2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Television

Television fans must love the holidays, because it’s the one time of year when studios unleash a host of massive box sets collecting their favorite dramas and comedies. This year is no different, with several critically acclaimed shows getting the complete series treatment. But while we like to devour an entire TV show just as quickly as the next person, sometimes a little self-discipline is required, which is why we’ve also included some less time-consuming (and more affordable) suggestions as well.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

The Wonder Years: The Complete Series

wonder-years

Can it really have been way back in 2006 when we put “The Wonder Years” at the top of our list of the 15 shows that we most wanted to see released on DVD? 2014 has been a damned good year for that list – now that “Batman” and “WKRP” are finally available, the only things left that we’re still waiting to see released are “Sifl & Olly” and “Ed” – but nothing’s made us as happy as the arrival of a miniature locker containing two faux Trapper Keeper notebooks filled with 26 discs worth of “The Wonder Years.” In addition to the 115 episodes, there’s also over 23 hours of bonus material, including footage from the recent cast reunion, tons of interviews with cast, creators and numerous guest stars, 10 newly-created featurettes, and outtakes from the filming of Kevin and Winnie’s first kiss…which, in case you didn’t know, was also Fred Savage and Danica McKellar’s first kiss as well! Lastly, when you pop open the locker – don’t worry, there’s no lock, so you don’t need to memorize a combination – you’ll also find a hardcover “yearbook” filled with behind-the-scenes pictures and notes from the cast. It’s so totally worth the wait.

Batman: The Complete Television Series

batman

Whether you grew up in the late 60s when it originally aired, or watched the reruns that played throughout the following decades, chances are that the “Batman” TV series was a big part of your childhood. One of the best things about the show is that it operates on multiple levels, so whereas you were attracted to the suspense, action and colorful production design as a kid, when revisiting the series as an adult, you’re able to enjoy the subtler, campier aspects. It certainly helped that it had such a game cast, from stars Adam West and Bruce Ward, to its cavalcade of villain guest stars – most notably Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and Julie Newmar – all of whom understood exactly what kind of show they were making. “Batman” is one of the few classic TV series that still holds up today, which is why it’s so surprising that it took this long for it to be released on Blu-ray. The new digital restoration looks fantastic for a show that’s nearly 50 years old, with all 120 episodes presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray set also comes with hours of bonus material, including a retrospective on the show’s production and its legacy, a roundtable discussion with West and other Bat-fanatics, the original “Batgirl” pilot, screen tests for West and Ward, as well second-choice Lyle Waggoner (Batman) and Peter Deyell (Robin), and much more. And as if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a Hot Wheels replica Batmobile, while the box itself plays the “Batman” theme song. Holy Fan Service, Batman!

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Movies

These days, if you don’t own a Blu-ray player, you’re missing out, especially with a variety of classic movies being offered in high definition for the first time ever. But while we could easily fill several pages with suggestions of great films and cool box sets that deserve a spot on any holiday wish list, we’ve picked some of our favorites released over the past 12 months. If you can’t find anything worth buying here, then chances are that the person you’re shopping for doesn’t like movies.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection

spielberg

It may come as a surprise that Steven Spielberg has only won the Oscar for Best Director twice over the course of his illustrious career, because he’s made some of the most popular and critically-acclaimed films of the past 40 years. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Spielberg spent a majority of his time working under the Universal Pictures banner, and all of those movies have been collected in this fantastic box set, four of which (“Duel,” “Sugarland Express,” “1941” and “Always”) are making their Blu-ray debuts. The other films include perennial favorites like “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World,” though for some strange reason, 1993’s “Schindler’s List” (his last Universal picture to date) is nowhere to be found. All of the movies have received gorgeous high-def video transfers, while the included booklet provides background info like fun facts, concept art and storyboards. Though the lesser known films will undoubtedly receive individual releases in the future, this is the only way to own them on Blu-ray at the moment, and that makes the “Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection” a must-have for any self-respecting cinephile.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection

kubrick

There are many stories about the difficulties of working with Stanley Kubrick. He was a perfectionist and an introvert, but he was also a cinematic genius responsible for directing some of most innovative and influential films of the past 60 years. Though it doesn’t include any of his earlier work (specifically “Paths of Glory” and “The Killing,” which you can pick up from Criterion), this new Blu-ray set is the closest thing to a definitive collection that you’re likely to find, featuring all eight movies that Kubrick directed between 1960 to 1999: “Spartacus,” “Lolita,” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Atom Bomb,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” The 10-disc set also boasts a pair of discs dedicated to bonus material, including the previously released documentaries “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” and “O’ Lucky Malcolm” (about actor Malcolm McDowell), as well as a trio of new featurettes, “Kubrick Remembered,” “Stanley Kubrick in Focus” and “Once Upon a Time… A Clockwork Orange.” If you don’t already own these films on Blu-ray, now is the time to rectify that.

