Ten best DVDs

Here’s a list of the 10 best DVD bets for movie and television lovers that came out in the past year. Hopefully, it will help you through the dreaded holiday-shopping tribulations.

The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition (New Line Cinema): For three years running, director Peter Jackson and crew have set the high-water mark on how to make a fantastic DVD. There are more than 50 minutes of added footage to the original film, and it’s all good. An assortment of behind-the-scenes documentaries dwarfs any DVD package currently on the market

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 (Warner Brothers): Sixty classic shorts from the likes of Bugs, Daffy and the Roadrunner, with an obscene quantity of special features to keep cartoon nuts giddy. Also available in a condensed version with fewer shorts and features.

Seinfeld, Volumes One and Two (Columbia Tri Star): Any Seinfeld fans who have burnt themselves out watching episodes getting sliced and diced in syndication will rejoice about the opportunity to see the show, uninterrupted, in its best presentation to date.

Mr. Show, The Complete Fourth Season (HBO): Creators David Cross and Bob Odenkirk went full-on nuts in their last hurrah, and no TV show before or since is funnier. Full cast commentaries on each show, and these are commentaries you will actually listen to.

SCTV: Volumes One and Two (Shout Factory): The folks at Shout Factory aren’t messing around, releasing a new volume of SCTV episodes every four months or so. While Mr. Show gets my vote for all-time funniest, SCTV remains a tremendous pioneer.

Star Wars Trilogy (Fox): At long last, Lucas ponies up DVDs on the original trilogy. Well, sort of. He’s made many changes to the films and refuses to let the original theatrical versions see the light of day. That’s a travesty. I like the changed films, but I like the originals, too, so give me both, for I am the consumer, and I crave them.

Goodfellas (Warner Brothers): The movie is good enough, but a DVD containing real-life wiseguy Henry Hill’s commentary is just unbelievable. Listening to Hill comment on the carnage in the film, saying stuff like, “Oh, I remember that!” when somebody gets stabbed or shot, is absolutely insane.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Volumes 2 and 3 (Warner Brothers): A shake, a box of french fries and a meatball basically hang out and crack wise at each other, resulting in one of the strangest cartoons ever produced. In a recent radio interview, the character Meatwad said my brother Mike’s name multiple times! We’re so proud of the little bastard.

The Monster Legacy Collection (Universal Studios): Monster-movie maniacs who thought Van Helsing blew ass can take heart in this exceptional series that boasts hefty volumes dedicated to Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Mummy.

The Marx Brothers, The Collection and The Silver Screen Collection (Warner Brothers and Universal Studios): Two studios took very nice care of Marx Brothers fans this year by releasing their films in glorious DVD splendor.