say about this film other than how brilliant it is and how much I love it? It just seems a bit pointless. That being said, this new 30th Anniversary Edition set includes Ghostbusters 2 for the first time on Blu-ray (also available separately) and comes packaged in a terrific hardcover digibook edition, which I love. There’s also a nice collection of extra features. It’s Ghostbusters. It’s Blu-ray. What more do you need to know? Who wouldn’t want this one under their Christmas tree? Nobody I want to be friends with, that’s for sure!

 

For Your Relatives Who Won’t Stop Sharing Old Family Photos on Facebook:

The Wonder Years: The Complete Series –

WonderYears

One of the most beloved shows of the 80s/90s, The Wonder Years FINALLY makes its way to DVD, and this isn’t just some thrown-together release. This limited edition set of the entire series — available only through StarVista online — includes 26 discs that comprise the entire series in its entirety. One of the best things about this release is that the distributor went through and secured the rights to ALL of the music in the set, so the show’s indelible soundtrack is intact. And with that, the entire show holds up extremely well. The cast is terrific, the characters are endearing, and the show is sweet and fun, just like it always was. And even better, this set is LOADED with extra features. Not only does it come in an awesome metal locker case, but there are hours upon hour of newly crafted extra features. This really is a treasure trove for fans of the show. What better time is there to welcome Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper back into your home?

For Your Friend Who Dresses Up As a Classic Character Every Halloween:

UniClassicMonstersUniversal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection – 

This monstrous (pardon the pun) 21-disc box set includes every Universal Monster Movie made between 1931 and 1956. It has all the classics; Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and a lot of lesser-seen films, like The Invisible Man’s Revenge and She-Wolf of London. I love that this set doesn’t just include the big ones, but actually every single film released featuring the original Universal monsters. Available separately are themed box sets of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Wolf Man, which collect all of the films in each of those series, and a number of the films available separately on Blu-ray for the first time. My only complaint is that this is a DVD-only set. I really wish it was out on Blu-ray. But that’s a minor complaint, especially considering the age of the movies involved. This is some pretty sweet stuff! Here’s the complete list of movies included:
Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Invisible Agent (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge of the Creature (1955), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

For Your Oddball Friend (You Know The One We Mean):

PsychSeries

Psych: The Complete Series –

Hooray! More Psych on DVD! Boo! The show has ended!! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see Psych come to an end. Why? Well, if you have to ask, you have clearly not been watching one of the best shows on TV. The quick breakdown for those of you who are uninitiated: Shawn is the son of a policeman; he has a photographic memory and is good at solving crimes. Gus is his uptight, slightly nerdy best friend. They formed a psychic detective agency together, with one minor hitch: Shawn’s not really psychic. Unfortunately, that brief synopsis doesn’t even come close to describing how much fun the show is. In each episode we get a compelling mystery, numerous pop-culture references, and rapid-fire dialogue that will literally have you laughing out loud. Meanwhile, James Roday and Dule Hill have some of the best on-screen chemistry I’ve ever seen on TV. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve told people this, but you really need to be watching Psych. Now that it’s come to an end, why not start at the beginning and binge-watch one of the most fun shows on TV?

For The 9-to5-er In Your Life:

TheOfficeSeriesThe Office: The Complete Series – 

I have tried and I have tried and I have tried some more, but I just cannot get into this show. It’s no secret; I’ve shared my feelings about the show on numerous occasions. Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott is so ridiculous, so insulting, and so over-the-top that there’s just no way he wouldn’t get fired in today’s day and age of political correctness. While the show veers into the absurd enough that I should be able to suspend my disbelief about that, I simply can’t. The end result is a show that I only like in small dribs and drabs. Those dribs and drabs would be Jim and Pam. I would love to see a spin-off about these two characters, with maybe on occasional appearance by Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute, who is also sometimes funny. Jim and Pam are great characters portrayed to excellence by Jon Krasinski and the luminous and beautiful Jenna Fischer. Hey if we can have Joanie Loves Chachi, why not Jim Loves Pam? That said, millions of other people loved this show, and this huge box set includes every episode, every extra feature and every laugh all in one place. Perfect for the office drone in your life!

