Christmas presents - what were they thinking?

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We're getting close to that time of year where we have to start thinking about what to buy our friends and relatives for Christmas. And given that Yuletide falls among the darkest months of the year, a box set is a logical gift: it's the kind of thing you can curl up on the sofa and enjoy while it's cold and gloomy outside. But before you rush off and purchase said box sets, here's a reminder that you have to match the right gift with the right recipient...
Final Destination Quadrilogy
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Final Destination Quadrilogy

Final Destination Quadrilogy

Starting with the first film way back at the turn of the millennium, the Final Destination franchise successfully turned the slasher franchise on its head. In them, a group of fresh-faced students manages to avoid the cold hand of death thanks to a premonition - in the first film, for example, the characters narrowly avoided a fatal plane crash. The twist? Death becomes the unseen killer, stalking the people who managed to avoid their fate the first time round, and offing them one by one.

A Bad Present For: the chronically accident prone

A set of Final Destination films would make for a decent gift for any horror fanatic. But bear in mind the franchise's core premise: Death's victims die in what appear to the untrained eye to be freak accidents. If your friend or relative is the kind of person who has a tendency to trip over bits of Lego left lying on the floor, get loose articles of clothing caught in closing lift doors or accidentally cut themselves with a teaspoon while doing the washing up, you may want to give this particular boxset a miss...

Breaking Bad box-set
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Breaking Bad box-set

Breaking Bad box-set

This award-winning TV show needs little introduction. About Walter White, a terminally ill teacher who takes to cooking up illegal substances in order to look after his family and pay for his hospital treatment, it's an uncompromising but very funny crime saga, with superb performances from Bryan Cranston and co-star Aaron Paul.

A Bad Present For: a four-year-old niece or nephew

Despite its subject matter, the wit and intelligence of Breaking Bad drama has made it popular with audiences all over the place, which explains why it went from a little-known cable show to an acclaimed hit over the course of its five year run. Breaking Bad's appeal does have its limits, though: that 18 certificate's been placed there for a reason, so if you want to avoid, er, unfortunate questions at the Christmas dinner table, you might want to order a copy of In The Night Garden Instead.

The Terminator Quadrilogy
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The Terminator Quadrilogy

The Terminator Quadrilogy

Beginning with The Terminator in 1984, James Cameron created a believable, tech noir universe of thinking machines and time-hopping killer robots. Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a blockbusting, thrilling expansion of the grungy original, and the franchise is still going in the 21st century. 

A Bad Present For: those who are perplexed by the notion of time travel

Next year sees the release of Terminator: Genisys, so the Terminator Quadrilogy set could be the perfect gift for the sci-fi enthusiast in your midst. But first, consider this: do time travel movies tie their heads in knots? Did Back To The Future: Part II have them scribbling on bits of paper in an attempt to work out what it all meant? Or worse, does the entire notion of time travel and paradoxes, leave them mumbling in confusion? If so, the Terminator Quadrilogy may not be for them. Best put that copy of Looper on hold, too.

Downton Abbey box-set
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Downton Abbey box-set

Downton Abbey box-set

British period drama Downton Abbey has become a global hit, with millions captivated by the various polite misunderstandings, amorous dalliances and genteel adventures of its upper-class characters. With an unusually starry cast, including Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Brown Findlay and Richard E Grant, Downton Abbey is one of the most successful British dramas of all time - it even got a reference in Iron Man 3.

A Bad Present For: people with a phobia of stately homes or the extraordinarily wealthy

Downton Abbey might seem like the perfect present for a relative who loves a good costume drama. But what if the sight of grand old houses fills them with horror? They may have gone on one of those day trips to a stately home, got lost, and ended up locked in for the night by an over-zealous caretaker. Left to wander the benighted halls, the oil paintings of ancestors glowering down at them, they could have wound up with a phobia of big old houses that has stayed with them ever since - in fact, the mere sight of an upper class woman in pearls and finery might be enough to leave them gibbering in fear. If this is the case, you may want to reconsider buying them a Downton Abbey boxset. 

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