News Column

Gift of DVDs for everyone on your shopping list

December 7, 2013


Dec. 07--You know the dilemma: You want to find a gift that's original -- yet not so original that the person getting the gift doesn't know what it is or has so little interest in it that it immediately goes into the re-gifting pile.

Here's a solution: One of the hundreds of DVD sets of films and TV shows that are available. All you need is a little knowledge of what the person likes to watch. The selections are so diverse that those interests can range from music to drama to cartoons.

Not only are these DVD sets a way to provide entertainment that will last long after the holidays are over, but many ("Dexter," for example) come in creatively designed boxes that will look good on any shelf.

Here's a sample of some of the new DVD sets that you should consider adding to your shopping list. Many can be purchased at local department, electronic and video stores. You also have plenty of time to order online from sites such as

Prices listed are the ones suggested by the company releasing the set. It won't be hard to find the items at a much reduced price.

-- "Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely All of It" ($158.98)

What it is: British comedy series about two hard-living, hard-drinking best friends.

What you get: Every episode and special from the award-winning series in a faux iguana skin clutch bag.

Why buy it: Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are the British answer to Lucille Ball.

-- "Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy Giftset" ($29.99)

What it is: Will Ferrell comedy about TV news.

What you get: Two-disc Blu-ray, T-shirt and certificate for ice cream.

Why buy it: Fun extras plus a funny movie.

-- "Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete Series" ($349.99)

What it is: Lives and loves of those in the famous ZIP code.

What you get: A 71-disc collection of every single episode.

Why buy it: Reminder of how the '90s series was better than the remake.

-- "Bewitched: Complete Series" ($55.99)

What it is: Comedy about a mortal who marries a witch.

What you get: Includes all eight seasons.

Why buy it: Elizabeth Montgomery is magical.

-- "Boy Meets World: The Complete Collection" ($99.98)

What it is: '90s TV series starring Ben Savage.

What you get: All seven seasons plus previously released bonus material.

Why buy it: Under-rated comedy about growing up.

-- "Damages: The Complete Series" ($95.99)

What it is: Legal TV drama starring Glenn Close, Rose Byrne.

What you get: Features 59 episodes from five seasons.

Why buy it: Close creates a memorable character with attorney Patty Hewes.

-- "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection" ($300)

What it is: Dean Martin and all-star cast members poke fun at fellow stars.

What you get: All 54 celebrity roasts.

Why buy it: It's a great way to look back at some of the biggest stars in TV and film.

-- "Dexter" ($459.99)

What it is: Showtime series about serial killer who works for the Miami police.

What you get: Eight seasons in a blood slide box like the one used by Dexter Morgan to catalog his victims on the show.

Why buy it: This is one of the best series ever on TV. Each episode is so beautifully written, shot and acted, no single viewing does it justice.

-- "Doctor Who: Series 1-7" ($349.98)

What it is: BBC America series about the Time Lord who travels through time and space.

What you get: The limited edition Blu-ray set includes series 1-7 plus a Sonic Screwdriver.

Why buy it: "Doctor Who" is the longest running sci-fi series in TV history. These current seasons feature dazzling stories played out by top-notch casts. You can't call yourself a sci-fi fan unless you own this set.

-- "Family Ties: The Complete Series" ($220.99)

What it is: Family comedy starring Michael J. Fox.

What you get: Every episode plus a photo book.

Why buy it: It's one of the best comedy ensemble casts ever.

-- "The Gene Autry Show: The Complete Television Series" ($79.99)

What it is: TV series starring the world's most famous singing cowboy.

What you get: Commercials and photo gallery come with the 91 episodes.

Why buy it: There aren't a lot of quality Western series available on DVD.

-- "Hawaii Five-O: The Complete Series" ($359.99)

What it is: Original cop drama set in Hawaii.

What you get: There are 12 seasons plus a documentary on the series.

Why buy it: Jack Lord played one of the coolest cops ever on TV.

