Holiday Gift Guide: Television on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD
(KUTV) Over the last twenty years television has gone through a transformation. It still features a variety of traditional sitcoms and dramas, but we're also seeing epic series with budgets that rival Hollywood's blockbusters. From "American Gods" to "The Vampire Diaries" there's something for everyone here.
Based on Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel, "American Gods" is a wonderful mix of contemporary American values and ancient mythology as gods, new and old, wage war among themselves. The story follows Shadow, an ex-con grieving over the loss of his wife, and Wednesday, a mysterious man who knows more about Shadow than should be realistically possible. One of the best reviewed shows on television.
Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley star in HBO's "Big Little Lies," an adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel about three mothers who are initially brought together because their children are classmates, but soon discover that they are connected in ways they could never have imagined. "Big Little Lies" is one of the best television series released in 2017.
Pete Holmes' semi-autobiographical show "Crashing" follows a young comedian who becomes homeless after his wife cheats on him. Judd Apatow serves as an executive producer and has directed or co-written a handful of the episodes. A second season comes in January.
"My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" follows the misadventures of Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a young and successful real-estate lawyer living in New York, who runs into first teenage crush and decides to follow him to California. The series has been praised for its frank treatment of female sexuality.
"The Crown" television series was born out of writer Peter Morgan's Queen Elizabeth II film "The Queen." It expands upon the narrative by focusing on specific eras of the Queen's reign with this first installment, a collection of ten one-hour programs that begins with the Queen's marriage of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 on through to 1955 when her sister, Princess Margaret, called off her controversial engagement to Peter Townsend. If you're looking for highbrow drama, then you have come to the right place.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church star in "Divorce," a dark comedy from HBO about a couple going through a prolonged divorce.
"Doctor Who: The Complete Tenth Series," longstanding BBC program sees Peter Capaldi wrapping up his run as the Doctor.
"Family Guy: Season Fifteen" features a multitude of storylines including Stewie and Brian starting a children's band with a bit of an edge, Peter becoming an Uber driver, a dig at the anti-vaccination movement and a host of guest appearances from the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Curry, Flea and Jacob Tremblay.
Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel return as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore in "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," Netflix's revival of the popular series via four feature-length episodes that follow Lorelai, Rory and the people in their lives as they go through a year's four seasons.
I've just discovered "Humans," a British sci-fi series "about life-like robots that explores the social and ethical questions that arise when "more human than human" robots are no longer a work of fiction. What happens when these mechanical subordinates are given consciousness? A little surprised that I hadn't heard more about this smart and engaging thriller.
Based loosely on Issa Rae's web series "Awkward Black Girl," "Inscecure" explores what it is like to be a person of color in the modern world via two best friends, Issa (Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji).
"Lochness," a British mystery drama about a Scottish police officer who investigates the circumstances surrounding the body of a man that is found with his brain removed.
Based on the Walt Longmire Mysteries, "Longmire" follows Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), a Wyoming sheriff, as he investigates major crimes in his jurisdiction. The fifth season finds Longmire trying to track down the person who attacked him and kidnapped his girlfriend.
With "Orphan Black: Series Five" Sarah Manning, a woman who discovers that she is a clone, sees her story come to a close. The series, which features Tatiana Maslany in numerous roles, touches on various ethical issues as well as how being a clone impacts the way a person sees themselves.
The second season of "Preacher," a supernatural thriller about a small-town preacher (Dominic Cooper) who is possessed by Genesis, a spirit born from the mating of a good and evil.
"Six," an action drama, follows the day-to-day activities of SEAL Team Six, a counter terrorist unit.
Based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film, "West World" presents a futuristic amusement park populated by androids where guests can act out their wildest fantasies without any fear of suffering any concequences.
While the numbers have leveled out a bit, “The Walking Dead” remains one of the most popular television series on cable. They recently released the seventh season and while I’m well behind, but for anyone looking for a character driven drama that comes with a side of gore, then this, as if you didn’t already know, is your franchise.
Are you or those you love prepared to survive the zombie apocalypse? If you don't have "The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide," the answer is probably "No." Featuring recipes from the series as well as dishes inspired by the show and its characters, "The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide" might be the only thing standing between you and a life as a zombie.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," 20th Centry Fox has put together this new box set that includes a exculsive comic and coloring sheet.
Maybe the persony ou are shopping for already has the series. Another option would be to consider "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Offiicial Grimore," a text book of sorts that gives readers an indepth look at the magic used in the television serries with narration provided by none other than Willow Rosenberg.
Time Life have just released "CMA Awards Live: Greatest Moments 1968 - 2015," a 10-disc collection featuring performances from legends like Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Barbara Mandrell, Buck Owens and Kenny Rogers as well as contemporary artists like Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. In all there are 127 performances, none of which have been previously available outside of their initial broadcast.
