Great geeky Christmas DVDs, Blu-rays and boxsets
Plonk your favourite geek in front of the TV this Christmas with our pick of the best TV series and films on DVD and Blu-ray.
If you're looking for a movie or boxset as a gift for someone of a geeky persuasion, you're in luck -- 2012 was a bumper year for film and TV geekdom.
There were hugely anticipated superhero and sci-fi releases at the cinema, while classic geeky TV shows continued to go from strength to strength. I've rounded up the best of them available on DVD and Blu-ray, just in time to add to your Christmas shopping list.
on Blu-ray from Play.
Alien prequel Prometheus was one of the most geekily anticipated films of the year, not least because it saw the return of Ridley Scott as director. It's not on a par with the original flick, but there's still plenty to like about it, including truckloads of suspense and the brilliantly creepy android David, played to perfection by Michael Fassbender. It's best watched in 3D for the gorefest operation scene.
Avatar 3D & 2D
on Blu-ray (with DVD) from Play.
Avatar has been out for ages on Blu-ray, but the original release was 2D-only because Panasonic had cheekily snapped up exclusive rights to bundle the 3D version with its TVs and Blu-ray players. Now, James Cameron has finally allowed the 3D version to go on mass release. The movie might be far too long and the script is total nonsense, but the 3D effects are amazing and the stunning beauty of the Pandora moon is very seductive.
Breaking Bad: Complete seasons 1-4
on DVD from Amazon.
It's a terrible name for a show, but Breaking Bad is one of the best TV series of the last decade. It follows a chemistry teacher, who is diagnosed with cancer and starts cooking crystal meth in order to secure his family's financial future. With brilliant writing, the script effortlessly flips between moments of comedic genius and terrifying darkness within the blink of an eye. The acting is superb and the soundtrack is great too. This DVD boxset gives newbies a chance to catch up on the first four seasons and is moderately priced.
The Walking Dead: The complete second season
on Blu-ray from Amazon.
HBO used to be the network to watch for brilliant new US shows, but AMC is coming up fast on its tail with classic series such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and now into its third season, The Walking Dead. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, it's focused on a varied group of survivors who are living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. All you need to know is that the second season is a corker and it's got Egg from This Life talking in an American accent, blowing the heads off zombies with a shotgun.
Dexter: The sixth season
on Blu-ray from Play.
Is it possible to sympathise with a serial killer? Yes, is the answer if you're a fan of Dexter. The central character is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, who also happens to be a serial killer in his spare time. What raises your sympathies for him is that he's a serial killer with a conscience, only knocking off bad guys who deserve to die. Yes, it's all very morally dubious, but dark humour is threaded through the show, making it fun to watch, despite the morbid subject matter. Season six is the latest available on Blu-ray.
The Raid: Redemption
on Blu-ray from Sainsbury's.
An Indonesian martial arts action movie written and directed by a Welsh bloke? It sounds nuts, but even that's not enough to prepare you for the madness that is The Raid. The story centres on a SWAT team that becomes trapped in a slum apartment block after a planned raid on a local crime lord goes wrong. It's full of tense stand-offs, great martial arts and bombastic firefights as the team moves from floor to floor in a bid to beat the bad guys and escape the building alive.
on Blu-ray from Tesco.
Adapted from a novel by Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø, Headhunters mixes dark humour and frantic action to create a stunning film that moves at breakneck speed, but is at times laugh-out-loud funny. It's about a highly paid recruitment agent with a sideline as an art thief, which he does to keep his high-maintenance wife living in the luxury he thinks she desires. Events take a turn for the twisty when he steals a painting from the wrong person.
Red Dwarf X
on Blu-ray from Amazon.
is the first full series of the show since 1999. As you'd expect, the old faces return including Lister, Rimmer, the Cat and Kryten and the plot lines are just as bonkers as ever. They range from Rimmer trying to pass the officer exam that's he's failed nine times to impress his more successful brother, and attempts to create an 8V battery from lemons. The DVD and Blu-ray of the series will be released on 19 November.
Chronicle: Extended edition
on Blu-ray from Play.
In many ways, Chronicle is a superhero movie without the super-budget, but it's all the better for it. Instead of relying on effects to carry it along, it's driven by a quality script that revolves around three school friends making an incredible discovery underground while attending a party and then developing super-powers. However, their new skills prove difficult to cope with and the bond between them comes under threat as they struggle to control their darker sides.
The Big Bang Theory: The complete fifth season
on DVD from Tesco.
The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom centering on four geeky guys and one normal girl, with the contrast between them richly mined for comedic effect. Two of the guys are physicists, one is an aerospace engineer and the other is an astrophysicist, while the girl is a waitress and aspiring actress. There are a lot of geeky science-related jokes and these are mixed in with liberal references to sci-fi, fantasy and comic books.
Avengers Assemble 3D & 2D
on Blu-ray from Zavvi.
Some day the world may tire of superhero movies, but Avengers Assemble proves we're still some way off this because it was the highest grossing film of the year. It teams up all of Marvel's big superhero characters to fight against an unexpected enemy that threatens global safety. It doesn't stray too far from the standard comic book movie template, but there's enough knowing jokiness worked into the script to make it an entertaining ride.
The Dark Knight Rises
Price: £15 on Blu-ray from Amazon.
With Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan created instant classics, so the pressure was on to deliver big time with the The Dark Knight Rises. Thankfully, he did indeed rise to the challenge, producing a movie that's bombastic from start to finish, has brilliant performances from Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway, and a slick script that makes even the slightly hackneyed race-against-time ending seem relatively fresh. It's a satisfying wrap-up to a magnificent trilogy.
Price: £5.99 per month.
A Netflix subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. It provides users with access to a huge library of movies and TV shows that are streamed to you, so you don't have to wait for a movie to download before you can start watching it. Streams are available in HD and one of the great things about the service is that it works across a pretty broad range of devices, from smart TVs and games consoles to mobile phones. Plus, if you start watching a movie on one device and then transfer to another, it'll resume exactly where you left off on the previous device. Neat.