Years ago, a pretentious friend said, "TV is dead to me. I only watch TV on DVD." It sounded like bullshit then, but now it's pretty much true: Just as moviegoers are deserting theaters in favor of Netflix, TiVo-challenged couch potatoes are waiting for DVD to conveniently watch TV shows—with 100% fewer annoying commercials, no stupid screen pop-up ads, and (thank Christ) no uncomfortable tampon ads.
• Arrested Development, Season One (2004)—Under constant threat of cancellation, Arrested Development is the funniest show on TV, with razor-sharp writing, a flawless mockumentary style, and a great cast (including Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, and the fucking hilarious David Cross). Whether or not you watch Arrested on TV won't make any difference as to how long Fox keeps this low-rated show going—but buying the DVDs might. (Plus, Season Two comes out on in October.)
• Battlestar Galactica, Season One (2005)—When ex-Star Trek producer Ronald D. Moore decided to revamp '70s cheesefest Battlestar Galactica, expectations were pretty damn low. But with insightful writing, modern (and pitch-black) themes, and a cast of humane, weary, and resolute characters (Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell amongst them), Moore's new Battlestar is the most riveting and relevant show on the air. It makes Star Trek look like shit—but it makes almost everything else on TV look like shit, too.
• Lost, Season One (2005)—The insanely addictive drama—now in one hit! The DVDs' extras contain a few insights—like how filmmakers had to buy a junked plane, dismantle it, then ship it from the Mojave to Oahu to create the crash site, or how Michael Keaton (?!) was originally cast as Jack. The rest of the features largely consist of smarmy ABC execs patting themselves on the back over Lost's ludicrous success, so the real pleasures are the seemingly insignificant details and clues in each episode. Here's hoping the slick, clever show—which shares much with that other sci-fi mystery epic, The X-Files—doesn't shit the bed like X-Files did when it comes time to answer its questions.