HBO thought it was making "Sopranos" fans an offer they couldn't refuse: "The Sopranos: The Complete Series," due out Nov. 11, is a 33-disc, 86-episode cinder block of a DVD set, handsomely housed in a black-linen-backed book that tips the scale at 10 pounds. That's more than, say, a human head in a bowling bag. There's only one problem: who's got an extra $400 to spend on a gift this year? At $40 per pound, the set is pricier than organic swordfish. Or a 2009 BMW 328i convertible.
Should HBO be worried? Fuggedaboutit. Individual seasons of "The Sopranos" have killed, grossing $386 million and consistently ranking in the TV-to-DVD top 10. And while the overall DVD market has flatlined, TV shows continue to do very well. (Films are another matter.) Why? Given the glut of DVD options, consumers are choosing to save and splurge on investment sets rather than a bunch of one-off movies—hence the sustained success of oldies such as "Friends." Still, says industry analyst Jan Saxton, "there are only so many boxed sets you're going to have sit on your shelf at home."
But this box is tempting: it has more than three days of footage, featuring nuggets for "Sopranos" obsessives, such as Edie Falco's admission that she forgot to wear Carmela's rings for the final diner scene. Bear in mind, "Sex and the City" DVD sales helped pave the way for the blockbuster movie, so maybe "The Sopranos" isn't dead just yet.