Sponsored by:
Green Bay Press-Gazette

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DVD gift ideas! It's not too late ...

In case you missed our story in Thursday's WEEKEND section ...

While much is up in the air regarding the ongoing writers' strike, one thing is certain: the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

Scrooge-like atmosphere aside, prolonged picketing could be a good thing for the TV on DVD industry. As series sets become increasingly elaborate and display-worthy, there's no time like the holidays to play catch up with a few stocking stuffers. Specificity is the key, and the Channel Surfing bloggers are in a giving mood.

For "Sopranos" fans who still can't get the smell of Holsten's onion rings out of their nostrils:

Now that you're fully recovered from the shock of that abrupt cut to black during the series finale, you can begin addressing the trauma of knowing Tony and the gang are never coming back. The acclaimed HBO series was the definition of TV voyeurism. While most fans would condemn Tony's mob lifestyle in real life, for six salacious seasons, viewers lapped up his sociopathic tendencies like Pavlovian dogs. Season 6, Part 2 features some of the series' most memorable sendoffs (Phil Leotardo's flattened head, anyone?) Above all, the set is essential because of creator David Chase's final, masterful brushstroke – an ambiguous plug pull that caused conniption fits nationwide – but one that'll be discussed for years to come. Season 6, Part 2, $54.99.

Or tap into "The Wire:"

If it's a bit too painful to reminisce so soon, recovery is a one-step program. Get into "The Wire." The underappreciated HBO series is grittier and gutsier than "The Sopranos," with its storylines guaranteed to satisfy mob buffs looking for a different kind of "game." The show follows the urban drug trade in Baltimore, with street soldiers replacing capos, but the piles of money, vials of cocaine and high-end Escalades looking all too familiar. Like Tony and his crew, "The Wire" unit signs off for a final season in January. Season 4 just came out on DVD, and while there might not be enough time to catch up, dialing in from the beginning is a case of better late than never. Seasons 1-4, $39.99-$59.99.

Thomas Rozwadowski

For anyone wishing they were going home to Stars Hollow for the holidays … or even over to Richard and Emily's for Christmas dinner:

After seven seasons of hanging out with Rory and Lorelai, Tuesday nights without "Gilmore Girls'' still feels a little like Luke's without coffee, movie nights without junk food, Paris Geller without snark. Amy Sherman-Palladino's quirky family drama charmed us with not just its smart, pop culture-infused dialogue between BFF mother and daughter but with its whimsical small-town setting and endearing cast of whacky supporting players (a strung-out Sally Struthers and a spaced-out Sebastian Bach in the same show -- genius). Playing off that sense of nostalgia, the 42-disc "Gilmore Girls – The Complete Series Collection'' comes packaged in a retro Barbie case with a book of the show's witty "Gilmore-isms'' -- "It's not crap … It's Air Supply'' -- in alphabetical order according to episode. What "GG" fan can refuse that? The Complete Series, $258.

Kendra Meinert

For the "Friends" fan who is finally ready to move past late-night reruns:

It's a familiar formula: Five friends, New York City, a local hangout spot. But "How I Met Your Mother" has two things "Friends" never had: a clear end in sight since the show is told in flashback by main character Ted telling his kids how he met their mother and Doogie Howser. Seriously, Neil Patrick Harris' Barney and his array of ridiculous catchphrases ("Suit Up" and "Legendary") puts "Oh My God" and "How you doin'?" to shame. Or head across the pond to meet Steve and Susan, the stars of the British hit "Coupling" who are a racier, more Seinfeldian version of Ross and Rachel. A most ill advised American version failed to take off a few years ago, but Seasons 1 and 2 (or as the Brits call it "Series 1 and 2") are a perfect way to meet the gang that includes some of England's finest comics. Seasons 1 and 2 of "How I Met Your Mother," $24.99 each. A combined Season 1 and 2 of "Coupling," $48.99.

Malavika Jagannathan

For TGIF fans who remember when Jodie Sweetin was actually cuter, and poised to be a bigger star, than either of the Olsen Twins:

We're calling to order the inaugural meeting of FHFA — Full House Fanatics Anonymous. This is for anyone who sheepishly stops the remote on Nick at Nite to re-watch the episode where the Beach Boys randomly start singing "Kokomo" in the Tanner family living room. This is also for anyone who secretly knows that Uncle Jesse's last name mysteriously changed from Cochran to Katsopolis during the first few seasons, or worst of all, for Kimmy Gibbler apologists who still use "nerdbomber" as their insult of choice. Despite the colossal cheese factor — "Cut. It. Out." — there's more FHFA members than you'll ever know. And now they have an actual home to go to, the "Full House Complete Series Collection," or all eight seasons packaged inside a replica of the family's San Francisco residence. That definitely deserves a thumbs-up and "You got it, dude!" The Complete Series Collection, $169.99.