For Friends Who Are Moving On Up:

JeffersonsSeriesThe Jeffersons: The Complete Series – 

Television history is littered with spin-offs; they range from the good (I liked Joey, darn it!) to the bad (AfterMASH, anyone?) and everywhere in between. Every once in a great while, though, a spin-off comes along that matches the success of its predecessor. The Jeffersons is one of those shows, spinning off from All in the Family and running an amazing 11 seasons. Not only was the series popular, but also groundbreaking, featuring the first African American television family that was as well off as any of the white families on TV. That’s fairly heady stuff for the mid-70’s. Today, the show still amuses, even if it fails to elicit the out-loud laughter it did back in its prime. Of course, it’s dated somewhat, but the show’s witty writing and terrific characters (I was always a Weezie fan, personally) ensure that it never becomes too old or tired. The Jeffersons remains a landmark in television history, and this massive box set doesn’t offer up much in the way of extras, but with eleven years worth of great comedy, who’s complaining?

For Classic Comedy Fans:

MisterEdSeriesMister Ed: The Complete Series

I watched Mister Ed on occasion in reruns (’50s and ’60s TV shows were big in reruns back in the ’80s), but only occasionally. I liked the show, but it wasn’t a favorite of mine. What’s interesting to me is how the show actually holds up surprisingly well. It’s a different style of humor from what we expect out of today’s sitcoms, but I’d be lying if some of the corny jokes and more innocent stylings of humor didn’t make me laugh as I was watching the show. This is a fun show that will spark off some strong nostalgia for adults who are kids of all ages. There are only a few extra features, but with so many of these classic shows being released bare bones, any extra at all is a real treat for fans. And this is one of those shows that a lot of people loved but don’t necessarily own on DVD already, so whoever you get it for will have a lot of fun revisiting this classic comedy show.

For The Log Lady In Your Life:

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery
TwinPeaksEM
This gorgeous box set is a real gift for fans of the groundbreaking series. Twin Peaks as a whole was not a perfect show; the second season lost its way and couldn’t live up to the greatness of the first season. Regardless of that, however, there’s no denying what a fascinating and engrossing series Twin Peaks is. While I’ve never really cared for David Lynch as a director, he’s clearly a very creative man and when his energies are focused and channeled properly, the result is something completely addictive. Don’t think there would be shows like Lost or Desperate Housewives around today if Lynch and Mark Frost hadn’t laid the groundwork for off-center mythologies with Twin PeaksTwin Peaks has had something of a convoluted history in coming to DVD. The nice thing is that this set includes the complete series, pilot and all, so you can watch the entire show from start to finish with this one release, including the prequel film Fire Walk With Me. This set is produced by Charles de Lauzirika, one of the most pioneering DVD producers in the field today. Not surprisingly then, there is a wealth of really great new bonus materials, including dozens of deleted scenes that have never been seen before. It’s hard to say what made Twin Peaks so special: the quirky characters, the overarching mystery, the terrific cast, the soundtrack, the cherry pie. I think it was a combination of all those things and more, and now you have the best possible way to revisit them all.

For People Who Just Love To Laugh:

MorkMindySeriesMork & Mindy: The Complete Series –

Easily the most bittersweet gift recommendation in this year’s guide, Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series is a fantastic nostalgia trip and a great way to get a large chunk of the inestimable Robin Williams in one place. Of course, it’s sad, because it reminds you of just how talented he was and how sad it is that he’s gone. Still, to NOT revel in the glory of his comedy would be missing the point and not honoring his memory, so I say pick up this terrific box set, binge watch some rapid-fire comedy, and pay tribute to one of the greatest film comedians of all time. Even though the show gets a little weak towards the end, there’s no denying that the first three seasons (and especially the first two) are comedy gold. It’s amazing how funny this show can still be, despite the obvious age of the fashion, hairstyles, and some of the references. This is another one of those gifts that just about anybody would enjoy.

