Get ready for special Holiday viewing with box sets of "Breaking Bad," "Doctor Who," "Burn Notice" and "Arrow" jostling for space under the tree alongside classics such as "Bewitched" and "The Carol Burnett Show."
(L-R) Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - "Breaking Bad"
DVD and Blu Ray sets offer up TV's latest and greatest for the holidays.n
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series The grand finale of AMC’s pitch-black series was nothing less than a pop culture watercooler-moment triumph: it seemed like everyone was talking about just how satisfying the end of Walter White’s journey ultimately played out. All of the final seasons episode and extras – including the cast’s table read of series closer “Blood Money” – are available in the final season set as well as in the colossal complete collection of all 62 episodes, 55 hours of special features, a two-hour final season documentary, a Los Pollos Hermanos apron and more, all stunningly packaged in a replica barrel, for the truly addicted.
"Arrow": The Complete First Season Even as superheroes dominated the cinematic scene, the small screen delivered its own costumed superstar in the form of Oliver Queen and his alter ego. As the expert marksman Green Arrow (known on screen as “the Hood” in season one) Stephen Amell hit the bulls-eye and the CW series quickly established itself as one of TV’s most tightly plotted and action-packed hours. Within the quiver of extras: a fun-filled Q&A evening with the cast and crew at a PaleyFest celebration.
"The Carol Burnett Show": Christmas With Carol As the reigning queen of the TV comedy/variety hour for 11 seasons (1967-1978), Burnett added ha-ha-ha to the holiday ho-ho-hos with her Christmas-themed sketches over the years. Two 30-minute episodes and an assembly of bonus seasonal skits fill out this DVD, featuring Burnett’s troupe of players Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and Vicki Lawrence plus 70s superstars like Alan Alda, Helen Reddy and Jonathan Winters.
"The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts": Complete Collection As his popular variety series wrapped, the King of Cool successfully reinvented his TV format with the raucous celebrity roasts that perfectly suited his seemingly freewheeling, boozy but still sharp-as-a-tack style. Martin gathered a who’s who of Hollywood heavy-hitters for 54 skewering sessions over ten seasons. Standout roasts include Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. and talk show titan Johnny Carson, and no star is safe from Don Rickles’ insult assaults. Also among the set: a collectors book, 11 new featurettes, long-unseen sketches and specials and even Martin family home movies.
"Doctor Who": Series 1-7 All seven seasons of the fanatically followed Time Lord’s modern-era adventures – the 2005-2013 UK series, picking up from the classic original version that launched in the 1960s – are collected in one package, featuring the Doctor in his ninth, tenth and eleventh incarnations (as essayed by Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, respectively), and accompanied with a handy-dandy sonic screwdriver.
"Futurama": The Complete Series The delightfully funny sister program to “The Simpsons” offered a similarly Matt Groening-style send-up of sci-fi traditions and tropes over eight seasons while also making fans care about its indelible characters Fry, Leela, Bender and the Planet Express crew. All 124 episodes from both the Fox and Cartoon Network runs are assembled together for the first time in one DVD set, as well as the franchise’s four direct-to-video movies.
"Bewitched": The Complete Series Eight seasons, 254 episode, 33 DVD discs and two Darrins: the enchanting 1964-1972 sitcom starring Elizabeth Montgomery is collected in a package so comprehensive noses will be twitching in anticipation. One caveat: purists should be forewarned that the first two black-and-white seasons have been magically colorized to complement the bulk of series’ vibrant color scheme.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 5 Each new season of Gene Roddenberry’s visionary futuristic opus arrives looking bolder than ever on Blu Ray, with each the original film elements painstakingly reassembled for the digital age, and the quality of the series’ stories increases by warp factors with landmark episodes like “The Inner Light,” “I, Borg” and “The First Duty.” “Unification,” one of Season Five’s high points – the two-part appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Spock – marks the first major crossover between the original series cast and its follow-up crew and is also available as a solo release.
"Dexter": The Complete Series Television’s most beloved serial killer faced a final cut as the Showtime series concluded after eight blood-spattered seasons. Every episode is cleverly collected in a faithful recreation of the blood-slide box in which Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) kept the mementos of his murders, along with a book depicting a plethora of show-related imagery - including promotional photos, ad art and fan creations – and a bonus disc filled with additional special features.
"Burn Notice": The Complete Series The just-concluded saga of flamed-out CIA contractor Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donavan) and his colleagues gets the deluxe collection treatment assembling all seven seasons on DVD. Smart, sexy, funny and possessed of one of the most feverishly devoted fanbases, the USA series proved a twisty alternative to less surprising network fare. (available Dec. 17)
"Mad Men" Season 6 The times were a-changin’ in 1968 for the execs and staff of the newly christened ad firm Sterling Cooper & Partners: Along with the influx of new partners to contend with, Don Draper’s spirit-renewing second marriage showed cracks, though he reached a détente with ex-wife Betty; Joan’s Faustian pact to secure her financial future came back to haunt her; and martini-swilling Roger Sterling actually felt a genuine emotion through his anesthetized state. This excellent season of the modern classic series comes with extras exploring the Summer of Love, the late-60s drug culture and the show’s impeccable production design.
"China Beach": The Complete Series One of the most acclaimed series of the late ‘80s and early ’90 makes a long-overdue debut on DVD, starring two-time Emmy winner Dana Delany in her star-making role as Vietnam-era military nurse Colleen McMurphy. Over four seasons the series offered an unconventional and frequently unflinching perspective on America’s most complicated, conflicted war, earning some of television’s highest accolades in the process. Among 10 hours of unique extras are a two-decade later reunion of the standout cast. - Scott Huver