War, what is it good for? Well... HBO, for one.
Band of Brothers/The Pacific Special Edition Gift Set
The best World War II films of the past decade weren't shown in theaters -- they were on HBO. Executive produced by Saving Private Ryan collaborators Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, the ambitious miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific provide a grunt's eye view of two very different theaters of that war. Brothers chronicles the experiences of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, who parachuted into France on D-Day and battled their way to Berchtsegaden, Germany and captured Hitler's Eagle's Nest, sustaining heavy casualties along the way. As the title suggests, The Pacific moves the action to the various tropical islands that became battlegrounds for the U.S. and Japanese armies. Both series are handsomely produced, well-acted and compulsive viewing.
Extras: An all-new documentary He Has Seen War, which interviews the World War II veterans and incorporates rarely-seen documentary and archival footage. The other bonus features are ported over from earlier editions and include multiple featurettes and video diaries.
Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight
Celebrated British playwright David Hare wrote and directed this made-for-TV thriller (originally broadcast on BBC in England and on Masterpiece Contemporary over here), which stars Bill Nighy as a veteran MI5 operative who gets caught up in a complicated plot (isn't that always the case?) that hinges on whether or not the Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) knows that their American allies have been torturing terror suspects in overseas prisons. The rest of the ridiculously talented cast includes such respected character actors as Judy Davis, Michael Gambon and Rachel Weisz.
Law & Order: the Complete Series
Yeah, yeah we know that episodes of Law & Order play practically around-the-clock in syndication. But the chance to watch the entire 20-season run sans commercial interruptions or cable edits? Practically priceless. This mammoth 104-disc set includes every single episode the show produced, from the 1990 premiere to the 2010 finale. Watch original "law" duo Chris Noth and George Dzundza give way to Benjamin Bratt and Jerry Orbach to Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson, while the "order" side switched from Michael Moriarty to Sam Waterston to Linus Roache. (And don't get us started listing all the female cast members the show has shed over the years.) Even if you do end up continuing to get your L&O fix via cable, this set would make for a great paperweight.
Extras: Deleted and extended scenes; an extended interview with series creator Dick Wolf; the crossover episodes with the late, great cop series Homicide: Life on the Street; cast profiles and an interview with a forensic scientist.
Also on DVD:
Hard as it may be to believe, there was once a time when making fun of the blind was considered totally okay. What other explanation is there for the popularity of the Mr. Magoo cartoon series about a hard-of-seeing old guy whose disability gets him into various mishaps? Follow his adventures (and try to avoid cringing if you can) via the new set Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection: 1960-1977. The full season will be released in a couple of weeks, but fans who can't wait for their next appointment in the Doctor's Tardis can catch up on the back half of the show's sixth year with Doctor Who: The Sixth Series, Part 2.
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