Here, for your holiday shopping ease, is a collection of new and classic TV shows on DVD.  All of them guaranteed to please, so long as you match the right gift to the right person. That’s your job. Presenting high-quality options, that’s ours.

If you buy from Amazon after clicking directly from this list, TV WORTH WATCHING gets a small percentage of each sale, on the selected DVDs and anything else ordered during that visit. (Amazon prices below are accurate as of posting. To check current prices — and to order online for fast, easy delivery — click the links below.)

Check back soon as we add more!

If you like TV WORTH WATCHING, it’s a way to send two, two, two gifts in one. Costs you nothing more.  Helps us stay alive… –DB

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

Sony Pictures Entertainment, 16 discs (From $319.82 at Amazon, offers are varying.)

One of the best TV series ever made, offered as a complete package – with loads of documentary extras and other treats. But when the show itself is this good, having it as a complete set, or giving it, is about as good as it gets. – DB


Freaks And Geeks - The Complete Series (Yearbook Edition)

Shout! Factory, 6 discs, $78.35

Anyone who loved Seth Rogen in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up will be just as delighted by this one-season NBC wonder, a high-school comedy-drama created by Paul Feig, with Apatow as a writer-producer and Rogen as one of the high schoolers. Shout! Factory did a great job with this 2004 video release – and giving it as a gift is a way to find it even more grateful fans. – DB

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series

Shout! Factory, 38 discs, $224.94

Maybe you had to be there. But if you were, or if the person you’re shopping for was, this syndicated Norman Lear soap opera spoof from the mid-Seventies may well be the DVD release of the season. Louise Lasser stars as a confused, depressed and frustrated housewife, and Mary Kay Place steals the early shows as aspiring country music singer Loretta. Still bizarre, and entertaining, after all these years. – DB

Enlightened: The Complete First Season

HBO Studios, 2 Discs, DVD $27.98

Enlightened: The Complete Second Season
HBO Studios, 2 discs, $23.49

Enlightened didn't seem like much on the surface: a neurotic, self-centered mid-level manager returns to her desk job after a questionable nervous breakdown that landed her in "holistic" rehab. But in the hands of creator/writer Mike White, who also stars, the series became a lyrical take on the existential drift of modern life. Enlightened seemed to always find the perfect tone as it mined the beauty of the banal and often made television a poetic experience.–EG

The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset (2013)

Lionsgate, 16 discs, $42.48

The 2013 in the title refers to this new release by Lionsgate, which packages this classic Sixties British series in a very affordable, new reissue.  On 16 discs for under $50, it presents all 51 episodes of the 1965-68 The Avengers series – the ones starring Patrick Macnee as bowler-wearing British secret agent John Steed and Diana Rigg as his jumpsuit-wearing, very liberated female partner, Emma Peel. Young readers should know that this has nothing to do with the current movie series based on the Marvel Comics superheroes, who surfaced in comic books that same decade. Older readers already know that, and know why any Emma Peel collection is worth owning, and savoring.  – DB

Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered

BBC Home Entertainment, 3 discs, $27.99

After Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth went on to co-write and star in this utterly brilliant British sitcom, featuring Cleese as acerbic, put-upon rustic hotel owner Basil Fawlty, Prunella Scales as his impatient wife Sybil, Booth as their employee Polly, and Manuel Sachs as clueless assistant Manuel. Like the British version of The Office, it’s a concise, compact classic: six episodes were produced in 1975, another six in 1979, and that’s it. Each one makes me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I watch, and there are details tony and clever enough to reward repeated watching on DVD. One of the best TV sitcoms every made? Absolutely. – DB

When Things Were Rotten
CBS Home Entertainment, 2 discs, $15.49

If you have a friend who’s a big Mel Brooks fan (and if not, why are they friends), here’s a recently released treat: Mel Brooks’ very short-lived Robin Hood spoof from 1975. This TV series lasted only 13 episodes – and they’re all here, starring Dick Gautier as Robin, Dick Van Patten as Friar Tuck, and Misty Rowe as Maid Marian. Until now, this DVD release was one of the missing links in the Mel Brooks chain of outrageous comedy, so this compilation hits the bull’s-eye. – DB

Last Tango in Halifax: Season One

BBC Home Entertainment, 1 Disc, $29.73

A surprising, charming British import series that is perhaps one of 2013’s best. This unlikely romance follows two childhood sweethearts who get a second chance after 60 years. If you think this will all be sentimental fluff, don’t be fooled — it’s a captivating drama with the couple’s adult children spinning complicated, modern problems all the way. Featuring winning performances by Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid. –EG

Dirk Gently

Acorn Media, 2 discs, $19.99

This quizzical series, starring Stephen Mangan (wildly funny in Showtime’s Episodes) is based on Douglas Adams’ best-selling book. Dirk is the sometimes bungling, misfit proprietor of The Holistic Detective Agency. His catch-phrase motto of trusting “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” means he’s got oddball methods that often seem wildly off topic and his credibility is continually in question. Fans of Adams’ “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” will enjoy the loopy assemblages of whodunit, time travel and romantic comedy that all somehow resolve brilliantly, like sticking a landing from a high-flying balance beam dismount. –EG

