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

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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?