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The Top 10 TV Gifts of 2017

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The Top 10 TV Gifts of 2017

Just in time for Cyber Monday, the TV buffs at Paste have a short-and-sweet guide to the best gifts for the TV lover in your life—Trekkies, Clone Clubbers, Breaking Baddies and more. From toys and puzzles to apparel and must-have boxed sets, this list offers a range of items and price points, so if you’re still stumped about what to get this season, take a gander. We’re sure you’ll find something worth snapping up, even if it’s to (in Parks and Rec parlance) Treat. Yo. Self.

1. Star Trek Mirror Universe Tribble (Quantum Mechanix, $9.95)

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When it comes to my filmed entertainment, I’m a pretty omnivorous fella. I’m just as happy watching a nature documentary series as I am watching The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or John Jakes’ The Bastard . Well, maybe I am a little happier watching Buffy... but I digress. The Star Trek: TOS episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” was always one of my favorites, and longtime Paste TV Hall of Fame geektacular vendor Quantum Mechanix has recently released the second-best plush we’ve ever covered in this guide: a Mirror Universe Tribble. Not satisfied with quadrotriticale, these little bastards pretty much snap at everything in sight (despite having no discernable eyes)—except Klingons, of course. Ok, it’s not canon, but at least it’s not the Kelvin timeline! —Mark Rabinowitz

2. Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion by Alan Sepinwall (Harry N. Abrams, $18)

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Any fan of Alan Sepinwall’s writing knows the Uproxx TV critic is a witty, funny, insightful, and verbose TV watcher. He loves TV just as much as we do, and his writing is compulsively readable. Honestly, I like reading what he has to say even about shows I don’t watch. His latest book, Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion, is a must-read for any Walter White fan in your life. The book, which comes with a terrific introduction from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, breaks down the series episode by episode. Even if you read his reviews of the AMC drama when they were originally posted, here, like any great artist, Sepinwall has polished and perfected his writing. With more time to reflect on an episode and, in a one case, having the benefit of not being hospitalized with a burst appendix, his writing is even more discerning, more robust. And if you haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet and want to, give this book as a gift to yourself. The book travels through the series spoiler free. After you’re done reading, it will be clear that Sepinwall is the TV critic who knocks. —Amy Amatangelo

3. Grimm: The Complete Collection (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, $104.96)

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To be honest, if you added up every show that I called “one of my five favorites of the past 10 years” or some variation thereof, you’d likely end up with 10 to 15 series, but yeah, Grimm would be on that list. It was that rare successful mix of fantasy and horror that pretty much hit on all cylinders from start to finish, avoiding both the “limp across the finish line” final season and the dreaded “Oh my God, we’re canceled, we need to wrap everything up, now!” syndrome. Creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf whipped up a compelling and original world, by using (mostly) existing fairy tales and myths as source material and then bringing these Old World stories into the 21st century. Then again, It’s not like Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eureka, Angel) and Kouf (Angel, Ghost Whisperer) were beginners! It was at times terrifying, often exhilarating and surprisingly romantic (Rosalee and Monroe were adorable, but I was team Nadalind, all the way). What will us Grimmsters do without it? I guess buy this set. —Mark Rabinowitz

4. Orphan Black: The Complete Series (BBC America, $89.56)

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  Orphan Black is one of the most original and compelling series, sci-fi or otherwise, of the past decade, and Tatiana Maslany’s performance(s) rightfully garnered her multiple (Ha! Get it?) awards, including a 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Like Buffy before it, Orphan Black was a female-driven show that developed a strong fan base that relished the opportunity to bring newbies into the fold, thus growing the audience. While the set doesn’t contain any video extras that the individual sets didn’t already have, it does have a nifty (and exclusive to this release) 64-page booklet, “Orphan Black Classified Clone Reports by Dr. Delphine Cormier,” and presents the Clone Club with the opportunity to spread the word! —Mark Rabinowitz

5. Westworld and Silicon Valley Funko Pop! Figures (HBO Store, prices vary)

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Is it just me, or are the folks over at Funko getting even better at designing these adorable, mouthless hunks of vinyl? Don’t get me wrong, we here at Paste have long been fans of the Pop! phenomenon, but they really nailed Dinesh’s irritated bemusement, Gilfoyle’s utter contempt, and poor, psychotic Jared’s utter helplessness, all without the benefit of mouths. And Westworld’s Bernard’s bi-focals are actually halfway down his nose! The real genius touch, however, is that while Erlich’s half-lidded stoner look isn’t all that hard to do, they actually managed to give a bloodshot eye effect to a figure that has only giant, black pupils. Now that’s some skill. —Mark Rabinowitz

