2013 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 on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

Is there anything more to be said about the late, great “Breaking Bad” at this point, other than the fact that it was one of the greatest TV series of all time and that, although it went out in a blaze of glory, it’s left a vacuum that’ll be damned hard to fill? Nah, that about sums it up. But if you’re a fan and you’re continuing to mourn, then Sony has put together a set that’s so awesome that it’s almost too much to handle… but not quite. The 16-disc set includes all 62 episodes and more than 55 hours of special features, including an all-new documentary which chronicles the making of the final season, and, of course, all of the bonus material from the previous season sets remains intact too. The whole thing comes packaged in a barrel, as well a series about a meth manufacturer should, along with a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, a collectible booklet featuring a letter from Vince Gilligan and a commemorative Breaking Bad challenge coin. We don’t actually know what a challenge coin is, but we do know that it was designed and created by Gilligan himself, and dammit, that’s good enough for us.

Dexter: The Complete Series

Loosely based on Jeff Linsday’s popular series of crime novels, “Dexter” is probably the biggest hit in Showtime’s history, which only makes its steady decline over the years that much more maddening. Though the last four seasons were incredibly uneven compared to the show’s first four years, “Dexter” continued to be appointment television every week thanks to Michael C. Hall’s brilliant, Golden Globe-winning performance as the titular antihero. It also featured an excellent rotating cast of guest stars that included John Lithgow, Keith Carradine, Jimmy Smits, Julia Stiles and Jonny Lee Miller, and at times, some of the best writing on TV. It’s actually quite amazing that a show with a serial killer as its protagonist was able to last as long as it did, and though it faltered a bit in the end, there are plenty of diehard “Dexter” fans that would kill to own this complete series set. Designed to look like the character’s iconic blood slide box (with every Blu-ray case featuring a blood drop on the bottom), the 25-disc set – which features all eight seasons and a bonus disc filled with over five hours of never-before-seen extras – is definitely one of the cooler collector’s items on the market.

Weeds: The Complete Collection

HBO has long been considered the undisputed leader of premium cable, but without shows like “Weeds” and “Dexter,” Showtime never would have become the worthy competitor that it is today. Though Jenji Kohan’s dark comedy series suffered a drop in quality during its later seasons, it delivered more than its share of subversively funny moments (as well as those of the WTF variety) over the course of its eight-year run. Constantly reinventing itself after Season Three’s game-changing finale, “Weeds” may not have always succeeded in the risks that it took with the storytelling, but it’s one of the few shows with the kind of punk-rock attitude to even consider taking such risks. And throughout its numerous highs and lows, the core cast never faltered, especially star Mary-Louise Parker, who made “Weeds” must-see TV for her crazy/sexy performance alone. For those that haven’t yet seen the series, or just never got around to picking up each season individually, now is the perfect time with this complete series set, which comes packaged in a nifty, translucent green box and features new bonus material like a cast roundtable, interviews with fan-favorite recurring characters and more.

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Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 – Raspberry Peach

grand marnier raspberry peach_409x550

The good folks at Grand Marnier sent us their new Signature Collection, the smooth and delicious Raspberry Peach. The Signature Collection Series is a unique annual flavor offering from Grand Marnier featuring an all-natural fusion of fresh fruit ingredients and exotic orange essence, blended with premium Cognac. Here’s how they describe it: “The House of Marnier Lapostolle is proud to present our latest expression, Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry peach. The natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche, in the South of France, are combined with world-renowned Grand Marnier, made from our exceptionally smooth Cognac and wild tropical Haitian oranges.”

It sounds incredible, and it totally lives up to the hype. Just pour it into a cocktail glass with some ice and you have a delicious drink with a nice kick. It’s not too sweet or syrupy like some liqueurs and it makes for a great sipping drink. If you’re a fan of Grand Marnier you have to try this, and we recommend it to anyone who enjoys spirits.

Here’s a punch recipe provided by Grand Marnier and created by mixologist George Carney that you can serve if you’re hosting a holiday party, though we like the Raspberry Peach so much we would serve it straight on the rocks:

GM Raspberry Peach Holiday Punch
2 quarts Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
1 ½ cups cinnamon syrup
2 quarts water
1 quart lemon juice
1 quart overproof rum
4 oz apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and serve. Optional: freeze raspberries and pieces of peach in purified water and add to punch bowl.

For individual portions:
2 oz Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
2 oz spring water
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz overproof rum
1/8 oz apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a punch glass.

With the holidays coming, Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 – Raspberry Peach is a great choice to bring to a party. It can also be a great gift for both men and women as the flavor will have broad appeal. Buy an extra one for your home bar!

  

Hard Rock T-Shirts

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If you’re looking for stocking stuffers for the upcoming holiday season, check out the rock t-shirts available at HardRock.com. Above you’ll see the impressive design of the U2 t-shirt and the artistic Eric Clapton shirt. Each t-shirt benefits a charity closely connected with the artist. We checked out the 100% cotton shirts and were impressed with the quality and definitely liked the tag-less design.

The site has tons of gift options for men and women, so check it out as you start your shopping.

  

Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani

Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani

If you’re looking for a new cologne or a gift idea for the holidays, you should check out Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani. This cologne has a bright fresh scent of citrus and has been very popular for a long time. Women love this one. You can get it at Fragrance.net which specializes on cologne, perfume and other beauty and grooming products. It’s a great site to browse as you start your holiday shopping.

Other men’s fragrances worth trying include Kenneth Cole Black, which has a very masculine scent, and Davidoff Cool Water, a careful blend of jasmine, musk, oak moss and sandalwood that creates a natural scent that is reminiscent of camping trips, hikes and other outdoor activities.

  

Cobra 28-Mile Range Walkie Talkie

Cobra CXT 545 Walkie-Talkie

We checked out the Cobra CXT 545 28-Mile Range Walkie Talkie and had plenty of fun trying it out. It’s the ultimate gift for kids of all ages and anyone who loves the outdoors and activities like camping, hiking, the beach, road trips etc. Walkie Talkies are also great for safety purposes as well in a wide variety of situations.

The Cobra units performed very well and are loaded with features:

- Rubberized grips and belt clip,
- Micro-USB charging,
- Digital Display,
- 22 Channels combined with 121 privacy codes,
- Water Resistant,
- Built-in LED Flashlight,
- dedicated weather button
- VibrAlert® to notify users of a call in noisy or all-quiet environments,
- Voice-activated transmission frees hands for other tasks, and
- rechargeable NiMH batteries and a two-port charging dock.

It’s amazing how advanced these units are compared to what we had years ago. You can’t help but have fun with walkie talkies, but they also have tons of practical uses as well. With the holidays around the corner this Cobra Walkie Talkie makes for an excellent gift or stocking stuffer!

  

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