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2017 Gift Guide: Blu-ray box sets for your winter binge-watching

Contributed by
Dec 11, 2017

The stressful gift-buying holiday times are in full swing. If you are looking at this article, chances are you are still not done buying things for people.

That's okay. Same.

The good news is that most people like movies and TV shows. And if you're looking to get something that's a little more extravagant than one single disc (or at least gives the impression of extravagance), then DVD/Blu-ray/4K UHD box sets are the way to go!

This is a list of 10 sets across the board. You've got your sci-fi, your horror, your anime, your films and your TV shows, new and old. And, bonus good tidings, since I forgot I was doing this box set list for SYFY WIRE, there's already another list of horror Blu-rays from this year that includes a slew of box sets. So we're already working from an advantage, really.

But here are 10 more anyway, just in case you have alot of friends, some of whom you're willing to spend a lot of money on, and you want to make them all very happy.

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Quantum Leap Complete Series

The series that made Scott Bakula a household name and one of the best and weirdest science-fiction series of all time, Quantum Leap, made the leap to Blu-ray in 2017. I wouldn't say it's a huge leap into high definition, but it is an improvement over the DVD set.

The concept of leaping across time into different lives to set right what once went wrong is such an earnest concept, but that is what makes it lovable. We don't have a lot of science fiction television that wears its heart on its sleeve quite the way Quantum Leap does, and we probably need that these days more than ever.

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The Mummy Ultimate Trilogy

A new Mummy movie came out in 2017. Yup. Also, the Brendan Fraser Mummy trilogy got re-released, not just on Blu-ray, but also on 4K UHD. And, yes, there is a definite difference. 2017 has definitely been the year where people have started buying 4k TVs in droves and two out of these three movie movies are great and made even better through the power of 4K HDR. So if you've got the hardware, I highly recommend the 4K collection.

 

And, in case you didn't know, these are the '90s era Mummymovies, which are some of the most fun action adventure movies to come out in that decade. They are often referred to as the Indiana Jones movies of the time and, at their best, they are definitely worthy of that. So if the Dark Universe let you down, let Brendan Fraser and his CGI mummy adventures lift you back up.

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Record of Lodoss War

Amazon just spent a whole lot of money to buy the rights to make more Lord of the Rings entertainment. And, sure. Why not? People love them some fantasy, but we don't get a whole lot of it. Game of Thrones dominates. There's the Shannara Chronicles? Outlander, I guess?

And anime, also, is often lacking in classic high fantasy storytelling. Which is why it's such a huge relief that one of the most classic Tolkien-inspired series ever made got a Blu-ray release this year: Record of Lodoss War.

This is not the whole series, but it is most of it plus the OVA. And if you've ever played classic D&D or wished that Japanese animation spent more time trying to crib from western high fantasy, Lodoss War is basically the perfect gift. It was hard to track the series before and now that most of it is available in one collection, it's a really great gift for the anime/fantasy fan in your life.

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Kaiba Complete Series

For years, Kaiba was the greatest anime series that no one ever heard of. Full disclosure, I 100% downloaded this on the sly back before online streaming was a viable thing. But now Kaiba, one of the most existential and beautifully animated stories about the crisis of identity that explores wage inequality through a dizzying kind of beautiful body horror, is finally available in the United States to own legally.

Most people have still never heard of Kaiba, and especially for them, this would be a real gift -- a thing you get to experience and fall in love with for the first time.

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Chucky: The Complete 7 Movie Collection

2017 marked the return of Chucky with Cult of Chucky, an amazing 10/10 insane-o horror movie that takes the bold risk of throwing the viewer into the deepest end of the Child's Play pool, incorporating tons of elements from all the six movies that came before.

And so what better way to celebrate the successful return of Chucky than to give someone all his movies in one set so they can actually understand what the #@#! is going on in future films as they continue to come out?

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Orphan Black: The Complete Series

Orphan Black, aka Give Tatiana Maslany All The Awards: The Show, is one of the best pieces of science fiction to come out in the 21st century so far. It's about a woman who discovers she is a clone and with the help of her "sisters" fights against the company that created them in order to retain their own autonomy.

In a year dominated by women coming forward to speak their truths against the men who assaulted them, Orphan Black is a story that feels more and more relevant by the day. It takes some pretty wild turns, but it never loses its heart. So whether someone has seen it before or would be watching it for the first time, this full box set of the whole show is a great gift.

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Speed Racer: Complete Series

Speed Racer is one of those anime that is intensely a product of its era. But that's also its charm. It's zany, its animation is off the wall, its storylines are textbook soap opera. But the whole set comes in Speed Racer's head, so who cares? Speed Racer is just one of those shows that redefined animation forever. And also, again, this set comes in a head. What more could someone ask for?

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The Amicus Collection

Universal and Hammer are usually the two companies that come to mind when people think of classic production companies that produced a lot of wild horror movies from the '40s through the '70s. But another group, Amicus, brought together a lot of the biggest name actors in horror to make some wild horror movies of their own. Asylum, And Now the Screaming Starts, and The Beast Must Die are three titles that have all been brought together in HD by Severin for the first time in collection of Amicus features. I don't know if there's a horror fan out there who will adore all three of these, but they'll definitely get obsessed with at least one of them for sure.

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Revolutionary Girl Utena: Complete Series

Usually series that begin with a young girl finding solace in a prince can feel a but derivative. But Revolutionary Girl Utena is not one of those stories. Utena represents one of the best women characters in anime (and fiction in general) to take on a more masculine role, showing chivalry, braveness, and kindness to women wherever she goes.

So if you love magical girl stories but want something that's still lovely but also a little more butch, this is an appropriate if expensive limited edition set ... but any Utena fan would swoon if they got it.

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The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen Volume One: 1955-1960

Indicator has been releasing a lot of region-free Blu-rays this year, primarily for the UK market, but that doesn't mean you can't be smart and buy the best ones themselves. For example, this collection of Harryhausen flicks is a great gift for anyone who loves stop-motion animation. You get It Came from Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles to Earth, and The Three Worlds of Gulliver, some of Harryhausen's earlier works.

And, specifically from a gift perspective, Indicator does a great job on extras, most notably the booklets that come with their releases. This set comes with a nice book of interviews, essays, oral histories, and artwork that's so great it feels like an extra gift on top of the movies themselves.