This story originally appeared in our newsletter, The Stream Report. To get more stories like this in your inbox, subscribe here.
The early 2000s were the golden age of DVDs. You could get everything on DVD, or Blu-ray, if you wanted exceptionally high quality (ooh, ahh, hey big spender!). For many DVD buyers, though, the best part of the experience wasn’t just the TV show or more on the main disc. It was the bonus content.
So. Much. Bonus content.
To re-ignite your passion and memory, the type of bonus content one could find on DVDs was nicely summarized by Reddit user /u/arentseaj on the /r/Movies subreddit. We’ll let you take a looksie at that one yourself, but in short, DVDs offered:
- Deleted scenes
- Cast and director interviews
- Directors’ cuts
- Behind-the-scenes looks
- Short episodes
- Audio commentary
Heck, some DVDs even had little games you could play using your TV remote. Such innovation! Most of that was lost when Netflix shifted the market to on-demand streaming. Gravity Falls voice actor and NYT bestselling author Alex Hirsch noted his disappointment on this topic in a 2021 tweet:
It’s insane that streaming services don’t have commentary tracks for literally all of their movies. Commentaries are cheap & easy to produce & get the audience to spend more precious minutes watching your service. Why on earth are Netflix/Amazon/D+/HBOMAX etc not all doing this? https://t.co/RkLyRjrG8I
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) July 11, 2021
It’s not likely that we’ll ever get all of that golden-age extra content goodness back. But there’s still a shadow of what we lost if you look hard enough.
At least some providers are throwing us a bone
Taking note of the popularity of some of their biggest shows, many streaming services are now offering behind-the-scenes views in the form of separate content. Take Disney+, for example. Its Assembled TV series, launched in 2021, offers that content for its Marvel TV shows and movies. There are currently 13 episodes, each covering a different Phase 4 series or movie.
Netflix is also playing along, to a small degree. Just last month, it released a video of bloopers from Stranger Things. That was a bit more advertorial than a bonus add-on for viewers, but it gets the same feel across.
Still, as fun as this content is, it’s few and far between. Even most shows you could still buy on DVD from used sellers, such as Seinfeld, The Office, or Friends, all have tons of bonus content on their DVD releases from the early 2000s that simply never made it to the streaming services they now call home. And as Aaron Bernhart on Primetimer notes, there’s no good reason why.
Our takeaway: We’ll be waiting, streamers
Maybe it’s nostalgia talking (which is already big business, anyway), but the loss of those DVD extras we loved hits pretty hard. Most streaming providers aren’t making any extra efforts to add them, and likely because many of them still aren’t making any money and are hesitant to go the extra mile to add additional content.
We’re here for whenever…if ever…streaming providers decide the extra content is a good thing. Until then, where’s the closest thrift store?
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming. He loves whittling down complex ideas within these areas that make decisions easier for buyers. When he’s not reading books with his son Miles and playing video games with the family, you can find him immersed in his growing collection of Euro-style board games.