With the latest crop of DVD sets heading to retailers this season, there’s no excuse not to find a gift for even the most discriminating taste.
Topping the list for a must-have for any Sci-Fi fan is the latest Star Trek box set: Star Trek: The Orignal Series Remastered Season 1-3. Twenty-five discs, this set contains every episode produced, all digitally remastered with enhanced visual effects. Although I never was a huge fan to begin with, I can’t help but awe at how well this set turned out. With legions of fans, even at a hefty price tag of $249.98, it’s well worth the price. If you plan on purchasing, do so before the end of February and you’ll be eligible to send in for a free Star Trek Phaser Remote. For die-hard Trekkies, sorry but Vulcan ear-tips still not included.
For the romantic in all of us comes the underrated and early-axed CBS drama from 1987: Beauty and the Beast complete series box set, containing all 55 episodes of the cult hit fantasy crime drama starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Surprisingly, the show still holds up. The DVD set, with extras including an interactive journey and love letters from Vincent (shmaltzy but effective), sells for $90.99 — about the price of a dozen delivered long-stem roses.
Next up: Charmed: The Complete Series, released last month, contains all 173 episodes of the Aaron Spelling soap opera centering around the bewitching Halliwell sisters. Starring Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and, of course, Shannen Doherty, the box set contains a Season 8 Special Features disc which includes “The Making of Charmed,” a two-part documentary on “The Story of Charmed,” as well as a behind-the-scenes look. A bonus disc also includes an interesting look at the original unaired pilot as well as other features for the tried-and-true fan, including a segment on the show’s special effects. Considering the special effects were never that good to begin with, I’m surprised they actually dedicated a chapter…
I’d be much more interested in knowing what went on behind the scenes that led to Doherty’s departure, as well as why they couldn’t lure her back for at least a cameo in the finale. All told, however, the box set is well worth the $271.99 list price.
Also released last month: The Outer Limits: Complete Series Boxset contains all 49 episodes of the underrated nail-biting drama which was often unfairly referred to as a knock-off of The Twilight Zone. But watching some of these episodes containing familiar faces like Martin Landau, Robert Duvall, Ed Asner, and father of all scenery chewers William Shatner, one can’t help but be entertained. Given the technology, however, I’m surprised 20th Century Fox didn’t consider offering a colorized version the way Sony did with the first two seasons of Bewitched. But for $59.99 for the three-volume set, you still can’t go wrong.
For more Sci-Fi, Paramount offers The 4400 The Complete Series. Originally aired on the Sci-Fi channel, The 4400 centers around the 4,400 people who have gone missing over the last century who suddenly were all returned at once in a blinding explosion. What ensues from here on involves the government investigation of the mystery surrounding these 4,400. Lasting three seasons long, priced at $108.99 — unless you’re a die-hard fan of the series — I’d pass on this box set and simply stick it in your Netflix docket.
If thrills and suspense are on your Christmas list, look out for Alfred Hitchcock’s Premiere Collection series, containing eight digitally restored and remastered films of suspense. The first, made in 1927, titled The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog is a silent film centering around the rash of murders which evoke a family’s suspicion about their tenant. With a fascinating audio commentary interview with Peter Bogdanovich and Francois Truffaut, the viewer gets a taste inside the mind of the master.
Among the other movies include, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, Rebecca, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Notorious, and the rarely seen The Paradine Case. What’s interesting about watching these films, which are over 60 years old, is how well they each hold up — a testament not only to the material but the director himself. Listed at $29.98, this collection is a must for any movie enthusiast.
A great pic for the animal enthusiast, or if you need a gift for Secret Santa, is the Animal Planet series: Growing Up… Gift Pack. A collection of Animal Planet’s popular series, Growing Up…Arctic, …Wildcats, …Safari, …Wilderness and …Primates, in each program you travel the globe to discover how orphaned animals are rescued, rehabilitated, and returned to their natural habitats. Inspiring, uplifting, and as irresistible as a pet shop puppy, this entertaining series is a bargain at $35.95 — a welcomed gift or re-gift for both young and old.
Last but not least will warm the thriftiest Christmas shopper looking for a memorable and unique gift this season with, TV Sets: Holiday Treats — a compilation of eight holiday episodes of television classic sitcoms, including I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Andy Griffith Show, Brady Bunch, Taxi, Frasier and Wings. Some truly stand-out moments, many which haven’t been seen for decades, especially since holiday shows are frequently pulled in syndication cycles. At a mere $12.99, how can you go wrong?
With many more DVD sets and specially repackaged releases expected in the coming weeks, this holiday season seems poised to to please the Scrooge or Kris Kringle in all of us.