Since Avatar: The Complete Book 1 Collector's Edition is a repackaging of the original "Book 1" set, I'm going to treat the review the same as I'd treat a complete series set, and just focus on what's new, and whether you should upgrade.
My first reaction when we posted artwork for this release was "wow, that looks amazing!" and my thoughts have only improved now that I hold the set in my hands. It's absolutely stunning. The silver trim around the sides, and the relief of the Ang artwork is awesome. This is something Nickelodeon should be proud of, and something that looks great on a shelf.
The guts of this release is "The Complete Book 1," which was released in September, 2006. That release is included in the new slip cover, along with the bonus disc and the "preview edition" of the "Art of the Animated Series" book.
Bonus Disc (32:21)
This is not a featurette, this is a wonderful short documentary film about the show. To call it a "featurette" would take away from what they've created. Establishing shots, cut-aways of the city, and activities of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. This is the second time Nickelodeon has amazed me with bonus material on one of their sets, the first being on the SpongeBob SquarePants 100 episodes set. There are no menus on this disc, just the feature. Despite what the DVD artwork says, this is anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1), not full frame.
Exclusive Preview Edition: The Art of the Animated Series
A 48-page preview of the art book, available now. I think this will be the second art book I own, the first being Oban Star-Racers (if you haven't seen that show, buy it - it's wonderful).
To Upgrade, or Not to Upgrade?
If you don't already own the "Book 1 Collection" then stop reading and go out and buy this right now; it's one of the finest animated shows ever. If you already have the set then your decision is a bit harder, but just by a bit. I'd argue that you should find a way to buy this (Amazon.com is, as of this writing, selling the set for $25.49). Do you have a friend that you think would enjoy Avatar? Since the "Book 1 Collection" is separately shrinkwrapped inside the new slipcover, you could easily pick up the "Collector's Edition" and simply give it as a gift, or you could try to sell it on eBay (I'd argue the gift is a better approach). The new, amazing packaging and the wonderful bonus disc is worth it, for sure.
Yes, it's a repackaging with fancy box art, a bonus disc, and a preview for a book, but the fact that the DVDs are shrinkwrapped inside the slipcover gives you options, and makes this set worth buying.