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Vanilla Edition

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Wow, you couldn't even give us a menu with Harrison Ford?note 

Essentially a way to suck money out of the clueless, the witless, the careless and the impatient, the Vanilla Edition DVD is about as basic as a movie or TV DVD can get, basically comprising the footage, subtitles if you're lucky, and - if you're really lucky - a trailer and some cast biographies.

The Vanilla Edition is usually released a month or so before the Ace Custom or Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition, so that those who are desperate to watch the movie now (or don't pay attention to what they're picking up, or don't have a clue about the industry) will snap it up, only to buy it again shortly afterwards once the better edition is released if they actually care about the special features in the slightest.

Manufacturers say that they do this because some people just want the movie and not the extras and shouldn't have to pay more for something they don't watch, which is sometimes true. But it's also true that there's money to be made in double-releases.

Note that some DVDs are just released without extras because the studio doesn't think that it will sell well enough to warrant spending money on commentaries, making-of movies, etc. These may retroactively become Vanilla Editions if, some months or years later, the studio changes its mind and releases a special edition with more features.

Furthermore, this is becoming a standard marketing strategy to get customers to purchase Blu-ray versions of films by largely creating a Vanilla Edition for the DVD version and having the special features in the Blu-ray instead. A similar method was used when VHS was being phased out.note  Today, digital downloads such as iTunes Extras and the content available on Netflix are inherently the same thing.

It also can be argued that Vanilla Editions make for better rentals, as a frugal troper could blast through all the additional material in an evening. It makes sense for the studio to make it so you must buy the DVD to watch the special features.

And hey, if the work in question has up to that point been trapped in the kind of grey, murky, nebulous legal limbo of copyright law that forces you to Keep Circulating the Tapes, a Vanilla Edition is better than nothing.

If you look at the special features list and it includes "interactive menus" (as though uninteractive menus were ever an option outside of restaurants) then you're holding either a Vanilla Edition or just a really crappy DVD. Unless it's also pitching "scene selection"; then it's just really old (these were common proclamations made on the earliest DVDs from 1997 and 1998). If it's a burn-on-demand disc from a service like Warner Archive that focuses on just bringing much-requested but not-exactly-blockbuster titles to DVD, it's almost always going to be a Vanilla Edition.