For Your Friend Who Still Owns a Pair of Bell Bottom Jeans:

ThreesCompanySeriesThree’s Company: The Complete Series –

I grew up watching Three’s Company, and it’s another one of those shows that may be awfully dated but is still awfully funny. Thanks largely to the comedic talents of John Ritter, the show also benefitted from an amazing supporting cast, even though they changed at a surprisingly fast pace sometimes. Suzanne Somers became a star on this show, Joyce DeWitt was a comedy stalwart, Richard Kline was terrific as Jack’s lothario best friend, Richard Fell and Audrey Lindley were great as Mr. and Mrs. Roper, and then the legendary Don Knotts was even a part of the show as Mr. Furley. Even before I really knew much about gay people or what it meant to be gay, I loved this show, and as an adult, watching John Ritter pretend to be gay so he can room with two girls is some surprisingly sharp comedy. With eight seasons all collected into one big box set, this is a terrific gift for people of a certain age.

For The Comic Book Collector In Your Life:

AgentsOfSHIELDMarvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1

I understand why some people stopped watching this show early on, as it definitely needs a few episodes to find its footing. But around halfway through the season (especially once it ties its events to what happens in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. became one of the best shows on TV last season. Great action, cool sci-fi, character drama, lots of humor, and some serious twists and turns made this must-watch TV every single week! If you haven’t checked it out yet but are a fan of Marvel’s movies, you really need to pick this set up and start binge-watching. Or, you know, buy it as a gift for someone else. (But trust me, if you start watching it, you’re probably not going to want to give it away.) So maybe think about picking up two copies: one to keep and one to give away!

For The IT Worker In Your Life:

StarTrekCompendiumStar Trek: The Compendium

JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies are some of the most fun, exciting, and invigorating experiences I’ve had in a movie theater in a long time. The first Star Trek film was a sci-fi masterpiece, and Into Darkness does not disappoint. Not even a little bit. It’s pretty rare when a sequel is every bit as good as its predecessor, but Star Trek: Into Darkness manages to achieve that feat. Now, both films are packaged together in a new set called the Star Trek Compendium. But rather than just a cheap repackaging, this set actually offers up about five hours of new extra features. Into Darkness had exclusive extra features at every retailer in the world, meaning if you wanted all of them, you had to buy about 10 copies of the movie. Now you can have them all in one place. It’s a great set for Trek fans!

 

For Your Macho Big Brother:

SpartacusCSSpartacus: The Complete Series

Essentially a TV version of 300, Spartacus is a fun show to watch but ultimately was never quite compelling enough for me to make it must-see TV. After the show’s original star Andy Whitfield died of cancer, and after a season of Spartacus without Spartacus actually in it, the show managed to wrap the entire saga up, and see the return of the titular character in the form of new lead actor Liam McIntyre. The show is essentially an action romp filled with extreme violence, nudity, and a gritty style of filmmaking that gives it an “extreme” feel. Much of it feels like it’s there for shock value more than anything else, but clearly the show was quite popular, so I guess there was an audience for it. For me, it was a fun diversion, but not much more. Now, the entire series from start to finish has been collected into one terrific Blu-ray (or DVD) set, loaded with extra features. There’s also a limited edition version which comes with a statue of Spartacus dueling which is pretty bad-ass. A great gift for the show’s hardcore fans! If you like blood, sex, and warriors, this is the show for you.

For The Friend Who You’re Just A Little Bit Afraid Of:

HalloweenCompleteHalloween: The Complete Collection Limited Deluxe Edition

Quite possibly my favorite box set ever. This massive deluxe 15-disc collection (also available in a standard 10-disc edition) not only includes EVERY Halloween movie ever all in one place for the first time, but it also includes a number of bonus films. You get the extended television editions of Halloween and Halloween II (the originals), the unrated editions of Rob Zombie’s remakes (even though I don’t like them, it’s good to see them included as part of the complete set), and — most exciting — the infamous never-before-available Producer’s Cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, which changes the film significantly from the version that was released and is considered by many to be one of the weakest films in the franchise. On top of that, you get a 40-page book, amazing artwork in all-black Blu-ray cases, and even a new cover illustration by the master poster artist himself, Drew Struzan. Honestly, as a huge fan of the Halloween franchise, this box set is pretty much a dream come true.

