Michael Mayer


Granted a fifth series after the phenomenal sales of previous DVD box-sets, the legions of fans can now enjoy the fruits of their campaigning with the Family Guy Series 5 DVD (out October 30). Upon watching though it starts to feel like the franchise should have been left in its former glory, because it seems Seth MacFarlane et al. have run out of ideas. Instead of coherent, clever storylines and well worked jokes they resort to the characteristic random cut away’s in such regularity that the misses far outweigh the hits.  There are still some great episodes on here - PTV, Brian Goes Back to College, Griffin Family History - but when compared to the increasingly brilliant American Dad, it’s clear where the inspiration is going.

Finally the moment die hard 24 fans have been waiting for: 34 discs worth of action on 24 series 1-5 box-set (out November 6).  An extravagant Christmas present at well over £100, this will condemn many men to their couches for unhealthy stretches of time, but if you’re going to devout a weekend to any show, it might as well be Jack Bauer’s hourly counter-terrorist adventures.

For all the loving women who buy the 24 box-set for their men, get ready to wrestle the remote back, as the complete second season of Desperate Housewives arrives on DVD (out November 13).  Ably filling the lucrative market that Sex in the City left, this has all the wit, twists, and high production values of its predecessor, and to sweeten the deal for the men there’s always Eva Longoria to feast your eyes on. 

Back for a triumphant third series is one of the best British comedies of recent times: Peep Show (out November 16).  As the current series of That Mitchell and Webb Look continues to disappoint this will be welcome relief to fans of the comedy duo, here given the chance to shine with the excellent scripts and situations written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain.  The internal angst of our protagonists is only exacerbated by brilliant supporting characters like Johnson, Super Hans and the pleasant return of Big Suze driving a love wedge between Jeremy and Mark.  This well observed, brilliantly written and superbly acted comedy deserves the kind of acclaim usually reserved for lesser British comedies.

We’ve saved the best until last though, and the programme that has confirmed a long suspected fact: no one does nature documentaries better than the BBC and David Attenborough.  Planet Earth (out November 27) is the latest from the makers of Blue Planet, this time using 40 cameramen, across 200 locations, over 3 years, to put together an epic account of the worlds flora and fauna.  New technology and techniques by the camera crew have scored numerous world firsts, and create a continuous journey of genuinely awe inspiring shots throughout the first five episodes charting life in Deserts, Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, and Pole to Pole.