Contrast Ace Custom, Unrated Edition and Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Prior to the North American industry's late-2000's collapse, this became standard procedure for several US licensors. They would initially release a series as individual DVDs, often with several bonus features, and then later (how much later proved to be this system's undoing) release the same series as Vanilla Edition boxed sets. ADV Films was most notorious for this. The problem came when certain series had extras that explained some of the more obscure references that would otherwise go over a Western viewer's head…
    • It's even more annoying as anime companies used to release the box sets WITH the extras, until thinpaks started to catch on. Now it feels even more like a ploy to entice the people who like extras to shell out the maximum amount of money possible.
    • In a way, the feature-packed releases can ironically assume the role of Vanilla Edition. People who aren't dying to have all of the special features for a certain anime series may wish they had known about the slim-pack boxed set before spending money on each individual volume. The price difference is often 50% or more, and many people would prefer to save the money. But it's rarely clear that there will be a "slim" release, and so as with the rest of the examples here, it's another case of buyer beware.
    • This became less of an issue after the industry crashed, around 2009, when individual disc releases started to drop off in favor of half-season or full-season boxed sets becoming the norm. These releases have a much lower profit margin than the old singles, and as such have fewer (if any) extras since those cost extra to license. The only company left releasing anime in the old style is Aniplex USA (and they get a lot of flak for it due to their high prices) – their release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is easily the most prominent example. Bonus features, sadly, are still few and far between outside of Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition releases (like the aforementioned PMMM).
  • Within Japan, nearly every studio issues new anime releases in two separate editions. One is a retail version with fancy cover art, bells and whistles like commentary tracks or DVD-only episodes, and often cool feelies of some sort, ranging from postcards to full-size action figures, T-shirts, or concert tickets; the other will be a Vanilla Edition for the video-rental market, and be a much more bare-bones release, typically containing only the episodes. Given the high cost of anime DVDs and Blu-rays in Japan, where 5000 yen for a disc with two episodes isn't uncommon, this practice is undoubtedly meant to give fans a reason to shell out the money for the retail discs instead of just renting the whole series for 100 yen a pop.
  • After long delays, Viz released Naruto on DVD. Cartoon Network edited version, English language track only. "Naruto Uncut" appeared some time later.
  • Due to a sudden shift of the rights to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann from ADV Films to Bandai right before the former was about to start their release, Bandai decided that they would quickly release a version that has only the subbed episodes in three volumes, while the full release (dual-audio, feelies, and really cool box) was finished in 2009.
  • You'd like to assume the Hellsing boxset would contain all of the features listed for the individual discs, namely the commentary. Fortunately it had some special features, but it's still disappointing.
  • For years Dragon Ball only had a DVD release in the US that was English only, heavily censored, and just the first 13 episodes (and the first of three movies). Funimation finally got the rights to air their version in line with the rest of the series.
  • The only releases of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! on DVD (and since it aired only 2-3 times on TV, it desperately needed one) were—like just about every 4Kids release—English-only, had no bonus features, and only contained a few early episodes each, out of order. Unsurprisingly, they are now out of print.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry was so terribly stripped down that Geneon didn't even bother to double check whether the selection arrows on the the main screen lined up with the menu items. The Funimation releases of the latter half of the series had even more problems.
    • Geneon was notorious for this before they went out of business. As a last ditch effort to just save what dwindling money was left, a lot of Geneon title DVD releases such as DearS, Ai Yori Aoshi, and Karin were nothing more than the episodes, and maybe a textless Opening and ending. Older series released back when they were still doing fine at least had some trailers, but still nothing much beyond that in terms of extras.
  • Central Park Media was a frontrunner for providing entertaining extras for their DVD sets. Unfortunately, the titles that they lost to other companies usually dropped them; one example is Slayers. When they initially released the first three seasons of Slayers on DVD, there actually were many bloopers and commentary with the cast, with humorous ad-libbing involved. None of these amusing and entertaining extras made it to Funimation's digitally remastered re-releases.
    • Strangely still, when all three seasons were made into a box set by the aforementioned Funimation, the old, washed-out picture quality from CPM's releases was used, and… you guessed it, still no extras…
  • The UK release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is an odd example. The DVD contains all of the extras from the US version, but the Blu-ray released alongside it only includes the film. The only way to get the film in HD and all the extras was to buy the now out of print Deluxe Collectors Edition, which included both formats.
  • Manga Entertainment decided to release the first ten One Piece movies in the UK in 2014, even though only two had been dubbed. While the already dubbed One Piece Film: Strong World was released individually as a full priced DVD and Blu-ray (with extras), movies 1-9 would be released as inexpensive 3-pack DVDs. Episode of Alabasta later got an individual DVD/Blu-ray release too, as it had also been dubbed. This is currently the only English-language release of the other eight One Piece movies.
  • Discotek Media has released Lupin III: Part 1 on DVD twice, the second release being an example of this. The first release in 2012 contained a good amount of extras, including commentary on some of the episodes, as well as both versions of the Lupin III <Pilot Film>. The second release in 2014 is cheaper and uses different cover art, but has none of the extras from the previous release.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • When a limited edition Blu-ray disc set of the first three movies was confirmed for release for February 2016, along with 16:9 widescreen DVDs, it was revealed that the special features from the original DVD releases would be excluded. In addition, the Pikachu shorts in the beginning of each film were left out of the set for rights issues. So what do we get? The movies in widescreen with a 2.0 Stereo presentation of the 4Kids English track, and.....that's about itnote . Some fans have taken solace at this, though, as it was a complete miracle that the movies ever got a Blu-ray release in North America to begin with.
    • After Disney sold off Miramax, the four movies that they distributed were rereleased by budget DVD company Echo Bridge. Like the above Steelbook, these were among the first Region 1 releases of the films in widescreen, but all the bonus features from those films, including three shorts, audio commentary on 4Ever, and Japanese and English trailers, were removed. Nor were they reinstated when Lionsgate and later Paramount got the rights to the movies.
    • As seen on this fan site, some episodes of the Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl were released on DVD in Japan under a line called "Get Pokémon". What makes this line of DVDs bare-bones is that they lack menus note , the opening theme, ending theme, and the next episode preview. Not to mention that each disc contains only one episode.
    • The DVDs of the show in the USA, also by Viz Media, lack bonus features, instead using the space to cram up to 12 episodes onto a single disc.
  • Studio Ghibli:
    • My Neighbor Totoro first came to American DVD with English audio only, pan-and-scan picture, and no bonus features. Later DVDs fixed the cropping, and added some extras — as well as the original Japanese version of the movie. However, they also updated the English dub, without porting the previous one over.
    • The Blu-ray boxset The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki compiled the first 11 movies that Miyazaki directed, but didn't carry over any extras from their individual Blu-ray releases. To compensate, there is an included book that has rare interviews, documents, and a complete filmography. There is also two exclusive bonus discs (combined into one in international releases) including some of Hayao Miyazaki's earlier works and the full version of his retirement press conference from 2013.
    • Japan also got an exclusive The Collected Works of Isao Takahata that compiled all 11 films that Takahata directed. It too did not carry over any extras from their individual Blu-ray releases. But it had a book as well as an exclusive bonus disc that contained some of Isao Takahata's earlier work and an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary. Said box set is also the only way to watch his documentary The Story of Yanagawa's Canals in HD.
    • And a third box set was released exclusively to Japan that compiled the first nine Studio Ghibli films that were not directed by Miyazaki or Takahata. This too did not carry over any extras, but it had no exclusive bonus disc either. It did still contain a bonus book. The sole on-disc extra was the first home video release of the short The GHIBLIES, which was previously nigh-impossible to watch outside of 240p TV recordings. The short film was included as a bonus with the The Cat Returns/The GHIBLIES episode2 double feature disc.

