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Gift Buying Guide


Season’s Greetings! It is once again that time of the year when you are racking your brain, trying to figure out what to buy for those special someones (or that special magazine writer) in your life.
We here at Crimespree feel your pain and want to make things easier. Because of this, we have put together this handy Holiday Gift Guide. Contained here are some of the more interesting DVD releases that just might help the holiday buying go a little easier.

Television:

ALLY MCBEAL: The Complete Series. Before David Kelly gave the world Alan Shore and Denny Crane, he had another very successful series about quirky lawyers. Calista Flockhart starred as the title character. This set contains all five seasons as well as an addition disc containing over two hours of new extras. In addition, it comes with The Best of ALLY MCBEAL soundtrack. The MSRP is $199.98.
Buy Ally McBeal: The Complete First Season
Buy Ally McBeal: The Complete Series

FOYLE’s WAR stars Michael Kitchen stars as Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. Though unable to serve his country in the military, Foyle protects his country by going after murders, war profiteers and even the occasional terrorist. Acorn Media has released volumes one through five (spanning the entirety of WW 2) in Foyle’s War: Series 1-5 – From Dunkirk to VE-Day. This show should appeal to history buffs as well as fans of British police procedurals. This set was my first real experience with the show and I was really impressed with it. This set retails for $149.99.
Buy Foyle’s War: Set 1
Buy Foyle’s War: Series 1-5

Today, Garry Shandling is best known for THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, but back in the late 80s, he starred in IT’S GARRY SHANDLING’S SHOW. TGSS was a very odd, and very smart, comedy. Garry starred as Garry Shandling, a somewhat neurotic stand-up comedian. In addition to the regulars, the show had special appearances by Carl Reiner, Tom Petty, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase (back when that meant something) and even the (then) L.A. mayor Tom Bradley! Members of the writing staff went on to work on SEINFELD, THE SIMPSONS and NIGHT COURT. The show was a true gem. The Shout! Factory has released the complete series and has loaded it up with some damn nice features. Anyone that remembers the early days of the Fox network will be grinning from ear-to-ear with this. MSRP is $159.99 and is worth every penny!
Buy It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series

After seven amazing seasons, THE SHIELD called it quits. The show just might be the best cop drama in the history of television (I put it in the number two slot after THE WIRE) and really should be owned by any crimes fiction fan. This season see the entire series released as one set with THE SHIELD: THE COMPLETE SERIES. Michael Chiklis led an impressive cast that included appearances by Glenn Close and Forrest Whitaker. Chiklis starred as Vic Mackey, a cop with more sins on his shoulders than most small countries. THE SHIELD revels in the morally gray areas and is a tour de force. Fans of hard-boiled fiction will certainly enjoy it. This set includes all of the extras from the individual releases, but not much more. If you already have all of the individual sets, you don’t need this. If you have never paid attention to the show, now is the time to make amends. Pick this up and be prepared to have your socks knocked off. MSRP is $159.95.
Buy The Shield: Complete Series

THE UNIT lasted four seasons and managed to maintain a fairly standard of quality. The show came from Shawn Ryan (THE SHIELD) and Pulitzer winning playwright David Mamet and starred Dennis Haysbert, Scott Foley and Robert Patrick. The show focused on a top secret Special Forces group that battled terrorists around the world. THE UNIT: The Complete Gift set contains 19-discs, but no new features. Still, this show will be appreciated by fans of 24 as well as lovers of thrillers. It also retails for $199.98
Buy The Unit: The Complete Giftset

One of my all-time favorite flicks NORTH BY NORTHWEST is getting all gussied up for the holidays. Warner is releasing NORTH BY NORTHWEST: 50th Anniversary Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray. Just in case one of you is not familiar with the film (And boy do I pity you!), Cary Grant stars as a slick ad man that is mistaken for a spy and framed for murder. Alfred Hitchcock directed it and it stands as one of the greatest films ever. The edition contains some of the extras from previous releases as well as two new documentaries: The Master’s Touch: Hitchcock’s Signature Style and North by Northwest: One for the Ages. The Blu-ray also comes with a 44-page booklet containing “photos, film facts and insider information.” I would call this a must have.
Buy North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition)
Buy North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray]

Also in the “You need this to exist” is LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. The film introduced us to Natalie Portman at the tender age of 13. She, and co-star Jean Reno, kicked our asses and made this is a cult classic. It is only at cult level because too many folk are not familiar with it. If you like the crime genre, if you like good acting, if you like movies, you should own it! I mention this because Sony is offering LEON up on Blu-ray for $24.95. This is a film I could watch 100 times and never get tired of.
Buy Leon – The Professional (Deluxe Edition)
Buy Leon – The Professional (Uncut International Version)