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Product Review: SAXX Underwear

No one has ever summarized a man’s relationship with his underwear as accurately as Garth Algar in “Wayne’s World”:

The relationship between a dude and his underwear is a strange thing. In the past, I’ve had roommates and friends who thought it was funny to keep a pair of underwear so long, they (the undies) gradually begin to degrade over time, until certain areas that once provided support were completely gaped open, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Put simply, guys don’t like to buy underwear; it feels weird. I have a pair of plaid boxers from 1999 on right now.

But what if I told you that chicks dig a nice pair of undies on a dude, the way we like sexy lingerie on our ladies? Let me hip you to a little game, in case you didn’t know: briefs and boxers are out. Trunks are in.

When I first became cognizant of trunks, it was like a foreign concept. Was this a legitimate term, or a clever, pachyderm-based play on words?

Regardless, trunks are boss. Even though they are a little “constrictive” at first, they make your bulge look big, like a young Bon Scott.

Don’t you want to accentuate your man hammer? Sure you do, and there’s nothing to feel bad about. But it isn’t just about that.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

As gadgets and electronics become a bigger part of our lives, gadget accessories are becoming more popular as well. We’ve assembled a few cool products that fit the bill, as well as other stocking stuffers you can consider for everyone on your holiday list.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

HISY Remote Shutter

hisy

Here’s a great new gadget from HISY that can be a great gift for practically everyone on your list. It’s a tin, button-sized device that acts as a remote shutter for your iPhone. You can place your iPhone anywhere and then capture photos and videos without holding it by using this small device. You don’t need an app to install it, as it works effortlessly with your iPhone’s Bluetooth capability. Just pair the device and you’re ready to start taking photos. It’s great for selfies, group photos and action videos, as now you won’t be restricted by your reach. Sure, selfies with the iPhone in your arm can still be fun, particularly with someone from the opposite sex, but now you can open up the possibilities with all sorts of photos, and you can start using it right away for the holidays.

Wallets from The Wallet Shoppe

wallet

Most guys will appreciate a new leather wallet, so you’ll find tons of great gift ideas at The Wallet Shoppe. The site features classic designs like the Bellroy Hide and Seek Black Leather Wallet that we tried out, along with newer and trendier styles as well. You can choose from wallets in classic leather or exotic options like alligator, crocodile or lizard skins. They also have some cool messenger bags as well. With all that variety, you’re bound to find something that’s perfect for the person on your gift list.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Fire Pit from Lowe’s and allen + roth

This isn’t something you can easily put under the tree, but if you’re looking for a creative gift that you and your spouse or girlfriend can enjoy together, a fire pit in your backyard offers a great opportunity. As we explained in a recent post, a fire pit is pretty easy to build and you can find everything you need at Lowe’s using materials from allen + roth. The key here is that this is a project you can do with someone else or with the entire family, which makes it even more memorable. So if you’re looking for a unique gift idea and a fun project, this may be perfect for you.

firepit

Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System

keurig

Following the failed experiment of the Keurig Vue, the company has brought back its beloved K-Cups for their new line of Keurig 2.0 systems, albeit with a slight catch: the machines use a “revolutionary” brewing technology designed to read the RFID-coded lid on each K-Cup to ensure the perfect beverage every time. Of course, what the company fails to mention is that these codes are essentially their version of DRM in that you can only use authentic or officially licensed K-Cups manufactured after January 1, 2014. So if you prefer generic brands or brew your own coffee in a resuable pod, the company’s message seems to be, “Tough luck.” (For what it’s worth, there are numerous hacks already available online, and for those with a surplus of outdated K-Cups in your pantry, Keurig has offered to swap out those packs for new ones by contacting customer service.) Of course, that won’t bother Keurig loyalists one bit, because they’ll still find plenty to love about the Keurig 2.0 – particularly the ability to brew a 4-cup carafe using special K-Carafe packs with the same speed and ease of a single serving. The K550 model also includes an extra-large 80-ounce water reservoir (with hot water on demand), an auto-brew option so your coffee’s ready to go in the morning, a strength control setting and a customizable night light.

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