Arrow: Season 3
Recommended by Lee Morrell
Greg Barlanti and his team of amazing writers really came into their own with the Oliver Queen/Arrow character in Season 3 of the drama that airs Wednesday nights on the CW. This season was chock full of long-term and one-off baddies that will help chart the course through the next season (as well as add a character or two to the next Berlanti/DC showcase, Legends of Tomorrow). Deaths, rebirths, attacks, and amazing arrow play are definitely the order of the day in this season . . . including the return of a major baddie who dominates the second half storyline.
The real gem of this multi-disc set, though, are the special features, like the feature on costume designer Maya Mani, which shows a lot of insider stuff on the green hoodie (as well as the red hoodie and the other cool Starling City costumes). Also worth watching is the insider’s look at the construction of Ra’s al Ghul’s lair in Nanda Parbat.
All in all, a great series with a DVD/Blu-ray treatment to match. A must buy for fans of the series.
Recommended by Joshua Desjardins
As we know, Pixar movies get better and better with age, and Inside Out is no exception. Inside Out follows the emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl, Riley, whose family just moved from snowy Minnesota to sunny San Francisco. Those emotions include Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. But, what happens when two of these characters are removed from Riley's state of mind? You'll have to find out by adding what critics are calling one of Disney's best animated films of the 21st century to your Blu-ray or DVD collection this holiday season.
Trust me when I say that you may even have a better understanding of your own emotions after watching this beautifully scripted animated masterpiece. Be forewarned--you WILL cry . . .
Person of Interest: Season 4
Recommended by Claire Throne
Let me share just a few reasons why I love Person of Interest (CBS, Creator: Jonathan Nolan).
Characters with Complexity
The reclusive computer genius. The disillusioned ex-government operative. The assassin with the personality disorder. The corrupt cop. The noble cop. The sociopath. No mere title can convey the depth of personality and background the writers bestow on each character. Each one of them has an intricate history and an even more complicated story arc in the show, whether it’s a path to redemption or downward spiral into darkness. The noble are flawed and the flawed are noble.
Teamwork Built on Paranoia
Person of Interest puts these flawed people together, gives them a noble mission, and asks them to cooperate. Don’t expect them to trust each other, though. Even the closest relationships in the group are built on mutual suspicion, secrecy, multi-layered aliases, surveillance, and 24/7 invasions of privacy. This is the stuff on which true families are built.
Lots of Butt Whooping
Person of Interest is nothing if not full of hand-to-hand combat, crashes, gun fights, mob wars, assassinations, explosions, and so on. Shocking moments are frequent and well crafted.
A Truly Terrifying Big Bad (or Is It?)
At the center of it all is The Machine. “It sees everything.” And, it can take care of itself. Savior of humanity or harbinger of the apocalypse, it’s as ominous an example of artificial intelligence as can be found anywhere in science fiction.
This is a show infinitely suitable for binge-watching. Seasons 1-3 are available for streaming on Netflix. Season 4 is out on DVD. Time to catch up and prepare for what is likely its last season.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell
Recommended by Phillip Kelly
From director Sion Sono comes this masterpiece of chaos in cinema and about cinema and my favorite film of 2015 (2014, if in Japan). A genre-neutral, completely bonkers film that begins somewhere in the realm of a comedy about a group of enthusiastic kids wanting to make movies and ends up as an absurdly dizzying action film being filmed, barreling forward, no-holds-barred, involving gangsters, grown-up childhood actors, trigger-happy police, naïve filmmakers, budding lovers, and loads of hyper-excessive blood (like only the Japanese can do!). Though, don’t mistake it for a completely gonzo piece of cinema. Sono approaches everything with an intelligent, artistic fervor and a relish for it that surprising few directors can pull off. He threads every story together like notes in a symphony, finding levity, empathy, and audacity in every moment. Immediately, my eyes grew big, and they never narrowed.
A cinefile, fan of Japanese cinema, or just those looking for a refreshing experience to surrender to – this is the perfect gift.
The X-Files: The Collector’s Set
Recommended by Hayden Lawrence (a.k.a. Geek Outlaw)
It’s that time of year again. Bells are ringing, angels are singing, and wallets are about to start stinging. That’s right, the holidays are upon us once again, and that means my wish list – and I guarantee I’m not alone – has grown longer than the proposed Trans-Pacific trade agreement.
If you’ve read any of my prior review ramblings on Fanboy Comics or Geek Outlaw, you may already know what an understatement it truly is calling me a die-hard X-Files fan. The ground-breaking series was the very first to free the inner geek cowering in the corner of my heart. It’s taken almost a decade since the format was introduced, but thanks in part to the revival of The X-Files series in 2016, on December 8th, 2015, Fox is delivering fellow X-Philes what they have been pleading for more than Mulder to Scully to get it on in the bedroom; the entire nine-season run of The X-Files completely remastered in full HD, 1080p goodness on Blu-ray disc. The collector’s set includes all sorts of bonus features, including behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentaries by executive producer Chris Carter, and much more. Retailing at a whopping $300, the package is not for the faint of wallet; however, those with a penchant for investigating, a la the popular FBI duo, can most definitely find it on the interwebs for a bit less. In addition, each season will be sold individually for those who enjoyed shorter stints of the show.
Either way, this set is going to be an absolute must have for me and should I not get it from any generous gift givers this season, I’ve already set up several online auctions in the event I need to sell any non-critical (and critical) organs in order to finance the box set myself.