Enterprise S1 Blu-ray: Best Buy Retailer Exclusive VAM

This week saw the release of Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1 on Blu-ray in the United States and Canada (international releases will follow with Germany scheduled for today and the UK getting the set on April 1st). As we stated in our recent review of the set, the new Blu-rays come crammed full of newly created bonus material with a wide array of documentaries, commentaries and features available on the set; However - it turns out that there is some additional content floating around that is being offered as a retailer exclusive for those fans who buy the set at U.S. store Best Buy.

Shuttlepod One: Declassified - Review

The exclusive material is a 15-minute retrospective documentary on the fan-favorite Season One episode "Shuttlepod One". The piece features new interviews with the episode's co-writer Brannon Braga, director David Livingston as well as Connor Trinneer (Trip) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm) in a unique joint interview. There are some really nice stories presented here as Brannon recalls how the bottle show was meant to save money but ended up giving the studio a big bill for refrigerating the shuttlepod so the actors' breath could be seen on-camera. Yet again, I applaud the choice to feature multiple people in interviews - putting Trinneer and Keating together lets us get a taste of the genuine friendship that has developed between both actors and hear their memories of the episode as they take a trip down memory lane together. I understand Roger Lay, Jr. and Robert Meyer Burnett are planning many more of these group interview setups for both Next Generation and Enterprise which I'm thrilled about. Roger and Robert actually headed out to Fresno, California for the Shuttlepod One feature, visiting the new home of the original shuttle in some dude's garage. The footage from their visit is presented here - it's cool to see, although I couldn't help but wish this beautiful piece of craftsmanship had been preserved in a more public setting so fans could appreciate it - sentiments that I'm sure are echoed by the creative and design staff who worked on the show.

Fans who buy the set from Best Buy will not find the documentary on the Blu-ray itself, but rather as an online streaming/downloadable video accessible through Best Buy's Cinema Now content service. Sets have a unique access code which is then entered into the website so you can view the video.

A further note - as one of our readers points out, the bonus material presented through Best Buy's Cinema Now service is encoded rather poorly and certainly doesn't reflect the high production values of the VAM team. It seems rather pointless to put out these stunning quality Blu-rays but then have poorly encoded low resolution VAM presented online. This really needs looking at carefully if CBS decides to pursue retailer exclusive VAM for future releases.

Availability in Germany

Luckily, fans in Germany will also be able to access this content (regardless of which store you purchase the Blu-rays from). The German release of Star Trek: Enterprise Season One has a special unique access code included with the set which you can enter at the official German Star Trek site, www.startrek.de/vam. At the time of writing this article, the video is not yet accessible but a message informs fans that it is coming very soon.

The Unwelcome Return to Retailer Exclusives

I'm not going to mince words - I hate retailer exclusives. So do all consumers. On numerous occasions, CBS have stated that this new wave of Star Trek Blu-ray releases will be the ultimate collection for fans and allow us to throw away our DVDs because they will have everything. Now all of a sudden that's not the case, we have a two-tier system which forces the majority of fans to miss out based on their geographical location or store preferences.

Germany is apparently the exception to the rule for international availability. On contacting Paramount in the UK, they advised there were "no plans" for the special edition release. We're yet to hear back from Paramount in Australia, however from what we understand it would appear unlikely that the feature will be included.

More Retailer Exclusives Planned: TNG Season 3

Rather than being an isolated special, we understand that CBS are also planning a Best Buy retailer exclusive for the April release of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three on Blu-ray. Sadly the feature chosen for this release is one fans have been particularly looking forward to seeing - the original CG tests done for TNG back in the 1980s. This material was first mentioned by Robert Meyer Burnett in our exclusive interview back in January:

I’ll tell you one of the things we’ve found that is pretty exciting – we haven’t used it yet – when The Next Generation was first talked about, they had to figure out how they were going to do the visual effects. There was talk at the time – this was just a couple of years after The Last Starfighter, when they did all those space visual effects – that there was talk about going all-CG. In 1987.

