“The Andy Griffith Show: Colorized Christmas Special”
A cute little stocking stuffer with a local angle, this holiday treat is good for dads or granddads or anyone with a lingering fondness for “The Andy Griffith Show.“ It’s actually just a DVD version of the CBS Christmas special that aired last year – two classic Mayberry holiday episodes rebroadcast in color. (You get the original black-and-white versions, too.) You can keep this DVD with all the other Christmas stuff in the attic and break it out annually.
This year’s remake of the 1977 TV miniseries classic was a critical smash and also a big ratings hit for the History channel, introducing a whole new generation of viewers to author Alex Haley’s epic story of slavery in America. The formidable cast includes Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte. The set collects all four episodes from the miniseries plus behind-the-scenes extras and is being offered in separate DVD and Blu-ray packages, so watch those labels when you buy.
“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition”
Generally acknowledged as the best fantasy RPG video game ever created, “Skyrim” blew the minds of nerds worldwide when it was released in 2011. This new Special Edition is fully remastered for current-generation consoles – PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – and the upgraded sound and graphics are simply gorgeous. But the real prize in this edition is support for user-created “mods” that expand the game exponentially. Most re-releases are dodgy investments for returning players, but this special edition is a game changer, quite literally.
HBO’s underrated series on contemporary gay life in San Francisco never quite found its audience, but it’s one of those shows that’s sure to find a second life on disc and digital as word gets around. The Complete Series collection gathers all episodes from the two-season run, plus the feature-length movie special that wrapped up the story. Particularly obsessed fans can dig into the audio commentary tracks featured on nearly every episode.
Atari Flashback 7 Deluxe Special Edition
Video game enthusiasts of a certain age will appreciate the Atari Flashback line of emulators, which bring the glory of 1980s home gaming into the 21st century. The ersatz console is a simple plug-and-play unit – jack it into your TV and you’ve got 101 classic Atari 2600 games at your fingertips. No cartridges required. All the old standbys are here, including Frogger, Asteroids, Missile Command and Adventure. Grandma, grandpa, you remember this stuff?
2016 World Series Collector’s Edition: Chicago Cubs
The 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians is already going down as one of the greatest in history. The Cubs, rather famously, won their first championship in 108 years and the series featured some truly historic moments. This official release from Major League Baseball includes all seven games from the World Series, some key moments from earlier postseason games, and multiple audio options – TV, radio and the Spanish-language broadcast.
“The Hunger Games” 4K Film Collection
For the feisty teenage girl on your list, consider the “Hunger Games” films, which wrapped up last year and should stand the test of time as young-adult sci-fi classics. All four films in the series are now available in digital combo packs which include an Ultra HD version for 4K TVs, plus Blu-ray copy and a digital version for porting to your mobile devices. You can purchase each individually or find them in retail and online bundles for a little cheaper.
“Star Trek” 50th Anniversary Collection
The pop culture juggernaut that is “Star Trek” turned 50 years old this year – the very first TV pilot aired all the way back in 1966, if you can believe that. For fans of that original series, with Kirk and Spock and the gang, this new collection from the vaults is the biggest compilation yet. You get every TV episode from the 1960s series along with all feature films starring the original crew, plus the 1970s Star Trek animated series and 20 hours of bonus materials. Oh, you get a Starfleet commemorative pin, too. This is a Blu-ray only collection – 30 of ’em, to be exact.
“Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-6”
We’re currently living in the era of Peak TV, with so many quality series on the air (and online) that it’s impossible to keep up with them all. In regard to home video releases, the sword-and-sorcery epic “Game of Thrones” stands out with consistently generous Blu-ray sets for those of us who still like discs on our shelves. If you’ve got a “GoT” fan on your list, this latest box set collects all the episodes and extras from the previously released season sets. This will get anyone fully up to speed, but keep in mind there are two more seasons to go. ...