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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adidas unveils “BIG Logo” uniforms

If you’re looking for cool NBA-themed gifts for the holidays or some new gear for yourself, check out these new “BIG Logo” uniforms unveiled by adidas and the NBA that will be worn by all 10 teams playing on the Christmas Day games. The “BIG Logo” Holiday Collection incorporates short-sleeve jerseys featuring oversized team logos in a reflective chrome color scheme on the chest as well as holiday-inspired warm-up jackets and shooting shirts and are available for purchase NBAStore.com. I suspect plenty of NBA fans would love to get this as a gift and then see players wearing them on Christmas day so this looks like a great promotional idea.

Check out the slideshow above as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes and Iman Shumpert show off the new jerseys. Also, keep an eye out for the new TV spot below showcasing the new uniforms.

Here’s the NBA game schedule on ESPN and ABC channels:

12 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
2:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. – Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
8 p.m. – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. – L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors

  

2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Entertainment

Everyone loves watching a great movie or TV series, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite releases from the past year that just about guy will enjoy. And for more gift ideas, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classic and Contemporary

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Most guys love gangster films, so it’s hard to think of a better “one size fits all” gift than Warner Bros.’ recently released Ultimate Gangster Collection on Blu-ray. Divided into two volumes, the Contemporary edition is arguably the more desirable of the pair as it’s comprised of favorites like “The Untouchables,” “Heat” and three Martin Scorsese films (“Mean Streets,” “Goodfellas” and “The Departed”). Though the Classics edition is a little more niche, you really can’t go wrong with a quartet that includes Golden Age standards like “Little Caesar,” “The Public Enemy,” “The Petrified Forest” and “White Heat.” All four films have also been remastered for their Blu-ray debuts, and like most Warner Bros. catalog titles, they look fantastic. Each collection also includes a 32-page book with images and additional info on each movie, and the Classic edition comes packaged with a feature-length documentary. The best part? At $40 a pop, you’re getting some great movies at an unbeatable price.

Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection

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What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with one of the coolest dads in movie history? We’re talking about John McClane, of course, even if he wasn’t exactly a very good father himself. Though Fox has released the fifth installment in the “Die Hard” series, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” just in time for the holiday, we’d actually recommend picking up the “Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection” on Blu-ray instead. Though the earlier films haven’t been given the HD restoration that they deserve, the set does include a nearly two-hour retrospective on the franchise titled “Decoding Die Hard” that’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, unlike the latest installment, the other four movies are all worthy of repeat viewings (yes, even the underrated “Live Free or Die Hard”), making this five-disc box set a must-have for any fan of the series, Bruce Willis or great action films in general.

Forever Marilyn Collection

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She’s probably our most iconic sex symbol. Marilyn Monroe remains relevant after all these years for more than just her amazing beauty and charisma. She was a true starlet, but she could act as well. Now you can get many of her best films in one collection with “Forever Marilyn: The Blu-ray Collection.” The films include classics like “The Misfits” and “Some Like It Hot,” along with new-to-Blu-ray titles “How to Marry A Millionaire,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “River of No Return.” We’ve included some images of Marilyn from the films courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, including the memorable scene of Marilyn’s white dress being blown up in the subway in “The Seven Year Itch.”

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2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, and you can always start these days with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t even bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then of course you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

If you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

HP Detachable PCs

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We’re starting to see a new wave of innovation following the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, giving users gadgets that function as a tablet and a notebook computer. HP has introduced two new models with the HP SlateBook x2 and the HP Split x2, two detachable PCs that offer the full functionality of a notebook with a removable screen that also serves as a sleek tablet. The units are powered by the Android and Windows 8 operating systems, respectively, so you have some flexibility here. By releasing the magnetic hinge, users can move between the tablet and notebook PC with remarkable ease.

NuForce HP-800 Headphones

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These are great for dads who care about sound quality. We’ve reviewed many headphones over the past several years as the popularity of mobile music continues to explode and more consumers look at their headphones as a fashion statement along with being a necessary gadget. We’ve seen many fashionable designs and impressive-sounding headphones, but the NuForce HP-800 headphones stand out for sound quality. That shouldn’t be surprising, as these headphones were designed for the audio enthusiasts. The sound quality was incredibly clear but never harsh. You can pick up various all of the nuances while really feeling the full base. The goal was to capture the “natural warmth, realistic highs and visceral bass” of the recordings and we feel that has been achieved. These over-ear headphones are very large and comfortable, with ear cups made with a “human-protein” leatherette covering that is super-soft. It comes with a handy clothe carrying case along with one cord for you portable electronics and another for studio use. Yes, audiophiles can use this with premium audio or studio equipment and be very impressed with the sound quality.

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2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Booze

With most fathers, you really can’t go wrong giving them booze, especially if they have young kids or teenagers. And for more great ideas, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Loki from Highland Park

HP-Loki-bottle-pack-750ml-H

Loki is a 15-year old single malt Scotch that is part of Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection, a set of four unique whiskies taking inspiration from the Nordic gods of old. This creation is not for the faint of heart, as it was inspired by the “unpredictable, shape-shifting Loki character.” This Scotch was matured in both Spanish cherry casks along with heavily peated casks, so the result is a whisky with a very smoky punch. The taste is very complex and whisky aficionados will definitely want to try this one out. It comes in the spectacular packaging, and though it’s not cheap at $249 per bottle, for the right dad Loki can help you mark a memorable Father’s Day.

Mount Gay Black Barrel

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This iconic rum brand from Barbados is celebrating its 310th anniversary, so you know you’re going with quality that a dad can appreciate. This new version is hand selected by Master Blender Allen Smith, and the only one to be finished in charred bourbon oak barrels, resulting in a bold (but silky smooth) rum, with pepper, spice and wood notes. It’s great for sipping neat or on the rocks. This will definitely help your dad enjoy a nice summer day for this holiday.

CAMUS Ile de Ré Cognac

CAMUS is known for Cognac, and its latest Cognac offering comes from Ile de Ré (Island of Ré), an island just off the west coast of central France that is also a legal cognac appellation. This new and rare Cognac offers a different taste profile that is perfect chilled and will appeal to both scotch and cognac drinkers. Ile de Ré is very small, so the grapes absorb the sea spray from the air, giving the cognac a salty, maritime quality. Options include Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac, Ile de Ré Double Matured Cognac and Ile de Ré Cliffside Cellar Cognac.

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