Various effects houses did a sort of bake-off, where they were given some footage from Star Trek III to do transporters and phaser fire… then they were asked to do CG models of the Enterprise. So we have these tests that these various effects companies did of visual effects – what the visual effects would have looked like had they been all CG. Ultimately, they were a little, uh, crude – to say the least – so they opted not to go that route, and they opted to go with models and motion control, THANK GOD, but we have this footage, and we’re going to use it on one of the subsequent releases. We don’t know when, because it’s not season-specific, but it’s crazy to have! It’s just something that was on a tape, Angelo found a box with tapes in it, we looked at the tapes, and there was this footage.

When we first spoke to Robert Meyer Burnett several months ago before the Best Buy exclusives were planned, he mentioned that budget for VAM was already very tight. At the time, the "Best of Both Worlds" disc had not been formally announced so we decided not to include these comments. However, they take on a new pertinence in the wake of the news about retailer exclusives.

On both TNG and ENTERPRISE, Roger and I have stretched our budgets far, FAR beyond what they can accommodate in terms of content. Frankly, because we're fanatics, we're basically taking dollars out of our own pockets to create more and better VAM. As far as TNGS3 was concerned, I just DECIDED to make the documentary 90 minutes instead of 60. I asked Roger and he agreed. Ira Behr's interview was so compelling, and he only worked one season on TNG, we both felt we had to use as much of it as we could, so we needed that extra 30 minutes. But what people must understand is...each MINUTE of VAM has a dollar value associated with. There's only a finite amount of money budgeted for each title. There simply isn't any more. We're given a set budget for each season and are expected to work within that budget. To go over is unprofessional in the extreme. And if you read between the lines, you can see CBS has gone way, WAY above and beyond to accommodate the VAM. Way, WAY beyond...

Now...when the decision was made to create the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Movie for the Fathom Event, and then CBS wisely decided to make that a stand-alone release available to hopefully attract new customers, suddenly there's a new budget, and money allocated to create a product which didn't previously exist. So Roger and I jump all over that and CBS gave us a budget which allowed us to create a new commentary and half-hour documentary which wouldn't otherwise exist. Which adds to the overall value of the single-disc BEST OF BOTH WORLDS movie. Fans need to understand nothing was taken away from the individual season discs...because the BOBW doc wasn't a part of that. Our Season Three VAM is absolutely the best we could have possibly done with our budget. CBS could have decided to release a vanilla BOBW disc, but we're like... HEY! WAIT A MINUTE! Can we do some more VAM? To CBS's credit, they agreed... but I'm sure someone was thinking..., "Those fuckin' guys... don't they ever stop?" Well... no... we don't."

It seems likely that the new retailer exclusives were commissioned and funded by Best Buy so they would seemingly not have been produced without this sort of arrangement.

Still, the key issue here is availability. CBS have been incredibly visionary and consumer-oriented with the Star Trek Blu-ray releases so far, but by essentially restricting access to this VAM to certain countries they risk alienating the international fanbase. We sincerely hope that CBS will think carefully about international access to this material - it is somewhat unfair to exclude huge numbers of loyal paying customers from accessing material based purely on the fact that they live in a country that doesn't have Best Buy. We will of course keep you updated if availability of these special features changes.

 

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 Blu-ray today!



Order TNG - "Redemption" Feature Blu-Ray today!

  • Gilbetron

    Well, amen to that. Hopefully the good folks at CBS read this and think long and hard about these exclusives.

    Perhaps an acceptable compromise would be to eventually release a bonus disc of VAM (say, for example, once all seven seasons of TNG are released) which could be made available to purchase separately for everyone who wasn’t able to see the exclusive material when it first came out. I still hate, HATE the exclusive content, but at least that would allow me to end up with a comprehensive Blu-ray set once all is said and done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scimbrelo Steve Cimbrelo

    Utter crap that certain retailers have “exclusive” content. I for one won’t purchase any of them until I can go to my preferred retailers.

  • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

    I cannot overstate how disheartening it was to watch this well-produced piece in low-resolution form on the poorly-designed “CinemaNow” site Best Buy runs. The only way to download the piece for offline viewing was as a terrible-looking, barely 480p file – and the only way to watch it streaming in HD is if your computer is “compatible with HD”, which apparently mine isn’t, despite the fact that I watch Hulu and Neflix in high definition… andcan do full-resolution video EDITING with no problems.

    If this practice is going to continue – which I hope it does not – then CBS really needs to find a better way to present this material to the public. The fact that it was advertised only once, in this past Sunday’s Best Buy newspaper insert, means that all those people CBS is hoping purchased this set on Day 1 got – let’s be honest here – screwed.

    At the fairly excessive price the Enterprise set is listed at – $130 (!) if you can believe the official StarTrek.com store – it’s a pretty repulsive move to hide something that the VAM editors worked so hard on away from the general consumer.

    http://i.imgur.com/Dj1uD1h.jpg

    • archer9234

      I just saw it. It couldn’t even play at a proper frame rate. Why the hell is Cinewhatever stuck in year 2000. They couldn’t even bother making a good product…

  • archer9234

    You know what. F*** YOU BEST BUY AND YOUR S****. I Put up with your “exclusive” content with the old DVD sets. I’m gonna download that disc. I’m not tolerating this anymore.

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      It’s NOT ON A DISC. That’s the big problem.

      • trekcore

        Yes, to clarify – this is not on the disc. That’s half the problem – it’s presented as a comparatively poorly encoded extra that is streamable / downloadable from Best Buy’s Cinema Now website.

      • archer9234

        Disc or not. **** them.

  • Mike

    I realize the Blu-Ray sets are often almost 50% off on release date – I received S1 and S2 of TNG and S1 of ENT from Amazon each for around $60 – but if I’m going to pay good money for physical Blu-Rays I don’t want to worry about “retailer-exclusive” material. It’s not fair to consumers. All retailers should have access to each version of the release.

  • Dr Pulaski

    Excellent article, trekcore – very well balanced. I’m gutted that cbs have shafted international fans like this. I’m in the uk, so how am i supposed to watch this content???? i’m all for retailer exclusives, but at least give everyone the chance to watch them. I’ve just spent over £50 on this set ($75) and I’m not allowed to see this VAM. How is that fair? I understand their budget is stretched and best buy may have commissioned this piece, but its CBS’s job to make sure everyone has a fair chance to see it. SORT IT OUT.

  • http://twitter.com/cseremisi Csere Mihaly

    Sadly I’m used to this. Many times UK releases are missing VAM compared to US releases and some other European region releases are even missing more VAM compared to the stripped down UK release. Like the Original Motion Picture Collection we are missing all the production and storyboard galleries on the UK release …

    • http://twitter.com/cseremisi Csere Mihaly

      Oh and another problem: even if I get a best buy release or a release with UltraViolet copy I cannot access the extra VAM because it is region locked … So no UV Digital Copy for me or web VAM because of region locking. Even though I payed the same price and let’s say I have an Android device for playback

  • Peter

    As an international customer I also hate these exclusive features because they very rarely get made available in other countrys at all. I understand that maybe these things make financial sense to the studio but at least find a way to offer them around the globe as well. Best Buy and Target don’t really ship outside the of the states.

  • Vlad

    Wow, f*cking bullsh*t. Guess I’ll be torrenting this content.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.olson.3388 Justin Olson

    It’s too bad they couldn’t have put this VFX featurette on the BOBW blu-ray… there’s probably several gigabytes of free space on that disc. The Next Level sampler had 4.5 GB of free unused space, for example, and that had 183 minutes of content.

    From what we’ve been told, in addition to the 85 minute feature length cut of BOBW, there’s a 30 minute featurette, an audio commentary and gag reel of unknown length (though it’s probably shorter than the 10 1/2 minute S2 gag reel).