Also coming on Blu-ray is the MEL BROOKS COLLECTION. This set comes with the HD versions of BLAZING SADDLES, HIGH ANXIETY, HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART I, ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS, SILENT MOVIE, SPACEBALLS, To Be Or Not To Be, The Twelve Chairs and Young Frankenstein. Retail is $139.99.
Buy The Mel Brooks Collection [Blu-ray]
Buy The Mel Brooks Collection (Blazing Saddles / Young Frankenstein / Silent Movie / Robin Hood: Men in Tights / To Be or Not to Be / History of the World, Part 1 / The Twelve Chairs / High Anxiety)

Anyone that knows me knows I truly cherished the films of Paul Newman. So I jumped for joy when I heard the news of THE PAUL NEWMAN TRIBUTE COLLECTION. The set contains: THE LONG, HOT SUMMER, RALLY ‘ROUND THE FLAG, BOYS!, FROM THE TERRACE, EXODUS, THE HUSTLER COLLECTOR’S EDITION, HEMINGWAY’S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN, WHAT A WAY TO GO!, HOMBRE, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID COLLECTOR’S EDITION, THE TOWERING INFERNO SPECIAL EDITION, BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS OR SITTING BULL’S HISTORY LESSON, Quintet, The Verdict Collector’s Edition. This set also comes with a 136 page photo book that is only available as part of this set.
Personally, I like the mix of this set. It has some major classics as well as some lesser known flicks. The MSRP is pretty reasonable at $89.98.
Buy Paul Newman: The Tribute Collection

Fans of the UFC have some DVDs that would make excellent gifts. Anchor Bay has recently release UFC 100: Making History on both Blu-ray ($29.97) and DVD ($19.97). UFC 100 features Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title against #1 contender Thiago Alves, as well as Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar looking for revenge against former champ Frank Mirs. In addition to those main events, TUF coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping square off. This is the first UFC event to be released on Blu-ray and it looks great! And if that is not enough to satisfy the MMA fan in your life, ULTIMATE 100 GREATEST FIGHTS features the 100 best (though there is certainly reason to debate that claim) fights in the history of the UFC. Some of these bouts are from the Spike series Ultimate Fight Nights and have not been on DVD before. This set is damn impressive and will have any fan pumped at the prospect of having it. This set is also available on both Blu-ray ($119.97) and DVD ($99.97).

2009 saw several Charlie Brown titles released: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is now available on Blu-ray! This is my all-time favorite Christmas special and is a must own for anyone that celebrates it. It comes in a combo pack with both the DVD as well as the BD. Retail is $29.99. If Blu-ray is not needed, I would suggest PEANUTS 1960s COLLECTION (A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN’S ALL-STARS, IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, YOU’RE IN LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN, HE’S YOUR DOG, CHARLIE BROWN AND IT WAS A SHORT SUMMER, CHARLIE BROWN.) and PEANUTS 1970s COLLECTION volume one (PLAY IT AGAIN, CHARLIE BROWN, YOU’RE NOT ELECTED, CHARLIE BROWN, THERE’S NO TIME FOR LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN, A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, IT’S A MYSTERY, CHARLIE BROWN AND IT’S THE EASTER BEAGLE, CHARLIE BROWN.) Each retails for $29.97.
Buy Peanuts: 1960’s Collection

My own cartoon watching experiences began in the mid 70s, but for those that were up on Saturday mornings before me: SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS 1960S VOLUME 2 and SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS 1970s VOLUME 2. 1960s FEATURES QUICK DRAW MCGRAW, THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW, THE PORKY PIG SHOW, THE WALLY GATOR SHOW (WITH LIPPY THE LION AND TOUCHE TURTLE) AND THE JETSONS. THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW (WITH BREEZLY AND SNEEZLY AND, YIPPEE, YAPPEE AND YAHOOEY), THE ROAD RUNNER SHOW, THE MAGILLA GORILLA SHOW and others that I have never heard of. 1970s enters into my own realm with THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GILLIGAN, SEA LAB 2020, AMAZING CHAN AND THE CHAN CLAN, YOGI’S GANG, THE BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER HOUR, VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS, THE TOM AND JERRY/GRAPE APE SHOW, THE BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR, INCH HIGH PRIVATE EYE AND THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN (featuring the voices of TV’s original Batman and Robin, Adam West and Burt Ward). Just typing this is bringing back memories! Each runs $26.99.
Buy Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960s Vol. 1
Buy Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960s Vol. 2
Buy Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 1
Buy Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 2

TOM AND JERRY: CHUCK JONES COLLECTION ($26.99) contains the 34 episodes that animation icon Chuck Jones produced. Honestly, this is a damn impressive collection that features some truly legendary clips.
Buy Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection

LAW AND ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT Season Four is finally out: Awesome show which just gets better and better
Buy Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Season Four
Buy Law & Order Criminal Intent – The Third Year

Gift Guide – The Books:

If you are looking for something in the printed form for the holidays we recommend if possible shopping at an independently owned bookstore. They do a great service and deserve your patronage.