  • One of the selling points of the Abarat books is that they are chock-full of lavish, full-color paintings done by the author himself. This means the books have to be printed on special paper, which makes them much more costly than regular books. The Vanilla Edition paperbacks of each book replicate the text, but their only illustration is the one on the cover. However, similar to the case with Light Novels, the illustrations are one of the big draws.
  • The Discworld series has done the same, twice. The original formats of Eric and The Last Hero were big large-format lavishly illustrated novels full of Scenery Porn illustrations. However, the big fully-illustrated coffee-table versions are all sold out now and later readers have to make do with text-only vanilla imprints.
  • Robin Jarvis is known for illustrating his own books, usually with full-page ink drawings. When his Deptford Mice trilogy was brought over to the US from the UK, the illustrations were retained and the volumes were well-designed. However, when the prequel trilogy was printed, their illustrations were conspicuously (to those who knew they existed) absent. The covers, while by the same artist who did the US editions of the Deptford Mice (not the author), seem to have had less effort put into them than the previous three books. They are largely monochromatic and have an overall slapdash feel. The colored foil used before for the lettering of the titles is also absent. Basically, if you want the text they're okay, but they're not much to look at.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Like with subscription-based music series that often have budget versions containing far-fewer tracks and few if any rarities, several distributors (such as Warner Bros. and CBS/Paramount) issued special "budget" versions of their series or season box sets of TV shows. These often contain only a few select episodes, either only the most popular episodes or early episodes of a series that establish the tone and characters/character interactions of a series. Sometimes — especially if a full season had not yet been released — these will be test runs that, if a sales success, will lead to a full release of a given season.
    • Additionally, some budget labels will release only "public domain" episodes (episodes that have fallen into the public domain) of a popular series, where other companies have released full box season sets with complete features. Examples include Bonanza and The Beverly Hillbillies, (who have complete season box sets issued by CBS/Paramount), but because they have several episodes each that have fallen into the public domain, also have episodes issued on budget-priced compilations and, as such, have generic music replacing the original score (due to copyright laws), variable video quality (often on 16-mm prints) and no "bonus" features. Like Time-Life Music's budget-priced box sets, these DVDs are often sold at discount/convenience stores or other impulse-purchase shelves, at prices far lower than a full box set.
  • The DVD releases of Happy Days have no special features. The seasons 3 and 4 DVDs actually pass the clip shows as bonus features, even though those are included in the show's reruns.
  • Doctor Who: New series DVDs are released in two ways - a series of DVDs throughout the year, containing only the episodes and often devoid of special features, and then a special features-packed boxset at the end of the year.
    • Though more recently, the DVDs released throughout the year have included a few special features aimed towards the younger viewer. The idea seems to be that the special boxset is aimed at the 'Christmas present' market (very big in the UK) and the older viewers, while the ones released through the year are aimed at the 'pocket money' market.
    • Some classic series serials were released twice: The Five Doctors was originally released in 1999 as part of the BBC's launch of their DVD ranges. The only special feature was an isolated music track. Many early official releases also contained relatively few special features; since then most DVDs have as much special features as they possibly can - only a few releases nowadays (usually one-disc releases of six-part stories) have very few special features.
    • To play it straight - the 2013 DVD release of the recovered classic story The Enemy of the World has no special features whatsoever, as it was found and released just after recovery.
    • Other recovered Missing Episodes have been released in all sorts of weird editions. For instance, the found third episode of "Galaxy 4" was cleaned up and dumped straight onto iTunes for those who desperately wanted to see it, and it along with some reconstructions eventually saw a DVD release bundled with a rerelease of "The Aztecs" (the original release of which had been a Vanilla Edition). When "The Web of Fear" was rediscovered, it was released with no restoration or cleanup beyond the "VidFIRE" technique (an algorithm that makes the recovered film look like video again) and no restoration or reanimation of the third part - and certainly no special features.
    • A few returning monsters from the Classic series have been released with the New Who story featuring them as cheap bundles, likely aimed at a child market curious about what the references are. "Davros" pairs the Tom Baker serial "Genesis of the Daleks" (Davros's first appearance) with the David Tennant story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End"; "Sontarans" bundles the Jon Pertwee serial "The Time Warrior" and the Tennant story "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", and "Silurians" bundles Pertwee story "Dr. Who and the Silurians" with the Matt Smith story "The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood"...No extras, no commentary, but super cheap.
    • 2015-16 saw similar budget releases in North America. The Daleks set featured "Dalek" (Christopher Eccleston), "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" (Tennant), "Asylum of the Daleks" (Smith), and "Into the Dalek" (Peter Capaldi), plus "Genesis of the Daleks" (Tom Baker) as a "bonus" vintage serial. The Cybermen brought together "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday" (Tennant), "Closing Time" and "Nightmare in Silver" (Smith), and "Dark Water/Death in Heaven" (Capaldi), with "Earthshock" (Peter Davison) as the classic series bonus. Both releases also had short, kid-oriented documentaries recounting the in-show histories of the villains and providing a little behind-the-scenes stuff. Later The Weeping Angels was released, which featured "Blink" (Tennant), "The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone" and "The Angels Take Manhattan" (Smith). Since that was all they could (and as of 2018 still can) dredge up for Weeping Angel appearances beyond cameos, and the characters are exclusive to the revival era, the bonus episodes were "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon" from Series 6, which featured the debut of the Silence.
  • Something of a subversion: Red Dwarf was released in both Vanilla Edition and Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition form, but the version with the extras came out first. In fact, Grant Naylor Productions refused to allow Red Dwarf to be released on DVD in the 1990s because they wanted to wait until they could actually make good DVDs with loads of extras instead of vanilla releases with interactive menus and scene selection as the only special features. As a result, Red Dwarf I had its DVD release in 2002, while the then-last series, Red Dwarf VIII, was released in 2006, seven years after it had first aired. The Vanilla Editions came out in boxsets called "Red Dwarf: Just the Shows".
  • Some UK DVD companies like VCI and StudioCanal are notorious for not including any bonus features on their DVDs. Most discs by the aforementioned companies do not even include English HOH subtitling. By contrast, Network DVD discs often include bonus content - but they don't have subtitling either.
