Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

'The Walking Dead’ and other favorites on new DVD gift sets

"The Walking Dead" Season 5 limited edition (Anchor

"The Walking Dead" Season 5 limited edition (Anchor Bay; $150 Blu-ray+digital, Standard Season 5+digital: $70 DVD/$80 Blu-ray). Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment

You want Emmy winners? You want cult favorites? You want British sleuths, scary zombies or family-friendly life lessons? They’re all to be found among this season’s new TV DVD/Blu-ray gift sets. The mix ranges from recently concluded shows to vintage favorites, with the occasional ongoing series sprucing up a season set with cool collectibles.

(Dollar amounts below reflect list price. Deep discounts are widely offered, so shop around.)


THE DEAL You want sophistication? You’ve got it in this chic set. First, mix some lowball cocktails in the included pair of silver-rimmed tumblers (with a quartet of cork-bottom coasters to set them on). Then, savor all six of AMC’s Emmy-laden seasons tracking the men and women of Madison Avenue’s 1960s ad game. It’s all in a giftworthy package the size of a six-pack, covered with era-apt black-and-white character snapshots. Take off the top to reveal two treats — a big box with those collectibles safely foam-nestled, and a compact hard-sided book into whose thick pages the discs themselves click out and in. Seasons are color-coded through those pages, and richly detailed with episode descriptions and character quotes, in a sophisticated modular pop-art design. No less appropriate are the new extras on a full bonus disc (joining retained season-set features) — one-on-one with creator Matthew Weiner, lengthy panel give-and-takes with the stars and another with supporting cast (in beards and leather jackets!), featurettes on casting and design, plus a historical timeline and gallery archive of ads from Jon Hamm’s Don Draper team. (English/Spanish subtitles.)

LIST PRICE $210 either DVD+digital (23 discs) or Blu+digital (32 discs)


THE DEAL Britain’s ace police sleuth (played by Michael Kitchen) works against an authentic backdrop of 1940s history, from World War II homeland cases to Europe’s postwar “iron curtain.” His feature-length TV movies — produced 2003-15 in eight distinct “series” (we call them seasons) — are here in their original untrimmed versions. (PBS “Masterpiece” broadcasts could be 15 minutes shorter!) Bonus features are retained from previous releases — interviews with creator Anthony Horowitz and actors, making-of featurettes, hourlong series retrospective, even “the truth behind the fiction.” It’s all smartly packaged in four thick flip-page cases, inside an embossed flip-top box that also offers a booklet with essays and episode/character guide. (Series 1-5 have broadcast-style closed captions, which do not transmit over HDMI cable, requiring red-white-yellow cable connection. Series 6-8 use DVD-friendly English subtitles.)

LIST PRICE $200 DVD (29 discs)


THE DEAL Raise the roof off this, yes, little-house-shaped box to discover a slick cardboard foldout for each of this vintage family favorite’s nine seasons. Though “Little House” was previously released on DVD in its entirety, the wagon-box binder of 2008 used episodes trimmed for TV repeats. And its visuals didn’t look this sharp — now remastered to stunning clarity for Blu-ray’s aborted high-def release. (Lionsgate sold Seasons 1-6 individually, then stopped. No complete Blu box has been announced.) Both the show’s 1974 pilot movie and its three later TV movies are here. Extras carry over from Blu-ray seasons (not previous DVDs): six-part series documentary, screen tests. (English subtitles; alternate Spanish/French audio.)

LIST PRICE $150 DVD+digital (48 discs)


THE DEAL Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway star in ABC’s 1962-66 sitcom of World War II-era high jinks among the PT 73 crew, pitting softhearted sailors against their crabby captain. The show’s first DVD season-sets hit shelves last decade, but Shout’s spiffy new complete box of 138 episodes makes a great gift for Grandpa, Navy vets or Conway fans — especially since the sitcom preceded Conway’s legendary “Carol Burnett Show” stint (now seen in its own sets). Inside a sturdy cardboard top resembling an olive foot locker is a more colorful sleeve, encasing the four separate season sets (retaining the 45th anniversary cast reunion and a Borgnine-Conway sit-down). There’s also a bonus case with the Universal movie double feature “McHale’s Navy” and “McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force.” Topping it off: a trio of color film postcards, plus temporary tattoos of a half-dozen show icons: anchor, PT 73, etc. (No captions/subtitles.)

