In the beginning, there was Film’s Most Ludicrous DVD/Blu-ray Box Sets Ever, but now it’s the small screen’s turn, all in honour of the joyfully preposterous Breaking Bad barrel (see below). Compiling 25 of our favourite overelaborate disc-housers in one handy place, the following list is a treasure trove of nigh-on unbelievable fan service, and one that may see you reaching for your credit card on more than a few occasions. Top tip: log out of Paypal before you get started...
The barrel case would be enough, but the Breaking Bad team don’t do half measures. On top of all five seasons on Blu-ray – including the split-into-two-halves final series – team BB have included a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, a collectible booklet with a letter from show creator Vince Gilligan, a commemorative Breaking Bad challenge coin (designed by Gilligan himself), a two hour documentary on shooting the last eight episodes, a three minute alternate ending, a tantalisingly-titled featurette called ‘The Final Showdown’ and many more bonus features. Roll out the barrel, bitch!
Pre-order it now - it's out on November 25 - for £110.00.
Just as a thank-you for being a friend, Golden Girls made one hell of a special collector’s edition box set release. Housed in a mocked-up version of Sophia’s golden purse, it contains all seven seasons of the show, several documentaries, a trivia game and a pack of special playing cards, making it the perfect celebration of a show that won the Best Primetime Comedy Series Emmy twice. Each member of the GG Unit also won their own Emmy – a record that still stands – with Bea Arthur (as Dorothy Zbornak), Betty White (as Rose Nylund), Rue McClanahan (as Blanche Devereaux) and Estelle Getty (as Sophia Petrillo) all scoring their own winged woman holding an atom for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Buy it now for £612.35
Six Feet Under fans were distraught when their beloved HBO show about death, dying and funeral directing finally kicked the bucket in 2005. To temper their grief, they were given possibly the best finale any show had ever made – take that, The Sopranos – as well as this special DVD box set, which contains all five seasons, two soundtrack discs, a special booklet and a chunk of green grass to cover it all. Feel free to plant daisies on the top.
Buy it for $255.
It’s a damn shame they didn’t actually house all, um, one season of the original Battlestar Galactica in a real-life toaster, but this plastic Cyclon noggin will have to do instead. Plugging the bread-grilling machine merchandising gap, NBC Universal’s online shop made these bad boys, but as they doesn’t actually talk or want to kill you, there’s still work to be done. See also: the reboot’s special edition release, which has a Cylon action figure as its added extra.
Buy it for £70.65.
The price might be high, but it’s certainly eye-catching. Channelling the Predator, Alien and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ head-shaped box sets, Dexter goes one further by making its version a ceramic bust with a bloody nick on the cheek. Wonderfully, the Blu-rays emerge from the top of the cranium, giving owners the feeling that they make have accidentally ordered a very expensive accordion. And if that triple-digit figure is too rich for your blood, you can get a headless version for slightly less money too.
Buy it now for $380.99.
The first six seasons of Family Guy, inside a plastic shell shaped like a toddler’s head – the perfect present for anyone who likes a megalomaniac munchkin staring at them as they watch Neighbours in their pants. As well the first half of the show’s run so far – MacFarlane and co. are currently on their 11th season – there’s also spin-off specials Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story and their first Star Wars spoof, Family Guy: Blue Harvest. They are both available in their own special editions, complete with collectibles like T-shirts and toys, so be careful before you head down this particular rabbit hole…
Buy it now for $254.99.
Good news, everyone! Now you can store all of the first four seasons of Futurama inside Bender Bending Rodríguez’s shiny metal bonce, as long as you don’t mind plastic as a substitute and it not being all that shiny. Released back in 2009, just before Comedy Central’s reboot arrived, Matt Groening’s boy-meets-mutant-1000-years-into-the-future tale thought it was over, and this was the packaging unveiled to reward the fans. But now there are seven seasons – and four straight-to-DVD movies – what will they go for the next Even-More-Completer Collection? Zoidberg’s head and thorax, complete with a retractable head fin, stink gland and wobbly lip things? It’s either that or Leela’s eyeball, and no-one wants that.
But it now for $199.99.
Amazon’s exclusive Game Of Thrones Season 3 box set packaging looks to be a thing of beauty. Admittedly, all Game Of Throners have had to stare at so far is this artist’s rendering, but it’s got a stone dragon on it, and that’s pretty much all you need. The contents of this pseudo-stone plinth have not been revealed as yet, though HBO have form on the high quality freebies front, with previous GOT special editions have including such treats as a dragon’s egg, and key characters’ decapitated heads on sticks. Incidentally, that last freebie may not be true – sorry about that.
Buy it now for $104.99.
