Christmas Boxset Gift Guide for all the Family

Christmas is the time for giving, and as the cold nights draw in, there’s no greater gift than a multi-season box set to see your loved ones through the winter long haul. Here’s what to buy for all your relatives.

For Grandparents:
Dowonton Abbey, Frozen Planet


The Abbey doesn’t require much of an introduction these days, partly in thanks to its status as one of the UK’s biggest television exports of the last decade (broadcast in over 100 countries and counting). With plot points as elaborate as the period costumes, Downton Abbey maps life on a wealthy estate combining fiction with historical events. Downton is popular with every age group, but has always scored particularly highly with the over 50s making it a fine choice for older relatives. Buy Downton Abbey Series 1-5 boxset (£49.99)

Frozen Planet, on the other hand, is a slightly better hidden gem of a documentary series centering on the Earth’s polar regions. Sir David Attenborough narrates this voyage of discovery which takes in breathtaking scenery, stark environments and, of course, the unusual local wildlife. Frozen Planet is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from £15.99


For Parents:
House of Cards, The Trip


Kevin Spacey’s original Netflix series has generated a lot of hype over its two-season run, and for good reason. Spacey stars as corrupt politician Frank Underwood, a merciless and ruthless politician who proves he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. As fans of Seven will know, Spacey is excellent at playing bone-chilling villains, and this collaboration with David Fincher doesn’t flinch from providing uncompromisingly dark storylines. Buy House of Cards Series 1 (£16.19)


For a light-hearted change of pace, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite in The Trip for culinary tours of North England and Italy. As well as capturing some truly beautiful scenery, the show combines improvised comedy, impressions and the two friends’ rivalrous bickering, and is a hilarious but poignant look at friendship, love and comedy. Buy The Trip (£9.99) 


For Siblings:
Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy

Breaking Bad hit big with “youths”, possibly thanks to its mix of black humour, references to drug culture, and Jesse Pinkman’s signature brand of idiocy. A show that ostensibly begins life as a comedy about a bumbling high-school teacher navigating an alien world of drug distribution slowly develops into a troubled, twisted drama, the last three episodes of which created a new benchmark for cinematic perfection on the small screen. Buy Breaking Bad Series 1-5 boxset (£62.99)

Sons Of Anarchy isn’t a million miles away from Breaking Bad in its premise – drugs, gangs and violence. However, it tells its story from the other side of the fence – from within the gang itself. Complex issues of family loyalty and the struggles of adjusting your moral compass to a life of brutal crime make this a bleak and affecting must-see. Buy Sons of Anarchy Series 1-5 DVD boxset (£30.00)


For Younger Relatives:
The vampire diarieS, Suburgatory


It is a universal truth that teenagers love vampires. Even more than vampires, teenagers love love stories. Therefore, The Vampire Diaries is perfect in its combining of the two. All angst and hormones, protagonist Elena finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between two vampire brothers, thus spurring a dangerous and painful rivalry that spans six seasons. Buy The Vampire Diaries Series 1 (£8.12)

On the other end of the spectrum, teen comedy Suburgatory tells the story of Tessa Altman (Jane Levy), a cynical teen forced to move from inner city New York out into the state’s sprawling suburbs. Levy’s sharp delivery, teamed with her blend of good-natured snark made this the teen hit with a heart. Buy Suburgatory Series 1 (£7.90)


For Your Partner:
The Walking Dead, Arrested Development


There are two things to consider when choosing your partner’s box set: if the series is likely to be up their street, but also if you can feasibly imagine yourself watching it too. If your partner can stomach guts and gore then The Walking Dead, with its compelling plot twists and relentless sinister action might be a good bet, but if you’re not a horror fan then nights cowering upstairs while your other half gets through its five seasons (and counting) might not appeal. Buy The Walking Dead Series 1-4 DVD Box Set (£39.99)


Arrested Development is a quick-witted cult hit that provided some of the most-quoted lines of any comedy series of the last decade, thanks in no small part to David Cross’ portrayal of eccentric psychotherapist Tobias Funke. The rip-roaring, borderline unacceptable humour is the perfect antidote to a dark and gloomy winter. Buy Arrested Development Series 1-3 DVD Box Set (£21.99)