LIST PRICE $170 DVD (21 discs)


THE DEAL Because who doesn’t need a gross zombie crawling over pavement as it dissolves into a bloody mess? That’s the attraction of the AMC hit’s latest superfan lure — Season 5’s Blu-ray set reconfigured into a collectible, now “buried” in a McFarlane Toys “grave” topped by said blood-red zombie plus random “parts.” (Bits of green grass pushing up through asphalt next to a crushed beer can — genius.) Slide back the plastic top to reveal an exclusive hard-side folding case covered with zombies hovering, with discs nestled safely in plastic trays. Sure, the price is a hefty premium. But this genre fave’s previous souped-up sets seem to hold their value pretty well. (English/Spanish subtitles; alternate French audio.)

LIST PRICE $150 Blu-ray+digital, out Dec. 1

(Standard Season 5+digital: $70 DVD/$80 Blu-ray)


THE DEAL The cover of this elegant cream-colored keepsake box lifts to reveal an embossed hardcover book. Inside: all 16 first-season episodes of Starz’s hot period adventure on 4 discs, plus another Blu-ray bonus disc (existing extras joined by “Outlander” yule log!). Claire and Jamie fans can drool over its scenic full-page photos while a pair of bonus-track CDs plays Bear McCreary’s evocative Scottish soundtrack. A box-side ribbon pulls open a lower drawer, holding a pocket-size engraved flask of polished steel, plus a box-matching embossed frame to showcase the included selection of luscious location photos. Throughout the set are insider quotes from the show’s stars and crew, welcoming fans deeper into author Diana Gabaldon’s 18th century domain. (English/French subtitles.)

LIST PRICE $165 Blu-ray+digital


THE DEAL A compact new silver/black box (supplanting last year’s Seasons 1-4 blue/black box) collects all previous seasons, making a fine gift for those newly converted to this smash soap of British aristocracy facing societal change in the early 20th century. (Just be aware, another season debuts in January to finish out the run.) All episodes appear as original full-length British airings, retaining season-set bonus features for an inside look at the show’s cast, production, location and historical background. (English subtitles.)

LIST PRICE $100 DVD/$110 Blu-ray (15 discs)


THE DEAL These 1960s Space Family Robinson adventures remain family favorites 50 years after their three-season CBS run. Cast members reunite for nine fact-filled new episode commentaries, including “The Great Vegetable Rebellion,” with its infamous talking veggie-people. Four first-season episodes include original black-and-white commercials. Other vintage treats: unaired pilot, screen tests, home movies, audio interviews, 1973 cartoon special, 1995 series creator documentary “The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen.” New fun: actor chats, table read of an unproduced series “epilogue,” even prison-station episode “Condemned of Space” reshaped in widescreen with Dolby Surround remix. It all comes in a colorful box holding three glossy “accordion” season sets, plus collectible Robot poster, 5-by-7 cast collector cards, and miniature pilot script. (English/Spanish/French subtitles)

LIST PRICE $200 Blu-ray (18 discs)


THE DEAL The painstaking restoration of Ken Burns’ 1990 docuseries classic is chronicled in bonus featurettes demonstrating how even archival photos take on fresh depth and nuance in high-definition. While the DVD version is standard-def, it still benefits from the extensive cleanup and sharpening of Burns’ original 16 mm film elements. Here, too, in extras, are his complete interviews with historian Shelby Foote, nearly three hours’ worth. And it’s great to hear his project collaborators (cinematographers, editors, writers, producers) talk about the effort with which the entire team turned a no-moving-pictures war into a cultural phenomenon — still, 25 years after premiere.

LIST PRICE $100 DVD/$130 Blu-ray (6 discs)

More Entertainment