Holiday gift guide: DVD sets that are sure to please
It happens every year. You have a list of people to buy holiday gifts for but no idea what to get. Pick a bad tie or ugly sweater and you will be known forever as a bad gift giver.
Help is on the way in the form of DVD sets. All you have to do is recall a TV series or movie that the person talked about and you have the right gift. And, even if you don't know the person's favorite film or TV series, there's such a wide variety of options you should be able to pick out something.
In case you are running short on DVD ideas, here are some suggestions. The suggested retail price is included but you often can find the product cheaper in stores or online.
Take a look at these titles:
"Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition" ($24.99): This Blu-ray set of James Cameron's follow-up to "Alien" includes both the theatrical and special editions as well as audio commentary, deleted and extended scenes. You also get the documentary "The Inspiration and Design of Aliens," which looks at the origins of the film.
The set comes with art cards and a book featuring art from the Dark Horse Comics Aliens series.
"The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes Ultimate Collection" ($249.95): The set includes 45 episodes hand-picked by Burnett from the first five seasons of the variety show. There's also 20 hours of bonus material, plus a 40-page guest book that contains autographs from Burnett's guests, fans and friends.
Guest stars include Lucille Ball, Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Bob Newhart and Jonathan Winters.
"Dexter: The Complete Series" ($78.35): All eight seasons of the cable crime drama are now available on Blu-ray.
Michael C. Hall earned a Golden Globe playing Dexter Morgan, a member of the Miami police force who spent his free time as a serial killer with his own twisted sense of justice.
"Downton Abbey: The Complete Limited Edition Collector's Set" ($199.99): It would be enough that the DVD set includes all 52 episodes of the series starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith. It's one of the best series in TV history.
But the set also includes a working "Downton Abbey" pull-bell, six coasters and a photo booklet. These can be used for your viewing parties to watch the 22 discs.
"Hell on Wheels" ($149.99): The six seasons of the cable series about the building of the railroad lines across America have been put together in one DVD set. Anson Mount and Common star in this post-Civil War series.
"Independence Day: Attacker Edition" ($69.99): This release to mark the 20th anniversary includes the newly restored theatrical and extended cuts of the movie plus a 30-minute documentary.
There's also a booklet and a limited edition alien ship replica.
"Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series" ($99.99): This set includes all eight seasons of the production that aired on "Masterpiece Mystery!" The series is inspired by the Inspector Morse novels written by Colin Dexter.
Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately) and his brooding partner, Det. Sgt. James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), take on the Oxford underworld.
"Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary" ($75.99): Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie star in this production from Jim Henson. It's the story of a teenage girl who must solve an elaborate maze in 13 hours in order to save her baby brother.
There are several added features that offer insights into the film that includes more than 100 creatures created by Henson for the project.
"The Lucy Show: The Complete Series" ($63.98): This is the series that came after the end of "I Love Lucy." The concept hasLucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball) and her friend, the recently divorced Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance), moving into a house together with their children. The show ran for 156 episodes.
Special features include "The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour" special plus a photo gallery.
"Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series" ($89.99): Jeremy Piven stars in this series from Emmy Award-winning writer Andrew Davies ("Pride and Prejudice") that aired on "Masterpiece."
Piven's character, Harry Selfridge, is an American entrepreneur who opens the lavish London department store, Selfridges. His approach to retail is different than anyone in England had ever seen.
"Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever" ($79.95): The production first aired May 16, 1983 on NBC. The biggest moment was Michael Jackson's performance of the moonwalk.
Richard Pryor hosted the event that featured The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and The Temptations. Twenty additional minutes not seen in the original broadcast are included.
"Perry Mason: The Complete Series" ($179.98): All 271 episodes of the courtroom drama's nine seasons are in the set.
Raymond Burr stars as the lawyer who always wins his cases in the series based on the books by Erle Stanley Gardner.
"Sony Pictures Animation Gift Set" ($75.99): The films "Surf's Up," "The Smurfs," "The Smurfs 2," "Open Season," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2," "Hotel Transylvania," "Hotel Transylvania 2," "Arthur Christmas" and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits!" come in a lunchbox.
"Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Film & TV Collection" ($208): The set includes all of the episodes from the original series, plus the animated series. The first six movies in the film franchise are in the boxed set ranging from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" to "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."
There is also a 50th anniversary insignia badge and new mini-posters for the first six feature films designed by acclaimed artist Juan Ortiz.
"The Tonight Show: Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series" ($39.95): The segments taken from the more than 4,000 episodes are being released in sets.
Among the highlights are the 10th and 11th anniversary shows and Johnny's birthday episodes. Guest stars include Bob Hope, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles and Sean Connery.
"Twilight Zone: The Complete Series" ($49.99): These 156 episodes of Rod Serling's series represent some of the finest writing in TV history. Any film or TV maker who puts a twist in their production owes Serling a note of thanks for defining that genre.