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The Extreme Shopping Guide for March 2004

Well, our Holiday Guides were so effective and so popular, that we figured we should do some more of these things. Therefore, welcome to the first of our Extreme Non-Holiday Shopping Guides. Because, let’s face it, you have to buy stuff for people all the year round. And just like coffee, we’ll always be there for you.

So above and beyond simple Recommendations comes…The Extreme Shopping Guide. Go to, go to.

Give the Gift of Tooned Up Bewitched…

Bewitched Tooned-Up Maquette

We’re no strangers to Bewitched–hell we DreamCast it a while back and did a better job than the studios…of course. But check out Electric Tiki Design. You have access to professional animators and you have classic television licenses. A run-in between peanut butter and chocolate and you have two great tastes that taste great together: the “Tooned Up” Television line of maquettes. Here’s an example: the Tracy M. Lee designed versions of Samantha (in her mortal wear) and her “dapper doppelganger,” Serena. Each maquette is limited to 1500 pieces and one in six of the Serenas gets the green outfit you see here. So if you know somebody who loves classic television or this show in particular, this is a no-brainer. Click the image up top to go to Electric Tiki’s site and buy–you can even get both maquettes as a set. Now let’s just hope they come out with Dr. Bombay soon.

Give the Gift of Futurama…

Futurama, Vol. 1 DVD cover art
Futurama, Vol. 2 DVD cover art
Futurama, Vol. 3 DVD cover art

Fox does animation on DVD right and this sci-fi comedy take on Buck Rogers is no exception. Each set comes with the complete season and commentary on every single freaking episode. Impressive. But that’s not where the features end–you’ve got deleted scenes, storyboards, easter eggs, animatics, still galleries, concept art, and more. Any of these would make a great addition for a Matt Groening fan on your list–the comedy is choice and the discs are positively stacked.

Give the Gift of The Simpsons…

Simpsons Cafeteria playset

Brandine Simpsons figure Manjula Simpsons figure

[ad#longpost]The latest series of Simpsons figures from Playmates Toys is something to consider for the fan on your shopping list. For one thing, the price is very reasonable–we’re talking eight bucks a shot for, for example, either the Brandine or Manjula action figures. You can snag the entire series run from Amazon for thirty-five bucks by clicking here. For the full array of figures in Series 15, you can check out our two-part review here and here. And of course their playset/environments are choice as well, as this time around we get the Power Plant Cafeteria, complete with exclusive Frank Grimes figure and the ability for certain figures to “speak their mind” when placed into the environment. Like we said, if you know a Simpsons fan you must purchase for, grab these before they disappear.

Give the Gift of Karen Armstrong…

Battle for God audiobook cover art
History of God audiobook cover art
Jerusalem audiobook cover art
The Spiral Staircase audiobook cover art

A former nun, Karen Armstrong, made her vows at age seventeen and gave them up seven years later. Now she continues her quest for spirituality in different ways, looking at how the concept of “God” and religion are both shaped and used by the three major monotheistic belief systems, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In these books (here offered in CD audiobook form by Harper Audio), she covers the back story for the Big Three, covers the continuing rise of dangerous fundamentalism, looks at the city that all Three call home and what the tug of war for that locale has done, and finally her own spiritual journey. If you’re interested in an honest and iconoclastic look at three of the big mythoi on the planet, these are definitely worth giving.

Updated! Gimme That Tasty, Tasty Zombie Goodness…

Night of the Living Dead Millennium Edition DVD cover art
Dawn of the Dead DVD cover art
Day of the Dead DVD cover art
Re-Animator DVD cover art
28 Days Later DVD cover art

First up, is, of course, the Romero trilogy. Because nothing says “I love you” anytime of the year like Romero zombie horror. Of course, first out of the starting gate is Elite’s Millennium Edition of Night of the Living Dead, which is so stacked with extras it’s just flat out ridiculous. But, of course, you’re not going to have time for those–because you finish with the first film and you move on to Part Two, Dawn of the Dead. Currently Anchor Bay has the best version on DVD with its new Divimax edition, so you’ll want to snag that (my personal favorite of the trilogy) before moving on to Day of the Dead— the third and so far final installment in Romero’s series, comes with two commentaries, a new docu, half an hour of production footage, and the original screenplay among other things. Get it and enjoy, because they’ll have remade it too before we ever get the damn Twilight of the Dead we were promised. I’m not bitter. Then the next one up is Re-Animator, also in an Elite Millennium Edition two-disc mondo set. And lastly, we’ve got Boyle’s zombie entry, 28 Days Later, which is the best zombie flick we’ve had since 1985. How sad is that? Go and partake and be grateful.

Give the Gift of Miyazaki…

Miyazaki 3 Pack DVD cover art
Princess Mononoke DVD cover art
Spirited Away, Vol. 1 cover art
Spirited Away, Vol. 2 cover art
Spirited Away, Vol. 3 cover art
Spirited Away, Vol. 4 cover art
Spirited Away, Vol. 5 cover art

Of course, you already know this: but Hayao Miyazaki is a god of animation. His stuff consistently trounces the American highest grossing box office hits when they deign to hit Japan. Spirited Away, for example, is, as far as I know, still the #1 box office hit of all time over there. If you need to acquaint a friend, grab that or buy the three-pack of Buena Vista releases. Each individual title comes with an intro by Pixar‘s John Lasseter, a voice talent featurette, and some come with trailers, storyboards, making of docus. Get them and Princess Mononoke now, because more are due out later this year. Or if you and your gifting targets are already covered up in Miyazaki DVDs, check out Viz–they’ve got five volumes of Miyazaki manga goodness–in the original right-to-left Japanese format. These mini-books are a great idea for the fan of Miyazaki’s artwork that would like a more portable way to enjoy
the great still shots each panel gives. Definitely worthwhile.

Updated! Give the Gift of More Trek…

Paramount is continuing its assault on your pocketbook with Trek–so there’s plenty to get for the strange people with pointy ears on your list. Keeping your financial integrity but yet not sacrificing quality, you can aim for the films themselves. Granted, you probably can’t go hog wild with the entire nine disc Motion Pictures Collection, but the recent special editions of both Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock are worthy considerations for giftage. Big as hell, the completed run of Next Generation collections are pricey–but hey, for the red shirted on your list, why not? Although, if you only have the coin to buy one, the consensus around here is go for the fourth season. Now that Deep Space Nine is completed as well, if you must pick one to throw at somebody, we’re going to say again–go for the fourth season.