Here are a few things for you to consider this holiday season for readers on your list.

Know any fans of Life on Mars? Get them a copy of THE WIT AND WISDOM OF DCI GENE HUNT from Bantam UK. This is a lovely book complied by fellow officers DC Chris Skelton and DS Ray Carling. Learn from the mast himself on such topics as Birthdays, booze, kids, London, movie old people and lots of other topical subjects. A perfect example? “I always drink in moderation. I’m not an idiot, once I’m unconscious it’s time to stop.” DCI Hunt on Booze. This is a great stocking stuffer.
Looking for straight up crime fiction and mystery to give to friends and family?

Hard Case Crime is a perfect gift in this economy. Paperbacks all Hard Case Crime is putting out wonderful book. Some of the more recent include: THE CORPSE WORE PASTIES by Jonny Porkpie, HONEY IN HIS MOUTH by Lester Dent (Yes, THAT Lester Dent), LOSERS LIVE LONGER by Russell Atwood, and QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE by the always great Max Allan Collins.
Buy The Corpse Wore Pasties
Buy Honey in his Mouth
Buy Quarry in the Middle by Max Allan Collins

Just out from Bantam, BRYANT & MAY ON THE LOOSE by Christopher Fowler features the Peculiar Crimes Unit and is funny, clever and sublimely ingenious.
Buy Bryant & May on the Loose: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Looking for something that needs appeal for non readers? How about Al Roker’s new book, THE MORNING SHOW MURDERS co written with Dick Lochte? It’s Roker’s first novel, and given his love for the genre it’s sure to please.
Buy The Morning Show Murders

Susan Kandel has a series featuring Cece Caruso and Cece is a biographer of mystery writers. She is also a part time sleuth. This series is loads of fun and something any fan of the genre should love. The latest is DIAL H FOR HITCHCOCK.
Buy Dial H for Hitchcock
Buy Not a Girl Detective
Buy I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason
Buy Christietown
Buy Shamus in the Green Room

There are certain authors who are just consistently damn good. Ruth Rendell and Reginald Hill both fall into this category. They both have new books out which and reader would love to unwrap. Rendell’s latest is THE MONSTER IN THE BOX and Hill’s latest is MIDNIGHT FUGUE. You can’t go wrong with the classics.
Buy The Monster in the Box: An Inspector Wexford Novel
Buy Midnight Fugue: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery

You say your loved ones like thrillers and espionage? How about Allan Folsom’s THE HADRIAN MEMORANDUM. Former LA cop moves to England to live a quiet life, but things out of his control ensnare him in a global crisis. Another page turner for thriller fans is 9800 SAVAGE ROAD by M.E. Harrigan, a fictional account of days leading up to 911 that has a murder taking place within the national Security Agency. Fast paced and spooky in its clarity. One more thriller to consider is Michelle Gagnon’s THE GATEKEEPER. A killing and a kidnapping are just the beginnings of a horrible plot and this book will be a one sitting read.
Buy The Hadrian Memorandum
Buy 9800 Savage Road: A Novel of the National Security Agency
Buy The Gatekeeper

Fans of Mark Billingham can share the love this holiday season with either the US release of DEATH MESSAGE or the UK release of BLOODLINE. Both are novels featuring DI Tom Thorne, Billingham’s detective is perfect for people who love great crime fiction.
Buy Death Message
Buy In the Dark by Mark Billingham

If you have people on your list who prefer things a bit darker Allan Guthrie’s SLAMMER might be just the thing. It’s a bit of a fictional punch in the gut followed by a beer.
Buy Allan Guthrie’s SLAMMER

A great nonfiction book that would be a great gift is DETECTIVES DON’T WEAR SEAT BELTS by Cici McNair. A memoir that is tagged as “ True adventures of a female PI”. Fiction is great, but damn, this book is the real deal and it’s engrossing and wonderful.
Buy Detectives Don’t Wear Seat Belts: True Adventures of a Female P.I.

