The Absurdity of TV on DVD Packaging

The Absurdity of TV on DVD Packaging


Recently I bought the 3rd and final season of Happy Endings on DVD. I was hoping the show would find it’s way to Netflix or at the very least the price would drop on Amazon enough for me to be like, ‘it’s such a great deal, I can’t pass this up’. Neither event occurred, but the show ended over two years ago so I rationalized that I’d waited long enough to complete my set. So I ordered it.

When it arrived a couple days later I eagerly opened it and was mildly dismayed to once again find a couple of discs sandwiched between some flimsy pieces of plastic. There wasn’t even anything to indicate which episodes were on which disc.

Now I wasn’t expecting a fancy box set, but the packaging design for TV on DVD, especially as of late, has been kind of pitiful. Even before streaming replaced DVDs as the go-to method for re-watching episodes, there was a sort of clumsiness about the packaging, like no one ever quite agreed on how to best put three to six discs in a box or case.

Based on the vast quantity of TV on DVD sets I own, here’s all the different ways they’re packaged from the most ridiculous to the more-functional:

The Stacker

Yes, I’d love to take out all the DVDs in order to get to the one I actually intend to watch.

Hannibal S1 DVD

This Hannibal set has all the discs literally on top of each other. My Veronica Mars DVD on the other hand has a staggered thing going on so you can see all the discs, but can’t easily get to half of them.

Veronica Mars S3 DVD


The Fold Out

Buffy S7 DVD

My Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs fold out from the middle, which isn’t a terrible design, except it’s over 3-feet long when completely extended and unfortunately disc 1, disc 6, and the booklet are all located at the ends.


The Bare Minimum

Happy Endings S3 DVD

A plastic case and some DVDs is your no frills option.


The Cardboard Sleeve

Friday Night Lights DVD Set

The complete set of Friday Night Lights is actually a pretty awesome thing, you just need some dainty hands to grab the individual DVDs out of the tiny cardboard sleeves. The color-coded season discs and abundant use of pictures help overcome any shortfalls though.


The Case of Cases

Firefly DVD

Unlike your bare minimums, these DVD sets go all in on the packaging, because one box / case apparently isn’t enough. These are probably my most protected DVDs based on the layers of casing surrounding each DVD.


The Flip-Book

Smallville S1 DVD

Despite the fact that my early-season Smallville DVDs are the least used, they’re the most functional in my opinion.

What style of TV on DVD packaging do you prefer? Or really really dislike?

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Written by Jamie Paton

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