Many of us rely more and more on streaming services movies, but the market for DVDs and Blu-rays remains strong. At no time is that more true than at gift-giving time.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of some of our favorite TV shows and movies on DVD this year. We’ve listed the suggested retail prices, but keep in mind that many retailers offer discounts off the list price, so you’ll most often pay much less than the prices listed here.
“Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns”
This spectacular 16-hour documentary on the roots of country music and its trailblazers — Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and literally a hundred others — is one of the most fascinating documentaries we’ve seen. It’s the ultimate gift for a country music (or bluegrass) fan. The box set has the full 16-hour run plus three hours of bonus footage that did not air on PBS. The DVD retails for $100 and the Blu-ray is priced at $130.
“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Would You Be Mine Collection”
While we’re in the PBS world (and in the middle of a national Fred Rogers lovefest), this four-disc set is a stroll down memory lane for those who loved the iconic children’s series — and it’s still extremely relevant for kids today. You get 15 hours of content at a suggested retail price of $20.
“Star Trek: Discovery — Season Two”
“Star Trek” fans love this series, and the second season was even stronger than the first. The series, set in the pre-William Shatner Trekiverse, streams on CBS All Access, a pay streaming service. Not everyone subscribes, so this is a great chance to make a non-streaming Trekkie very happy. The DVD retails at $30 and the Blu-ray at $35. (Note: There are some other great CBS All Access shows on DVD that you might consider, like “The Good Fight,” which now has all three seasons available on DVD, and the first season of “Tell Me a Story,” a horror anthology series.
“Robin Williams: Comic Genius”
A super-sized version of this Robin Williams collection was released last year, but with a super-sized price tag: $200 (the price has since come down a little). This much more manageable 5-DVD set retails at $55, but is usually available closer to $40 at most retailers. It includes all of Williams’ HBO specials and other bonus materials.
With the debut of the streaming service Disney+, “the vault is open.” But Disney knows that not everyone can afford (or wants) streaming services. That’s why Disney still releases a few of its Signature Collection classic movies onto DVD and Blu-ray every year. These stories are timeless and adored by kids and adults. Some of this year’s big titles include “The Little Mermaid,” “Cinderella,” “Aladdin,” “101 Dalmations,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Most of these list at around $20 each, but there are some special sets that could go up to around $40. Note: If you want to go beyond classics, the recent live action versions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” are also now on Blu-ray and DVD.
“The Wizard of Oz” in 4K UHD
4K televisions are expected to be one of the most purchased items of the 2019 Christmas season, and those lucky folks will need some good 4K Ultra High Definition movies to watch on their crisp new screens. What could be more thrilling than flying monkeys in 4K UHD? This version, released in October, is a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code combo. It lists at $23.
“Batman Beyond: The Compete Series”
A little pricier (but very cool) is the “Batman Beyond” box set, which features all three seasons (52 episodes) of this Emmy award-winning series about a man who steals Bruce Wayne’s batsuit to avenge his father’s murder and fight crime. This special collection features a metallic Funko POP and collectible art cards, plus tons of extras. The retail price is $100, but you can find it around $70.
“Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza”
The DVD collections for these old-fashioned TV westerns are extremely popular and make great gifts for fans of classic TV. If you search these titles on Amazon, you’ll find a lot of versions that are of dubious quality, so for the best sound and picture transfer, look for the ones that are titled by season with “Volume 1” and “Volume 2.” Volumes 1 and 2 of the fifteenth season of “Gunsmoke” were just released this year, and the tenth season of “Bonanza” released Dec. 17. Expect to pay about $30 each for the later seasons, and around $15 for earlier seasons.