What better way to celebrate David Attenborough’s seminal documentary about the world’s most fragile habitats than by buying it on Blu-rays stored inside a plastic globe? If you put the ethically worrying ecological ramifications aside for a moment, this special edition of the multi-award-winning series isn’t a terrible-looking thing, though it is a bit disconcerting when you open up the ‘Planet Earth’ and discover there are trees growing inside. Also contains collectible art cards and a One-Out-Of-50000 signature plate, and would look rather good alongside your Big Lebowski bowling ball.
Buy it now for £73.42.
A zombie’s head with a screwdriver in one of its eyes or a zombie head fish tank… it’s a tough call which is more impressive/worrying/grotesque, but that’s what The Walking Dead is all about: tough decisions. The show’s award-winning gore guru Greg Nicotero designed both, and they’re equally creepy, so really it’s just a matter of taste. Perhaps where the discs are stored will sway your vote: Ol’ Screw Eyes releases Season 1 after you pull up his jaw, whereas the fishier version just has a sleeve at the back.
Buy Screwdriver Head for $245.00.
Buy the Zombie Fish Tank for $94.46.
So despite the meandering plotlines, the red herrings, the inconsequential ending and the odd bear, you love Dharma drama Lost. You love Lost so much you want to buy Lost: The Complete Collection, the ultimate in DVD packaging fan service. Well, congratulations, because despite the show’s problems, there’s not much you can complain about with this mysterious package, which features the senet game seen in Season 6, a miniature replica of the island, an ankh that contains a secret message from Jacob, a black torchlight that reveals additional clues to find a hidden bonus disc, a recovered Black Rock journal, three hours of new bonus footage, an exclusive episode guide and the actual episodes of the actual show on actual discs. All you need now is the Dharma Initiative Orientation Kit ($91 plus P&P)!
Buy it now for $293.99.
If you’re going to own all eight seasons of which-witch-is-which-now? drama Charmed, you might as well keep it in a special pleather box. Sorry, ‘Magic Chest’. But though it has room for all the boxed editions of the show, there’s no space for the Charmed novels, the Charmed computer games or Charmed graphic novels, the latter of which carries on the storyline from after the final season, brazenly calling itself ‘Charmed: Season 9’.
Buy it now £299.99.
9 seasons. 44 discs. 210 episodes. A 40-page script of the final finale autographed by all ten of the episode's writers. In other words, EVERYTHING that’s ever had anything to do with Everybody Love Raymond, in just one cardboard tiny house thing. Considering it’s just a regular box with a roof attachment, this isn’t the first time a complete DVD collection of a show has been put out in a two-up-two-down casing, but we thought we’d make a big deal out of this one because, you know, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Buy it now for $199.00.
Right under your nose, King Of Queens ran for nine seasons. 207 episodes were made and aired, paying Jerry Stiller, Leah Remini, Patton Oswalt and Kevin James’ mortgages for nearly a decade. Odd fact: King Of Queens was the last sitcom to start in the 20th century and end in the 21st – it ran from 1998-2007 – so it’s earned its boxey celebration. And with it being a show about a deliveryman, a van-shaped case makes a lot of sense. Open the bonnet to find the extras, which include something called ‘Kevin James: A Day In The Life Of An International Superstar’. Hmm.
Buy it now for $179.99.
They could have gone for a manhole cover. They could have could for a pizza. They could even have gone for a Bebop’s bonce, but instead, Team Turtle went for the Turtle Van. All ten seasons of the kiddy-friendly cartoon slip neatly into the surprisingly squat vehicle, making it an easy park on your DVD/Blu-ray shelf.
Buy it now for $499.99.
As pub quiz questions go, it certainly sorts the men from the boys: name all 16 of Sean Bean’s Sharpe adventures. It goes like this: Rifles, Eagle, Company, Enemy, Honour, Gold, Battle, Sword, Regiment, Siege, Mission, Revenge, Spaceship, Justice, Waterloo, Challenge, Peril. Yes, you’ve spotted the fake one we snuck to keep you on your toes, but the rest are genuine Sharpes, and now you can own them all in one handy box with the word ‘Sharpe’s’ stamped on the top. If you want a miniature version of the French Imperial Eagle he took at Talavera (as we're assured it is, rather than, you know, Sharpe's Sword) - well, that comes with it too, so now you can open your letters whilst speaking in a Sheffield accent, you lucky thing.
Buy it now for £660.15.
The first season of Stephen King’s Under The Dome is only just coming to an end, but with a concept so DVD/Blu-ray packaging-friendly, there’s no way they couldn’t make a snow-globe for collector types at home. Under this dome, you’ll find several special art cards with the characters on them, as well as the Blu-rays themselves, and a weird – and giant, when you think about it – red hand print on the top. Expect bigger and bigger snow globes as the show goes on…
Buy it now for $79.99.