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

BBC Video, 2 discs, $13.49

Eons before the 2005 movie version, but after the original BBC Radio version, this 1981 miniseries presented a very low-budget, high-concept version of Douglas Adams’ fabulously inventive space oddity. It’s all here, from the talking galactic book guide to the deadly Vogon poetry.  This set is five years old now, but a real bargain – and, for Adams-come-latelies, a real eye-opener. – DB

Call the Midwife: Season One

BBC Home Entertainment, 2 discs, $22.86

This ongoing BBC series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a midwife in post-World War II London’s hardscrabble East End. The premiere year of 2012 that followed the group of young nurses as they brought newborns into the world and encountered every stripe of human strength and frailty, was maybe one of the best single seasons of drama in recent memory.  –EG

Naked City: The Complete Series

Image Entertainment, 29 discs, $81.99

The 1958-63 Naked City was perhaps the forefather of gritty police dramas to follow, like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue that not only looked at the crime but also into the personal dramas of the detectives behind the investigations. The series had a guest star roster that would go on to be the top actors of our time including Robert Redford, Peter Falk, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Walter Matthau and many others. All 138 episodes included. –EG

Family  Guy, Volume Ten

20th Century Fox, 3 discs, $5.99

We still have our black armbands on our dog’s legs after the, gulp, recent demise of Brian Griffin, one of the all-time shocking deaths in prime time television. If someone on your list is a fan of the anarchy and surrealism of the Griffin clan, this is a good collection - 14 episodes from Season 9 that includes Brian’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher promoting his self-help book, "Wish It, Want It, Do It.” The other fave episode here is "Road to the North Pole," an extended musical Christmas special in which Stewie and Brian set off on a holiday journey to (what else) assassinate Santa Claus. –EG

Joseph Campbell on Power of Myth With Bill Moyers (25th Anniversary Edition)

Athena, 3 discs, $99.99

This 1988 PBS presentation is so powerful, and so inspirational, it has the potential to change your life, and the way you look at it. Joseph Campbell was a professor who devoted his life to collecting and analyzing mythologies from around the world – and in the two years before he died of cancer, Campbell sat with Bill Moyers for a series of casual yet meaningful talks that distilled Campbell’s lifetime of knowledge and enthusiasms. “Follow your bliss,” Campbell offers as his final words of advice, and it’s obvious that, with this six-episode TV interview, both he and Moyers are doing just that.  (Bonus features include new introductions from Bill Moyers.) — DB

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Classic Video, 1 disc, $4.78

This animated holiday special, from 1962, is more than 50 years old now, but still delights.  Credit composers Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, who also teamed for Funny Girl, with a gift-wrapped treat of a score – and a reworking of the Dickens classic that, at this price, makes a perfect shocking stuffer. – DB

Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series

Universal Studios, 19 discs, $45.49

Friday Night Lights was a TVWW favorite from its premiere. It's one of the best family dramas ever made. One of the best teen dramas ever made. One of the best sports dramas ever made. You get the picture. The show also featured one of TV's best couples, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. –DB

The Singing Detective

BBC Video, three discs, $25.99

You didn’t think I’d forget to suggest my favorite TV miniseries of all time, did you?  This British drama with music isn’t everyone’s cup of Earl Grey – but for Dennis Potter fans, or adventurous and thoughtful TV viewers, this is the ultimate. - DB

Johnny Carson: King of Late Night

PBS, 1 disc, $14.87

My enthusiastic response to this  PBS American Masters biography, Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, has been echoed by TVWW readers – one of whom admitted to crying at the end, even without having been aware of Carson before. He’s been gone from late night, and from the center of pop culture, for two decades now, yet Carson has not been, and will never be, dethroned as the King of Late Night. This new two-hour documentary explains why – and gets close to explaining the man himself. – DB

House of Cards Trilogy: The Original UK Series Remastered

BBC Home Entertainment, 4 discs, $17.99

This newly remastered version of Andrew Davies’ brilliant 1990 miniseries trilogy is the perfect companion viewing experience for those who watched Netflix’s new Americanized remake. Kevin Spacey stars in the 2013 version, playing an oily career politician with a taste for both power and revenge. In this original, Ian Richardson plays the smarmy, sneaky pol, and plays him just as wonderfully. This trilogy goes deep into British politics, including conflicts between the Prime Minister and the royal family – so there’s a lot of “compare and contrast” fun to be had here, watching how Beau Willimon has adapted the story to Congress and the White House. – DB

Get A Life: The Complete Series

Shout! Factory, 6 Discs, $31.49

Chris Elliot, a writer and frequent character on David Letterman's early NBC late night program, went on to star in his own 1990-92 sitcom (an anti-sitcom really, violating every convention of the form).  On Get a Life, his character, Chris Peterson, was an under-achieving 30 year old paperboy losing his grip on reality. As poorly as people were treated in the Get A Life world, the show usually blazed strange, unpredictable outcomes and paved the way for the outrageous sensibilities of comedies like South Park and many others that followed. –EG

