The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day Three: Television Series

December 5, 2012 by rudy panucci

Betraying my age here, when I was growing up, the idea of owning a collection of TV shows was incomprehensible. There was no way for a consumer to purchase movies or TV shows because home video hadn’t been invented yet. Even in the days of VHS, the limitations of the format pushed the practicality of selling an entire long-running television series just out of reach.

DVD and Blu Ray has changed that. Now, if you’re a die-hard fan of a television series, you can buy each season as they become available, or wait until the series has ended and buy a boxed set of the entire run. Today’s gift idea is five suggested boxed sets of complete runs of TV shows. The links will take you to Amazon (this blog, unlike others, does NOT get a cut of any purchase you make), but you may find better prices at other retailers such as Best Buy, Sam’s club or Costco.

Smallville

This retelling of the pre-Metropolis days of Clark Kent, before he became Superman, wrapped up ten seasons on the air in 2011, and was highly regarded as one of the best live-action depictions of The Man of Steel. With Tom Welling as Clark, and a cast that included Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Michael Rosenbaum,Allison Mack, Kristin Kreuk, with guest appearances by Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Michael McKean, Smallville turned out to be a first-class television series that brought a lot of DC Comics characters to a mainstream audience for the first time. You can relive those ten seasons with Smallville The Complete Series.

This giant 62-disc set brings all ten seasons together, with commentary on many episodes and all the extras from the individual season sets, plus it adds over 5 hours of new special features including a never-before seen Superboy pilot from 1961, a 90 minute series retrospective with all new interviews, from 2010, the final Comic Con panel, an unsold spin-off Aquaman Pilot, and a Paley Festival featurette.

Exclusive to this boxed set is a Daily Planet newspaper written by DC Comics that highlights the important storylines developed during the 10-year run of the show. The discs are packaged in two lay-flat picture books that hold the 62 discs. Also included is an episode guide with never-before-seen production art (storyboards/sketches) and behind-the-scenes photos.

The best price I’ve seen on this outside of flash sales is around $150.

Desperate Houswives

Fans of this dark soap-opera/comedy can be treated to an elaborate and clever boxed set, designed to look like an old trunk full of secrets. Inside this exquisite replica box from the title sequence, is a treasure trove of guilty pleasure. The full title is ABC’S DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION.

This special collector’s set is a must-own item for true fans of the remarkable series and includes all eight seasons. That’s nearly 7,700 minutes on 45 discs. Plus this set includes an additional disc full of exclusive bonus features. Revisit the ladies of Wisteria Lane and stroll down a memory lave of sexy, dangerous and scandalous behavior.

The prices on this set are all over the place, running as high as the full list price of $295 to Wal Mart, who occasionally have it for under a hundred bucks. Best to shop around on this one.

COMBAT!

Running from 1962 to 1967, COMBAT! is an underrated TV classic. This WWII drama featured an amazing cast, lead by Vic Morrow, and boasted some of the best writing,directing an acting of any series in the 1960s. The show-runner for the first season was Robert Altman, who wrote and directed many episodes and set the tone for the series.

This boxed set, COMBAT! The Complete Series, presents the groundbreaking program that offered a gritty, unflinching look at American soldiers battling in Europe during World War II. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason head a stellar cast in the longest-running war series in television history, featuring a surprising rost of A-list guest stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age as well as top directorial talent.

COMBAT! The Complete Series includes over 30 Hours of Special Features. Each Season is packed with extras, including Photo Galleries, Commentaries, Oddities & Bloopers by Jo Davidsmeyer and more! “Memories of Combat!”is an all-new documentary featuring cast members, guest stars and directors. You’ll also get audio commentaries by Tom Lowell, Michael Caffey, Robert Altman, Joseph Campanella, Ben Cooperand, Sutton Roley, Ted Post, Richard Donner, Esther Mitchell, Pierre Jalbert, George Fenady, Shirl Hendryx, Jo Davidsmeyer, Warren Stevens, Conlan Carter and Steve Mitchell, plus archival Interviews with Vic Morrow, Pierre Jalbert, Rick Jason, Ben Cooper and Anthony Call.

Rounding out this box are featurettes, “The Big Picture,” narrated by Vic Morrow, “Combat! Directed by Vic Morrrow” (a 27-Min Documentary) and “This Season in Color,” a Two-Part Featurette.

At the moment, Amazon has the best deal: $165 for this 40-disc set.

Get Smart

Another sadly-forgotten TV classic, besmirched by a crappy remake movie, Get Smart – The Complete Series Gift Set, reminds us how cool the original spy spoof, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starring Don Adams, was. Long before Austin Powers, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 were mining the spy genre for comedy gold.

Get Smart: The Complete Series Gift Set brings together all five seasons of the show, which ran from 1965 to 1970. Don Adams is known to a later generation as the voice of Inspector Gadget, but they can see him here in his definitive role.

In this box, you get 138 episodes on 25 discs, and this set can be found for under fifty-five bucks. Not too bad for all the secrets of CONTROL!

Barney Miller

A classic from the 1970s, Barney Miller was a top-flight sitcom with sharp writing and a brilliant cast. Set mainly in New York’s 12 District Precinct Station, Barney Miller followed the daily goings-on of Miller, a police Captain, played by Hal Linden, and the cops under his charge. While a standard sitcom, Barney Miller is credited as an influence on many dramas that followed it, including Hill Street Blues and Rescue Me.

Barney Miller: The Complete Series collects all 168 episodes of the show, plus the entire first season of the spin-off, Fish, starring Abe Vigoda. There’s also a 32-page book, new interviews with Hal Linden, Max Gail and Abe Vigoda, commentary on some episodes by the writing team and the original unaired pilot.

Best of all, this 25-disc set can be found for under sixty-five dollars.

One Response to “The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day Three: Television Series”

  1. Elvis Capone says:

    No mention of THE TICK?!?
    The Tick: The Entire Series (2001, live action) $14.69
    The Tick: The Entire Series (1994-97, cartoon, ebay bootleg) $55.00

    LOST IN SPACE?
    Lost in Space – Seasons 1 – 3 $80.49

    BATTLESTAR GALACTICA?
    Battlestar Galactica: The Complete 2004-2009 Series $105.99

    …and many more…

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