Father’s Day arrives on Sunday, and here are a few last-minute gift suggestions for the binge-watching dad who loves devouring an episodic series in his entertainment man cave.
Vikings: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, not rated, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 3,786 minutes, $139.99) — For six epic seasons between 2013 and 2020, the History Channel offered viewers a bloody, violent look at the battles, traditions and religious lore tied to a group of pagan barbarians as they attempted to conquer parts of Europe and Britain.
Adapted from tales of real-life Norsemen, the branching story covers the emergence of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his family as farmers in Kattegat to become kings and queens of the tribes while further exploring their legacy.
All 89 episodes are contained on 27 Blu-ray discs that also introduce viewers to legends such as Ragnar’s first wife, the shieldmaiden turned queen Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick); sons Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) and Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen); his conniving brother Rollo (Clive Standen); boatbuilder, philosopher Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård); and leaders including King Ecbert of Wessex (Linus Roache), Emperor Charles of West Francia (Lothaire Bluteau) and the ferocious Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).
“Vikings” is a show that dads will rip through like an open-pit roasted leg of lamb as they watch the most primal of warriors survive, live and love within a world of hostility and gods.
Notable extras: First, viewers get extended versions of all of the episodes adding more graphic content.
Next, spread out over the discs are more than two dozen featurettes that cover the show and dive into the history of Vikings.
Better yet, multiple chart-like interactives are available to explore Viking mythology, traditions and culture as well as key characters.
Finally, look to 14 optional commentary tracks with series creator Michael Hirst, and various historical consultants and cast members to go deeper into the Viking world.
The Boys: Seasons 1 and 2 Collection (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, rated: TV-MA, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 968 minutes, $45.99) — Amazon Prime’s popular live-action adaptation of writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson’s comic book series arrives on six Blu-ray discs and offers a perfect gift for fans not ready to pay out for a monthly streaming service.
Offering the first 16 episodes of the series, the collection introduces viewers to an elite group of vigilantes nicknamed the Boys targeting a corrupt, corporate-run, expertly marketed superhero team referred to as the Seven.
Often abusing their powers and taking advantage of the public’s adoration, no matter the collateral damage, these superpowered individuals such as Superman-like Homelander (Anthony Starr), Flash-like A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and Aquaman-archetype The Deep (Chance Crawford) have replaced truth, justice and saving innocents with greed, deception and murder.
The Boys, led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and revenge-seeking tech expert Hugh Campbell (Jack Quaid) have found ways through blackmail, infiltration into the Seven and outright assassination to try and stop them from controlling the geopolitical landscapes.
The show often delivers sheer entertainment value through gratuitous violence and gore while drenched in cynicism but never stops fascinating through plotlines that dive into the politics of managing individuals with the powers of gods and analyzing the grayest of lines between good and evil.
Notable extras: Viewers only get roughly 35 minutes of deleted scenes and a five-minute story about Butcher.
Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1 to 5 (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated: TV-MA, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 1,142 minutes, $89.99) — That’s right Mr. Meeseeks, five seasons worth of the most cerebral as well as gassiest and guttural type of animated comedy to ever defile Cartoon Network’s screens arrives in a five-disc Blu-ray set packed with extras and gut-busting laughs.
Viewers dive into 52 episodes of sci-fi fueled, pop-culture drenched, interdimensional space travel shenanigans concocted by lunatics Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon since 2013.
The show focuses on the adventures of the brilliant and crotchety alcoholic inventor and scientist Rick Sanchez (Doc Brown with a permanent hangover) exploring many a universe and dimension with his 14-year-old grandson, the perpetually petrified Morty.
Complicating his plan to dominate all space and time, he lives on Earth with his daughter Beth, a worthless son-in-law Jerry and feisty granddaughter Summer as they always seem to get into the middle of messing up his myriad of missions.
Blending the brilliant with the sophomoric, “Rick and Morty” won’t disappoint mature gift receivers looking for something very, very different in the world of animated absurdity.
Notable extras: Culled from all of the previously released season sets, the collection includes audio commentaries with mainly the creators for the first three seasons (though Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson actually discuss the first episode of Season Three (“The Rickshank Rickdemption”).
Additionally, most seasons (two to five) offer short, behind-the-scenes vignettes on all episodes and some dozen featurettes covering the production of the show and its challenges.
Magnum P.I.: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment, not rated: TV-PG, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 7,813 minutes, $179.99) — The show that turned Tom Selleck into a pop culture icon debuts in the high definition format to give dads a potent dose of 1980s nostalgia.
The adventures of private investigator Thomas Magnum and his eclectic friends such as local helicopter charter owner Theodore “T.C.” Calvin (Roger E. Mosley) and local bar keep Orville Wilbur Richard “Rick” Wright (Larry Manetti), and associates were chronicled on the CBS network from 1980 to 1988.
Living on the exclusive Hawaiian estate of wealthy author Robin Masters with prickly caretaker Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman) and his two Dobermans Zeus and Apollo, Magnum acts as the grounds security expert while living in the guest house and taking freelance gigs ranging from finding missing persons to being a personal bodyguard to solving murders and taking down drug lords.
“Magnum P.I.” also featured some of the most famous or soon-to-be-famous guest stars in Hollywood including Frank Sinatra, Carol Burnett, Sharon Stone, Pat Morita, Carol Channing, Ernest Borgnine, Ted Danson and Angela Lansbury (as her “Murder She Wrote” character Jessica Fletcher).
The set offers all eight seasons of the show, 162 episodes, spread over 30 Blu-ray discs.
Notable extras: Viewers get an eclectic mix of bonus content beginning with optional commentary tracks for the episodes “Pleasure Principle” and “Legend of the Lost Art” with writer Jay Huguely and the final episode of the show “Resolutions Pt. 2” with actor Charles Floyd Johnson.
Next, the extras offer a 30-minute look at television in the 1980s, and interviews (averaging 11 minutes each) with Magnum alums writer Chris Abbott, director Reuben Leder, actress Deborah Pratt and composer Mike Post.
Also, and as a nice finish to the set, viewers get the two episodes in which Mr. Selleck appeared with Jim Garner on the “Rockford Files.” In each — “White on White and Nearly Perfect” and “Nice Guys Finish Dead” — the future Magnum star played the rich and flawless private investigator Lance White.