Sometimes the holidays call for something a bit twisted and dark, and if that’s the case then Cody McFadyen’s ABANDONED is the book you are looking for. A serial killer book that will keep you up late enough to ring in the New Year.
Buy Abandoned: A Thriller

Young adults in the house? Buy them THE GATES by John Connolly. Or some of the wonderful YA books by Chris Grabbenstien.
Buy The Gates: A Novel

Comics:

From Vertigo comics, FABLES DELUXE EDITION VOLUME 1. This is a great series and we’ve praised more than a few times here at Crimespree. This deluxe edition is an oversized hardcover coming in at 264 pages featuring the first ten issues of the amazing series. Awesome art and Bill Willingham has done an amazing thing with the classic characters for our childhoods. “Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. When Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it’s up to Fabletown’s sheriff, the reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to find the killer.” Ruth can’t say enough good things about this book.
Buy Fables Deluxe Edition Vol. 1

Volumes 1 and 2 of WONDERMARK would make a great gift for anyone with a sense of humor. These volumes are made up of individual comic strip using 19th century engravings for art with modern gags. Outrageously hysterical. Published by Dark Horse Comics.
Buy Wondermark: Beards of our Forefathers (Collection of Wondermark Comic Strips)
Buy Wondermark: Clever Tricks To Stave Off Death

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS from DC Comics is perfect for any old school comics fan. The story is ambitious and you don’t need to be caught up in continuity to enjoy it. The Legion of super heroes is under attack and they call on two other legions from parallel earths to help them battle the Legion of Super Villains led by an extremely evil Superboy Prime. Massive action and a wonderful story incorporating legion lore from decades of stories. Geoff Johns has surpassed himself in writing this and George Perez is at the top of his game on the art. Jon’s inner 12 year old fanboy was hyperventilating while he read this.
Buy Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds HC
And also:
Buy Final Crisis

Just in time, DC COMICS SHOWCASE PRESENTS has released THE HOUSE OF SECRETS, Volumes 1 & 2. Cain and Abel are your narrators. The pair introduced many of us to the world of Horror Comics long ago. HOUSE OF SECRETS delves into everything creepy, scary and weird. You’ll find werewolves and ghosts, evil stepmothers & talk of Doomsday. With many of the greatest artists and writers of its time contributing to this magnificent macabre, HOUSE OF SECRETS is as timeless as THE TWILIGHT ZONE and a great intro to the world of comics for anyone who likes their tales on the dark side. Give this inspired piece of Americana to someone you love for Christmas. It will curdle their toes. There are also a lot of other Showcase titles to choose from all priced to fit any budget. Look for the Warlord and Elclipso books out now as well.
Buy Showcase Presents: House of Secrets, Vol. 1
Buy Showcase Presents: House of Secrets Vol. 2

Looking for crime fiction comics? Five volumes of Scalped are out by Jason Aaron. From the description at Vertigo’s website: “Fifteen years ago, Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he’s come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucs, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on “The Rez” — short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action?”
This is an awesome hardboiled and dark crime fiction series. If you know anybody who thinks Scarface and The Godfather are holiday movies, hook them up with SCALPED.
Buy Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country
Buy Scalped Vol. 2: Casino Boogie
Buy Scalped, Vol. 3: Dead Mothers
Buy Scalped Vol. 4: The Gravel in Your Guts
Buy Scalped Vol. 5: High Lonesome

Vertigo Crime also has their first two books out, FILTHY RICH by Brian Azzarello and Dark ENTRIES by Ian Rankin, both of these should make any comics loving crime fiction fan happy.
Buy Filthy Rich
Buy Dark Entries

Another really cool title with politics and intrigue: Ex Machina, now in deluxe editions.
Buy Ex Machina, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)
Buy Ex Machina Deluxe Book Two

Duane Swierczynski has been doing some cool comics. Check out Iron Fist.
Buy Immortal Iron Fist Volume 5: Escape From The Eighth City TPB
Buy Immortal Iron Fist Volume 4: The Mortal Iron Fist TPB

The last title up is TOM STRONG: DELUXE EDITION Vol. 1, a creation of Alan Moore this series harkens back to the days before heroes were all dark and brooding. Tom Strong is a science hero, raised by his parents in a special environment on an island to be stronger and smarter than your average man. Kind of like Doc Savage and early Superman, Tom is one of the true good guys, fighting evil and keeping earth safe. The art is bright and colorful and the stories truly inspired. Perfect for comics fans of all ages.
Buy Tom Strong Deluxe Edition Vol. 1

Misc:

Dark Horse comics has a Bruce Campbell 12” action figure. It comes with a guns, booze, and miniature angel and devil for his shoulders. Fans of Burn Notice, and fans of Bruce will love this.
Buy Bruce Campbell 12 inch Action Figure

Looking for something to keep books from tipping over? Check out www.justbookends.com/. A whole website full of nothing but bookends!

We’ll have more ideas in a few days!
Happy Holidays!