10 home video releases to give for the holidays

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2013 at 6:55 am •  Published: December 3, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Tired of staring at your Christmas tree or flickering menorah — or at legions of rival shoppers at the mall?

Here, in no particular order, are 10 home-video releases to give or get this holiday season. All are available online (to spare you another shopping expedition) and are typically available for less than the suggested list price here:

— "'Big' 25th Anniversary Edition." (Release date Dec. 10. Fox Home Entertainment. Blu-ray and DVD combo, $19.99.) Everyone loves this 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks as a 12-year-old man-child, even now as "Big" hits its 25th birthday. Also starring Robert Loggia and Elizabeth Perkins. Directed by Penny Marshall.

— "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." (Shout Factory! All 325 episodes plus bonus features on 38 discs. $249.95.) This Norman Lear comedy was a groundbreaking spoof of a daily soap opera, presented five nights a week in 1976 and '77. Louise Lasser stars as the addled Fernwood, Ohio, suburban housewife, surrounded by a loony bin of fellow citizens including a country-singing best friend and her devoted husband (Mary Kay Place and Graham Jarvis), Fernwood's devious mayor (Dabney Coleman) and identical twins Barth and Garth Gimble (Martin Mull).

— "Futurama." (Release date Dec. 10. Fox Home Entertainment. $199.98.) Never as appreciated as Matt Groening's signature cartoon series, "The Simpsons," this time trip to New York City of the next millennium is at least as inspired, with a narrative as sprawling as the universe it lampooned. The set includes all 124 episodes, plus four feature-length adventures.

— "Cleopatra." (Fox Home Entertainment. Blu-ray, $24.99.) What can you say about this epic belly-flop whose co-stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, upstaged their legendary characters with their own headline-making hanky-panky? Can there be any doubt that this is a masterpiece of wretched excess? Now its four-hours-and-then-some grand display is available in a newly restored and re-mastered edition to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

— "'Downton Abbey' Seasons 1, 2, 3." (PBS Distribution. DVD, $89.99; Blu-ray, $99.99.) If perchance you haven't already glommed onto the first three seasons of this plush soap opera, or if you want them for your permanent drawing-room amusement, they're available just in time for the U.S. premiere of season 4 next month. Carrying the viewer from pre-war England through the storms of World War I and into the social upheaval of 1920s-era Britain, this 9-disc set has bonus videos including "Downton Abbey: The Making of" and "Behind the Drama."

— "'Doctor Who': The Complete Series 1-7." (BBC Home Entertainment. Blu-ray, $349.98.) This seemingly immortal British sci-fi series began in 1963, but here is a new collection drawn from the past decade or so (designated as seasons 1-7 — go figure), including Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, plus extras like a Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver. (Life-size police phone box, however, is not included.)