If we only listed the Top 20 TV DVDs of 2007, we’d be doing a horrible disservice to the TV DVD industry, given the sheer volume of these sets that emerged last year. The Bullz-Eye staff ran through their various DVD collections and came up with a wide variety of superlatives to describe their favorite releases, covering a wide variety of genres and creating plenty of new excuses for you to veg out in front of your television for the long haul.
"The Office: Season Three"
You've got to love any DVD that includes almost as much bonus material as the show itself, and "The Office" season sets always dole out the goods. This time around, fans get more than three hours of deleted scenes (roughly 8 ½ additional episodes, if you do the math), several cast/crew commentaries and more. Now you know why NBC is able to air those extended episodes during the summer. Of course, when you're the best TV comedy since "Seinfeld," there's a lot more than just great DVD extras. The third season was more hit-and-miss than the previous year, but it introduced two new cast members into the mix (Rashida Jones and Ed Helms), expanded the roles of the show's "second-tier" characters, and featured guest directors like Harold Ramis, J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon. – Jason Zingale
"Twin Peaks – The Definitive Gold Box Edition"
Fans of the iconic Lynch/Frost series from the early ‘90s purchased "Twin Peaks – The Second Season" last spring. Hardcore fans double dipped in the autumn and purchased the Gold Box, featuring the entire series, including both versions of the pilot (which had never before been released). Seventeen years after its debut, "Twin Peaks" can now be had in one handy release, and in a state that's as close to perfection as one could ask for. Well almost. After indulging in the 30-some odd hours of quirky murder and mayhem (plus loads of bonus features), you'll want to pick up the theatrical movie, "Fire Walk With Me" from New Line Home Video for completion's sake. Better than a cherry pie, fewer calories and it lasts longer, too.
– Ross Ruediger
"Space Academy: The Complete Series"
When it comes to live-action series on Saturday mornings in the 1970s, Sid and Marty Krofft get all the glory, but let's not forget that Filmation scored a few successes as well. Granted, the only really great actor in "Space Academy" is Jonathan Harris, who honed his sci-fi chops on "Lost in Space," but the look of the show holds up surprisingly well, and the scripts are more intelligent than the average fare of the day. – Will Harris
"My So-Called Life – The Complete Series"
Teen angst drama is timeless because either you are a teen who feels it, or you were a teen who did. Next to your "Freaks and Geeks" box set should reside "My So-Called Life," which hit DVD this autumn. Claire Danes plays Angela Chase in this groundbreaking early ‘90s series that consists of a mere 19 episodes. The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and this series burned so very brightly. How many other such dramas dare to have an episode titled "The Zit," and then explore all the ramifications of the blemish? Sounds silly? Not to a teenager, nor to this adult. – RR
"Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples' Temple"
You know how you sometimes see a movie and you think, "Wow, that was really good, but I never need to see that again, ever"? This is one of those movies, and it's made all the worse by the fact that it really happened. – WH
"Mail Call: S.N.A.F.U."
It's basically just an hour's worth of R. Lee Ermey's fuck-ups, bleeps, and blunders from his History Channel series, "Mail Call." But, oh, how I laughed. – WH
"The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones"
Lucasfilm has wisely managed to bring this mid-‘90s offering to the almighty sliver platter along with a host of educational documentaries that (gasp!) might just get kids interested in history. The series, made up of 90-minutes movies, is an ideal intro to the past. Schools could do much worse than showing young Indy (Sean Patrick Flannery) in the trenches of WWI, and then screening the documentary "The Somme – Storm of Steel" immediately afterwards. The show is by no means at the "Temple of Doom" level of excitement, but it beats the boredom of dusty textbooks on all counts. Volumes 1 and 2 are out now, and Volume Three will debut this spring. Get them all. – RR
"Battlestar Galactica – Razor"
Yes, "Razor" debuted on television, but only because of legal issues involving the "Galactica" concept. It was initially designed to be a straight to DVD movie, and it hit shelves only a couple weeks after its Sci Fi Channel debut. Fans of the series were no doubt parched this winter, and with the final season of the series pushed back to an April '08 debut date, "Razor" was the oasis in the desert. And what an oasis it was! The DVD version offered up a more adult-oriented BSG than even Sci Fi can screen. Some course language and a lesbian subplot (all tastefully handled) made this a sci-fi event this winter. – RR
