This is the fifth of six consecutive articles on gift ideas. Look for the final installment next Sunday. Consumer researchers have officially added an item to Ben Franklin's inevitability...

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This is the fifth of six consecutive articles on gift ideas. Look for the final installment next Sunday.

Consumer researchers have officially added an item to Ben Franklin’s inevitability short-list of death and taxes: You’ll either give or receive a DVD this holiday season. Here are my utterly subjective gift suggestions culled from the roughly 10,000 new DVDs of 2004 (about 400 of which were new theatrical releases).

These two small, obscure ones first, because they need the help:

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“The Adventures of Indiana Jones”

(Paramount, $69.98): “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981, PG), “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984, PG), “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989, PG-13) and a fourth disc of bonus stuff.



“The Star Wars Trilogy”

(Fox, $69.98): “Star Wars” (1977, PG), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980, PG), “Return of the Jedi” (1983, PG) and a bonus disc. Yeah, they’re George Lucas’ revised editions, but that’s all you can get — unless someone gives you a DVD burner and you make copies of the theatrical editions from your old VHS tapes or laser discs. Ahem.


For kids and the nostalgic


“Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume Two”

(Warner, $64.92): Sixty more classics that involve Bugs, Daffy and Elmer inflicting cartoon carnage on each other.


“Walt Disney Treasures”

($32.99 each): More of the classic collections in disaster-proof tins that the aliens from “A.I.” will excavate eons from now: “Mickey Mouse Club” (1955) “The Complete Pluto, Volume One” ($32.99) “Mickey Mouse in Black and White, Volume Two.”


“Shrek — The Story So Far

” (Universal, PG, $54.99): “Shrek”(2001), “Shrek 2,” “Shrek 3-D” and a bonus disc.


TV collections


“The Twilight Zone — The Definitive Edition — Season One”

(Image, 1959, $119.99): It won’t be released until Dec. 28, but consider a gift certificate or exchanging lamer gifts for it after Christmas. The episodes are in order, for the first time on DVD, with bountiful extras that include the unaired pilot.


“Seinfeld” seasons 1-3

(Columbia Tristar, $119.95): The limited edition gift set comes with, uh, playing cards and salt and pepper shakers.


“Chappelle’s Show Season One”

(Paramount, $26.99): The top-selling TV show, unedited, unblurred and hilarious.


Other standouts:

“The Wire” (Warner, $99.98). “The Office — The Complete Collection” (BBC, $59.92). “Millennium — The Complete First Season” (Fox, $59.98). “Have Gun Will Travel — The Complete First Season” (Paramount, 1957, $49.99).


For classic lovers


“Fritz Lang Epic Collection”

(Kino, unrated, $99.95): “Metropolis” (1927), “Die Nibelungen” (1924), “Spies” (1929) and “Woman in the Moon” (1931).


“W.C. Fields Comedy Collection”

(Universal, unrated, $59.98): “The Bank Dick” (1940), “My Little Chickadee” (1940), “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” (1939), “It’s a Gift” (1934) and “International House” (1933).


“The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection”

(Universal, $59.98) “The Cocoanuts” (1939), “Animal Crackers” (1930), “Monkey Business” (1931), “Horse Feathers” (1932) and “Duck Soup” (1933).


“Film Noir Classic Collection”

(Warner, $49.92): “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950), “Gun Crazy” (1949), “Murder My Sweet” (1944), “Out of the Past” (1947) and “The Set-Up” (1949).


For nerds


“Star Trek — The Original Series”

(Paramount, unrated): The three seasons for $129.98 each, in a tricorderlike plastic container; and like “The Twilight Zone,” these episodes are in chronological order together for the first time on DVD.


“The Ultimate Matrix Collection”

(Warner, R, $79.92): A whopping 10 discs, with each film of the trilogy and its corresponding documentary, “The Animatrix” and many hours more of documentaries.


“The Lord of the Rings — The Motion Picture Trilogy”

(New Line, PG-13): Furry hobbit love and war in the regular versions ($89.99) and special extended editions ($119.97).


“The Ed Wood Box”

(Image, unrated, $39.99): A deceptively dignified-looking presentation of the worst director of all time: “Glen or Glenda?” (1953), “Jail Bait” (1954), “Bride of the Monster” (1956), “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (1959), “Night of the Ghouls” (1959) and the documentary “The Haunted World of Ed Wood Jr.” (1996).


Scaling down


A few of the year’s most impressive special editions that are more modest than a box set. But nobody who unwraps one will give you the cheapskate eye-roll:


Anything from the film-lovers at The Criterion Collection

is a safe bet. Three of my favorites are Jean Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game” (1939, unrated, $39.95), Gillo Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers” (1965, unrated, $49.95), and a reissue of Fritz Lang’s thriller, “M” (1933, unrated, $39.95).


“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

2-Disc DVD Collector’s Set (MGM, 1967, R, $29.98): Sergio Leone’s archetypal spaghetti western with 14 minutes restored, documentaries and an audio commentary on two discs.


“Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition”

(Anchor Bay, 1978, R, $49.98): Four discs with three different versions of George A. Romero’s zombie epic, documentaries and tons more.


“Easy Rider 35th Anniversary Edition”

(Columbia Tristar, 1969, R, $29.95): Along with the movie supplements on the DVD, it’s got the immortal soundtrack CD and an 80-page British Film Institute book about the movie.

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or mrahner@seattletimes.com