The Shelf: DOCTOR WHO, THE HOBBIT, MAD MEN, TWILIGHT
By Kyle Anderson on November 5, 2013
Holy box sets, Batman! As we get closer to the holiday season (it’s here if you ask some people), the bigger-ticket Blu-ray and DVD items are making their way to The Shelf, just in time to stuff everyone’s already-pretty-stuffed stockings. Today we’ve got some box sets and special editions for y’all to put on your lists this winter.
You see it above, there. It’s a thing of beauty. All seven complete series of Doctor Who as well as the David Tennant specials are now available in a big ol’ Blu-ray box set. Series 1-4 have never been available in that format before, mainly because they were all shot on SD video and you can’t upconvert video to HD. However, those SD seasons, while not as crisp as the ones shot in HD, look pretty damned great, much less blurry and a little bit brighter, than the DVD counterpart. And, even in SD, the format of Blu-ray on a Blu-ray player looks a lot better than the format of DVD on a Blu-ray player.
Along with all the episodes and extras that were available on those releases originally, there is a completely new disc of never-before-released content including three BBC America specials: “The Brit List’s Ultimate Doctor Who List of Lists,” “The Best of the Christmas Specials,” and “Doctor Who at the Proms,” a full 90 minute version. You’ll also find three art cards each showing the face of the three new series Doctors (Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith, of course) and a brand new IDW comic featuring all the Doctors.
And if THAT weren’t enough, this limited edition set comes with an Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver universal remote. Yeah, boom. Buried the lead a bit there, didn’t I? Haven’t you always wanted to change the channel by giving it a bit of sonic? Of course you have.
It’s pretty much the ultimate Doctor Who set, for fans who want it all and then some. List price on this is $349.98, so you’ll probably want to save up for it, or get Santa Claus to give it to you and probably little else, seeing how Santa’s hit a bit of hard times given the economy and all. At any rate, this is awesome.
Well, it wouldn’t be a Middle-Earth movie without an extended edition. Peter Jackson’s first installment of his three-part saga made out of a book and a bit is getting a special Extended Edition Blu-ray release, in both 3D and 2D formats. The theatrical cut of the film ran 169 minutes but the extended cut, true to its form, runs 182 minutes and includes scenes such as the one above, more in Rivendell, and even more in the Goblin Kingdom. This will surely get you all psyched for the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which will be released in cinemas December 14th. (In case you missed it, here’s an extended look at that movie along with a full Q&A with Peter Jackson and members of the cast.) How many times can I say “extended” in one paragraph? A lot, it turns out.
The special features in this cut of the film are extensive and fully on-par with those in the Lord of the Rings set. In fact, the two discs of extras here are even titled “Appendices Part 7″ and “Appendices Part 8,” so you know they’re of a piece. One disc has the entirety of the making-of vlogs, and the second has a deeper look at the characters and the actors. There’s also a commentary by director Peter Jackson and co-writer Philippa Boyens, and there’s Ultraviolet download information if you’re into that stuff. If you’re a Tolkien-head, this is the kind of thing for you.
This is the most recent season of the show, which saw Don do some drugs, Peggy work for another firm (for a little while), a merging of offices and minds, the mysterious Bob Benson, a break-in at the Drapers, and things going from bad to worse for pretty much everybody. It’s the final season before the final season (or before the split season of two eights. Seriously, can we be done with that?), so there’s stuff set up for the end of times.
But, being in 1968, there’s a whole lot of political and social upheaval as well, including the Vietnam War, race riots, and the assassination of two prominent leaders. The halcyon days of the early 1960s seem to be going away, and everybody’s changing in some fashion, except Don Draper, who seems to be steadfastly sticking to his post-Eisenhower world like glue on a thing that’s glued. Interested to see where he’ll go when the decade changes again, or if he’ll get there at all.
The Blu-ray for this somehow fits all 611 minutes of episodes one disc. I don’t know how they do it, but there we go. Or, if you’re a DVD person, it’s the same price for 4 discs.
Twilight: The Complete Saga - This is to fans of Stephanie Meyer’s vampire teen books as the Hobbit box set must be to the Tolkien nuts. 5 Movies. 10 Discs. 2 Hours of new bonus content. If this is your thing, it’s the thing for you.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Complete First Season - The throwback 1960s-style adventures of the Caped Crusader and his team-ups with people like Green Arrow, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Plastic Man, and Blue Beetle. Very fun show, and good mix of humor and adventure.
Released: Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 - This massive 6-DVD set gives you all 13 hours of Amnesty International’s concerts for human rights, which feature performances by The Police, U2, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Page & Plant, Alanis Morissette, and way more.
And Not a Box Set But Still Out This Week
White House Down - The far less dumb but still quite dumb White-House-Under-Siege movie from this year. Channing Tatum as a Secret Service agent, and Jamie Foxx has a bazooka.