  • visuar

    Ugh. Absolutely hate hate hate this. So if I am reading this correct, the commentary & half-hour documentary on BoBW will not be available on the season sets?

    • trekcore

      The 30 minute BOBW documentary,the 90 minute commentary and the BOBW gag reel will be exclusive to the BOBW single disc release.

      • archer9234

        In till all of TNG is done. Then the complete series will have the stuff. I’ll bet you $5. Lost all trust in CBS. Nice going guys. This is the type of practice that made me stop caring about bonus features.

  • Jon1701

    You see, I can understand producing VAM content for a seperate disc such as the BOBW blu ray. Thats fine, I can make a choice. I get the finite budget arguement. If I want to buy the extra stuff – I can CHOOSE to buy the extra stuff (which I may very well end up doing). But producing retailer specific/country specific stuff is just a crock. You are producing a product with stuff other people won’t get. How am I supposed to get this stuff in the UK? I don’t see how this CGI TNG stuff would have cost any money to produce – just stick the footage there in an easter egg in the menu or something. I mean, whats the point? You are supposed to be encouraging us to buy this stuff – not discouraging us.

    You know the work has been fantasic on these sets – the new season looks amazing, you get us all worked up and now and you are shafting us?

    Nice.

  • Andyperkins

    Received my UK Enterprise BD set today and can confirm there is nothing inside in regards to the VAM

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allen-Williams/1389687638 Allen Williams

    I don’t remember what it was, but one of the star trek DVD sets included a bonus disc that was a best buy exclusive. I don’t get why they can’t just do that again. I’m probably going to buy it from best buy anyway because I want it on launch day and not 1-2 weeks later on amazon.

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      Seasons 3-7 of TNG, and all seasons of DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise had exclusive bonus discs as part of the Best Buy release; all of the features on those discs were included standard in the Region 2 sets.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allen-Williams/1389687638 Allen Williams

        It must have been enterprise. I have season 4 of TNG (I specifically chose that season as at the time I had limited funds) and was horribly disapointed at the lack of quality and chose to not attempt to buy the rest. I was going to eventually purchase everything as funding was no longer a problem, but then I heard about TOS on blu-ray (which I have all 3 seasons). I decided to wait and see if TNG would get it and I’m glad I did. It was well worth the wait. Anyway…I swear my season 4 has nothing extra in it. Maybe its because I bought it a year late. I haven’t touched the enterprise discs in a while either. I’ve ripped them to my computer years ago.

        • archer9234

          4 did have a bonus disc. I forgot what it was. All the BB exclusive discs where put in the bonus disc of the 20th anniversary dvd set. Esier way to get them. But of course you have to buy the 20 ann set.

  • Muzer

    I am disappoint. I hope somebody illegally uploads the CGI tests to youtube and CBS don’t bother taking it down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.benefiel.3 Jonathan Benefiel

    lol I found out after I got mine from amazon. Well at least Best Buy has it the same price. And TNG S3 is the same price (almost) as amazon. Still I’d rather buy from amazon. They’re not perfect but I much prefer them than best buy. The exclusive content is just crappy quality video so hopefully one day it’ll get torrented even though I hate doing that.

  • Exatron

    If they want comments, I have one. Don’t do vendor exclusive content.

  • Mike

    I can’t figure out the Best Buy connection. I mean, it’s not like releasing some separate to iTunes or Amazon, retailers with mass appeal … Best Buys are closing all over and fewer people are shopping there. Purchasing something at Best Buy guarantees you’ll pay a good chunk of change more than if you purchase at Amazon or even Target.

  • nx

    I’ll let CBS know how I feel about retailer exclusives with my wallet. I’ve cancelled my TNG S3 and BoBW Blu-ray preorders, and I have no intentions of replacing them on any website.

