TV on DVD worth buying?
December 1, 2009 1:17 PM   Subscribe

What are some great DVD releases of television shows?

I love television, and I watch a whole lot of it. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I generally have every episode of every show I'd want to watch already on my computer. Thus, when I buy DVDs, it's not for the replay value of individual episodes but rather for the bonus material. I'm mostly looking for insightful (or hilarious) commentaries, making-of features, and interviews (as opposed to deleted scenes or gag reels).

So what television DVD box sets are really worth buying? Assume I'm open to basically any kind of show.

(Alternately, is there a site that does good reviews of DVD releases? reviews tend to be about the show itself rather than the actual DVDs. Wikipedia is okay for looking up specific shows I already have in mind to see what the extras are, but it'd be nice to be able to read reviews of shows I wouldn't necessarily think of myself.)
posted by cosmic osmo to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, no real "deleted scenes" or anything too special, but of the 14 or so different television shows I own on DVD, I watch my seasons of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" more than anything else, tenfold.

As for awesome bonus footage and commentary, "LOST" is pretty awesome, honestly. And it's a great show. Oh, and the $100+ box set of "Sopranos" had AMAZING bonus footage - over 100 hours! It's totally worth it if you even just liked the show - buying the set made me go from a casual Sopranos fan to being a HUGE fan.
posted by banannafish at 1:22 PM on December 1, 2009

The Sopranos. And Six Feet Under. Both are simply incredible series, in every respect, and both are through written, with the first episode a perfect start, the last a perfect ending.
posted by bearwife at 1:23 PM on December 1, 2009

I know metafilter loves Mad Men, but the DVDs were a great purchase. Matt Weiner's commentaries illuminate his ulterior motives, and all the cast members (with the exception of January Jones) are really savvy. Vincent Kartheiser is particularly insightful. It's one of those shows that you watch once and then immediately go back to the beginning to hear the commentary.
posted by zoomorphic at 1:23 PM on December 1, 2009

Metalocalypse has some really neat bonus materials and easter eggs, particular on the Season 2 (of 2) discs.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:25 PM on December 1, 2009

Nthing Mad Men for the commentaries. Freaks and Geeks had a lot of awesome extras too-including a commentary track with all of the teachers in character. And I dearly love my My So-Called Life DVD’s, but YMMV with that one.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:29 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was just watching (again) my Deadwood box set. It's got great features, including a very bitter David Milch talking about how the series came to an end.

Oh, and the show is amazing, too.
posted by elder18 at 1:35 PM on December 1, 2009

i really enjoyed the commentary on the first season of the shield. the creator/showrunner shawn ryan is on every episode (or nearly so), and includes different groups of actors and crew members on each episode. (i have no idea if later seasons have similarly comprehensive commentaries.)

the simpsons season sets have commentary on every episode, as well, and can be a lot of fun.
posted by jimw at 1:36 PM on December 1, 2009

Try TV Shows on DVD for information and some reviews.

I really love the Mad About You Collection. First, they haven't released all the seasons of MAY so you'll find some gems in this set that aren't available otherwise. Secondly, they do cute introductions to the episodes with the cast.
posted by mrsshotglass at 1:38 PM on December 1, 2009

Futurama, (mostly) intelligent commentary, tons of extras, easter eggs, and general weirdness. The straight to DVD movies are hit and miss, but the original series is solid gold.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:39 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

We rented (via Netflix) the HBO series Rome, and found the extras to be extremely enlightening (especially the one that puts a text box (artfully!) on the screen to tell you about a ritual or fabric or whatever in the scene you're watching.
posted by dbmcd at 1:39 PM on December 1, 2009

The Arrested Development DVD sets have good commentaries and one or two of the making-of shorts you mentioned, as well as deleted scenes and blooper reels. It's also one of those shows that is (much) Better On DVD.

I think I've seen reviews of DVD bonus material on The AV Club, but sometimes it's just a short description of what's there.
posted by tellumo at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2009

Arrested Development on DVD is must have, and The West Wing commentary tracks were pretty good.
posted by elmer benson at 1:50 PM on December 1, 2009

The Sopranos box set is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Onto the Christmas wish list it goes!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is probably my favorite currently-airing comedy and I have every episode on my computer already. Any compelling reason I should buy the DVDs?

(Stuff I own already: Arrested Development, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Twin Peaks, Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life, Strangers With Candy, LOST)
posted by cosmic osmo at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2009

I think at this point I watch Firefly with the commentaries more than without them. Listening to Joss Whedon talk about his baby is a wonderful thing. Also, I keep telling people how much I love the "War Stories" episode and people keep coming back with "but it is so depressing" and I realized that what I actually love is the absolute HILARITY of Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk doing the commentary so I hardly think of that episode as depressing at all.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:02 PM on December 1, 2009

Crossed out the ones you said you already have…
  • Dexter
  • Californication
  • Freaks and Geeks (seconding)
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (seconding) ← because you will want to watch this again!
  • Mad Men (seconding)
  • Six Feet Under (seconding)
  • The Office (British version)
  • The Shield (seconding; seasons 1-5)
  • The X-Files (seasons 1-5)
  • Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition
  • Weeds

posted by ads at 2:03 PM on December 1, 2009

I have every episode on my computer already. Any compelling reason I should buy the DVDs?

Sorry, missed the first part of this. No, I don’t think the extra DVD stuff for Always Sunny is worth it as long as you have all the episodes from previous seasons.
posted by ads at 2:15 PM on December 1, 2009

The English Office
Tenacious D
posted by any major dude at 2:18 PM on December 1, 2009

The Simpsons DVD sets have commentary on every single episode from Matt Groening (usually), the showrunner(s) for the season, plus selected directors, voice actors and guest stars. Many of the seasons also have in-depth special features about the animation. And The Simpsons season 4 may be one of the single best television seasons of all time.
posted by andrewraff at 2:19 PM on December 1, 2009

So glad you liked The Sopranos suggestion. Here's another great TV series from awhile back, absolutely addictive (and educational too): I Claudius.
posted by bearwife at 2:22 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Definitely Firefly, we also love the Scrubs DVDs.
posted by Kimberly at 2:23 PM on December 1, 2009

Band Of Brothers (on Blu Ray especially) is a great package of goodness.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:40 PM on December 1, 2009

If you are into the show, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set is pretty amazing. There are a TON of extras on each disc, plus a bonus disc with cool features. Best $100 I ever spent.
posted by tryniti at 4:00 PM on December 1, 2009

Mighty Boosh! Tons of extras (interviews, commentaries, shorts, behind the scenes) on all three DVDs.
posted by lunalaguna at 4:01 PM on December 1, 2009

Kung Fu. Lots of bonus materials, including interviews with various actors and crew--and Amazon has the entire 3-season run for 33.99!
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:05 PM on December 1, 2009

The Seinfeld DVDs are jam packed with extras.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:59 PM on December 1, 2009

Firefly. For sure.

posted by chunking express at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2009

Also, the first season of 24 is fun to watch in one sitting.
posted by chunking express at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2009

this isn't a tv show but if you're a joss whedon fan, the dr. horrible dvd features joss doing the commentary in song.
posted by anthropomorphic at 10:50 AM on December 2, 2009

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