[’09 Holiday Buyer’s Guide] TV

Here are some TV shows currently on DVD I recommend you watch.

2009 Releases

  • Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season

This AMC original series, centering on a chemistry teacher who decides to start cooking crystal meth to provide for his family after discovering he has terminal lung cancer, is one of the most captivating series’ to make its way to the small screen in a long time. Led by a brilliant lead performance by Bryan Cranston, quality writing and direction and some of the most twisted ideas ever seen on cable television, Season One of Breaking Bad was the most captivating seasons of any new show in awhile and better than any new show you will find on DVD this season.

  • Mad Men: The Complete Second Season

Another Gem from AMC is this much-awarded period drama set in an advertising agency in the early 1960’s. Like Breaking Bad the writing and acting on this show are exemplary, and it does an excellent job of dropping you right into the time it is set in (being born in 1984, I can absolutely attest to its accuracy). The kicker is that the shows main character, Don Draper, is cooler than pretty much than anyone you’ve ever seen on TV. He’s so damn suave, he will make you forgive him for being sort of a dirtbag.

  • Flight Of The Concords: The Complete Second Season

Truthfully, this was a bit of a letdown after a brilliant first season. That being said, this HBO comedy, which chronicles the life of novelty musicians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, was still arguably the funniest thing on American television in 2009. This one’s actually more worthy of a rental than a purchase, but I figured I needed at least three items for my top 2009 picks and this was the best I had.

Essentials

  • The Simpsons: Seasons 3-9

I’ve covered my love for classic Simpsons episodes at nauseum, but the quality of Seasons 3-9 simply cannot be overstated.┬áNot only do these DVDs offer the best collection of episodes TV has to offer, they may very well represent entertainment’s crowning achievement. They’re perfect, absolutely perfect and if you have any sort of idea as to what’s funny, buy these discs!

  • Flight Of The Conchords: The Complete First Season

Fuck everything I said about Season Two above, that was just filler. This is the FOTC DVD set you need to own. While Season Two seemed a bit forced, the first string of episodes was consistently fresh and contains some of the most fresh and hysterical irreverent dialogue I’ve heard on TV in awhile. A must own.

  • The Office (UK): The Complete First and Second Series/The Office (US): Seasons 1-3

A lot of hatred is spewed at these shows from people arguing which version is better. What makes these arguments amusing is that nearly 100% of the time the people complaining haven’t taken the time to watch the version they supposedly hate. It’s simply prejudice for prejudice’s sake. I’m here to tell you that both series are absolutely worth your time, and while the American remake has tailed off in recent years, it’s first three seasons are the best thing turned out by a major network in a long time. Though despite my defense of the American version, I must declare that I, the prissy, redcoat fucker that I am, find the British version to be slightly better.

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Seasons 1-6

This is a hard recommendation to make because while Curb, which tells comedic retellings of the life of Seinfeld creator Larry David, is one of TV’s funniest shows, the DVD sets are very pricey. Even cheaper outlets like Wal-Mart have run these seasons at around $40, which is high when you consider each collection contains only 10 episodes. But if you have deep pockets, this is a great item to spend your dough on. If I had to choose one to go with, I’d say Season Three, which features a hilarious scene where Larry is stunned that a grown man is offended when he compliments the size of his underage son’s penis, is the topper.

  • Extras: The Complete First and Second Season

This show, which aired simultaneously on the BBC in the UK and HBO in the US, is Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant’s follow-up to the ultra-popular The Office. It tells the story of the struggles of actor Andy Millman, played by Gervais. Where this show shines is in its hilarious celebrity cameos, where various good sport Hollywood stars (ranging from Ben Stiller to Robert Deniro) generally play extremely dim, and hilarious versions of themselves. Like Curb, these are a bit pricey for what you get ($25-30 for six episodes) but they are certainly worth checking out, especially if you need to get the foul taste of Gervais’ awful movie The Invention Of Lying out of your mouth.

Miscellaneous

  • Back To The Future: The Complete Trilogy

Despite semantic arguments like, “this isn’t a TV show”, or “the first movie is the only great movie in the trilogy,” this is simply put, my favorite DVD collection of all time. Normally I’m not a nut for extra features, but when I discovered there was going to be a DVD set with deleted scenes and documentary features of my favorite movie of all time, I was salivating. Luckily, this collection didn’t let me down. If you ever asked questions like “where did George McFly get the box of Peanut Brittle he poured when lecturing Marty about why he didn’t need to have the car that weekend?” this collection has the answer for you. If you’re only into DVDs for the movies, then only buy the first BTTF as it is vastly superior to the good, but hardly essential sequels. But if you cherish this movie like I do, this is the best DVD you will ever buy.

That’s all. Merry etc. everyone.

6 thoughts on “[’09 Holiday Buyer’s Guide] TV


  1. The only TV on DVD item I want this year is every single episode of Cartoon Network’s Chowder. But wouldn’t you know it, I can’t find it anywhere. I don’t even know if they have a Chowder box set. But I want one.


  2. While I agree with your selection (mostly) I have to strongly disagree to your theory that people who hate the American Office do so without bothering to have watched it. I’ll have you know I sat through one terrible episode where the main guy just acted stupid in a way that NO ONE would ever act, and then a couple years later tried it out again. “Maybe I was being too harsh,” I thought. Nope! Just as bad. The only good thing was that hot guy with the wavy brown hair.
    Also, Extras would have been funny if that blonde chick wasn’t on there. No one acts that stupid. Ever. It’s just like Phoebe on Friends. She ruined that show.


  3. The debate about The Office(s) quality is going to end up being one sided if the U.S. one keeps putting out such a lackluster product in its later seasons. At least the original sort of went out on top. They never had to stretch so far, or write characters into a corner like they have now in the U.S. version.


  4. Agreed. The U.S. version is getting painful to endure.
    And in the spirit of you saying the British version went out on top, I don’t think either version has ever made me laugh harder than I did after David Brent’s “and people think she’s just a big pair of tits” line about Dolly Parton that was literally the final line of the series. Absolutely perfect.

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