Whole TV series coming to DVD in pricey boxed sets

Several notable TV series are going out with a bang on DVD this holiday season, as home video marketers cap successful rollouts of season sets with pricey collections containing the entire series.

One of the most highly anticipated releases is Warner Home Video's Friends: The Complete Series Collection, which includes all 236 episodes from the sitcom's 10 seasons. The huge boxed set, accompanied by a 60-page commemorative book and retailing at $299.98, hits stores November 14. That's one day shy of a year after the studio released Season 10.

Warner also is releasing The West Wing: The Complete Series on DVD on November 7, the same day the studio is issuing the seventh and final complete-season set of the series. The big boxed set, also priced at $299.98, features all 154 episodes on 45 DVDs, along with all the bonus features from the regular season sets plus the original pilot script and an introduction by series creator Aaron Sorkin.

Warner research found "strong consumer interest for 'complete season' DVD collections," said Jeff Brown, the studio's senior vp and general manager of TV and franchise.

Not to be outdone, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is wrapping up its series of "complete season" sets of M*A*S*H with a 36-disc boxed set that contains all 11 seasons, the MASH film, and two bonus discs of never-before-seen extras, including a trivia game, a featurette on the show's fan base, and a 30th anniversary reunion of cast and crew. The Martinis and Medicine Collection is due November 7 at a suggested retail price of $199.98; season 11 comes out individually the same day.

A&E; Home Video, too, is following its June 2005 release of the seventh and final season of Homicide with Homicide: Life on the Street: The Complete Series. The package, due November 7 at $299.95, includes all 122 episodes on 35 DVDs, presented in limited-edition "file cabinet" packaging. A bonus disc will include several Law & Order crossover episodes--which have never been released on DVD--and Homicide: The Movie.

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