-- "The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998" ($220.99)

What it is: Four historic concerts presented by Amnesty International.

What you get: Performances by 36 of the world's leading musicians plus a 40-page booklet.

Why buy it: This is a must own for music lovers because of performances by Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead and others.

-- "I Dream of Jeannie" ($45.99)

What it is: Astronaut finds a genie in a bottle.

What you get: Features all 139 episodes in the five seasons.

Why buy it: Great reminder Larry Hagman could do comedy.

-- "It's a Spongebob Christmas!" ($19.99)

What it is: Holiday special featuring the animated sponge and his friends.

What you get: DVD plus coloring book, poster and stickers.

Why buy it: Spongebob entertains children of all ages.

-- "The Jack Ryan Collection" ($29.99)

What it is: Four films featuring the Tom Clancy hero.

What you get: Includes "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger," "The Sum of all Fears."

Why buy it: It's rare when you can see four different actors playing the same character.

-- "The Jesse Stone Collection" ($95.99)

What it is: Series of crime drama TV movies starring Tom Selleck.

What you get: Eight-disc set plus a Paradise Police Department baseball cap.

Why buy it: Best TV movies never made into a series.

-- "Keeping Up Appearances" ($158.98)

What it is: British comedy about a world-class snob.

What you get: Along with 1,370 minutes of comedy comes 200 minutes of bonus material.

Why buy it: Patricia Routledge turns in an unforgettable and hilarious performance.

-- "Kindred: The Embraced" ($39.98)

What it is: Aaron Spelling series about lives and loves of San Francisco vampire society.

What you get: Eight episodes and letter from series creator.

Why buy it: Best vampire series inspired by a role-playing game.

-- "Mama's Family" ($320)

What it is: TV comedy starring Vicki Lawrence and Ken Berry.

What you get: Along with 130 episodes, there are more than 13 hours of bonus material plus collector's booklet.

Why buy it: This '80s TV series remains very family friendly and funny.

-- "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" ($249.95)

What it is: Norman Lear's '70s twisted soap opera starring Louise Lasser.

What you get: Includes 325 episodes plus 10 episodes of the spinoff "Fernwood 2 Night."

Why buy it: The series rips the soap opera genre and pop culture apart with fabulous writing.

-- "Partridge Family: The Complete Series" ($103.76)

What it is: TV series about a family band.

What you get: Twelve-disc set spanning four seasons.

Why buy it: Works both as light TV comedy and fun soundtrack.

-- "Power Rangers: Seasons 8-12" ($179.99)

What it is: Colorful young heroes battle strange creatures.

What you get: There are 196 episodes plus a 40-page book.

Why buy it: Must for fans who have been following the Rangers for decades.

-- "Robotech: The Complete Set" ($49.98)

What it is: Animated tale of three Robotech Wars.

What you get: Remastered versions of all 85 episodes.

Why buy it: Fast-paced action will entertain young and old.

-- "Saved By the Bell: The Complete Collection" ($49.98)

What it is: Comedy adventures of class at Bayside High School.

What you get: All five seasons on 22 discs.

Why buy it: Kid-friendly show that's still funny.

-- "The Shield" ($65.99)

What it is: Gritty cop drama starring Michael Chiklis.

What you get: The 88 episodes plus a bonus disc.

Why buy it: Cable series that help usher in anti-hero genre.

-- "Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga" ($64.98)

What it is: Collection of all five "Twilight" movies.

What you get: Films plus photo album.

Why buy it: It's an easy way to relive those Team Edward, Team Jacob days.

-- "Twilight Zone: The Complete Series" ($169.98)

What it is: Anthology series from Rod Serling.

What you get: Includes all 156 episodes.

Why buy it: One of the top 10 series of all time.

-- "Weeds: The Complete Collection" ($119.97)

What it is: Cable series about soccer mom who sells drugs.

What you get: Eight seasons plus bonus material.

Why buy it: Female answer to "Breaking Bad."

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at


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