BREAKING BAD: THE FINAL SEASON Uncensored/extended, commentary on all episodes, many extras; $56 for 3 DVDs, $66 for 2 Blu-ray discs+digital copy, out today from Sony
BREAKING BAD: THE COMPLETE SERIES (Blu-ray). Iconic barrel contains 16 Blu-ray discs+digital, plus collectible items; $300 list price, out Tuesday from Sony
Just last week, the season's TV DVD/Blu-ray gift set to beat looked like Showtime's "Dexter," with its hinged box designed to mimic the deadly protagonist's prized case of blood-slide, uh, souvenirs.
But now the entirety of AMC's "Breaking Bad" arrives -- at least on Blu-ray -- in a cool show-themed container of its own. This little treat has been so hard to come by, we haven't been able to get our own mitts on one to review. We drool over the mere photos of its plastic barrel (just like Walt buried his $80 million in!), which opens to reveal season packs of discs, along with a bonus Los Pollos Hermanos apron. (Just like Gus used to wear.)
Nice to know the appeal goes beyond good looks, too. "Bad" creator Vince Gilligan has always been generous and smart about bonus features, and so he is here. The completeseries set retains all the on-disc extras from the five previous season sets (even the retailer-exclusive variations), as well as Tuesday's new "final season" (see below). Then, it adds its own feature-length documentary to chronicle the furious arc of those final eight episodes. Got to be something to see.
While we wait, and salivate, we'll content ourselves with Tuesday's more affordable release of "Breaking Bad: The Final Season," available on either DVD or Blu-ray. It's packed with extras, too, led by the usual fun/fact-filled commentary with a range of cast-crew voices on all episodes. (Not featured, however, is Dean "Hank" Norris, likely off shooting his CBS summer hit, "Under the Dome.") Featurettes dissect the concluding arc's big desert shootout (hear about star Bryan Cranston's "wound"), the final episode's uber-contraption setup, the life of a showrunner, sound mixing and more. (Blu-ray adds the full table read for season-opener "Blood Money.")
Then, there's the must-see alternate series ending (with its own cool making-of). If you haven't found it leaked online, we'll just say "Breaking Bad" owes a debt to "Newhart," and Cranston can still absolutely kill the comedy. Maybe that's the way he should zigzag next.
Walt and Jesse Go to White Castle. Just a thought.
Holidays on DVD
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: CHRISTMAS WITH CAROL Two episodes include 1974's gem with Alan Alda joining Mama's edgier early family as Eunice's visiting big-city brother, plus 1977 with Tim Conway, Ken Berry, Helen Reddy and Carol's seasonally smashed Mrs. Wiggins. Bonus '60s sketches (all in clear color) feature Jonathan Winters, Sid Caesar, Carol singing carols; $13 list price, StarVista.
I LOVE LUCY: COLORIZED Don't be scared! Colorizing has improved immensely since those icky '80s. Buy 1956's Christmas "flashback" clip show here (or watch CBS' Dec. 20 broadcast), along with bonus grape stomping, Scotland episodes; $17, CBS.
DUCK DYNASTY: I'M DREAMING OF A REDNECK CHRISTMAS Warning -- Louisiana's bayou marketing empire (currently carpeting a Walmart near you) re-releases last year's season 2 finale as a holiday stand-alone and doesn't even add extras; $10, Lionsgate.
HOLIDAY 4-FILM COLLECTION Lifetime collection includes Ralph Macchio's "Holiday Spin," David Hasselhoff as "The Christmas Consultant," 2 more; $20 for 2 discs, Lionsgate.