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The DVD boxed set

I recently watched the entire series of boxed sets of The Sopranos consumed in gigantic sittings of between four and seven episodes at a time. This was possible because a DVD boxed set has all the good things about television and none of it’s irritations.

You don’t wait a week for the next episode; there are no commercials; no trailers at the start for some other show in which you have zero interest and no trailers over the credits, interrupting your cool-down, as you take a minute to absorb, appreciate and exhale.

Often, the boxed set is beautifully packaged: something to have and handle, redolent of vinyl LPs. You can lend the set to friends and talk in-depth about it later. Take care though, not to give stuff away from season five when they are only up to four. It can damage friendships.

Okay - the extras are sometimes a waste of space. An audio commentary for instance, by the writer, telling me (as I watch the scene where an actor gets in a car) that this scene is where the actor gets in a car. Please.

Occasionally, though, these extras are superb, illuminating, such as the behind-the-scenes stuff in Planet Earth, showing us how they got those amazing shots of chimpanzees playing dominoes. Or the interviews in Band Of Brothers with the soldiers who fought in Easy Company and whose testimonies about their war will break your heart.

You can plan a huge viewing session, with ice cream or beer. The boxed set experience is a decision: a genuine feet-up, phones-off choice. It is not scheduled, like TV and it is not found by channel-surfing, which is the name given to the practice of pressing buttons on a remote in order to find something less boring.

Next up, Deadwood.


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