x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Summer viewing

A round-up of the best DVD box sets to while away the hot summer months.

Matthew Fox, left, Jorge Garcia and Evangeline Lilly in a scene from the finale of Lost, the box set of which is released next month. The show has been running since 2004.
Matthew Fox, left, Jorge Garcia and Evangeline Lilly in a scene from the finale of Lost, the box set of which is released next month. The show has been running since 2004.

Television is a staple element of summer life in the UAE. It's too hot for the beach, too hot for a spot of golf or tennis and too hot to eat outside. Even walking from the car to the apartment or office is several steps too far for all but the most valiant among us. "What shall we do?" is an oft-heard weekend cry.

Little wonder, therefore, that many of us build up such well-stocked DVD libraries. For these humid days are nothing if not ripe for catching up on one, or several, of those shows that you have been meaning to watch for months. Maybe years. Lost, The Wire, 24, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Prison Break, Six Feet Under, Entourage and, erm, Battlestar Galactica. It's the kind of television that keeps you glued to your sofa throughout the night.

"Who cares about work in the morning?" you may find yourself thinking in a cavalier fashion at 3am. "I'll slam back an extra cappuccino in the morning. Jack Bauer needs my attention now!" So here, sofa dwellers, are some key dates for your diary. We offer a select list of forthcoming releases to see you through the rest of the summer. A sprinkling of sci-fi, some action, a spot of Upper East Side activity from Manhattan and the final series of Lost are among them.

Just one note of caution, should you be relatively new here: there is a constant merry-go-round of DVD box-sets in the UAE, which operates on an entirely liberal library system. Should you want your copy returned, it's perhaps advisable to mark it with your name lest it wings itself on to the next happy viewer and you lose all trace. We've used www.amazon.co.uk for the dates because it's reliable, its UAE delivery dates are generally within one to two weeks of ordering and using the British website should avoid complications arising from different regional DVD formats.

Storyline Join Blair, Serena, Chuck, Nate, Dan, Jenny et al as they skitter across Manhattan again, carving up each other's lives and pairing off. Season 3 starts with most of the young having graduated (bar Little J), and Chuck and Blair reigning as prince and princess of the Upper East Side. Look out for the introduction of Hilary Duff as a movie star named Olivia. Xoxo.

Perfect for Bored teenagers.

Length 22 episodes.

Released August 23.

Storyline Another drama in a hospital. Where have we seen this before? Except Grey's (as it is known to its followers) is more about the personal, romantic and often intwined lives of its doctors than, say, ER. Much of season five is given over to the developing relationships between Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and Alex (Justin Chambers), along with Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) with a few medical problems chucked in for good measure.

Perfect for Pre-med students and fans of pre-med students.

Length 24 episodes.

Released August 23.

Storyline America is revving itself up for the second series of this hit show, due to start airing early next month. Meanwhile, catch up with the first. The title of the show gives you something of a clue to its subject matter. Vampires. More vampires. Here we have another young girl falling in love with an immortal vampire, and the complications that this inevitably produces. You'll be sucked in. Get it?

Perfect for Those with an appreciation for vampires but who feel that Twilight is slightly beneath them.

Length 22 episodes.

Released August 23

Storyline A grumpy doctor cures a rare illness. That's it. Every episode. Oh, and throw in a retinue of other hospital staff, the odd love-life plot development, tricky patients and plenty of Vicodin. Hugh Laurie is particularly excellent as the curmudgeonly doctor after whom the series is named.

Perfect for Hypochondriacs. You'll pick up the most extraordinary (meaningless?) medical jargon.

Length 22 episodes

Released September 6.

Storyline Join the oddball staff of the Sacred Heart teaching hospital in the series penultimate season. Look out for Courteney Cox, who gamely appears in several episodes as the chief of medicine, and Elliott and JD as they finally sort things out. Some fans of the show have said this series should have served as the final instalment, because the final, ninth season Scrubs: Med School, was set a year after the finale to season eight and starred only a handful of the original names. You decide.

Perfect for Those with a slightly kooky sense of humour.

Length 18 episodes.

Released September 6.

Storyline So, basically, there's a plane crash on this mysterious island and the survivors first stumble across polar bears and oddballs. They then fight each other, fight mysterious others on the island, more people arrive, some escape. This, the final season (which aired last month), may have you confused but at least it brings a kind of closure to the madness.

Perfect for Those who have managed to follow the plot since the series first began on America television in 2004. Pat yourselves on the back.

Length 18 episodes.

Released September 13.

Storyline Think a more grown-up, funnier version of High School Musical. Glee follows the ups and downs of an eccentric school choir in Ohio as they burst into song at every possible moment under the tutelage of their teacher, Mr Schuster, aka Mr Schu.

Perfect for The sort of person who can mouth along to every word from The Sound of Music. You will probably become a "Gleek," the nickname that fans of the show have naturally earned themselves.

Length 22 episodes.

Released September 13.

Storyline A sci-fi drama, Heroes is about a group of people who discover their myriad superhuman powers and put them to various uses. Season four sees the introduction of a few new characters, although their time in the sun is brief because NBC announced last month that the show has come to an end. Get your final fix here.

Perfect for Comic-book fans. There's a similarly thematic element to the TV show.

Length 19 episodes.

Released October 4.

Storyline This is the creation of snark queen Tina Fey, 30 Rock referring to the art-deco skyscraper found at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, home to the NBC headquarters. This is key information because Fey's series is loosely based on the time she spent as a sketch writer for the much-loved American show, Saturday Night Live. Here, she stars as Liz Lemon, the chief sketch writer, with a game Alec Baldwin playing Alec Donaghy, the controlling network executive. In this season, look out for guest stars such as Matt Damon and Bon Jovi.

Perfect for Those who like their comedy clever.

Length 22 episodes.

Released October 25

Storyline Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saves the world, for the eighth and final time. Unless he comes back in a film version, which is a mooted possibility. This season, or "Day eight" as it is also called, sees Jack trying to solve assassination threats - natch - during a peace conference between America and the fictional country, the Republic of Kamistan. Any remote correlation to real-life is, we assume, totally incidental.

Perfect for Men because they want to be Jack Bauer; women because they're in love with him. Also, people with paranoia issues.

Length Duh. 24 hours.

Released October 30. (It's a late but vital entry to any DVD library).

Storyline You should have heard of it. Brought to you by the same team that made Band of Brothers (Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks essentially), this miniseries charts the lives of three marines in the Second World War from 1942 through to the Japanese surrender. Shot in Australian waters, it cost $200 million (Dh735million) to produce, making it the most expensive TV-series in history.

Perfect for Adrenaline junkies and those who value the History Channel.

Length 10 episodes.

Released November 1. (Another crucial addition to your DVD shelves when the time comes).