ByBrian Salisbury, writer at
Brian Salisbury

Buying gifts for all the folks on your holiday list can be exhausting. Even if you think you know everything about everyone within your circle of family and friends, there are those wildcards who present a challenge. For the first of our holiday gift guides, we offer something to buy for each of these tricky list occupants.

1.) Your uncle with an affinity for classic detective shows and no access to Netflix

Item: Hawaii 5-0: The Complete Series

Features: 72 discs encompassing the twelve seasons as well as one bonus disc of special features. Beautiful compartmental packaging.

Reason: Hawaii 5-0 is a landmark of the genre, so iconic as to inspire a contemporary version currently running on CBS. This set, with the exception of one missing episode, is an extremely comprehensive presentation of the show that is sure to delight the couch potato in your family.

2.) Your brother who splits his free time between live sporting events and trips to the multiplex

Item: ESPN 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection Season II

Features: This 6-disk set covers the entire second season of ESPN's positively phenomenal sports documentary series 30 for 30. You get 15 full-length documentaries as well as a bonus disc that includes eight short-form docs. There are also plenty of extended interviews and deleted scenes to be found here.

Reason: 30 for 30 is a revelation for sports documentaries. They have managed to make compelling so many stories across the sportsphere, and these documentaries are just as heartily enjoyed by cinephiles as by sports fans. So if your sibling (or anyone you know obviously) is a little bit of both, this set is a homerun, touchdown, and hat trick all rolled into one.

3.) Mom is enticed by the acclaim of Breaking Bad, but can't handle the gut-wrenching suspense

Item: Weeds: The Complete Collection Blu-ray

Features: This collection contains all eight seasons of the Showtime series, which amounts to 102 episodes. Not only is this set replete with the bonus material that came with the separate season sets, but there are also several addition exclusive featurettes involving various chats with the cast. The acrylic packaging also makes for a great presence on the Blu-ray shelf.

Reason: If what has Breaking Bad piquing mom's interest is the vicarious thrill of seeing a middle class citizen dally into ventures outside of the law, Weeds' Nancy Botwin certainly achieves this. The difference here is that, while things do get harry for Nancy at times, the show is at its heart a comedy and provides a slightly safer narrative journey to the dark side. If mom learns to embrace a more severe Murphy's Law approach after watching Weeds, THEN ease her into Breaking Bad.

4.) Your cousin is a fan of comics, but prefers darker, more emotionally complex stories

Item(s): Batman Court of Owls Gift Set/The Joker: Death of the Family

Features: The Court of Owls Gift Set contains not only a trade paperback of Scott Snyder's Court of Owls storyline, but also a replica of the mask worn by its villains. Death of the Family collects issues from several titles in the New 52 series into one gorgeous hardcover novel.

Reason: Court of Owls is from Scott Snyder, who is considered by many to be one of the best writers in the business. The macabre tale of The Dark Knight investigating a series of murders that may or may not have to do with a Gotham urban legend is gripping, and the story introduces antagonists so captivating that they have already become canon for fans. Death of the Family on the other hand brings back a familiar foe in The Joker, but presents by far the most horrifying version of the character to date. It's almost a horror movie in comicbook form. Make sure your cousin is old enough to appreciate these stories, do NOT make the mistake of assuming that just because these are comic books that they will be suitable for cousins of all ages.

5.) A Nephew who is obsessed with everything pop culture and was a child of the 80s

Item: Robot Chicken Season 6 Blu-ray

Features: This Blu-ray contains all 20-episodes (short as they may be) of Adult Swim's stop-motion clip show Robot Chicken, created by and Matthew Senreich. In addition, the Robot Chicken Season 6 Blu-ray is stuffed to the beak with bonus content including outtakes, commentaries, and early drafts of unused sketches.

Reason: Robot Chicken makes an artform out of scatter-shot references, but in Season 6, they construct some of their most clever pop culture riffs to date. This is the kind of season that will appeal to any 80s kid/pop junkie regardless as to whether they've previously seen a single episode. Also, children of the 80s should by this point be of proper age to handle the series' often blue content.

6.) Your Disney-obsessed aunt who loves karaoke and recently broke down and bought a high-def TV

Item: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy

Features: The plethora of extra features included on the previously-released 40th Anniversary DVD are in tact, including vintage publicity, a commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and even a deleted song. In addition, this release includes a featurette wherein talks about playing Richard Sherman in Saving Mr. Banks and a special function that allows you to sing along with certain songs.

Reason: If your Disneyphile aunt has, as previously indicated, just bought a high-definition TV, Mary Poppins has never looked more vibrant and dazzling as in this Blu-ray. She is going to flip for the glorious color and resolution, and the Mary-oke feature will provide hours of entertainment beyond single viewings.

7.) That friend who still stubbornly maintains there is nothing to like about The Fast & the Furious franchise


Item: Fast & Furious 6 Extended Edition

Features: The Blu-ray contains both the theatrical and extended editions of the most recent franchise entry, though the differences are marginal at best. But the HD features do cover plenty of the action sequences. There's even a scene from the next movie, though given the recent tragic death of , it's likely that it will not be utilized, which actually makes this release all the more interesting.

Reason: My sincere hope is that your friend isn't just a Fast & Furious naysayer, but someone disenfranchised with the entertainment value of action movies all together. Not only does Fast & Furious 6 contain several spectacular stunts, as is the series' wont, but the sequence on the airfield runway is so insanely, eye-meltingly off-the-rails that it is an entire action film unto itself. On the right HD TV, Fast 6 will obliterate your friend's cynicism toward the franchise and have him/her jumping up and down with new-found gleeful fandom.

8.) Your co-worker who loves to watch, and crack wise at, bad movies

Item: MST3K 25th Anniversary Edition

Features: This set contains six total episodes of the seminal riff-based series; four main releases as per usual and an additional pair of episodes offered as a bonus. The set also includes a number of featurettes, original trailers, four exclusive mini-posters and comes in a fantastic steel box.

Reason: If your coworker has heard of MST3K, and they have a predilection toward mocking bad movies as they watch them, then most likely they are already a fan of the series and this is probably the best box set Shout! Factory has yet put out. Your coworker will appreciate the fact that the bonus episodes are Joel's last (Mitchell) and Mike's first (The Brain that Wouldn't Die). If that coworker has never heard of the show, this set should effectively illustrate that someone else has already conquered the bad movie mock and that they should stop annoying you while you watch movies together.


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