Blu-ray, 4K and DVD gift ideas for television show lovers

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for the TV binge-watchers in the family who own 4K, Blu-ray and DVD players.

Star Trek: Picard: The Complete Series (Paramount/CBS Entertainment, not rated, 1,496 minutes, 9 Blu-ray discs, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $69.99) — The Paramount+ streaming service continued the adventures of arguably Starfleet’s greatest starship captain in a series that ran for three seasons and was both critically acclaimed and beloved by Trekkies.

Set at the end of the 24th century, and 14 years after his retirement, the story covers former Adm. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) loving the quiet life on his vineyard until a mysterious woman with a connection to his past appears.

The fallout from the meeting sets off a chain of events that will take him and his eventual new body on a set of missions requiring the recruitment of past allies and teammates with the fate of the Federation and universe always at stake.

Lucky viewers get all 30 episodes that introduce new associates including Picard’s former Starfleet First Officer Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), synthetic life expert Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) and former Starfleet Cmdr. Cristobal “Chris” Rios (Santiago Cabrera); and reintroduces legends such as reformed Borg Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), life meddler Q (John de Lancie) and bartender buddy Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg).

By far and most important for fans, the third season brings back the key crew members from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — former ship’s counselor, Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis); refurbished android Data (Brent Spiner); agent for Starfleet Intelligence, Worf (Michael Dorn); retired Starfleet captain of the USS Titan, William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes); head curator of the Starfleet Museum, Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton); and former Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden).

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They battle an old nemesis while taking viewers on a dazzling nostalgia trip.

Best extras: One of the best parts of owning the Blu-ray sets is watching some of the detailed and well-crafted bonus content.

Now, all seven hours are in the complete set led by informative commentary such as a Zoomed optional video track for the first episode “Remembrance,” with creators Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon and Kirsten Beyer and director Hanelle M. Culpepper; and an optional commentary track for the final episode “The Last Generation” with Mr. Frakes, Ms. Ryan, Ed Speleers (Jack Crusher), and showrunner Terry Matalas.

Some of my favorites of the hours of featurettes include a 25-minute appreciation of the legendary Capt. Picard and 17 minutes discussing the meticulous process of reconstructing the original bridge of Enterprise-D for the later episodes.

Overall, the interviews with the cast and crew throughout are insanely detailed and always display an enormous passion and respect for Gene Roddenberry’s universe.

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And a big also, and available for gifting in time for the holidays, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Limited Edition SteelBook (Paramount/CBS Entertainment, not rated, 556 minutes, 4 4K discs, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $59.99) chronicles the vintage adventures of Capt. Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), the commander of the original USS Enterprise and his familiar crew including Spock (Ethan Peck), nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush), linguistics specialist Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) and Number One Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn).

Not only do owners get 10 episodes in ultra-high definition of one the best shows on streaming services with more than two hours of extras, but the package and its goodies will even make a Vulcan smile.

The metallic case spotlights Pike on the cover and his ship on the back with the interior showing 10 characters in a striped colored pattern from the torso to head.

Additionally, unwrapping the cellophane and cardboard disposable cover reveals a poster (9.5 inches by 13 inches) tied to the musical episode “Subspace Rhapsody” and a set of four large character magnets of Spock, Uhura, Chapel and Chin-Riley (5.5 inches by 6.5 inches) stuck to the back of the case.

The Flash: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, TV-14, 11,040 minutes, 34 Blu-ray discs, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $179.99) — By far the best way to appreciate the live-action exploits of DC Comics’ Scarlett Speedster was not in any movie but rather a television show that ran on The CW Network for a whopping nine seasons and just concluded earlier this year.

The entire series, all 184 episodes, is now available in the high definition format and offers a well-written and crafted show packed with superheroic adventures and perfectly cast with Grant Gustin taking on the title role.

Viewers get the complex origin of a time-traveling super speedy hero as he works as a member of Central City’s police forensics, investigates and eventually integrates with STAR Labs.

His Flash team members include Caitlin Snow aka Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon aka Vibe (Carlos Valdes), Ralph Dibny aka Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer), Nash Wells aka Pariah (Tom Cavanagh), Barry’s eventual wife Iris West (Candice Patton) and her dad Joe West (Jesse L. Martin).

A comic book timelines’ worth of narratives such as Flashpoint, and Crisis on Infinite Earth fuel the series as well as the numerous appearances of legendary heroes such as Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Hawk Girl (Ciara Renée) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist); and villains including The Trickster (Mark Hamill), Mirror Master (Efrat Dor), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh), Gorilla Grodd (voiced by David Sobolov) and King Shark throughout the shows.