    • This may be due to the expensive nature of DVD ratings in the UK. Apparently the censor rating board charges by the minute of footage for the (mandatory by law) rating, so cheap companies don't put more on the disc than they have to.
  • The Highlander TV series boxed sets are unusually sparse. The first season was released on DVD in 2002, making it one of the first major disc collections. Each disc had three 45-minute episodes, which is a full episode less than other compilations of similar size put onto their DVDs. This required nine discs for a 22 episode season, compared to six discs for most other series boxed sets. Also, menu selection was very static with no background music, there were no subtitles or alternate languages, and no remastered video (which definitely shows its age).
  • The series 4 DVD release of Would I Lie to You? is just the episodes and nothing else. They attempt to cover this by passing the Clip Show off as a special feature.
  • The original The Young Ones DVDs were vanilla editions, with no bonus features and some footage cut. Later releases have documentaries and the missing footage restored.
  • Only Fools and Horses has been completely released on DVD, but with no bonus features and several scenes and music cues cut.
  • The first Fraggle Rock DVD was "Where It All Began", a single-disc release of the first three episodes sold exclusively at Wal-Mart. The third episode was the only bonus feature. Several months later a wide release special edition was released, with more bonus features including the "Fraggle Songs" video compilation and an episode of the animated series, while the third episode was part of the main program (but still excluded from the VHS release).
  • Early Cirque du Soleil TV specials, be they recordings of actual shows or Milestone Celebration programs, received this treatment from Sony, even as smaller distributor Image gave the barely-seen dramatic film version of Alegría a (now out-of-print) release that included a director's commentary track, making-of material, promos, and a music video. Sony started giving the newer shows special editions with Dralion in 2001, with Varekai and La Nouba even warranting 2-disc sets. Unfortunately, the "Anniversary Collection" roundup of the discs in 2005 dropped the second discs from both of those sets, thus losing almost all of the extras. To add insult to injury, both the DVD and 3-D Blu-ray versions of Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man, a 39-minute IMAX short, are vanilla editions despite tons of disc space and the existence of two trailers and a making-of short, the latter of which appeared on the VHS release!
  • When individual seasons of M*A*S*H were first released, they were all bare-bones, with no special features, other than an option to turn off the Laugh Track (as the producers originally wanted to bypass a laugh track all along). At first, this was justifiable, as the series was from a time period where home video releases were not common, and as such, special features really wouldn't have been available. Then, around the same time the final season was released, 20th Century Fox released a complete series set that not only had special features (a blooper reel, the 20th and 30th anniversary reunion specials, a Biography special, interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes footage, among other things), but also included the original 1970 movie as well; because of this, many angry fans that had already spent time, effort, and money collecting the individual season sets complained to Fox, and they responded by temporarily removing the complete series set from shelves, and releasing instead a set with the Grand Finale as the main feature, but with all of the bonuses from the complete series set included (except the movie).
  • Sony released a "Fan Favorites" DVD line, which repackaged individual discs of classic TV shows' complete season boxsets. Just a few of the specific discs that received this treatment include the first one of Married... with Children season one, the first disc of Bewitched season two (in which Sam became pregnant with Tabitha, and Cousin Arthur made his first onscreen appearance, among other events), and the second disc of I Dream of Jeannie season five (in which Jeannie and Tony got married, among other events). For potential irony, some of these volumes came from boxsets that didn't have any extras to begin with.
  • CBS/Paramount has re-released the Complete Series DVD sets of some TV shows (including The Brady Bunch and The Andy Griffith Show) with cheaper prices and more compact packaging, but without the bonus discs exclusive to the old boxsets.note 
  • Paramount originally released Star Trek: The Original Series in 2000 as 40 single DVD volumes with 2 episodes per disc and no bonus features (except for both the color and black-and white versions of "The Cage" on volume 40), which was similar to their previous releases of the series on VHS/Betanote  and LaserDiscnote . The volumes were seen by the public as an inefficient and outmoded way to buy TV series, and box sets came four years later.
  • Daredevil's first two seasons and Jessica Jones (2015) season one have been released on DVD/Blu-ray with absolutely zero additional content. And being web exclusive series is not that much of an excuse, as Netflix's own Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards (US) have had some extras on occasion, as did season one of the third Marvel/Netflix show, Luke Cagenote .
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The later seasons DVD releases gradually phased out extras to the point where season eleven didn't have any.
  • BBC's initial DVD lineup also included releases of Tweenies and The Noddy Shop, where the only bonus features on the discs were chapter selection and English and foreign-language subtitles. Some prints of the former DVD opened with trailers for other BBC DVDs, including the aforementioned Noddy Shop one. The Noddy Shop one is also known for freezing at random points during the actual episodes, even if the disc isn't scratched.
  • Up until the Yuuna-chan era, the DVDs of Inai Inai Baa! lacked any special features. For instance, the Fuuka-chan DVDs mainly only contain a narrated menu by Fuuka herself and a little section with character profiles, but that's it. However, one DVD from that era, Uta Uta Daisuki, contained a featurette about Pakupaku-san. DVDs released after the Yuuna-chan era often contain plenty of bonus features, including dance alongs and exclusive segments.
  • Whereas the first 12 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation were released to DVD with a plethora of bonus material, the original Degrassi series were less fortunate. The Kids of Degrassi Street had no special features. Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High did come with bonus content, including all six episodes of Degrassi Talks, a contemporary documentary, and DVD-rom content like wallpapers, but no deleted scenes, bloopers, or other behind-the-scenes material that fans of The Next Generation were pampered with year after year.
  • Initial printings of the Shout! Factory WKRP in Cincinnati complete series set had a disc with bonus features. That edition went out of print, and the current version just has the episodes.
  • The Image Entertainment complete series set of Sledge Hammer! did not include any of the bonus features from Anchor Bay Entertainment's previous season sets of the series (the Image set uses the broadcast version of the pilot, complete with laugh track, in place of the extended executive producer's cut used on Anchor Bay's Season 1, although the versions of episodes 2-12 are the laugh track-less ones from the Season 1 set).