  • pittrek

    Well this is just f***ing annoying. What are they trying to do ? To persuade fans NOT to BUY it but to DOWNLOAD it instead ? Guys, stop this s**t PLEASE. I want to see it all, and I’m willing to pay for it, but I can’t because I don’t live in the “correct” country and/or don’t buy it from the “correct” vendor ? That’s a very stupid form of discrimination. And a very stupid business decision. Because I WILL get the “exclusive” content, you can’t change that, and the only exception will be that you won’t get my money for it.

  • Enterprising Men

    And it’s already up on youtube, yay http://youtu.be/DplUcTXFC10
    I will continue shopping at Amazon where I always shop.

    • archer9234

      That gave me a great idea. Why doesn’t CBS put the videos on their youtube. Put ads in, AND PAY FOR THE EXTRA CONTENT THAT WAY. Instead of screwing fans everywhere.

      • http://www.facebook.com/justin.olson.3388 Justin Olson

        Good idea. And if the VAM they want to do is really long and involved and wont fit on a season set, put up a Kickstarter page and collect donations to help make it. Just make sure after it’s finished, everyone in the world gets equal access to it in 1080p HD via ad supported YouTube like in your original suggestion.

    • Dr Pulaski

      Ditto. I order mine through Amazon as soon as I see the links on trekcore (who are always first to spot them!!) It is a crying shame that this feature is relegated to being presented in such shitty quality. Burnett & Lay obviously spend HOURS working and go to the trouble (and expense) or presenting it in HD only to have their work pushed on to a crappy streaming system for a tiny fraction of the audience to see.

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      And FYI, the quality you see in that video is almost identical to the CinemaNow feed; the same low-resolution presentation.

    • Fred_Garvin

      The link’s down; anyone grab the video or find it elsewhere for download?

  • UKFan1701

    Please CBS think about fans in the UK – this is not fair that we can’t see this stuff, we don’t even have a choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.roberts.7965 Christopher Roberts

    I’d also echo what most have said about “exclusive content”. Particularly when it’s a full-blown lengthy documentary featurette like this and not some frivilous easter egg, suitable for an online hidey-hole. I really hope they stop doing this and if there isn’t room in the relevant season set where the episode is, it ends up among the next nearest suitable disc. Doesn’t matter. Just don’t go holding out stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.roberts.7965 Christopher Roberts

    I can’t tell you how pissed off I was back in 2006, when I found out about the Christies’ auctioning off of props. Jealousy since I wasn’t likely to be able to afford, much less home what I’d really liked to have had. But seeing that guy lovingly keep that Shuttlepod in his garage, it’s turned to be a blessing in disguise.
    Sad seeing those photos online of the NX-01 bridge being flattened by a digger, at about the same time. :(

  • Lenonn

    I was hoping Paramount/Viacom was done with this type of situation after the Enterprise DVDs were released. Evidently not. I seriously hope they reconsider this in the future – all sets should have all the same materials on them. No “bonus” discs, no downloads.

  • New Horizon

    Just a note to CBS. Retailer exclusive features will not encourage me to buy from that retailer. In fact it makes me NOT want to buy the product at all. Having said that, I will purchase the product from whoever can give me the best price. Retailer exclusives are just a horrid thing to do. If you need to make more money off of us, offer a separate disk with some extras that won’t fit in the standard package.

  • sadface

    As a UK Trek fan with no means of getting the Best Buy content, I feel really cheated and ripped off by this arrangement. I’m laying out £50 per series and think that should be enough money to get all the damn content.

  • Lenonn

    I truly despised when they did the Best Buy “bonus discs” for the DVD releases. I had hoped that Paramount/Viacom had quit. I guess not.

    Every copy of a season set should have the same episodes and extras as every other copy. No more retailer exclusives.

  • calbear88

    I picked up the TNG season 3 from best buy and didn’t have any exclusive materials. anyone had a copy that did?

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      It’s a digital download. There should be an insert in the Blu-ray case with a download code.