If you’re on this site, then you probably have a fairly good grasp on what a hardcore fan is. The hardcore fan won’t be waiting in line for that special edition of Wild Hogs or Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The hardcore fan won’t own the Kill Bill movies because they haven’t been put back together in one film, or at least in one set the way Quentin Tarantino first imagined them. This fan also didn’t buy the first version of Avatar because it was so obvious that a super deluxe bonus feature riddled version would come later. Get the picture? If you’re one of those fans and you’re looking for a proper Blu-ray set to ring in the new year with, here are five we guarantee won’t let you down:
Battlestar Galactic was the most unlikely to succeed remake of them all. This new modern show would be a redo of a campy Wagon Train space show that didn’t survive the 70’s very well. We couldn't have known that show creator Ronald Moore would bring us a complex character driven science fiction series full of political commentary, character driven storytelling, and fascinating puzzles. No modern show has been able to comment on our times as successfully as this one and it’s not only set in the future but on a different world. The basic story is a familiar one; humans build robots for slaves, the robots gain artificial intelligence and rebel. Sounds a little like Planet of the Apes right? Well, that simple aspect of the story is but along with that, there are observations on religion and mysticism, politics on both sides of the aisle, terrorism, fame, and so much more. This is the best TV in the last 20 years second only to LOST. This box set includes the entire four season run of the show, the TV movie prequel, and the miniseries that started it all. There are tons of commentaries and featurettes to dig into the making of the show, podcasts that were recorded by Moore while the show was airing, deleted scenes, and tons more. There are two versions of this box set out there. The one with the Cylon toy is horribly packaged and doesn’t have an episode list. So I’m recommending the standard box with the episode listing.
LOST was one of the most groundbreaking television series of all time, no question. Was it perfect? No it wasn’t mostly due to some tinkering from the network. It found its way over the hump the network set it on to deliver an amazing final season and one of the greatest series finale’s of all time. LOST managed to trick the mainstream masses into watching a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid television series. That alone makes the show required viewing. LOST brought appointment viewing back to network TV with its serialized elements and outrageous cliffhangers. The set up is that a plane crashes on a mysterious island that has healing effects on the inhabitants and a very complex history. That doesn’t even begin to describe this complex character driven puzzle that featured one of the best ensemble casts on television. This set may be the most outstanding TV series presentation available. The complete set of blu-rays is packaged in sleeves presented in a plush textured box. In a larger textured box is the blu-ray set, a copy of the game that gets played often in the show, a flashlight, and tons of other little knickknacks sure to appeal to the true LOST fan.
Avatar was an extremely divisive movie among the hardcore fandom. Some fans saw the wonder of the film and fell in love with the overall experience, while other got bogged down in the film’s flaws (What was that, a bias? Yup, probably). This is the ultimate way to experience this film at home. First of all there are three different versions of the film. The theatrical and extended versions are the way to go. The third version is an offensively censored version of the film for “families”. Even with the extended cut included, the set still features 45 minutes of deleted scenes. There’s an in depth documentary on the making of the film with special focus on the motion capture, there are screen tests, visual fx reels, and voyeur style on set footage. There are 17 scenes examined from every perspective of the production process, there’s a comprehensive guide to Pandora and even a copy of the screenplay.
The set comes packaged in a book reminiscent in its construction and art design to old fantasy library books. The only hiccup in the packaging is that the discs are in envelopes on each page of the book that don’t pull all the way out. They’re meant to just pull out part way and you peel the disc out. The construction is sturdy but it could be torn by an overzealous fan.
There are some installments in this franchise that fans just hate. Alien Resurrection, written by Joss Whedon, is one of them and David Finchers' attempt in the franchise is the other. In retrospect those films, with their flaws are still extremely enjoyable films. Sigourney Weaver is great as Ripley in every one of the films and the Aliens are always badass bitches. If you just truly hate those films, then you can buy the ones you like individually, but then you lose the whole ultimate factor. These films have all been given the full blown HD treatment and they all look phenomenal but the first two obviously got the most attention. Alien got a 4 k frame-by-frame restoration and the outcome is nothing short of stunning. Detail is higher than has ever been seen before and colors, black levels, and contrast are downright perfect. The Aliens restoration was overseen by James Cameron and the result is eye popping. Detail here is also outstanding and all of the white in this movie never once blooms. With all of the tinkering that Cameron did to the film during the restoration, he smartly left us the film grain that we all love. This one is one of the top 2 or 3 restorations to HD of all time.