I got one of those short sleeve crews on SAC for $32 a pop. Actually, I got two but had to send one back because of the absurdity of a fat dude wearing a bright yellow shirt with that kind of cut. :P Styling is a bit funky for my taste, which has been the what has scared me off of getting one of the long sleeve top or the bottoms. They also don't say what the weights are on their merino stuff- the SS Crew seems like 150-160 g/m^2, sounds like it might be the same material for the 1/2 zip bliss.
Another great option for cheaper, quality merino is RedRam, which appears to be a casual subbrand of Icebreaker. AFAIK, they only place they sell it in the US is Gander Mountain, a chain of outdoors shops oriented towards hunting and fishing.
RR Short Sleeve - $48
RR Long Sleeve - $58
RR Long Underwear - $58
RR Boxers - $30
They come in black, navy blue, and an off-white. It's all the same weight, 165 g/m^2 or so, though they don't say.
Not *that* cheap as is, but Gander Mountain mountain has had a 25% off sale in-store for the last two or three months, at least at the store up here as well as a the others I've been in around the state. I like them- I went for the SS originally because it was cheaper than the SmartWool the store also had. The cut is more casual, but not terribly so- I have the short and long sleeve tops now, and like the fit. They necks aren't loose (pet peeve of crew shirts), and the arms are nicely snug. They're more fitted than most cotton t-shirts certainly, though not aggressively athletic, not far off from SmartWool's crews IMHO.
My only gripe is the colors. Black looks nice, but summer? The white would be OK for some folks, but the ability to see the pink of my nipples through it rules them out for me for non-backpacking use. The navy is very, very dark. I've worn the black SS and LS on 200 miles of hikes between them and they've performed well.