Temple Grandin

HBO Studios, 1 disc, $11.96

Temple Grandin isn't just a great telemovie. It's the best one in years, and a reminder about just how good television can be when all elements of a production are absolutely perfect. Claire Danes stars in the title role, and just as she exploded onto the scene as a teenager in ABC's My So-Called Life 16 years ago, she vaults herself into another, Meryl Streep-like level in this new dramatic showcase. As Grandin, a woman who battled autism while becoming an advocate for the humane treatment of animals and a designer of gentler stockyard and slaughterhouse systems for cattle, she's nothing short of magnificent. –DB

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition)

Warner Home Video, 1 disc, $11.49

Why wait for ABC to rerun this classic 1965 animated Christmas special? Give it to anyone with (or without) children, and you’ll be handing them a very handy holiday pick-me-up. Charles Schulz’s first TV special remains his, and TV’s best. – DB

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition

Shout! Factory, 5 discs, $49.99

It can’t have been 25 years since MST3K started its shadowy satires of cheesy old films, can it? Apparently, yes. And this 2013 release is as much fun for the voluminous extras as for the movies themselves. But the movies dissected so hilariously here include Mitchell, The Leech Woman and The Day the Earth Froze. Nonstop fun. And, if you or your gift recipient is new to MST3K, there’s no better place to start. – DB

Six Feet Under: The Complete Series

HBO Video, 24 discs, $72.99

HBO Video has replaced its lavish gift box with this slimmer set, minus the two soundtrack CDs and the superior packaging. But all five seasons are here, of a series that captivates, challenges and entertains from beginning to end – especially the end. What a series finale. And what a joy to see so many cast members who have gone on to other great things: Peter Krause in Parenthood, Michael C. Hall in Dexter, Frances Conroy in American Horror Story, and Richard Jenkins in movies, just for starters. And series creator Alan Ball, of course, went on to True Blood. So clearly, there is life after Six Feet Under, but what a joy this HBO series was, a show that confronted death while celebrating life, from the unlikely setting of a family-run funeral home. –DB

The Point

BMG Video, 1 disc, $12.13

Trust me, please: If you’re looking for a gift for a young child, or anyone with any vestiges of childhood left in them, this DVD release of the 1971 animated TV special, with music and story by Harry Nilsson, is perfect. This is where “Me and My Arrow” came from, and lots of other songs, images and punch lines I’ve never forgotten – and never wanted to. A children’s classic that’s a joy to watch with them.  Or without them. - DB

The Golden Age of Television (The Criterion Collection)

The Criterion Collection, 3 discs, $30.99

This Criterion Collection presents the best-possible restored versions of eight classic live televised dramas from TV’s Golden Age. This cream-of-the-crop compendium includes two of the absolute best, Paddy Chayefsky’s Marty from 1953 and Rod Serling’s Patterns from 1955 — a drama so prescient (it’s about corporate ruthlessness and the various victims and predators of big business), it could be revived today without changing a word. Also included are Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight and The Comedian, JP Miller’s Days of Wine and Roses, and live presentations of No Time for Sergeants, A Wind from the South, and Paul Newman in Bang the Drum Slowly. All at a ridiculously low price for such invaluable TV history. –DB

Police Squad!: The Complete Series

Paramount, 1 Disc, $11.22

Two years after making the disaster-movie spoof Airplane!, Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker turned to the small screen for a weekly satire of TV detective shows. They made only six episodes before ABC canceled Police Squad!, but what an inspired, loony comedy. Airplane! star Leslie Nielsen played Det. Frank Drebin – the same role he would reprise in the subsequent, more successful Naked Gun spinoff movies. But here are the original six, half-hour episodes, each with a guest corpse, a narrator who reads off a different episode title than is shown on the screen, and even funnier stuff once the shows actually begin. Oh, and as this 1982 series proudly proclaimed, each episode is “In Color!” – DB

Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Series (Repackaged)

A&E Home Video, 35 discs, $124.99

The original release of this set was packaged in a tiny replica of a filing cabinet. Now in a more standard (and less expensive) issue, it’s still a keeper. It’s also still one of the best cop series ever made, and no wonder: It’s inspired by David Simon’s work as a Baltimore Sun reporter, and brought Simon to TV as his first step to The Wire. Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson are the producers who made this, at the time, the best show on television – and the entire set would be worth buying just to watch Season 1’s “Three Men and Adena,” among the greatest hours of TV ever. This is where Andre Braugher became a star, and many others, too. Watch for early roles by Edie Falco, Melissa Leo and lots more. (Full disclosure: I’m on the DVD Extras somewhere, moderating some panel of Homicide folks, but that’s not why I’m recommending this set. I’m recommending it because it’s superb.) – DB