For more than fifteen years CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" was nothing short of a culture phenomenon. The series would spawn three spin-off programs, including "CSI: Miami," which ran for a decade, "CSI: NY," which ran for nine seasons and "CSI: Cyber" which ran for two seasons. This holiday season both the original "CSI" and the spin-off "CSI: Miami" are getting the box set treatment. "CSI" includes all 337 episodes from its fifteen seasons and "CSI: Miami" features all 232 episodes from its ten-year run
"Dynasty" was ABC's answer to the CBS drama "Dallas." Both series were essentially soap operas with bigger budgets and as much melodrama as they could squeeze into an hour program. The series focused on the wealthy Carrington family and was set in Denver, Colorado. The show struggled during its first season, but with the arrival of Joan Collins in season two turned “Dynasty” into the massive hit that ABC had hoped for. This set includes all nine seasons; the reunion in 1991 is not included.
"The Fall" is a fascinating Irish crime drama starring Gillian Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as serial killer Paul Spector. "The Fall" features an unusual structure in that the mystery isn't about who the serial killer is; it is about Gibson's investigation and Spector's miscues that eventually make him a suspect. Highly recommended.
The seventh season of "Game of Thrones" is released on December 12, 2017, as well as a box set containing all seasons up to this point. Winter has come and the world will never be the same again.
Those looking to turn "Game of Thrones" into a family activity or a social gathering will want to consider adding "Game of Thrones: Risk" to their board game collection.
While it may have only lasted for one season, "Firefly" continues to be a social phenomenom. To celebrate its fiftheen anniversary Fox has released "Firefly: The Fifthteenth Anniversary Edition," a beautifully repagaged Blu-ray release.
Stepping back in time, 1964-1967 to be more specific, all three seasons of "Flipper" are now available from Olive films. The series followed the adventures of Porter Ricks, Chief Warden at Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve, his two sons and Flipper a Bottlenose Dolphin with a knack for saving the day.
"Mama's Family" ran on NBC for two seasons before moving over to syndication for four additional seasons. It was during the syndication phase that the program, a spin-off from "The Carol Burnett Show " starring Vicki Lawrence as the titular character. Although the series was filmed in the 1980s it feel like something of a throwback to the classic television shows of the 1950s and 1960s.
Over the course of five seasons “Orphan Black” built a devoted following of fans. The series stars Tatiana Maslany (who has been offered an overwhelming amount of praise) in a variety of roles as she portrays various clones. I’ve held off watching, mostly because there is so much television to consume, but now that the show has come to an end (and the reviews have remained strong from start to finish) I find myself more motivated to binge all fifty episodes in the near future.
Time Life also has a couple of box sets that will be attractive to older audiences "Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials Deluxe Box" and "The Red Skeleton Hour in Color."
"Thanks for the Memories" brings together 40 different Bob Hope specials, half of which haven't aired since their first broadcast, The set includes 38 hours of enterainment spread out over 19 DVD discs.
"The Red Skelton Hour in Color" is a 22-disc DVD set that includes 65 hours of entertainment pulled from throughout Skelton's career.
For seven seasons "Pretty Little Liars" followed the lives of a group of teens who in the wake of one of their friends going missing begin to receive messages from a person only identified as "A." who seems to know the girls' darkest secrets. The franchise will live on in "Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists," but I suggest visiting the past with the "Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Series" collection.
Earlier this year, after a thriteen-years hiatus, "Samurai Jack," the story of an unnamed samurai sent to a dystopian future, finally offered its long-time fans some closure. With this box set we can now watch series creator Genndy Tartakovsky's story from the begining. The results are majestic and heartbreaking.
The teaming of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in "Sherlock," the BBC's modern take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, was like catching lightening in a bottle. Not only did the series boast strong viewership, it also won over the pickiest of critics who often see the modernization of classic literary characters as heresy. This set includes all thirteen episodes (including the special "The Abominable Bride").
Using aspects from Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," "Sleepy Hollow" brought the story into a contemporary setting as Ichabod Crane wakes in 2013 only to learn tha tthe headless horseman that he defeated in in 1781 has returned to torment the town of Sleepy Hollow. This set includes all four seasons (62 episodes).
The popular CW vampire series “The Vampire Diaries” starring Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder came to a close with its eighth season. All 171 episodes are included in the box set along with hours of bonus features.
Additional Gift Guides
Holiday Gift Guide: Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD
Holiday Gift Guide: Despicable Me
Holiday Gift Guide: Classic novels, television and cinematic adaptations
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Holiday Gift Guide: Star Wars