For Someone Who Likes To Try New TV Shows:

The100

The 100: Season 1

The 100 is one of my favorite new genre shows of last season. While not a monstrous hit for the CW, it earned enough buzz and ratings to bring it back for another season. It’s a great mash-up of The Lord of the Flies, Battlestar Galactica, and After Earth, set in the distant future where Earth is potentially uninhabitable. 100 under-18 “criminal” kids are sent to the Earth’s surface to see if it’s a viable place to sustain what remains of humanity. The show has a few moments of suspect dialogue and acting, but overall it’s quite solid. And the show takes some chances. There’s a shocking moment in the first episode, but if what happens at the end of the third episode doesn’t take you completely by surprise and have you hooked, you’re watching something different than I am. Really fun stuff, and a great gift for people who like sci-fi but passed this show over because it airs on The CW.

For Someone Who’s Got Four Hours To Kill:

GoneWithTheWindGone With the Wind: 75th Anniversary Edition

Nothing like a massive new box set to let you know that the holidays are right around the corner! This 75th Anniversary Edition of Gone With The Wind is a pretty mammoth collection, and it’s got pretty uch everything a GWTW fan could want. Not only do you get the film in high definition, you also get a Blu-ray with over eight hours of extra features, plus a second disc of bonus features on DVD, and even a fourth disc with a 6-hour documentary on MGM, the studio behind Gone With the Wind. Then, you get a collectible music box and embroidered handkerchief, plus a beautiful 36-page full-color hardcover book! Oh yeah, and the film itself is pretty good, too! This is a must have for fans of the film, and Blu-ray is definitely the way to see it again. It brings the film to life in a way you haven’t ever seen it.

For The Devil Who Wears Prada:

AudreyHepburnCollectionThe Audrey Hepburn Collection

While this is really more of a mini-collection (there are only three films in it), this set does represent the clear highlights of the luminescent Ms. Hepburn’s career (and wisely eschews the hasn’t-aged-well My Fair Lady.) Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face, and Sabrina are the three films included, and it’s hard t argue with any of them having earned a place here. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a true classic (we’ll ignore the racist interludes), while Sabrina is a terrific romance film with not just Hepburn but also the great Humphrey Bogart. And while I’m not a huge fan of musicals, Funny Face‘s Gershwin-penned tunes hold up well. It also marks the film’s Blu-ray debut. For fans of Ms. Hepburn’s this is a nice little set.

For The Whole Family:

SleepingBeautySleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition –

For me, Sleeping Beauty was always about the dragon. As an adult, I can appreciate the film much more on the whole, but as a kid I was always drawn to this film for the larger-than-life fantasy aspect that comes with the film’s climax. I’ve always wondered why Sleeping Beauty has always ranked among the more “minor” Disney films and has never been held in as high regard as other classics such as Snow White or Cinderella, but I think it’s Maleficent becoming the dragon that’s finally clued me in. That part of the movie is so indelibly stamped on our memories and so beautifully realized that it overshadows the rest of the movie. The result is a collection of mostly forgettable characters when, as we all know, characters are the driving force behind all the truly great Disney films. For whatever reason, the featured players in this film just don’t live up to those in Cinderella or Snow White, and thus the film is less beloved than many others. Disney has painstakingly restored the film for this Blu-ray edition, and it looks beautiful. Every frame has been cleaned up, the image is much clearer, and colors are brought to new life. Another terrific Disney effort.

