If there's one thing we can all agree on, is that there have been some truly amazing films and TV programmes this year. TV is becoming bigger and better than ever, with epics like Game of Thrones pulling in more viewers than most films at the box office. That doesn't mean that cinema is out there dying though; far from it. Comedy, action and adventure - all with a now-fashionable geek overtone - are thriving like never before, and there are so many titles from this year that you really shouldn't miss out on.
In no particular order, here are my top picks from 2016's releases that should freshen up your DVD or Blu-ray collection.
I'm the first person to admit I'm a massive geek, but one part of typical "geek culture" that I've just not been able to get on board with is the whole superhero thing. Not sure why; I just can't seem to get into a Marvel film no matter how hard I try. There has been one exception this year though: Deadpool. There's no denying that the red anti-hero is massively cool, and his first feature film is a riot from start to finish.
With some epic action scenes, hilarious comedy and unforgettable dialogue (and even a bit of romance) there's something for everybody. It's certainly one worth watching again.
Harry Potter Collection
There may have been approximately 7,452 different versions of the Harry Potter films released since the series began back in 2001, and surprise! There's yet another one for 2016. This new box set contains all eight films, complete with new box art and a ton of extras – there are 16 discs in total.
If you've already got all the films in an older box set, it's probably not worth the upgrade, but if (somehow) you're yet to own them all, this is certainly one of the better budget collections.
If you're wanting something a bit more, uh, showy, you can get this limited edition box set that comes with a replica Elder Wand. For the low, low price of £999.
Game of Thrones
Winter is coming. The one phrase that we'll all be saying every October/November for the rest of our lives (or, at least until global warming truly destroys our current seasons) and it's all thanks to this one little HBO TV programme: Game of Thrones. Ardent collectors might want to wait until the entire programme has finished before they buy any box sets so they can get some kind of Ultimate Collector's King's Landing Khaleesi Edition, but for the rest of us who can't wait: c'mon, it's the best thing on TV. We want to own that shit so we can watch it again and again to our heart's content.
If you're feeling a little flush, for £30 more than the normal season one to six box set you can get this awesome bronze Night's King statue. Anybody who buys me that for Christmas instantly gets promoted to Favourite Person of the Year.
It's not 1984 and Bill Murray is (almost) nowhere in sight, but 2016 saw the release of the reimagining of Ghostbusters. With its all-female cast. Feminists cheered; Ghostbusters fans groaned, but all things considered, the film didn't turn out all that bad.
Providing you can stomach 112 minutes of Melissa McCarthey, Ghostbusters (2016) is well worth a watch. It might not quite have the retro charm of the first, but it's a pretty good comedy to keep you company while you stuff your face full of microwavable popcorn.
Planet Earth II
David Attenborough might be 90 years old, and he might not get quite as up-close-and-personal with gorillas and stick insects as he once did, but he's still absolutely kicking arse with his unrivalled nature documentaries. The latest, Planet Earth II, might just be one of the best.
It's been 10 years since the first series of Planet Earth aired, and in that time, advances in technology allowed film crews to get to grips with nature like never before. There aren't many other places you can see a giraffe drop-kick a lioness, or bears erotically rubbing themselves on trees. Sir Dave's got it all. Planet Earth II is a must-have for any lover of nature. Or anybody mildly curious about the world they live on. Or, hell, just anybody.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I'd be lambasted if I failed to include episode VII of the world's biggest film franchise, ever. Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes 10 years after the last mainline Star Wars film, and some 32 years after episode VI, where it (kinda) picks up from.
Fear not, original trilogy fans: The Force Awakens is a modern return to form, and you can forget about that bastard Jar-Jar Binks and the other terrors of the early 00's prequel series.
Unfortunately, there's not yet a box set available containing all seven episodes, so if you want 'em all, you'll have to buy The Force Awakens separately. Don't worry though, it's worth it.
Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive
Video game fans, unite! After ten years of waiting, Final Fantasy XV is out in the wild. Aren't you happy and excited? Of course you are. That excitement needn't end with the game itself, either: Square Enix don't want to tell you all the story in just one game, so they've very kindly made this CGI film to fill in some blanks.
It's still a pretty good film, even as a standalone piece. Especially considering the cast includes Game of Thrones' Lena Heady, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, and the one and only living legend that is Sean Bean (and I can't tell you whether he dies or not; spoilers).
Red Dwarf XI
I groaned when I first heard Red Dwarf was getting brought back, starting with Red Dwarf X in 2012, and again with XI in 2016. 'It can never be the same,' I thought. 'Just leave it be.' But then I watched it, and I ate my words. Well, once I'd got over the fact that Kryten, a mechanoid, had somehow aged and been affected by the middle-age spread. Talk about ruining the suspension of disbelief.
Surprisingly, Red Dwarf XI was (almost) just as on-form as any of the classic episodes. The first episode of the series was a bit disappointing, but if you manage to get past that, you'll find the rest of them to be classic British comedy gold – and there's just not enough of that these days. Sure, it might be missing Holly and Kochansky, and the invention of high definition possibly makes the sets look that bit more tacky, but it's still the Red Dwarf we know and love. Any fan of the classic should definitely own this one.
Ash vs Evil Dead
Those damn Americans get everything better than us. Case in point: Ash vs Evil Dead premiered on US prime channel Starz back in October 2015 and we've still not had it on TV over here. Well, it was on some Virgin on-demand service after a few months, but what good is that for the millions of us that don't have Virgin? It's a real shame too, as Ash vs Evil Dead is bloody good. I had to set up a fake address in New York just so I could stream it from Amazon.com. True story. Thankfully, it's now available on DVD so you don't have to partake in any legally grey-area activities to obtain it.
Picking up with Ash some years after the events of the Evil Dead films, he's still not quite shaken off everything that comes along with meddling with the Necronomicon – but it leads to some hilarious (and utterly gory) adventures. For any fans of the classic Evil Dead trilogy, Ash vs Evil Dead is a no-brainer.
Available now on DVD
The Walking Dead
If you've been watching the latest series of The Walking Dead (series seven), then you might be disappointed with how much of a pushover ol' Rick Grimes has become. I mean, Rick, what's gotten into you? What happened to the days where you'd just go ahead and bite someone's artery out of their neck, or try to run them over 'just because'? Fear not, Walking Dead fans. Thanks to the glorious invention that is the Box Set, you can revisit Badass Rick at any time.
Much like Game of Thrones, AMC want to milk you for all your money by releasing a new box set every year. Bought series 1–5 in the January sale earlier this year? It's already out of date, sucker! Of course, if you buy series 1–6 this year, it'll be out of date come next Autumn when series seven gets released, but that is unfortunately the world we live in. At least it's not a world infested by zombies, right?
There's far too many great films, TV series and box sets to list. Here are a few more that didn't quite make the cut:
- Star Trek Beyond (available now on 4K, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD), also Star Trek triple-pack box set
- Suicide Squad (available on 5th December on 4K, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD)
- Captain America: Civil War (available now on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD), also available is Captain America 1–3 Triple Pack
- Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (available now on 4K, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD), also available with limited edition Batman or Superman statue
- Independence Day: Resurgence (available now on 4K, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD)