TV DVD Roundup: Complete-Series Sets9 Dec, 2007 By: John L. Kyra K.
Complete-series TV DVDs are a big ticket this holiday season.
Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)
Fox/MGM, $329.98, 54-DVD set
The outer box is simple yet elegant, adorned with a stargate replica fans will love. The DVDs come in two foldout booklets with five seasons apiece, resting in cardboard slipcases, which offer less protection than plastic trays because the discs tend to scratch more easily when pulled out. The set includes a nice episode guide and four bonus discs with exclusive content, including some tie-in television specials. This is a great gift for “Stargate” fans.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94)
Paramount, $455.95, 49-DVD set
The size is right, but like the “Star Trek” season sets, the price is too high. This was the seminal series of modern science-fiction on television, but it seems the package designers are trying too hard to please fans with futuristic packaging, and missing the mark. The biggest surprise here is that the discs are re-labeled to reflect a complete-series design aesthetic. The discs are stored in hard plastic trays; all told, it's pretty cumbersome. New extras include some good retrospective material and a few featurettes previously available as Best Buy exclusives with the season sets. The package touts a collectible poster that turns out to be a lame episode guide.
The X-Files (1993-2002)
Fox, $329.98, 61-DVD set
The outer art is beautiful, but this is probably one of the worst-engineered designs for a multidisc set, which is too bad since the series is one no sci-fi fan should be without. Included are all nine seasons, the 1998 movie and bonus material from the “Mythology” DVDs. The cover flips open with the seasons in cardboard booklets lined up on the top. The episode guide sits in a cardboard drawer under the discs. This creates a couple of inches of dead space, allowing the weight of the discs to push down on the sides of the box. Any stress on the box could cause the sides to buckle, making the drawer harder to remove.
I Love Lucy (1951-60)
Paramount, $241.98, 34-DVD setThe landmark 1950s sitcom comes repacked in a heart-shaped box, with the discs in accordion slipcases. The set is attractive to collectors and should make a good gift for older family members who may have been casual fans.
Full House (1987-95)
Warner, $169.72, 32-DVD set
This set repacks the slimcases from the previous season sets in a box shaped like the house on the show. There's no new material, so fans who already bought the seasons shouldn't feel compelled to upgrade, but the price is right to make it a nice gift for that nephew who's been enjoying the cable reruns a little too much, or anyone else compelled to check out the origin of the Olsen twins.
Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)
HBO Video, $279.99, 44-DVD set
The Ray Romano series also comes shaped like a house. The roof pops off, and all nine seasons are housed in a cardboard slipcase, with inserts to protect the discs. The set includes a replica of the finale script.
The King of Queens (1998-2007)
Sony Pictures, $232.95, 27-DVD set
Here's proof a boxed set design can be both fun and practical. It's shaped like a delivery van, playing right into a motif from the show, but it's also shelf friendly. The rear door of the van opens to reveal the nine seasons packed in like cargo, but well protected in plastic trays. The front hood opens into a storage compartment for the episode guides. The set includes a bonus disc with new retrospectives.
Northern Exposure (1990-95)
Universal, $199.98, 26-DVD set
This set takes the slim discs from the season sets and packs them into a buckskin satchel, replicating the feel of the quirky 1990s comedy-drama. How it fits in on a shelf is a matter of taste.
The O.C. (2003-07)
Warner, $179.92, 28-DVD set
A soapy mix of teen melodrama and witty pop culture references made this show a cult phenomenon. The complete series is styled as a hardcover book with a hard plastic storage case. The discs rest in cardboard slipcase pages in between episode guides and an Atomic County comic book excerpt. New to this set are the first season in widescreen and a season-four gag reel. Fans of the show will have a hard time resisting this. The discs have been relabeled and numbered to reflect the collection as a whole.
Gilmore Girls (2000-07)
Warner, $258.82, 42-DVD set
It was so sad to see the journey end, but now fans can take Lorelai and Rory with them wherever they go … literally – the box is a stylish vinyl case with a handle. The set comes with a comprehensive episode guide that notates unaired scenes and other extras. Although the discs have been renumbered to reflect the series as a whole, they are still separated into colorful season folders, making it easy to locate favorite episodes. The set also comes with a 43-page book of pop-culture references used in the show – the irreverent definitions make it a fun read on its own.
Paramount, $170.99, 39-DVD set
The show that gave us Richard Dean Anderson returns in a simple box with the discs in two sets of cardboard sleeves, and no new material to frustrate fans. The price is right for collectors who have been considering picking up some season sets. Those who already bought some, but not all, may want to pick this one up.
Miami Vice (1984-90)
Universal, $199.98, 27-DVD set
The quintessential show of 1980s style includes all five previously released season sets packed together in a shelf-friendly white alligator-skin box. There's no new material so it's easy to pass up for those who already bought the earlier sets.