For That Friend Or Family Member Who’s Still Upset That The X-Files Was Canceled:

PennyDreadful1Penny Dreadful: Season 1  –

You’ve probably heard of Showtime’s hit horror series by now, but if not, you’re missing out. This mash-up of The X-Files and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sees a team of intrepid adventurers fighting supernatural creatures in 1800s England. With a stellar cast that includes Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, and Billie Piper, and production values that make the show look more like a movie than a TV Series, Penny Dreadful is a terrific amount of fun. Dark fun, but fun nonetheless. Timothy Dalton is fantastic as usual, but it’s Josh Hartnett that’s the real surprise here. His wooden style of acting is gone, replaced with an easy charm and a depth that we’ve never seen from him before. All put together, the show is quite outstanding. Check it out.

 

For The Comic Book Fan In Your Life Who Already Owns All The Movies:

WolverineCollectionMarvel Knights: The Wolverine Collection

Collecting five previously released Marvel motion comics featuring everyone’s favorite mutant, Shout Factory’s Marvel Knights: The Wolverine Collection is not quite an animated movie, and not quite a comic book, but rather somewhere in between. As with many of these motion comics, the stories are great, but the voice characterizations of our beloved characters don’t sit 100% well with me This set includes: Wolverine: OriginUltimate Wolverine Versus HulkWolverine: Weapon X – Tomorrow Dies TodayWolverine Versus Sabretooth, and Wolverine Versus Sabretooth: Reborn. The bottom line here is that of you like the original comic books, you’ll like this animated release, because they are the comic books exactly, only more so. I like these motion comics for what they are; a mildly entertaining diversion. They won’t replace either animation or comic books for me, but they’re kind of different, and kind of neat. Kind of.

For The Adult Who’s Still A Kid Inside:

PeeWeePlayhousePee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series

Okay, I never liked Pee-wee Herman, nor did I ever really like his show. However, I’m in the minority on that, and I realize that most people will be very excited to see this new collection. And they should be. This is a real treasure for fans of the show. Available on Blu-ray, this set collects every single episode of the show — 45 in total, plus the Christmas episode. In addition to that, there are a whopping FOUR hours of new extra features. If you have fond memories of Lurence Fishburne Jr. as a cowboy, a talking chair, and a little man in a too-small suit, then this set will bring a huge smile to your face.

For Your Creepy Uncle:

VincentPrice2The Vincent Price Collection II

Shout Factory’s terrific Scream Factor imprint goes back to the classic well for this release, which collects six of Price’s greatest horror films: House on Haunted Hill, The Return of the Fly, The Comedy of Terrors, The Raven, The Last Man on Earth, Tomb of Ligeia & Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Honestly, I think this might even be a better collection of films than the first set had. Each film has been restored and remastered, too, which means the picture and sound quality for each film is very good, but of course, you have to keep in mind the ages of the films. The soundtracks aren’t aurally-dazzling affairs, but the films sound clear and natural, with no tinny sound or hollowness.On top of that, each film is packed with bonus features, making this a must-have collection for fans of Vincent Price or classic horror films in general.

For Your Mom, Sister, Aunt, and Grandma (And You!):

Downton1to4

Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2, 3, & 4

This gorgeous collection features all four seasons of the smash hit Downton Abbey. I don’t care what kind of television you think you like, if you haven’t watched Downton Abbey, you are missing out on some of the best TV around. Period. All that critical buzz and internet chatter you’ve been hearing about the show? It’s all DEAD ON. This show is magnificent, dramatic, funny, heartfelt, moving, well-acted, and utterly fantastic in every single way. Downton Abbey looks gorgeous on Blu-ray. The transfer manages to capture everything in all it’s real-world splendor, from the crumbling city streets of the town around Downton to the splendor of the upper crust manor house. Meanwhile, the surround soundtrack doesn’t have a lot to work with, but it does its job to the best of its ability. Seriously, I don’t know what else I can say to convince people to watch this show. It’s TV at its finest.

