Sunday, November 24, 2013
'Black Friday' 2013 DVDs: Best Complete Series Sets (and a Few Bargains)
Today's post continues a seven-year "Black Friday" tradition (only two on Unreal TV) of listing the top choices for complete series DVD sets that have been released in the current year for holiday gifts.
The basic criteria are well-produced sets of exceptional shows in gift-appropriate packaging; studios and distributors get extra points for creativity. Further, only reasonably priced sets are included.
This list is supplemented with a few notable releases in the $15 - $30 range.
Both because this year's list is so long and no one wants a novella-length post, each item gets a short description that includes a link to the prior Unreal TV review of it.
For the first time in seven years, there is a tie for best set. BFS Entertainment's complete series set of the British legal drama "Kavanagh Q.C." received a series of well-deserved rave reviews and comes in a truly heirloom-quality wooden box.
The wooden box is the reason that the "Kavanagh" set does not come in an extraordiarily close second to Shout! Factory's equally awesome "Mystery Science Theater 3000 25th Anniversary Edition" set that comes in a collectible tin and also receives mention in several reviews.
Shout!'s complete series set of the early '60s sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" comes in second for best set. Once again, the rave review of this excellent set explains why.
Shout!'s almost complete sweep of the top three continues with its complete series set of the incredibly awesome animated "Beetlejuice" show. Titling the review of this title "Perfect 10 for 100th Post" pretty much says it all.
Admittedly including TGG Direct's complete series set of the '60s fantasy sitcom "My Mother the Car" in this "Black Friday" list may be the first time ever that that badly under-rated show has received any positive honor. The review of this release states the case for doing so (and for placing it under the tree.)
Warner Archive's release of the little-known James Garner Western comedy "Nichols" makes this list despite the extraordinary episodes being the only distinctive element of this perfectly well-produced set. As the review states, the show is simply that uber-awesome. Further, giving someone what is easily one of the best shows that he or she has never seen provides a great chance for a genuine surprise.
Another terrific recent release from Warner Archive is the great Blu-ray release of the Doris Day musical "Billy Rose's Jumbo." As the review mentions, this movie itself is wonderfully fun and the special features are exceptional for a one-disc release.
The film buff on your list will also enjoy Archive's four-disc four-film DVD set of pre-code classics titled "Forbidden Hollywood Volume 7." The review includes a discussion on what makes these films such a fun time capsule.
An unreviewed trio of Sony's bargain-priced complete series DVD releases of the classic sitcoms "The Partridge Family," "Bewitched," and "I Dream of Jeannie" rounds out the "Black Friday" list of 2013 releases. Each set goes for roughly $30 and provides a good chance to own every episode of these true classics in a compact set.
This post wraps up with the annual endorsements of the complete series sets of the classic Mel Brooks' '60s sitcom "Get Smart," the equally classic '60s spy caper "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," and the '60s prime time animated series "The Flintstones." These sets combining the elements of an awesome series, exceptional special features, and wonderfully creative packaging established the standard for this list.
The fact that these sets have been out for several years allows you to get them for a much lower price than your humble reviewer happily paid when Warner Prime first released them.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding the many, many sets that this post discusses is welcome to email me. Please also feel free to reach out regarding other DVD suggestions for folks on your list.
Also, feel free to contact me on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.