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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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with the Cast of BBC America’s “Orphan Black”

Whenever I attend the Television Critics Association press tour, be it the summer event in Beverly Hills or the winter event in Pasadena, I invariably walk away from the proceedings with at least one interviewbut generally severaldone in conjunction with a series I barely know the slightest thing about, save for whatever’s been put in the press releases sent out by the network.

This, as you might have guessed, is precisely what I experienced when I went into the room at the Langham Huntington Hotel which served as a temporary home base for the publicists of BBC America and was introduced to the cast of “Orphan Black. “

Fortunately, the young trio awaiting my arrivalTatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, and Dylan Brucehad already been dealing with this problem with the interviewers who’d preceded me, as I was their last chat of the day. As such, they had a sense of humor about the situation…which worked out quite well, as I’d decided to throw caution to the wind and have a bit of a laugh about it myself.

TatianaJordanDylan

Bullz-Eye: Well, as you know, you have me—and everybody else here—at a tremendous disadvantage, since I haven’t been able to see the pilot of “Orphan Black” yet.”

Jordan Gavaris: Ugh, I know.

Tatiana Maslany: We haven’t even finished shooting the series yet!

Dylan Bruce: How often does that happen to you guys?

BE: It…happens. Maybe 10-20% of the time. It’s certainly not unheard of.

TM: Okay, ‘cause when we’re done here, we go back to shooting Episode 7…no, wait, 6!

JG: Episode 6, yeah.

TM: So we’re not even halfway through shooting yet!

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