For Your Grandparents:

RedSkeltonEarlyThe Red Skelton Show: The Early Years 1951-1955

I expect most of today’s younger audiences have no idea who Red Skelton is. And I understand that; I mean, his heyday was about 60 years ago. However, this set is a great way to introduce people to his comedic talent. I grew up knowing about Red Skelton because my dad was a fan, so I always knew who he was and enjoyed him. Now this new box set collects a whopping 90 episodes of classic comedy with tons of great guest stars. In addition to thebeloved recurring characters like Clem Kadiddlehopper, San Fernando Red and Freddie the Freeloader, the set also features guest appearances by some of the era’s biggest stars, including Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, Diahann Carroll, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Peter Lorre and many more. A great gift for people who grew up with Red Skelton either as a child or as an adult.

 

For The Western Television Fan In Your Life:

AnnieOakleyAnnie Oakley: The Complete TV Series

Even though Annie Oakley was a real person, this fictional TV show from the 1950s was made up largely of stories created just for the show. Still, for a 1950s western it was groundbreaking in that it had a female lead, and with Gail Davis it found a star. She may not have had a lengthy career afterwards, but Annie Oakley was her signature character, and it’s clear from the special features that the role meant a lot to her. This nice box set includes every episodes from the show’s 1954-1957 run, and the bonus features are really nicely done, too. This show might not be a household name, but everyone knows who Annie Oakley is, and this is a good gift that most people probably don’t own already. It’s kind of a sleeper-hit present, if you will.

 

For Your Dad, Uncle, Brother, and Granddad, (And You!):

WKRPWKRP In Cincinnati: The Complete Series

Maybe I’m dating myself, but I loved this show when I was a kid. Watching it now, I’m pretty sure that half the jokes went right over my head (although I do remember being in love with Loni Anderson just like everyone else, so I must have gotten at least a few of them.) WKRP In Cincinnati is a great example of a real ensemble comedy; from Loni Anderson’s Jennifer to uber-nerd Les Nessman to Dr. Fever and Venus Flytrap, WKRP featured a core of eccentric and interesting characters. Sadly, the humor on WKRP definitely shows its age. That’s not to say it’s a bad show, but it has lost some of the shine that made the show so appealing in its heyday. You’ll find yourself chuckling a lot more than you will laughing out loud, but I imagine die-hard fans from back in the day will enjoy having this cast of characters back on their screens. Now available for the first time as a complete series set, this gorgeous box set includes a few new featurettes and an awesome 2014 reunion Q&A panel with the entire cast. Sweet!

For The Mystery Lover In Your Life:

SherlockSetSherlock: Limited Edition Gift Set

I’d like to say that I was originally skeptical that a Sherlock Holmes story set in the 21st century would work, but Sherlock is a BBC show. That means that I knew it would be brilliant and I would love it, as I love almost everything the BBC puts out these days. Amazingly, the BBC not only met but exceeded my expectations. Sherlock is utterly brilliant. Don’t let the modern day trappings throw you off; if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, this show will thrill you. It’s exciting, suspenseful, clever, and filled with great references to the classic stories and character quirks. Lest I ignore the key players behind the success of the show, credit must be given to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson, respectively. The duo’s charisma is the stuff of which TV legends are made. I can’t imagine anyone else cast in these roles. While the show has been available on home video before, this new limited edition gift set includes all three seasons in one box set, along with two very snazzy busts of Holmes and Watson, plus some other goodies like art cards and video extras. Whether you’re a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan, a casual fan, or not even a fan at all, I implore you to try this show. It’s really quite fantastic, and I think everyone who sees it will become instantly hooked.

For Your Friend Who Still Quotes Super Troopers:

Reno911CompleteReno 911: The Complete Series

I always liked Reno 911, despite the fact that sometimes it could remind me of a Saturday Night Live sketch that goes on just a bit too long. Overall, though, the show is a lot of fun, and having the complete series on DVD now means that I can pop it in whenever the mood for some cop-fueled silliness strikes me. Reno 911 isn’t perfect; that’s what you get with a show that is largely improvised, a mix of sheer brilliance and weak chuckles. But it’s a lot more fun than not, and after having had a break from the show for a few years, I’ve really enjoyed revisiting it. Plus, it’s hard not to enjoy seeing so many comedic talents in one place: the always terrific Thomas Lennon and the brilliant but underrated Wendi McLendon-Covey, plus shorter stints by Joe Lo Truglio, Jim Rash, Patton Oswalt, and Keegan-Michael Key, among others.

