Rome: The Complete First Season [HBO - $99.98]
HBO took a huge gamble with this potentially problematic dramatic series. As periods go, Ancient Rome has always had a certain staid Hollywood approach to its production design—massive columns, ornate statuary, people parading around in pristine togas. But the producers of this revisionist version of history wanted to make the era a living, breathing place, with recognizable and realistic elements. They’ve succeeded beyond any TV fans wildest dreams. Easily taking its place with channel champions The Sopranos as mandatory viewing, the current trend towards quick turnaround releases of single season box sets means that followers can drink in the incredible designs—and delicious narrative dynamics—of this sensational series over and over again.