By Lynn Elber | Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Pity TV fans back in the day, eager to buy really cool merchandise tie-ins to their favorite series but victims of bad timing.
There weren’t 1950s “Team Desi” or “Team Lucy” T-shirts proclaiming viewer devotion to husband or wife on “I Love Lucy.” ”The Fugitive” board game of the 1960s pales next to a video game. The 1970s “Flying Nun” vinyl lunch bag was admittedly cute but lacking designer flair.
Now, in this oft-proclaimed golden age of television, the goods are as impressive as the shows themselves, and just as legion. Some industry insiders, in fact, are fretting that there’s too darn much TV being made and warn that a bubble looms.
It may burst someday, but for now the bedazzling amount of TV-related products make shopping for small-screen addicts easy. Here are suggestions, all available from network and cable channel websites
Help a bleary-eyed friend get comfortable while consuming every hour, again, of “Breaking Bad.” From CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” consider the Soft Kitty sleepwear set decorated with Sheldon’s favorite feline.
To ward off the winter chill for the binge-viewer — and summon sitcom nostalgia — there’s NBC’s “The Office” Dunder Mifflin terrycloth robe, with the company name proudly but tastefully placed on the front.
What gives Raymond Reddington such style? It’s not just his wit, private plane and tendency toward violence. It’s also the hat that NBC’s “Blacklist” star James Spader wears as Red. The Stetson Mercury in brown can be yours for $189.95 to give to someone special. Or keep.
A sharp-looking handbag is always welcome. For a devotee of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” there’s one emblazoned “In Daryl We Trust,” carrying actor Norman Reedus’ image as the character. In a nice touch for the flesh-eating zombie show, it’s billed as a non-leather, vegan-friendly choice.
THE PROUD FAN:
Know someone who would lay down their smart phone to help Taraji P. Henson’s “Empire” matriarch, Cookie? Help them show that loyalty with a “What Would Cookie Do?” T-shirt.
For a “Game of Thrones” admirer who’s been very good this year, you could fork over $250 for a replica of Jon Snow’s longclaw sword — with the caveat that the recipient must avoid taking it out into public, for safety’s sake. As a much cuddlier and cheaper alternative, consider a Direwolf cub stuffed animal.
“NCIS” fans are plentiful, but perhaps only a few could truly appreciate this: A 19-by-73-inch cardboard cut-out photo of Special Agent Gibbs, aka series star Mark Harmon. CBS suggests the $39.95 “standee” would be “great for your next ‘NCIS’ party.” Where’s our invite?
THE OVERDUE PRESENT:
Forgot a pal’s wedding gift and can’t recall where the couple registered? You can make it up to them with a suitable holiday present. Consider going retro with a set of NBC’s “Seinfeld” oversized coffee mugs proclaiming “No Soup for You,” or HBO’s set of “Girls” coasters, with series’ quotes including, “All adventurous women do.”
A thoughtful added touch: “Downton Abbey Afternoon Garden Tea,” to drown a fan’s sorrow over its looming finale on PBS.