6. BritBox (BritBox.com, $6.99/month)

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It seems like every other week a new streaming service pops up. By my count there are currently 4,347 of them, and to be honest, not all are worth the shekels they’re asking for. If you’re a fan of British TV, however, BritBox most decidedly is, and not just for classic shows like Blackadder (squee!), Fawlty Towers or AbFab, either. For the low low price of $7 a month, you could be tucking into the very latest episodes of ever-lasting British soaps like Coronation Street or Eastenders, new episodes of cult classic Red Dwarf (not to mention all previous 11 seasons), and Ned Stark himself (Sean Bean) starring in the highly regarded new series, Broken. If that all wasn’t enough, the service recently inked a deal with Australia’s Freemantle Media to bring their programming to the service, including the comedy game show Qi and the recent fantasy hit, Merlin. Oh, did I forget to mention that all existing classic Doctor Who episodes currently reside on BritBox? A joint partnership between British broadcasters BBC and ITV, BritBox combines very nicely with last year’s Top 10 entry Acorn TV for the Anglophile in your life. Now if they could only, between the two of them, bring us Paul Abbot’s exceptional 1997 miniseries Reckless and 1998’s Reckless: The Sequel, I could die happy. —Mark Rabinowitz

7. Game of Thrones “Long May She Reign” Puzzle (HBO Store, $19.99)

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When it comes to Game of Thrones, HBO keeps putting out merch. And why wouldn’t they? If Cersei had a Westerosi cash cow like this, she wouldn’t have to borrow from the Iron Bank of Braavos. OK, maybe I’m stretching the metaphor a bit, but the bottom line is we keep buying stuff, so they keep making it—and, to be honest, a lot of what they put out is pretty cool. Sure, there are the obvious hoodies and replica swords but then you have legitimate works of art, like this puzzle made from the Season Six, episode 10 entry of artist Robert Ball’s amazing Beautiful Death series. Assuming you’re able to finish this 1,000 piece puzzle, you might consider framing it. —Mark Rabinowitz

8. The Art of Rick and Morty and Steven Universe: Art & Origins (Dark Horse Comics, $35.99 / Abrams Books, $29.95)

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When it comes to the Stages of Gift Giving for TV Fandom, the “art of…” book represents a more mature phase. In general, it’s a gift for the established fan, the fan who is likely already well on his or her way to accumulating the Blu-ray season compilations, the clothing merch, the Pop! figures, etc. Still, for those fans, such books can represent a perfect gift—the item that they might not get for themselves, but which they love receiving. Fortunately, if you know someone who is a fan of contemporary animation, it’s practically guaranteed you know a fan or either Steven Universe or Rick and Morty. The former is infused with love for one’s family and inclusiveness and is bolstered by a bevy of musical gems thanks to creator Rebecca Sugar. The latter is infused with—Szechuan sauce, maybe?—and is dark and hilarious in ways for which creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are justly blamed. Frankly, while it’s a near certainty your friend or family member will love at least one of the shows, the Venn diagram revealing how many love both hasn’t been drawn yet. Regardless, whether it’s The Art of Rick and Morty or Steven Universe: Art & Origins, you at least can be sure you’ve done a fan a solid and provided some great behind-the-scenes looks into how some of the best shows Adult Swim and Cartoon Network has to offer came and continue to be. —Michael Burgin

9. Doctor Who Four-Poster Set (Etsy, $25.08 and up)

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For the Whovian everywhere whose significant other denies them a TARDIS shower curtain (guilty) or a vintage full-size radio-controlled K9 (only the mini version), I present these fantastic poster prints of the TARDIS, a Cyberman, a Dalek and The 10th Doctor. Not only are these pretty nifty looking (and appropriately blue), their particularly creative Etsy seller gives you the option of choosing how large (or small) you want them. So while a set of four 5×7-inch prints will run you $22.39 plus shipping, you also have the option of going all the way up to a whopping 24×36 inches for $229.30. The same seller also has a five-poster set that includes a Weeping Angel, but at the moment doesn’t seem to be offering them in Face of Boe size. —Mark Rabinowitz

10. Will & Grace Classic Names T-Shirt (NBC Store, $22.95)

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Sure, it’s derivative—I already considered buying A Little Life-themed rendition after sobbing through Hanya Yanagihara’s novel this summer—but then again, so is the revival of NBC’s beloved sitcom, brought back to life by co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan earlier this fall. Still, these characters (especially Will Truman) are such a signal feature of my own coming-of-age that it’s been reassuring to reconnect with them, a familiarity that this T-shirt, with its immediately recognizable script, captures rather perfectly. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s my increasing appreciation for earnest comedies in troubled times. Maybe it’s realizing, with the sparkling gay conversion camp send-up “Grandpa Jack,” that the new Will & Grace retains some of the original’s warm magic. Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t mind finding this T-shirt (pink print, please) in my stocking come Christmas morning. —Matt Brennan

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