"The King of Queens"
Thanks to Patton Oswalt's star rising via his animated turn in "Ratatouille," count on an eventual reappraisal of his work on "The King of Queens," and when that happens, this set is the way to go. Not only is it shaped like Doug Heffernan's UPS…oh, sorry, IPS truck…but each season fits in the back of the truck, with all of them sitting atop a cardboard palate. (The back door has a cloth handle so that you can lift it up and slide it into the set.) The booklets which detail each season, meanwhile, are each shaped like manila folders and can be found under the truck's hood. – WH
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Four seasons of TV's best straight-up tribute to James Bond may be too much for the casual fan, but the diehards will run giddily toward this collection, which comes packaged in a cardboard attaché case just like Napoleon Solo himself would've carried. – WH
"Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season"
We'll grant the former WB network that the second season of "Veronica Mars" had some issues; the tone was deathly serious, and the decision to build the entire season around one gigantic case made goings even more...um, deathly serious? The third, and last, season of "Veronica Mars" tackled both of those problems head on, and brought the show back to its first season glory. It still dealt with some tough issues, of course, like date rape and the murder of the university dean, but Veronica (Kristen Bell) regained her sense of humor – when she wasn't getting roofied – and some new additions to the supporting cast, not to mention Ken Marino's delightfully sleazy Vinnie Van Low, made the final season of "Veronica Mars" a bittersweet farewell. – David Medsker
"Kitchen Confidential: The Complete Series"
In late 2005, the only thing on the mind of most TV critics was the impending cancellation of "Arrested Development." But as a result of its unfortunate pairing with that quirky comedy series, "Kitchen Confidential" was shown the axe as well. Based on the best-selling memoirs of renowned bad boy chef Anthony Bourdain, the show was like "Scrubs" in a kitchen (minus the pop-infused fantasy sequences), and featured an excellent cast of up-and-comers -- not to mention Frank Langella as the restaurant's owner. True, the show's cancellation wasn't based completely on the performance of its lead-in, but it certainly couldn't have helped. And when FOX finally got around to releasing the first season on DVD, our worst fear was realized: after the first four episodes, the show only got better. – JZ
"Doctor Who – The Invasion"
With the new series all the rage these days, it's sometimes easy to forget (or hard to remember?) that there was a wealth of time-traveling goodness long before David Tennant slipped into the 10th Doctor's All Stars. BBC Home Video releases a couple adventures every few months, but their crown jewel in 2007 was the 1968 Patrick Troughton story, "The Invasion." Lots of ‘60s-era "Who" was scrapped by the BBC, yet audio recordings of every story survive. Enter animation house Cosgrove Hall, who took on the task of animating episodes one and four of this eight-part Cybermen-invade-London story so that the entire tale now exists for your viewing pleasure. They even animated the missing material in black and white to match the other six episodes. Geek heaven. – RR
"WKRP in Cincinnati – The Complete First Season"
After years of begging, and years of being told "It ain't gonna happen," the faithful were finally rewarded – sort of. Because of complex music licensing issues, "WKRP" was never expected to see the DVD light of day, which is exactly why this release wasn't quite the set everyone hoped for. Almost all the music has been replaced and even a couple scenes got lost in the shuffle as well (including a lengthy sequence in the infamous "Turkeys Away" episode that featured Pink Floyd's "Dogs"). Yet despite this seeming disadvantage, the set still manages to rock. Why? Because it turns out that "WKRP" is really about the great scripts and its perfect cast, and no amount of music replacement can ever change that. Bring on Season Two (with the proper music if possible)! – RR
"South Park: The Complete Tenth Season"
Satan is a spoiled 16-year-old girl whose party is ruined when he doesn't get a Ferrari cake. Chef returns to South Park as a pedophile, and suffers the most gruesome death in "South Park" history. Cartman travels 500 years in time to find godless sea otters waging war. The combination of George Clooney and smug hybrid owners nearly causes a natural disaster. Al Gore searches for the elusive ManBearPig. Lastly, "Family Guy" gets the thrashing that it has been begging for. Ten seasons into its run, and Trey Parker and Matt Stone are just getting warmed up. Of course, by spending the majority of their time dissecting the ills of our culture, we as a society have essentially given them an unlimited supply of ammo. As long as people continue to do stupid things, "South Park" will never run out of ideas.
