When streaming doesn’t satisfy, seek out these TV, movie box sets
July 29, 2020
So you’re stuck at home. The movie theaters are closed and you’ve streamed every dang thing you can find.
What do you do now? Well, now you can finally watch that TV series that you’ve always been saying you’ll get around to either checking out or revisiting.
Here are a few slightly-less-pedestian picks I highly recommend, and how to access them:
Northern Exposure (1990-95)
Anyone above 40 will likely at least peripherally remember this show about a New York City doctor (Rob Morrow) who gets stationed in a tiny Alaskan town full of lovable eccentrics.
Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, the complete Northern Exposure box set (26 discs, 86 hours, 110 episodes) can be had for a measly $54 via Amazon.
It’s wholesome, funny, weird and, in my opinion, one of the all-time best binge watches. Whether you’ve already seen it or have never heard of it, Northern Exposure is an excellent way to kill a few weeks. You will fall in love with this tiny town.
The Wire (2002-08)
Regular readers of this column know of my obsession with this show. I watch the whole series once a year and have done so since 2009. I’ve often called it “my all-time favorite anything,” and, considering I’ve watched it twice since Covid-19 started, I think it’s safe to repeat that sentiment.
Sixty episodes over five seasons of the best written and acted television of all-time (in my opinion), The Wire has inspired several books and podcasts, including the currently running Way Down in the Hole, hosted by Jemele Hill and Van Lathan.
It’s my favorite podcast of the year and I’ve fallen deeply in love with Van Lathan’s brain. I highly recommend either watching or rewatching this show alongside Hill and Lathan.
Also, last time I was at Wal-Mart, I noticed that they had the full series set (61 incredible hours!) available for $50.
Best $50 you’ll ever spend? I say yes! I want to start The Wire over again right now just from writing this little blurb.
Peep Show (2003-15)
This Channel 4 British comedy starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb (something of a modern, edgy, hipster-friendly Laurel and Hardy, sort of) is my comfort food.
Having a bad day? Put on a few Peep Show episodes. It’s unlike any show you’ll ever see in format, style, or presentation. But once you get past that, it’s a hoot.
The elevator pitch is simple: we live inside the heads of two incredibly neurotic best frenemies as they attempt to get their lives together in London.
Seinfeld? I like it. The Office? I like that one, too! But for my money, Peep Show is the funniest sitcom of all-time. And you can watch the whole dang thing (54 episodes, 22 hours) on Hulu.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection
There have been a whole lot of Hitchcock collections released over the years, and most of them are bad. Usually they’ll package up two or three of his classics with 10 or more of his much lesser films.
This set, which you can get on Amazon right now for just over $50, is a gem. Presented in a bound booklet, you get 15 Hitchcock films, including Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Rope, and Torn Curtain.
Additionally, you get 10 episodes of Hitchcock’s various TV programs, 15 hours of bonus features, and a commemorative book.
That’s about 30 hours of the best cinema ever made spread out over 17 discs. A no-brainer deal, this one.