Monday, January 21, 2008

DVDs: Season's Greetings

When DVDs surfaced on the market fifteen years or so ago I was skeptical. I grew up in the era of VHS vs. Beta, Vinyl vs. CD and Mac vs. PC. VHS had become the standard for home recording and they finally made some of the machines that you could actually program. Having seen the battle of platforms I did not jump into the realm of DVDs until about 2002/2003.

But the DVD was different. Here was a little disc that allowed you to dance around within your favorite movies. Great images. Great sound. The little suckers are perfect. Of course there’s now the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray debate brewing but I don’t have a dog in that fight yet.

Which brings me to DVD box sets. I love these things. There’s something about being able to fit an entire season of TV on your shelf that I find satisfying. There’s now a huge volume of discs available from old time TV to sports to that little show that came and went and should’ve stayed around a lot longer.

What I also love about DVD box sets is that they are starting to create a new social structure. Some of my friends do marathon sessions of 24 on long weekends. They’ve even done an entire season in a single day.

Some friends and I are currently in the midst of ‘Twin Peaks’ every Wednesday night. We get together for food and drinks and settle in to watch this show we all remember from the early 90’s with its bizarre cast of characters and quirks. We’ve also brought out an opening band with episodes of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ to start the night. This is a must see show for any child of the 80’s.

My favorite DVD box set is Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’. Those of you that know me well know that already. It has been, and remains, one of my standard gifts to the uninitiated. In my undisciplined opinion it is the finest TV series to ever be cancelled after 14 episodes. I have a set that I loan out to people to bring them into the fold. Nobody as of yet has returned it and not enjoyed it.

My collection of TV DVD sets isn’t huge, but here’s a sample:
The Flash (not campy but still cheesy 1990’s TV superhero show)
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Seasons 1-7
Various Professional Wrestling volumes (a vice of mine, forgive me)

The DVD is really the first foray into on demand entertainment. Whenever you want it. On your own schedule. No rewinding. Netflix and Blockbuster’s mail service make it a snap to stay on top of your favorites. Sure, it’s being challenged by actual on-demand and online entertainment but, just as books won’t be entirely replaced by a computer, I don’t think the DVD box set will disappear until they stop making TV shows. Which, with the writer’s strike, is a real possibility. Never mind about that point then…

I’m always in the market for a show that I’ve missed in its first run. Buffy and Firefly are both something that I found after the fact. Do you have a DVD set to recommend?



steeplechase3k said...

I only own two:

Eventually (I've been saying that for a few years) I'll start picking up the Simpsons DVDs. However I think that when the series ends they will put out one HUGE box set of every episode in one big fancy set.

Bruce said...

S3K - While I'm not surprised that you've got the Boston Red Sox DVDs I will admit a bit of jaw-drop that you don't have any Simpsons volumes. You have some form of patience here.

steeplechase3k said...

It's more a combination of laziness/cheapness.

Plus I have most of them on my computer.

Lucas said...

In the past couple years I have been given the following DVD sets for birthday/Xmas gifts:

*Ren & Stimpy - seasons 1 & 2
*Monty Python's Flying Circus - complete series
*Alien Quadrilogy
*Godfather I, II & III
*Werner Herzog / Klaus Kinski box set (Aguirre, Nosferatu, Woycek, Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde)

Audrey has the following:

*Dr. Who - series 1 & 2 (the "New Who")
*Buffy - complete series
*Hitchhikers Guide - the old BBC miniseries
*Firefly - complete series (all 14 episodes)

I may have missed some.

The prize jewel of my collection is one I bought for myself: The Lord of the Rings Extended Versions - 12 discs, hours upon hours of hobbity and orcy goodness.