 

For People Who Claim That They Just Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To:

SgtBilkoSgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show – The Complete Series

One of television’s earliest comedy blockbusters, Sgt. Bilko was a spotlight for Phil Silvers’ signature character, and he clearly steals the show. But Sgt. Bilko is 1950s humor at its best; rather than feeling dated, it feels timeless. Unlike so many other comedies from the past that age poorly, Sgt. Bilko comes across as a classic, and it’s funny stuff. The joke telling is from another era, but it works because the writing is strong and the actors understand how to be funny. This huge box set includes all 143 episodes of the classic show (four seasons’ worth) and includes a ton of extra features, so it’s a must-have for fans of the show or classic Hollywood in general.

 

 

For The Twilight Fan In Your Life Who’s No Longer a Teenager:

TrueBloodCompleteTrue Blood: The Complete Series

Now that True Blood has concluded its ridiculously popular run on HBO, it makes sense that HBO would collect the entire series into one huge box set (and just in time for the holidays!) I’ve never been the biggest True Blood fan in the world, but I like the show well enough. Based on the popular series of books by Charlaine Harris, the show holds nothing back. Its filled with sex, violence, and language; of course, you’d expect nothing less from HBO. It also manages to capture a very particular Louisiana vibe; it’s not quite southern gothic, more like “dirty south,” and it really gives the show a flavor and identity all its own. I find that I really have to be in the mood to watch True Blood. I like that it explores a darker, more edgy vampire world than fare like, say, Vampire Diaries, but whenever I sit down to watch it, it kind of puts me in a dark place. But for those fans who consider themselves die-hard, this box set offers everything they could possibly want: every single episode, hours upon hours of special features, and gorgeous packaging.

For Your Friend Who Insists He’s Seen A Real UFO:

AncientAliensAncient Aliens: Complete Seasons 1-6

For my money, Ancient Aliens is a good but frustrating show. I’ve been fascinated by UFO’s, aliens, and unsolved mysteries of that variety since I was a kid. This complete series (so far) release collects every single episode of the hit show, most of which take of an in-depth look at the phenomenon of Ancient Astronauts. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s a theory first posited in a book in the 1970s called Chariots of the Gods that theorizes that aliens visited earth in the distant past, building the pyramids and creating the Nazca lines, and things like that. This show explores everything surrounding the possibility of aliens visiting earth in the past, and while some of it comes off as the theories of crazy people, most of it is approached from an academic point of view. With the cooperation of the book’s Author, Erik Von Daniken, the show treats the subject matter quite respectfully, and is consequently very interesting. The problem also is that there are never any defining conclusions. Since none of this stuff can be proven, there are lots of questions and very few answers, which can get a bit old sometimes. Still, for fans of the show, this nice box set is hard to resist.

For The Harry Potter Fans In Your Life:

MerlinSeriesMerlin: The Complete Series –

I love BBC television, and Merlin was no exception. Over the course of five seasons, Merlin gave us a really engaging, interesting take on a classic legend. Focusing on a young Merlin as he learns to become the great wizard he’ll eventually be, the show is fun, action-packed, and filled with great characters and plenty of humor. The series had a mythology that continued to grow throughout each season, with new plotlines developing nearly every episode. But it’s the interplay between characters that really keeps this show moving. Sure, there are some great action and magic sequences, but much like a show with a similar feel — Smallville — it’s the characters that will keep you coming back for more. This set includes all five seasons of the show in one place (on Blu-ray or DVD) and not only includes a ton of extra features, but also a set of refrigerator magnets. Cool!