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
GADGETS+TECH
Extras
Prosecco picture
FOOD+DRINK
Extras
GADGETS+TECH
Extras
FASHION
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

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York