  • Since record companies started producing Deluxe Editions, they have often produced a vanilla edition on the side. Understandable with remastered versions of classic albums, as you have to be a serious fan of an album or an artist to want an extended edition, but it is a little confusing when it's done with new albums and there's little to no difference in price. You wonder who would choose the shorter version.
    • Simple Minds intended Sons And Fascination / Sister Feelings Call to be released as a double LP, but Virgin felt it wasn't cost-effective, so the compromise was reached — the two discs were released as a twinned limited edition in some countries, with Sons And Fascination also being available on its own. Sons was released on its own elsewhere. CD and cassette reissues reunited the two albums.
  • Like the early DVDs, the first wave of CD reissues in The '80s simply duplicated the original album releases without any extra material. One notable exception was Rykodisc, which started as something of a musical version of The Criterion Collection, reissuing critically acclaimed titles with extra tracks and remastered sound. For example, David Bowie's 1969-80 back catalog got the Rykodisc treatment at the start of The '90s, and similar special editions of those and both his earlier and latter work have been a constant ever since. Later, as CD manufacturing costs went down, vanilla edition CD reissues became commonplace once again, with deluxe/definitive/collector's edition releases typically including extra material on a second disc instead of as bonus tracks.
  • Time-Life Music and other subscription-based music labels and distributors offered special "budget" versions of their popular music series — e.g., "The Rock 'n' Roll Era," "AM Gold," "Classic Country," etc. — during the late 1990s and through the 2000s decade. These were usually three-disc CD or cassette sets that contained 12 tracks each, and had usually only the most popular or essential tracks of the era (as opposed to albums in the regular subscription series, which often contained rare tracks or tracks that, while popular, weren't (and still aren't) commonly issued on various artists compilations). Priced substantially lower than an entire series — which could cost hundreds of dollars, a costly investment for someone wanting only the very most popular or essential songs — these "budget" sets were often found in discount or convenience stores and intended for impulse purchase.
  • The EMI Manhattan and EMI USA CDs of Kate Bush's first five albums in the US and Canada are fairly barebones compared to other editions on the format (including EMI America Records' earlier CD releases), removing most of the liner notes in favor of just the tracklists and a standard blurb about the Compact Disc.

