The 8 best box sets for Christmas

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Ben Walsh puts aside the popcorn and picks his standout highlights from this year’s blockbuster film and TV releases

1. James Dean: Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray (PG)

James Dean specialised in highly strung teens who slouched, drawled and kicked the dust, abstractedly. Method acting, of course, and Dean remains a compelling, scene-stealing presence in East of Eden, Giant and Rebel Without A Cause.

How much: £22.25

Where from: amazon.co.uk

2. Parks and Recreation: Seasons 1-3 (15)

“I think I need to call child services and have Leslie taken away from herself,” quips Ann (Rashida Jones) to camera. Please don’t. Amy Poehler’s confused, unlucky-in-love Leslie is adorable in this excellent US sitcom set in Indiana.

How much: £45.10

Where from: play.com

3. Peep Show: Series 1-7 (18)

It’s still the best thing David Mitchell and Robert Webb have ever been involved in and it’s probably, along with Father Ted, Channel 4’s funniest sitcom. The more radically the duo fail, the more poignant Mark and Jeremy’s dysfunctional relationship becomes. It’s probably time they split up.

How much: £41.40

Where from: amazon.co.uk

4. The Returned - Series 1 (18)

It’s to do with the stillness, the camera angles, the use of mirrors… and, of course, the mysterious, mute little boy. The Returned, set in an Alpine village, is terrifying: far subtler and scarier than any of the usual slashers regurgitated by US cinema of late.

How much: £22.62

Where from: play.com

5. Merlin: Comp lete Boxset - Series 1-5 (12)

There’s much to recommend about this mythical hokum – from John Hurt’s dragon to Katie McGrath deliciously wicked witch – but it’s the droll, sweet love story between Merlin and Arthur that compels in the BBC’s excellent fantasy series.

How much: £74.99

Where from: amazon.co.uk

6. Girls: Season 1 and 2 (18)

Lena Dunham directs, produces, writes, stars and sheds her clothes quite a bit in these tangy adventures of four twentysomething New Yorkers. It’s HBO television at its most intoxicating, funny, poignant, original and dangerous.

How much: £16.75

Where from: amazon.co.uk

7. Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Definitive Collection (15)

Savour 25 glorious years-worth of deadly accurate sleuthing and tisanes, concluding with Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. David Suchet has been superb as the Belgian detective in this classy series.

How much: £89.99

Where from: moviemail.com

8. Horrible Histories: Series 4 (PG)

CBBC’s wildly inventive, frequently funny and crude sketch show, which has a mission statement of “making history look less crap”, succeeds in making the past as accessible and enjoyable as possible for children.

How much: £6

Where from: amazon.co.uk

Extras
FOOD & DRINK
Extras
BEAUTY
Extras
FOOD & DRINK
Extras
GADGETS & TECH
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all