Mr. Bean may have only had 14 episodes in his live-action incarnation, but his animated spin-off – confusingly, also called Mr. Bean – had 52 episodes, which gives this suitcase-shaped serving 64 dollops of Beany goodness. All right, 66 dollops, if you include the movies (the genuinely decent Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie and rather dreadful Mr. Bean’s Holiday), which alongside the official Mr. Bean Teddy Beanie Baby, makes this a must-buy for anyone who loves Rowan Atkinson gurning and/or with a turkey on his head.
But it now for £39.40.
American Whovians! Your special Doctor Who boxset contains Blu-rays of every season since the 2005 reboot, a Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver, three original art cards, and an exclusive comic book.
British Whovians! Your special Doctor Who box set… doesn’t really exist just yet, but in the meantime you can buy ‘Season 2’ – AKA David Tennant’s first batch of TARDIS trips – in this plastic Cyberman shell, complete with a special lenticular postcard. But don’t worry, with the 50th anniversary coming up soon, you can bet your last Gideon there’ll be a brand-spanking new comprehensive edition coming out soon enough.
Buy the US version now for $314.99.
Buy the UK version now for £39.88.
The king of cult TV shows, supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows has a following bigger than Tom Hiddleston’s Twitter account, which explains why this complete collection has so many goodies and so many discs. You’d think that with the whole show requiring 131 DVDs to store all 1,225 episodes, this would be a prime contender for Blu-ray-ification, but with its terrible 1960s production values, an HD-ed DS would only make the clearly-visible strings above those obviously-fake bats even easier to spot. So, 131 DVDs it is then, stored in a coffin alongside an episode summary booklet, a signed Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) postcard and over 120 bonus cast and crew video interviews.
Buy it now for $899.99.
Like The King Of Queens, this is a cardboard box in the shape of a van. But what cardboard! And what a van! Aside from that, there’s no much else of note about The A-Team’s super special edition, aside from the fact that the backdoor shuts with a Velcro patch. You know, just like in the TV show.
Buy it now for $159.99.
A TV box set in the shape of a TV is a fine example of pop eating itself. A TV box set in the shape of a stone age TV…? That’s just a prehistoric perk. The contents of the pre-BC idiot box is just the six seasons themselves on DVD, giving you all 166 episodes (plus the pilot) but no collectible peddle car, Bam Bam club or dinosaur slide. Yabba-dabba-don’t keep your hopes up for any of them either, as from the looks of things, this edition isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.
Buy it now for $81.21.
One of those ‘Cancelled Too Soon’ series that had so much promise but so few viewers, Freaks And Geeks lasted only one season, but is still celebrated by both critics and die-hard fans alike. Launching the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and its creator, Paul Feig - who went on to direct a little movie called Bridesmaids - there’s a lot of love for this little show, which explains this eight-disc special yearbook edition even though there were just 17 episodes made.
Buy it now for $79.99.
The MASH DVD box set is just that: a box, with a whole set of DVDs inside. But there’s a whole lotta love in there with it, as well as a little clipboard, two reunion specials, the original Robert Altman film that started it all, a gargantuan blooper reel, a trivia game and the script of a never-shot episode. No mention of the red-headed stepchild of the MASH universe, the less successful spin-off AfterMASH, mind…
Buy it now for $99.99.
You’re damn right it’s the cartoon version of the Hasbro action figure line, and its fans love it more than anything else in the world (judging by the extras included in this box set, at any rate). As well as 95 restored episodes on 17 DVDs, expect new interviews, exclusive featurettes, rare public service announcements, archival toy adverts, footage from the original G.I. JOE 1963 Toy Fair Presentation, printable scripts, a collectible 60-page book, exclusive rub-on tattoos and a 1GB Dog Tag flash drive with two G.I. JOE silent comics preloaded onto it, all in a big ol’ tin. It’s so heavy, only The Rock can carry it. Good luck asking The Rock to pick it up from your local Royal Mail distribution center.
Buy it now for $250.00.
Yes, it’s just a box. A big box full of DVDs – which, by rights, should render it inadmissible for this list and consigned to the good-but-not-preposterous-enough bargain bin with The West Wing and Seinfeld – but it has an ace up its sleeve: beer. Well, a six-pack-of-beer design, at any rate, which fits perfectly with the six discs it houses, as well as the bar setting of the show itself. Cheers! No, wait, this is Cheers’ box set, and that really is just a box.
Buy it now for $133.99.