"Star Trek: Captain's Log – Fan Collective"
With every episode of every "Star Trek" series already available on DVD, Paramount decided to try a new angle and released themed compilations. Here, the captains from each of the five series – William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula – select their favorite episodes of their respective "Trek" voyages, each offering up an intro. Even those who already own all the complete-season sets might find this one worth picking up. – WH
"Banacek: Season 1"
Before scoring his role as Hannibal Smith on "The A-Team," George Peppard took on the small screen as Thomas Banacek, a freelance investigator who solved big-money thefts and collected his fee from insurance companies (a standard 10% of the value of the insured property). It's an interesting concept, and Peppard plays the role like he's Cary Grant. It's surprising that this ‘70s mystery has languished in the vaults for so long, especially since it seems perfect for a big-screen revival. – WH
"The Paul Lynde Halloween Special"
As an artifact of the '70s variety era, this is right up there with "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour." Only on a show like this would three songs by KISS not be the absolute must-see moments, but you haven't lived ‘til you've seen Lynde's turn as Big Red, a.k.a. The Rhinestone Trucker. No, sorry, I mean you haven't lived ‘til you've seen Lynde duet with Roz "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly on "Disco Baby." (I like that funky stuff!) Oh, forget it: you haven't lived ‘til you've seen this special, period. – WH
"The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 1"
Sensitive souls should steer clear of comedian Sarah Silverman's half-hour offering on Comedy Central. It's like "Friends," but on crack. In her raunchy stand up, Silverman touches on all sorts of issues, including religion, race and sex. And like her act, the show tackles the same subjects free of any mean-spiritedness. During the first season, Sarah "tries" to be a lesbian, she takes a homeless man into her home (to prove that she's a humanitarian) and she has a sexual encounter with God. That's right – she has sex with God. When it's all said and done, Silverman simply pokes fun at the logic behind the stereotypes that divide us, and no one does it better. – John Paulsen
"Shark: The Complete First Season"
Yeah, I know, you hate to bite the hand that feeds you so many promos, but while we can see why a company might cut back on automatically sending out copies of a show's ninth or tenth season, we felt like James Woods' series got the shaft when Fox opted not to send out the entire first season of "Shark" on DVD but, rather, only the last disc of the set, i.e. the one with the special features. Hey, great, we love special features…but, y'know, we'd also heard good things about the actual series, too. Too bad we didn't get a chance to actually check it out. – WH
"Rome: Season 2"
Every week, the producers of "Rome" gave us an hour-long episode that truly resembled a major motion picture. This took savvy and creativity, but it also required a big budget, which was what ultimately doomed HBO's terrific look at the Roman Empire under the rule of Julius and Augustus Caesar. Ancient Rome was full of politicking, betrayal and sex, and the show had all three in spades. It also featured a wonderful ensemble cast, compelling storylines and authentic costumes and sets. Since it took huge leaps ahead in time, the second season felt rushed, but considering the constraints, the producers did a great job. – JP
"The Venture Bros: Season Two"
Imagine tuning in to the first few episodes of a new show, only to be mildly unimpressed. Then, imagine tuning into an episode of that very same show's second season, only to be so impressed that you promptly add it to your TiVo Season Pass and rush out to pick up the Season One DVD. Such was the experience I encountered with "The Venture Bros.," Adult Swim's latest must-see series about a pair of Hardy Boy rejects, their scientist father and his bodyguard. Overcoming just about every problem that plagued the first year of the animated series, season two is more polished and ultimately better for it. The writing is sharper, the jokes fly faster, and the two-disc set features some killer artwork that would make even Alex Ross blush. – JZ
"Planet Earth – The Complete BBC Series"
There's a lot of hyperbole that surrounds this BBC documentary series, and almost all of it is deserved. It makes those childhood nights spent with Marlin Perkins seem pretty childish indeed. If you think this isn't your cup of tea, think again and bask in this mind-blowing showcase of diverse aspects of our globe. Whether it's a night vision view of a pack of lions attacking a herd of elephants, or a claustrophobic trip through an underwater cave in Mexico, "Planet Earth" manages to deliver one spectacle after another. There are moments when you'll wonder whether what your viewing isn't some very cleverly rendered CGI. But it's not. Thank you, BBC, for reigniting my interest in places I'll probably never get to visit. – RR