“The Flash” was by far one of the best sci-fi fantasy television series ever created ripe with emotion, humor and epic drama and easily the tops in the live-action superhero genre.

Best extras: Gift receivers get hours of bonus material from the previously released disc sets, ranging from production featurettes to roundtables, gag reels and deleted scenes.

Highlights include an optional commentary track on the first episode with co-developer and DC universe architect Geoff Johns along with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg; a 30-featurette exploring the Flash’s comic book roots; a 51-minute roundup of DC television show panels at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con; 21 minutes on time travel in the Flash universe; and a 45-minute roundtable with comic and TV show creators discussing the Elseworlds’ crossover event.

Wandavision: The Complete Series Collector’s SteelBook Edition (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, rated TV-14, 354 minutes, 2 Blu-ray discs, 2.39:1, 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 aspect ratio, $54.99) — Disney offers a gift to fans of its cornucopia of pop culture properties with the release of specially packaged 4K disc sets tied to some of its more popular Disney+ streaming series.

Let’s focus on Wandavision, a twisted mash-up of decades of classic television memories tied to Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) aka, the powerful telekinetic and telepathic mutant sorceress Scarlet Witch, and her resurrected true love and Ultron favorite buddy, the android Vision (Paul Bettany).

Taking place three weeks after the universe-changing events of the Blip and the death of Thanos, the story finds a grief-stricken Wanda creating a false reality with her chaos magic in which life becomes an idyllic sitcom oasis.

She lives in a small suburban town in New Jersey with her rapidly growing two young sons Tommy and Billy and her devoted android husband.

Viewers get all nine episodes of the show presented in glorious ultra-high definition to appreciate the unraveling of Wanda’s world with help from such characters as the powerful witch Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) and wavelength manipulator as well as friend of Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).

Best extras: The two-disc set first offers exclusive goodies such as an hourlong exploration of the production, only seen on Disney+.

It covers the two lead characters; various movie appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; and the creation, writing and design of the series down to every episode, and making sure the TV eras were covered accurately down to camera lenses.

Also, viewers get seven minutes on the series devolving into a promotion for the yet-to-be-realized miniseries “Agatha: Coven of Chaos” (maybe to debut in late 2024).

However, and more gift-worthy, the steelbook case features a cover collage of Wanda and Vision set first in colorful heroic costumes and black-and-white 1950s garb.

The colorful moiré-patterned backdrop carries over to the back and opens a rift to reveal a black-and-white image of newlyweds  Wanda (in a wedding dress) and Vision walking toward their suburban home.

The interior, full-color spread has the whole family walking (Wanda and Vision in costume) toward their house with an ominous reddish sky above.

The package also includes three postcard-sized pieces of art with an obvious homage to Norman Rockwell. They feature two moments from the 1950s (Wanda and Vision sitting in front of a television and the pair outside the home watching a parade) and another showing the Vision and White Vision in midair battle.

Disney also offers from the MCU Loki: The Complete Series Collector’s Edition ($54.99), also in the 4K disc format and in steelbook packaging, with all six episodes chronicling the adventures of the wily brother of Thor. Loki is forced to help the Time Variance Authority so he’s not erased from the timeline for his various misdeeds.

NCIS: Los Angeles: The Complete Series (Paramount/CBS Entertainment, not rated, 13,798 minutes, 81 DVD discs, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $118.99) — The first spin-off to the original television franchise spotlighting the work of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service ran for 14 seasons on CBS starting in 2009 and concluding earlier this year.

In this massive collection, viewers get all 320 episodes of the procedural crime drama, with discs densely packed in three weighty clam shell cases, to learn about the work of such highly trained agents as Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) and Grisha Callen (Chris O’Donnell), Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah), Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) and Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) all overseen by operations manager Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt).

The team uses the latest advanced technologies and undercover techniques to take down a variety of dangerous terrorists and criminals posing a threat to America’s national security.

Devoted couch potatoes will certainly appreciate the energetic action as well as highlights such as a crossover between original “NCIS,” “JAG” and Los Angeles teams, dealing with a pesky mole, international arms dealer Isaac Sidorov (Timothy V. Murphy) and the marriage of Kensi Blye and Marty Deeks.

Best extras: All of the bonus goodies found on the original DVD season releases are ported over to the collection offering more than 17 hours of additional material about the series.

Expect select optional commentary tracks from cast and crew featuring executive producer Shane Brennan, Mr. Beale and Ms. Rush, and segments that discuss most seasons (roughly 20 minutes each).

Other extras include deleted scenes, gag reels and dozens of featurettes spread out over the discs, touching on meeting the cast; props master Lance Larsen’s work; the writing of the series; celebrations of the 100th, 250th episode and 300th episodes; and a final look back on the series.

Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1 to 6 (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, TV-MA, 1,364 minutes, 6 Blu-ray discs, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $129.99) — Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hilarious and thought-provoking animated sci-fi universe featuring the misadventures of a gaseous alcoholic sociopath scientist and his endearing grandson returns to the Blu-ray format in an up-to-date collection delivering high definition, uncensored versions of the last six seasons.

Specifically, viewers get all 61 episodes of the Emmy-winning show hosted on Adult Swim chronicling Rick Sanchez and his young grandson Morty as they often travel through time and space.

The pair normally reside on Earth with the rest of the family — Rick’s daughter and Morty’s mother Beth, her clueless husband Jerry and feisty granddaughter Summer — while perfecting insane inventions and dabbling in taboo sciences in the family’s garage.

The episodes highlight some seriously twisted creativity packed with adult humor, sci-fi-inspired sophomoric shenanigans and homages to popular culture.

Best extras: The set compiles all of the extraneous digital madness found in the original sets including and foremost, optional commentary tracks for the first three seasons and short “inside the episode” featurettes (under three minutes) for seasons four through six.

The package also includes a large-sized (24 inches by 18 inches) poster that’s completely yellow except for the facial features of Mr. Frundles (a parasitic creature introduced in the second season) in the bottom right corner.

Succession: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, TV-MA, 2,340 minutes, 12 DVD discs, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $89.99) — The nefarious hijinks of an unredeemable family played out for four seasons on HBO in a television series flush with corporate greed, political backstabbing, fiduciary malfeasance, cultural debauchery and a mixture of psychotic siblings hatred and loyalty.

All 39 sadistically satirical episodes are now available on 12 DVD discs to appreciate the Roy clan, owners of the New York City-based global media conglomerate Waystar Royco.

Led by controlling and contemptible father Logan (a devilish Brian Cox) and managed by his offspring — sons Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), and daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) — they en masse manipulate one another and the news and entertainment mediums throughout the world in the finest of Rupert Murdoch traditions.

The series is a delightful slog through the darkest recesses of humor with Mr. Cox’s curmudgeonly performance being the anchor and Mr. Culkin’s creepiest of over-the-top portrayals of a son looking for approval from daddy, no matter the cost, complementing his madness.

Best extras: Viewers get all of the extras from the previously released seasons’ disc sets. That’s more than two hours of production breakdowns with short featurettes (roughly five minutes each) covering many of the episodes, all of the characters and even actors quizzing views about who said certain lines of dialogue.

Speaking of corporate maleficence Warner Bros., how about releasing the series in the Blu-ray instead of the woefully antiquated DVD format?

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, TV-MA, 1,968 minutes, 14 DVD discs, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $134.99) — Creators Chris McCulloch aka Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer’s award-winning animated action dramedy ran for seven seasons on Adult Swim’s programming block from 2003 to 2018.

Now all 82 episodes and four specials are available to binge addicts looking to appreciate the adventures of bumbling teen brothers Hank and Dean Venture (voiced by Christopher McCulloch and Michael Sinterniklaas); their unethical scientist father Dr. Thaddeus Venture (James Urbaniak); and the family’s homicidal bodyguard and former secret agent, Brock Samson, who is also an Office of Secret Intelligence agent (Patrick Warburton).

The foursome spends each episode battling a family dynamic, science gone wrong and supervillains such as The Monarch, although many more enemies arrive from The Guild of Calamitous Intent, led by its mysterious leader “The Sovereign.”

The skewering of pop culture writing gives a large winking nod to 1960’s cartoon staples, such as “Jonny Quest,” and the animation style is more aligned with the golden days of Hanna-Barbera if the animators had modern computers to work with.

Also, and often most special to the shows, the pop culture references come fast and furious and include mentions or characterizations of Barbarella, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Klaus Nomi, Freddie Mercury, Adam Ant, DC Comics’ The Freedom Fighters, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Astro Boy, The Green Hornet, Tron, G.I. Joe. Walt Disney, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Evil Dead’s Necronomicon, the Hardy Boys, Hellraiser’s the Chatterer and even Marlon Brando from “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Best extras: Viewers get plenty of bonus content culled from all of the seasons including optional commentary tracks on 74 episodes from the creators, a smattering of featurettes and more than an hour’s worth of deleted scenes.

Although fans will love receiving the nearly complete set (only missing the film “The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart”), one must wonder what’s Warner Bros.’ method to its madness of presenting the series in the dreadful DVD format.

Heck, seasons 3 through 7 are already available in the Blu-ray, high definition format. Would it have taken so much to have converted the first two seasons and released a fabulous-looking collection?

Source: WT