    Video Games 
  • Most mobile ports are pretty much vanilla versions of the original games. Some of the include the Grand Theft Auto games, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and Papers, Please, among other ones.
  • The Beatles: Rock Band is sold both as a standalone game disc as well as two separate instrument bundles - the 'Value Edition' ships with the stock Rock Band 2 instruments, while the "Limited Edition" bundle includes a guitar controller based on Paul McCartney's Höfner 500/1 bass and a special drumkit with white pads and faux wood, adding an extra $100 to the price tag.
  • The Classic NES Series for Game Boy Advance. Sure, they were the only way to play the oldies without an emulator back then, but at least "Virtual Console" includes save states! These were direct emulations (fixing a "Blind Idiot" Translation or two) of the original games, with a huge drop in resolution due to the GBA's tiny screen and no attempt to rectify it. Hit the hardest were Super Mario Bros. and Metroid, Super Mario Bros. already being available for Game Boy Color as the Updated Re-release Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (which the Game Boy Advance was backwards-compatible with), and Metroid being available in the expanded Video Game Remake Metroid: Zero Mission, which even includes a port of the original game! And the asking price? $30-40 each.
  • Similarly, the 10 Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy Advance games released for free as part of the "Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program" to compensate the cost for people who bought the 3DS before its first price drop were released without features standard to other Virtual Console games, such as restore points. Ambassadors could update the NES games for free when they became available for purchase on the eShop to include restore points, but while playing the GBA games, the system cannot go into sleep mode or go to the home menu without closing the game, and the game doesn't pick up where you closed it. This is because instead of being emulated via software, the system's smaller CPU is slowed down to GBA speed. For this reason, these were the only GBA games ever released on the 3DS, and later GBA games were made available on the Wii U Virtual Console, with restore points, the ability to suspend play, and even fully mappable controls.
  • Kingdom Hearts is notorious for this. First is the barest Japanese release, then the American release, which has a few more bits, and the European one, usually has a few more changes too. Then the Final Mix goes out in Japan, and only in Japan. This one can be explained by Sony of America's policy on not rereleasing games for the same console unless there's a minimum percentage of new content (one wonders what low, spooky voodoo is used to determine that percentage). When the first two games got HD remasters on PS3, America finally got the final mix versions.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy did the Japan-rest of the world-Japan thing, too. Oh, and now Crisis Core is getting a remastered Japanese release, too… at least the Dissidia version was just the original with the changes from the European/Australian version incorporated.
  • An odd example, maybe an inversion: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for the DS. The DS game has a long and enjoyable bonus case, adding about an extra third to the length of an otherwise rather short game, and introducing a character who would become relevant later on. The Wii version removes this case, then later charges you money for it.
    • On the other hand, the game itself on WiiWare is 1000 Wii Points ($10 US), and Rise From the Ashes is only 100 points. The real issue with this is we had to wait 4 months for the case to be released as DLC!
  • Capcom is infamous for this trope, thanks in part to Capcom Sequel Stagnation in regards to Street Fighter. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior would see four revisions, ending with Super Street Fighter II Turbo (which had about 3-4 remakes of its own). Street Fighter III: New Generation would later be followed up by Second Impact, although Third Strike subverts this by being an actual sequel. Street Fighter IV was given a Super rerelease, which would in turn be given its own arcade port (Arcade Edition), which then came to consoles. AE then proceeded to get its own update patch. (Arcade Edition Ver. 2012). And then that would be followed by an Ultra re-release! Thank goodness Street Fighter V averts this trope...
    • This trope, in an unprecedented move, now applies to the Vs. series. Five months after the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (which is what was intended to be DLC for the original game) hit shelves.
  • The first Tekken game was as vanilla a port as you can get, having only an Arcade, Vs and Options mode in addition to the Galaga Minigame that played whilst the game was loading. The makers said that it was basically rushed out to capitalise on the PlayStation's popularity. Tekken 2 was given more time to be ported and as a result features the extra modes like Team Battle, Survival and Time Attack that would become a trademark of the series.

    Western Animation 
  • Unfortunately, many classic cartoon shorts in the Public Domain have the misfortune of being carelessly compiled onto many, many extremely bare-bones, low-budget DVD collections, usually with no extras and the prints used being in poor quality, and it's only once in a blue moon if they even try to go to the trouble of at least cleaning up the picture and sound quality.

