The best Blu-ray box sets of 2015: Hellraiser, The X-Files, Back to the Future and more!

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Dec 31, 2015

The fragrant scent of pine and fir tree needles still lingers in the post-holiday air, and you've no doubt scavenged through the epic rubble of wrapping paper and discarded boxes to find those lost gift cards and holiday cash bestowed from loving relatives far and near.  That Christmas cash was never meant to fill your gas tank or pay your cell phone bill, so let's huddle up and figure out an appropriate place to spend it.  2015 was a stellar year for blistering Blu-ray releases in the geek realm, and we've corraled the coolest premium editions and multi-disc miracles that ascended to greatness and topped our year-end roundup.

From the frightening Hellraiser Scarlet Box Set, Battlestar Galactica and The Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary release to a monumental Marvel's Cinematic Universe Phase 2 collection, a brilliant batch of Hiyao Miyazaki movies, Star Wars Steel Boxes, a Back to the Future Mega-Set and the retro fun of Lost in Space - The Complete Adventures, each of these sweet picks will provide endless enjoyment entering the new year and make your Aunt Louise or Uncle Ernie very pleased you bought yourself something nerdy and nice.  

Browse through these sparkling selections and tell us which ones you're itching to add to your library.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION

Here's a frakking ultimate HD collection of the original Battlestar Galactica episodes from the '70s.  It's a remastered 18-disc behemoth that comes fully-loaded with Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series (Widescreen and Full Frame), Galactica 1980: The Complete Series (Widescreen and Full Frame), Battlestar Galactica - The 125-minute theatrical edit of the premiere episode "Saga of a Star World", Remembering Battlestar Galactica - a 45-minute retrospective documentary featuring cast and crew on the making of the series, outtakes, TV spots, trailers, episode commentary with Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Herbert Jefferson Jr., Glen Larson on the Creation of Battlestar Galactica and a musical featurette, Stu Phillips: Composing the Score.  An absolute MUST for serious fans.

SHERLOCK - THE COMPLETE SEASONS 1-3 LIMITED EDITION GIFT SET

The game's afoot with the BBC's new 14-disc mega-set showcasing seasons 1-3 of their intriguing historical hit, Sherlock. Includes every episode on both Blu-ray and DVD formats, along with the original bonus features and extras released with each season. Additionally, the set features all new commentaries, rare, never-before-seen outtakes and exclusive collectibles including a set of limited edition art cards and stylish busts of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Contains the behind-the-scenes featurettes: "The Fall" "Fans, Villains & Speculation: The Legacy of Sherlock Holmes" "Shooting Sherlock," "Unlocking Sherlock" and "Sherlock Uncovered."  I detect that you might want this set!

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE PHASE 2

Brace yourself for an avalanche of awesome with this 13-disc, limited-edition collection of all Marvel Phase 2 movies packed in an eye-catching "Morag Orb" gift set.  Includes Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and Digital copies of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Avengers: Age of Ultron).  The distinctive collectible packaging was designed by pop artist Matt Ferguson.  This boxed beauty is stuffed like a Christmas goose with deleted and extended scenes, screen tests, Marvel Studios memorabilia, including a gold-foiled page from the book of the Dark Elves, an ancient drawing from the Morag vault, Avengers and S.T.R.I.K.E. uniform patches, a sweet replica of the Tony Stark tattoo from Iron Man 3 and more!

 

 

 

THE X-FILES - THE COLLECTORS SET

Catch up on all the creepy conspiracies before the new show returns!  The truth is in this astounding multi-disc mega box set from 20th Century Fox that includes all 203 TV episodes of Chris Carter's seminal sci-fi mystery show that ran from 1993-2002.  Just released this month, the prodigious package offers a full spread of special features from all nine seasons, crammed with a mind-boggling number of deleted scenes, extended scenes, commentaries, documentaries on the special effects, profiles on characters, cast photos, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more.  With the new X-Files revival show coming to Fox in January, this could be the ultimate geeky after-Christmas dream gift of all time.

LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES

This spectacular box set is dangerously close to making itself at home in my collection. The '60s sci-fi TV series was a pivotal part of my childhood and although the sets and production values of this Irwin Allen classic were sometimes unintentionally funny, it had a warmth and heart to its "Swiss Family Robinson In Space" premise. It's a gigantic 18-disc set containing all 83 episodes remastered in crystal-clear high definition, and a galaxy of extras and recently discovered content to set you soaring into the new year. Bonus content includes a 50th Anniversary Interviews with Original Series Cast Members, the Original Cast Reunion Performance of Bill Mumy’s 1980 Unproduced Script, LOST IN SPACE: THE EPILOGUE, vintage versions of 4 Original Network Episodes, original TV commercials, the 1973 Animated Special, a 20th Anniversary audio Interview with Lost in Space Series Creator Irwin Allen, two full-length Lost in Space documentaries, the unaired Series Pilot Episode: “No Place to Hide," original network commercials and vintage cast interviews. 

BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Here's an excellent eight-disc birthday special edition complete with deluxe Flux Capacitor packaging and all three theatrical films in newly transferred 1080p, Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series on DVD and countless hours of bonus content.  It's a gorgeous, 1.21-gigawatt box set to pass on to your geeky heirs, jammed with all-new original shorts, including "Doc Brown Saves the World!," starring Christopher Lloyd, "OUTATIME: Restoring the DeLorean," an inside look at the 2012 restoration of the most iconic car in film history, "Looking Back to the Future," a nine-part retrospective documentary from 2009 on the trilogy's legacy, "The Physics of Back to the Future," deleted scenes, a Michael J. Fox Q&A, a 64-page commemorative booklet, rare behind-the-scenes footage, music videos, multiple audio commentaries and a featurette on Back to the Future: The Ride

THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON

Return to Terminus and Alexandria in Season 5's 5-disc, limited-edition box set, complete with a striking Asphalt Walker statue crafted by McFarlane Toys.  The frightening figurine is based on the original walker designed by award-winning SFX make-up Supervisor and Executive Producer, Greg Nicotero.  Its putrefying packaging also includes exclusive "walker" cover art and a swarm of creator commentaries and special features like Beth's Journey, Bob's Journey, Noah's Journey and Tyreese's Journey (characters that passed away this past season),along with A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz, A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt and Rotters in the Flesh. 

HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY

This killer crimson-boxed monster has such sinful sights to share!  This is the absolute ultimate Hellraiser Blu-ray release by Arrow Video and one I can't wait to get my innocent hands on in the new year. Every attention to detail has been covered in this stunning 4-disc beast of a box set that simply had to be added to our Best of 2015 bonanza, crammed with Cenobites hunting for your soul and enough bonus material and documentaries from all three films to last into oblivion and beyond.  Here are the highlights:

 •Brand new 2K restorations of HellraiserHellbound: Hellraiser II, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
•Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound for Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
•Lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
•Limited Edition bonus disc with fresh Clive Barker interviews and short films
•Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes
•20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art
•Limited Edition packaging with new artwork from Gilles Vranckx
•Set of 5 exclusive art cards
 

THE HOBBIT TRILOGY - EXTENDED EDITION

Hunker down in middle-Earth with The Hobbit Trilogy in striking HD with this new 9-disc release of all the extended editions of Peter Jackson's questionable adaptations of the Tolkien classic. You may not hold these up to the same sublime light as the Lord of the Rings films, but there's still much to be enjoyed if you aren't too harsh on the director's cinematic decisions.  This lumbering edition contains the extended cuts of The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, with dozens of hours of bonus material, outtakes, blooper reels, featurettes and screen tests, including an audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film's director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter and a multi-part documentary "The Appendices" and "New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth - Part 3."

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

Wow, it's actually been 40 years since unsuspecting fans were treated to this sexy sci-fi musical and its later cult status as the ultimate midnight movie.  This decadent Blu-ray release is double-stuffed with multiple featurettes centered on past celebrations and rowdy midnight screenings, deleted musical scenes, 11 outtakes, alternate endings, commentaries by Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff) and Patricia Quinn (Magenta), a Rocky-oke: Sing It! feature with 18 musical numbers from the immortal soundtrack,. Mick Rock's Picture Show photo gallery and a sweet pair of pink surgical gloves. 

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

I always associate the holidays with Burton's best magical fantasy film and applying Christmas cash to snap up this 25th anniversary release only seems fitting. Tim Burton's touching suburban fairy tale starring Johnny Depp scores a newly restored deluxe edition in time for its silver anniversary. It comes with a treasure of movie-themed commemorative items like Edward's paper dolls, heart-shaped cookie cutter, topiary air freshener, new commentaries with the creative team, outtakes and never-before-seen footage. Watch it for Burton at his most personal best, Depp's superb performance as the gentle clockwork creation and especially Vincent Price's heartbreaking final big-screen appearance.

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF HIYAO MIYAZAKI

Hiyao Miyazaki has been respectfully dubbed, "The Walt Disney of Japan," and the venerable animation director has advanced the art of animation more than anyone in the last four decades.  This super-premium new 12-disc collection includes his Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the WindCastle in the SkyMy Neighbor TotoroKiki’s Delivery ServicePorco RossoPrincess MononokeSpirited AwayHowl’s Moving CastlePonyo and The Wind Rises.  A bonus disc containing a wealth of extra features, including Miyazaki's retirement conference and a 1972 TV pilot of Yuki's Sun and a retrospective book exploring the themes and techniques of the legendary Japanese filmmaker also adorn this sumptuous box set.

DOCTOR WHO: THE CHRISTMAS SPECIALS GIFT SET

Celebrate the yuletide spirit with this 3-disc collection of all 11 Doctor Who Christmas Specials, with the traditional seasonal episodes featuring the modern-era Doctors played by David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.  Watch the Time Lord dash through time to save the planet from a gallery of villainous foes including the Master, the Cybermen, Weeping Angels, The Snowmen and even Kris Kringle, himself.  Comes with a fancy TARDIS wireless bluetooth speaker to receive messages from across the temporal void.

STAR WARS SAGA - THE STEEL BOOK EDITIONS

After you've gorged yourself on repeat viewings of The Force Awakens, it's time to dress up your boring old Star Wars Blu-ray collection with yet another upgraded release from Disney/Lucasfilm. They're still the tinkered-with versions, but these slick metallic covers are pretty cool. This time, the six Star Wars Saga films are housed in individual commemorative steel cases with new character cover artwork emblazoned on the front. In addition to the cool collectible steel book packaging, each single-disc Blu-ray includes existing audio commentary with George Lucas and the film crew as well as audio commentary from archival cast and crew interviews. 

THE ULTIMATE JAMES BOND COLLECTION

Pour yourself a shaken martini and drink in this crazy collection of James Bond movies packaged in one epic 23-disc collection, ranging from Dr. No to Skyfall, and including some space for the upcoming home video release of Spectre. Extras and bonus content includes multiple featurettes, a poster book, and the 90 minute documentary Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story, detailing just how producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman partnered up to deliver Ian Fleming's dashing British superspy to the screen.