Thomas Rozwadowski

For the eccentric in your circle who’s looking to fill the quirk vacuum left by “Pushing Daisies” or “Arrested Development:”

Book a trip to Cicely, Alaska. Long before he went on to mastermind “The Sopranos,” producer and writer David Chase was responsible for “Northern Exposure” – the grandfather to all the quirky, nutty shows out there. “Northern Exposure” follows the good but off-kilter folks of Cicely as seen through the eyes of an outsider, Dr. Joel Fleischman, a neurotic transplant from New York who is forced to indenture himself to the town to help pay off his medical school loans. One of the first comedy-dramas, look for especially understated comic performances from a host of oddballs who inhabit the town, including John Corbett (before he was Aidan on “Sex and the City”), Rob Morrow and Janine Turner. The Complete Series (with a parka cover), $134.99. Seasons 1-2, $36.99.

Malavika Jagannathan

For social misfits who remember what high school was really like:

You don't need to have a Parisian nightsuit tucked away in your closet to appreciate the pain and pleasure of "Freaks and Geeks." It's a show that so perfectly captures teenage trauma and adolescent awkwardness, it's a wonder NBC even had the guts to air it for one ratings-challenged season. But for all of Sam and Lindsay Weir's trials and tribulations, it's where the exceptional, then-unknown cast (Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen, among others) landed post-"Freaks" that makes you appreciate Judd Apatow and Paul Feig's true-to-life creation even more. The Complete First Season, $69.99.

Thomas Rozwadowski

For social misfits who remember what high school was really like, but would rather pretend that they spent it trolling the beaches of Southern California with the rich and the beautiful:

Find out how it's done in "The O.C." Before "Gossip Girl" took on Manhattan, Josh Schwartz was busy chronicling the lives of Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer and the complicated Cohen clan. In its four seasons of love quadrangles, bizarre plot twists, "After School Special" moments and the delightful awkwardness of growing up over privileged, "The O.C." is teenage soap opera at its best. The Complete Series, $179.99. Season 1, $32.99.

Malavika Jagannathan

For social misfits who wanted desperately to be like Brandon Walsh but could secretly relate to David Silver — before he went all "hip-hop'':

It's officially titled "Beverly Hills 90210 — The Third Season,'' but diehards know it as "The Season of the Dylan-Kelly-Brenda Triangle.'' And it's good stuff. The gang's senior year at West Beverly is wrought with some of the juiciest drama on one of the definitive shows of the '90s. It was the season Brenda and Donna went to Paris, Dylan picked Kelly over Brenda, Brandon developed a gambling problem, Kelly overdid the diet pills and collapsed at The Peach Pit, Burt Reynolds guest starred and Donna got drunk at prom and was expelled, which brings us to one of the great cheesy moments in all of "90210'' history: "Donna Martin Graduates! Donna Martin Graduates!'' Third Season, $54.99.

Kendra Meinert

For "Lost" fans who still don't know what to make of that airport scene with Jack yelling, "We have to go back, Kate!"

It was confusing enough when Jack took up cartography and drove to the airport looking like late-period Jim Morrison. But when a fully made-up Kate stepped out of her car and "Lost" fans were suddenly thrust into the future … well, let's just say all bets are off now. Survival takes on a completely different meaning in Season 4, and it appears Locke is the only Lostie who realizes that leaving the island prematurely could be a disaster of epic proportions. What does Locke know? Why is Jack so tormented? Who's in the coffin? Who's Jacob? Does Ben have noble intentions, and if so, who are the real bad guys? All of the uncertainty makes Season 3 incredibly fun to watch — Paulo and Nikki notwithstanding. Season 3, $59.99.

Thomas Rozwadowski

DVD's on the cheap:

How many times has this happened to you: You've finished your Christmas shopping only to find out that those relatives who said they couldn't make it into town for the holidays have — surprise! — nabbed a good flight deal on Priceline. So now you not only have more presents to buy, but they need to be on the cheap side. You could go the gift card route — the Christmas present of last resort — or you could actually get them something, you know, cool. Enter budget-priced DVD sets. (Note: These sets were found at Target.)

For the moody, dispossessed teen niece: "Veronica Mars, Seasons 1 and 2.'' A show not watched by many, yet loved by a very loyal few. Kristen Bell played the titular high school P.I. armed with enough sass and smarts to crack cases. The show was a perfect blend of mystery, drama, comedy and social commentary. Seasons 1-2, $14.99.

For the family who can just barely stand each other: "Arrested Development: The Complete Series.'' Any regular reader of Channel Surfing knows the love we heap upon this tragically truncated Fox sitcom. The show's intro says it all: "The story of a wealthy family who loses everything, and the one son who has no choice but to keep them all together." What's more Christmas-y than that? Seasons 1-2, $20. Season 3, $15.

For the surly uncle who'd rather be at home: "Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seasons 1-5.'' "Seinfeld'' creator Larry David's more subversive show about nothing, the mostly improvised "Curb'' stars David as a crankier version of himself, ambling through L.A. and bumping into celebrity friends. Seasons 1-5, $20.49.

Adam Reinhard



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home