  • Averted with the two official Woody Woodpecker collections, played incredibly straight with the mail-order Columbia House sets.
  • Nickelodeon is notorious for giving any show that isn't SpongeBob or Avatar-related the most bare-bones home video releases conceivable. To wit:
    • This was the only format that Rocko's Modern Life had been released on until the early 2010s, and it took an outsourcing-production deal with to even make that happen. It was averted with the Shout! Factory release of Season 2 onward and the complete series box set. Joe Murray was brought in to do new cover art, "How to Draw the Characters" featurettes, and a "select scene commentary", while Shout! also included the original "Trash-O-Madness" pilot and a recording of a 2012 live reading of the "Wacky Delly" script.
    • The Amazon sets are manufactured-on-demand on DVD-Rs, making the discs even worse than the standard Vanilla Edition due to player compatibility issues and worse durability.
    • Another series that shared this fate was Nick's run of Doug, with Amazon at least giving the series an barebones MOD DVD set.note 
    • Butch Hartman's first three shows—The Fairly OddParents!, Danny Phantom, and T.U.F.F. Puppy—got this treatment as well. The Fairly OddParents and T.U.F.F. Puppy were only partially released, and some of the season sets are now out of print. Danny Phantom does have a complete series box set from Shout! Factory, albeit without bonus features and the episodes from the second season Out of Order, to the point that a villain's follow-up episode may be placed immediately before their introduction episode.note 
    • Rugrats got this treatment as well - which is pretty insulting considering its status as the only Nicktoon to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Initially only released on DVD-Rs from Amazon, Paramount has since released the complete series in a box set, but it's still missing any sort of special features. Much like the Happy Days example in the Live-Action TV section above, the show’s complete series DVD set from Paramount tries to pass the show’s made-for-TV movies (such as “Runaway Reptar” and “Babies in Toyland”) and the Tales from the Crib direct-to-video specials as extras, even though the former pieces of Rugrats content are included in the show’s regular episode rotation on TeenNick as part of NickRewind.
    • CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys initially got the Amazon DVD-R treatment, but have since received box sets from Shout! Factory. Neither include special features, though.
    • KaBlam! was supposed to get one for the 2009 holiday season, but it was scrapped (it was very disappointing for fans of it, since it's never been released on VHS tapes or DVDs, but since 2021 it's available on Paramount+).
    • Invader Zim has had two distinct DVD releases. The first one, by Media Blasters – which they picked up on the cheap because Nick had washed their hands of the series – was a lavish thing chock full of extras (including Irken subtitles); they also put out a Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition that had a box shaped like Zim's house. It was a massive hit... so massive, that Nick yanked the rights back the first chance they could, put Media Blasters' sets out of print (and as a result making used copies of the house-shaped box set insanely expensive)... and immediately set out to give fans a much worse release. "Operation: Doom" is the least appealing of the bunch. No special features at all, no subtitles, and it only includes a handful of episodes. The only redeeming quality was the prospect of the show being revived by the Nickelodeon execs (this ultimately manifested as the Netflix film Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus).
    • My Life as a Teenage Robot is yet another series that got the treatment.
    • Making Fiends got perhaps the worst treatment of the bunch, only featuring the 18 7-minute segments, adding up to around 2 hours of entertainment.
    • Hey Arnold! didn't receive any bonus features until Paramount decided to bundle the show and the movies together, with some archival extras (including the pitch pilot and one of Arnold's Pee-wee's Playhouse claymation shorts) added to the first disc.
    • Surprisingly, this was eventually averted with The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. While the show initially only had 'best of' releases through Amazon's DVD-R program, Shout! Factory eventually released the entire series in a box set, with a bonus features disc containing all three Jimmy Timmy Power Hour specials, the show's original pilot, as well as featurettes.
    • The release of The SpongeBob Musical only has the sing-along edition of the musical and a photo gallery as bonus features. This is unusual for a SpongeBob release, as they usually come with a lot of bonus features.
    • The SpongeBob DVDs after season 9 have been very light on bonus features.
      • SpongeBob Season 10 has no bonus features and half the episodes of a regular season.
      • The Season 11 DVD only has one special feature, being a less than two-minute animated short that you can also watch online for free.
      • The season 12 DVD also has only one special feature: a clip show called Patchy's Beach Bash! There are also English, Spanish, and French audio options, in addition to incredibly bland-looking menus.
      • Season 13's DVD didn't even have the season number or show name on the menus, no preview screenshots for episodes, and some episodes weren't available in Spanish or French. It does have an extra episode of Kamp Koral and The Patrick Star Show as part of a Fake Crossover, but that's it.
    • The Kamp Koral: Season 1, Volume 1 DVD has no bonus features besides audio options and subtitles.
    • The Patrick Star Show: Season 1, Volume 1 DVD has no bonus features. It has audio options, but they don't even apply to every episode. Of the 13 episode pairs, French is only available for 7, and Spanish is only available for 10.
    • Patrick's Season 1, Volume 2 DVD fared even worse. There aren't even preview screenshots on the menu, just a plain text list of episodes.
  • Surprisingly zig-zagged with DVD releases of Thomas & Friends in the UK. After a season's aired, DVDs containing four to eight episodes of the season and special features are released. Then a single-disc release of the entire season is released, devoid of the special features.
    • For some reason, the US releases seem to get more, special-features wise, than the UK. The US's release of The Great Discovery contained behind-the-scenes featurettes, the UK only received kid's DVD games and music videos of the songs from the film.
  • Zig-zagged with The Powerpuff Girls Movie. The US release was pan and scan, but contained a decent amount of bonus features, while the UK release was widescreen, but contained much less bonus features.
  • [adult swim] DVDs have no bonus features in the UK, with the odd exception with Moral Orel and Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil.
  • Similar to Nickelodeon, Disney gives this treatment to the television shows owned by the studio that are lucky to even get a DVD release.
    • A lot of the old Disney Afternoon shows (DuckTales (1987), Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin) got released on DVD with zero bonus features whatsoever. The Eastern European release of the first DVD volume of DuckTales (1987) is even worse. It doesn't contain the original English language track, only the dub.
    • When the 1960s Spider-Man animated series was released on DVD in the United States (around the time Spider-Man 2 was released to theaters), it only got all 52 episodes and a booklet with an introduction by Stan Lee. No commentaries, no commercials, no behind-the-scenes featurettes, nothing. The '90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series received even worse DVDs, as Disney never released all of its episodes on the format.
    • All of the television series releases exclusive to the Disney Movie Club are these. Some received wider retail releases, but others, such as Kim Possible, The Weekenders and Tangled: The Series, remain exclusive to the club. Still, considering Disney is notorious for never releasing DVDs of much of their animated series, something is better than nothing in this case.
  • Surprisingly, for a show otherwise known for its excellent box-sets, Season 20 of The Simpsons was released in this form. The only special feature was a preview for the 20th Anniversary special, which aired two days before the release of the DVD. It was also never released in the UK.
    • Season 19's DVD is also lacking in bonus features (aside from the usual commentary tracks, creator introduction and "Special Language Feature"), but the trippy menus really make up for it.
  • Strangely enough Star Wars: The Clone Wars released on two DVDs with either 4 episodes without any special features during the summer before the box release. There are no vanilla editions of any other TCW episodes and the boxes only come in this edition or as Blu-ray version with extra animation libraries that wouldn't fit on regular DVDs.
    • Not quite so outside English speaking countries. In Finland, the seasons are first released in four DVDs, each containing 5-6 episodes. Few months later, a set with all the episodes is published. No bonus material anywhere. Not even commentaries. Aforementioned 4-episode DVDs were also released here.
  • DiC has not been very lucky with this for DVD releases of their shows.
    • The company's first DVD releases were released through Lions Gate Home Entertainment between 2001-2002 and were known "DIC EasyPlay" DVDs, which several shows like Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! had DVD releases for. The only significant special feature on the discs is a trivia game with questions pertaining to the show in question that allows you to see something after completing them (mainly a trailer seen on another DIC DVD at the time, or artwork), and a main menu feature where Inspector Gadget teaches you how to use the DVD where you can MOVE THE GLOW over the BUTTONS. The languages menu gives you English subtitles only, and the Super Show DVD release (a release titled "Mario's Greatest Movie Moments") doesn't even give you the live-action Mario Bros. segments or the "Do the Mario" closing credits!
    • Strangely, the 2001 DVDs contained Spanish voice tracks, but the 2002 ones don't, so this devoids any need for a Language menu.
    • Considering they were a low-key distributor, DVDs released through UAV Entertainment from 2003-2005 are more bare-bones than the Lions Gate ones. They only contain four episodes (one of which being a DVD "Bonus" episode) and nothing else. The 2004 and 2005 releases did include trailers for other DIC releases by them, although they are just the intros for the shows with a screen at the end showcasing the show's DVD release.
