Guide to TV DVD sets as holiday gifts
A TV show DVD set represents more than a holiday gift that's easy to wrap. It also demonstrates respect: you know the recipient is mentally fit and couch-ready for a viewing marathon of "Dr. Who" or "House."
Those are among the new releases worth considering for the TV lover in your life:
—"The Dean Martin Variety Show: Dean's Ultimate Collection," Time Life. Ring-a-ding-ding! This is Dino's most comprehensive collection yet. With footage culled from nine seasons and 48 episodes of the NBC series, the set includes 17 DVDs with 32 hours of Dean and his pals that originally aired from 1965 to 1974. There are more than 300 musical performances, plus interviews and a guest list filled with virtually every major star of the era.
—"Poldark: The Complete Collection," Acorn Media. Less posh than "Downton Abbey" but just as addictive when it first aired in the 1970s, "Poldark" is a darkly romantic saga set in late 18th-century Cornwall. Robin Ellis is the dashing Poldark, with Angharad Rees as the feisty servant who loves him in this eight-disc set.
—"iCarly: The Complete 4th Season," Nickelodeon. The series about teens making the most of youth and technology is bidding farewell after five years, but there will always be season four and its guest appearance by first lady Michelle Obama. A bonus: five episodes of the new Nick series "How to Rock."
—"The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series," Scholastic. This set brings together all 52 episodes of the animated science series, including 30 episodes available for purchase for the first time. Featuring the voices of Lily Tomlin, Wynonna Judd, Dolly Parton and more, the collection includes a guide for kids as well as a parents' guide with lessons and learning plans.
THE SPORTING LIFE
—"The San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series Collector's Edition," Major League Baseball. This eight-disc collection includes all four games of the Fall Classic, two games from the postseason, and Matt Cain's perfect regular-season victory over the Houston Astros — the first perfect game in the 129-year history of the Giants.
—"Holiday Exclusive 2012 London Olympics DVD Set," NBC Universal. The two-disc set includes one spotlighting American stars at the Summer Games and another focusing on the gymnastics competition. But there's more: the mind-blowing Opening Ceremony staged by filmmaker Danny Boyle and a bonus commemorative pin!
—"Poirot: The Early Cases Collection," Acorn Media. Agatha Christie's most famous sleuth (he of the penguin-like gait and the stiff waxed mustache) is on the case in 45 whodunits from the first six series of the TV phenomenon starring David Suchet in the title role.
—"House: The Complete Series," Universal Studios. Everybody lies, according to the acerbic Dr. House. But this is no lie: Here's the full caseload — all eight seasons of "House, M.D." — with every startling diagnosis and every insult from TV's most patience-trying doc, played by Hugh Laurie. The collection includes 41 discs with all 176 episodes, plus a 24-page souvenir booklet.
REALLY BIG PICTURE
—"The Universe 3-D Blu-ray Set," A&E Home Video. What better exploration to take in 3-D than the universe? This set includes a voyage back in time to investigate the violent events that shaped this solar system, including Earth. Other expeditions on this collection's itinerary include revelations about what transformed Mars into a barren, hostile desert and how a lost moon may explain Saturn's rings.
—"Doctor Who: Limited Edition Gift Set," BBC America. This legendary sci-fi saga has been around for a half-century. Now here's a collection covering the ninth, 10th and 11th Doctors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith), with more than 70 hours of their adventures. Bonus features include three Doctor specials new to DVDs, an 11th Doctor "sonic screwdriver" gadget, art cards, and the comic book "Doctor Who at Comic-Con."