    • The NCircle DVDs suffered the same fate. Only 4 episodes and only consists of trailers as bonus material, if at all for some of the UAV reprints.
    • The 2004 DVD release of A Christmas Carol from Fox has almost nothing on it except for the film. Not even a DVD menu.
    • The DVD releases of from Shout! Factory mainly have a good range of special features alongside the main feature, so it averts this.
    • The 2-disc Complete Series DVD release of The Get Along Gang from Mill Creek Entertainment. The first disc only has the episodes in English with no bonus features, alternate audio tracks or subtitles at all. The second disc, on the other hand, is literally just a re-issue of a compilation DVD featuring the episodes of the show not on Disc 1, as well as episodes of other 80s cartoons DHX Media has the rights to.
  • The DVD box sets of Garfield and Friends had nothing but trailers as bonus features.
  • Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers was released on DVD with neither a set-up menu NOR with scene selections! There are only two featurettes and some trailers as bonus features. Really.
  • The Shout! Factory DVDs for Beetlejuice. This is just one of the reasons why people are complaining about how expensive the complete series set is.
  • Back in 2004, Clifford's Really Big Movie came to DVD by Warner Bros. with a handful of special features and scene selections. The re-release by Universal, on the other hand...
  • This is true with many releases of Cartoon Network series. While the first two seasons of Ed, Edd n Eddy and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, all six seasons of The Powerpuff Girls, and the first season of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy were released with special features, Warner Bros. released a line as the "Cartoon Network Hall of Fame," which was the first seasons of Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and Courage the Cowardly Dog. Surprisingly, despite the popularity of these series (especially considering Dexter was Cartoon Network's first big hit), only the Johnny Bravo set got a special feature, and only because of Seth MacFarlane (he was a writer on Johnny Bravo before moving on to Family Guy, and other shows of his). Adding insult to injury, the Dexter set omits one of the Dial M For Monkey segments, "Barbequor".note 
    • More recent Warner releases are much worse about this. Complete sets of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and Ed, Edd n Eddy have been released, but none have any new extras, and the latter show doesn't include its TV movie and holiday special episodes, meaning it isn't even fully complete!
    • Somewhat averted with Madman's Region 4 releases in Australia:
      • Dexter's Lab received releases of the 1st Season, which retains "Barbequor", and part 1 of the 2nd season, which comes with bonus Dexter music videos. The series later received a complete series box set from Madman, Dexter's Laboratory: Collected Experiments, which also includes the TV movie Ego Trip, which hadn't been rereleased since VHS. It doesn't include "Barbequor", though.
      • The 2nd season of Courage The Cowardly Dog comes with the original pilot, and the 2nd season of Johnny Bravo comes with Johnny Goes To Bollywood, an 11-minute episode created for the Asian market. Not to be confused with the full-length movie produced afterwards, Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood.
      • Madman released a complete series box set of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, complete with DVD-ROM bonus features.
      • Played straight with most of their other unique releases, though. Madman's releases of stuff Warner released in the US generally retain their special features, but releases that Madman did on their own tend to be barebones. They've released all eight seasons of Regular Show, but forgot a season 4 episode and don't include any new extras for later seasons. All 4 seasons of We Bare Bears were released by them in vanilla DVD form, with no extras. Sym-Bionic Titan managed to get a release of its entire run, even after the show was written off, but still without extras. Partial releases exist for other shows - Camp Lazlo, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Class of 3000, The Powerpuff Girls (2016), and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes all only received a single season release, with My Gym Partner's a Monkey receiving one split over two volumes. Cow and Chicken got two seasons, with its spinoff show I Am Weasel getting an additional release of all shorts produced for its standalone show. Craig of the Creek and Summer Camp Island each got a box set for their first three seasons. Every single one of these releases is vanilla and contains no special features - though many of these shows never got a release anywhere else, so this is the only option available.
  • Visual Entertainment's complete DVD set of the Earthworm Jim animated series only has the episodes in English with no subtitles or bonus features, not even the animation featuretes included in the VHS releases.
  • The releases of the Winx Club movies in America have been this. The only option on the DVD menus are to play the movies!
  • The first DVD release of Æon Flux from 1997 was just a port of the VHS version and so bare bone that it's one of the few DVDs to not have a menu. note 
  • All of Fox's DVD-R releases of their animated shows, such as American Dad!, Bob's Burgers and The Cleveland Show. The DVD release of Season 2 of Bob's Burgers, which is the shortest season of that show, does have one bonus feature: a table read of the first act of a Season 3 episode.
  • Every King of the Hill DVD set after season 2.
  • The DVD releases of Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation and Wakko's Wish especially after it took so long for them to be released, it was especially jarring in the case of Wakko's Wish considering DVD's were already around when it was first released.
  • Arthur has for the longest time seen nothing but these types of releases. The Sony Wonder DVDs (many of which were "souped-up" versions of Random House's videotapes) had no sorts of special features, unless you count the "Kid-Friendly Instant Play" (read: the DVD menu appears after the program is over) and the closing promos and funding credits. While Funimation's "Our Time" issues and the later WGBH/PBS self-releases have a little more content (more trailers and "activities") they're still quite barebones. This is especially infuriating because, with the exceptions of seasons 7 (released under the name "Sleepovers, Sports and More"), 10, 11, 22 (under the name "Arthur Celebrates Community") and 25 (under the name "Believe In Yourself") in the USA and Canada, as well as seasons 1, 2 and 3 in the United Kingdom, Arthur still hasn't received proper season releases, despite having been on the air since 1996.
  • As with Arthur, most PBS Kids DVD releases are quite bare-bones. For example, the Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat DVD "Cat Tales & Celebrations" only has three special features: being an interview with Amy Tan, interactive show trivia, and printable coloring pages.
    • The PBS Kids releases by Skiprope Entertainment are even worse, as most of them do not contain bonus features, save for trailers at the beginning of some releases. This also applies to non-PBS DVDs released by the company such as Garfield and Friends.
    • The first DVD of Ready Jet Go! was so barebones, it only had the episodes, and four of them at that.note  So the DVD only lasts 1 hour since each individual episode is 11-minutes.
  • While such DVD releases of animated media have been common in Greece, the DVDs of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and Frosty the Snowman in 2015 (some of the last ever made there, excluding later Nickelodeon DVD releases) don't even have a DVD menu. In fact, the video in the latter ends midway through the end credits.
  • The U.S. DVD release of Animalympics by Hen's Tooth Video is this. The only featurette is scene selection, while the only menu options are playing the movie and turning subtitles on or off.
  • This is prominent in Warner Bros.' season set releases of cartoons as of The New '10s, including Teen Titans Go!, Green Eggs and Ham and Animaniacs.
  • All DVD releases of The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin fall under this trope, as they lack bonus features. The two DVDs from First National Pictures did have bonus features, but they were Baby Felix music videos and an additional episode ("The Faded Fobs"), respectively.
  • The DVD releases of The Animals of Farthing Wood don't have bonus features, not even a commentary or a behind the scenes featurette. This is likely due to the fact that the show's cast (save for the late-great Ron Moody) and crew are very private and have not given any interviews at all, which is also the reason why virtually no behind the scenes info, cast list and character models from the show have not been made public, which has also made the show become one of few animated shows with no public behind the scenes info out there.
  • The 2014 and 2021 Mill Creek Entertainment reprints of Dilbert and The Critic lack the extras from the original 2004 Sony releases of both, in order to add more episodes on the discs.
  • The Meet Pingu DVD has no menu, and it doesn't even have the trailers that the VHS release has.
  • Unlike most VeggieTales releases, the DVDs for The VeggieTales Show, Fruit Of The Spirit Stories, only contain three episodes and no bonus features.

    Real Life 
  • Most British Newspapers went through a phase of competing to give Vanilla Editions of DVD films, TV shows and music CD's away with their Saturday and Sunday editions. The Guardian focused on things like arthouse subtitled foreign movies; the Daily Mail reissued craggy-jawed British war movies like the Dambusters and 633 Squadron; the Telegraph did 1930's and 1950's nostalgia about the Good Old Days; the Sun and Daily Star focused on low-brow sex comedies. Some were genuinely worth having, but many were, to be kind, not good. The common identifying factor in all these free issues was that you only got the very basic film-only DVD edition with no extra bangs, whistles or bounces. These free promotions largely ended when the newspapers started to tally up the revenue from increased sales against money paid out in licence fees, DVD production, etc., and concluded it wasn't worth it.
    • The Daily Mail did this with a series of card sleeve reissues of various 70s & 80s CD albums years ago, and Prince seized the opportunity to get two of his new albums pressed up by them too.