Director(s) – Tom Stern (Freaked, Saul and the Mole Men) and Brian Volk-Weiss (The Movies That Made Us, Backseat Comics)
Starring – Donald Ian Black (Funny Bunny, Meanwhile in Space), Mark Bellomo (Batteries Not Included, Collection Intervention), and David Vonner
Release Date – 2017, 2018
Rating – 4.5/5
Blu Release – 4.5/5
Early last year I was browsing Netflix for something to watch and I was struggling to find something to pass my time. When I turn on Netflix I rarely watch horror. I have too many horror movies on DVD and blu to worry about a streaming service for horror. I use services like Netflix and Hulu to provide me with entertainment outside of the genre I collect. I turn to them mostly for older television shows and specials that I can only get through them.
Anyway, I was shuffling through Netflix and spotted the documentary series The Toys That Made Us and thought it looked fun. I watched and episode, of the four available, and was hooked. I watched those first four episodes several times since then and when that second season was released I binge watched them both several times. Sometime back I was lucky enough to receive a blu set with both seasons along with a cool collectible figure for review. I have to admit that this is my favorite set in my collection now and the show is easily my favorite at the moment. I absolutely love it.
**Spoiler Alert**The documentary series focuses on popular toy franchises over the years, their impact on the toy community, the controversies around them, and how it shaped pop culture after the fact. Season 1 follows Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and G.I. Joe. Season 2 follows Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO, and Hello Kitty. **Spoiler Alert**
It’s not often I come across a show that I can watch over and over again while never losing interest in it. The last show that I came across that I watched repeatedly was another Netflix series, Pompidou. The Toys That Made Us is easily my favorite show right now just barely beating out American Pickers. I catch hell for liking both shows but I can’t deny my love for it.
The interviews in this one are very informative and playful at the same time. The series has a very upbeat tone throughout and the interviews have a very whimsical and playful tone that fits the series. With that aside, each episode is packed with extremely informative interviews and the show is not afraid to interview those with conflicting information. I absolutely love documentaries when those being interviewed offer varying opinions on each topic and The Toys That Made Us do a solid job at giving viewers just that.
Each episode is broken up by toy along with the impact it had on the toy industry, what went into creating the toy and the idea behind it, and controversies that arose during any of the steps before winding down with the legacy of the toy line since it’s initial release. This is a superb format that really works for the show and holds the viewer’s attention.
Finally, this one is edited together smoothly and each top rolls from one into the next flawlessly. Each episode is smooth and the information within is highly entertaining. Overall, The Toys That Made Us Season 1 and 2 is must see t.v. I know that is said a lot but I absolutely mean it. Fans of the show need to own the special edition blu. It’s worth it!
Featurette with Show Creator Brian Volk-Weiss
Barbie 80’s Marketing
More Stories that Made Us: GI Joe the Story of Cobra
More Stories that Made Us: Selling the Show
Jim Swearingen Extended Interview
Peter Cullen Extended Interview
Todd McFarlane on LEGO
Todd McFarlane on Star Trek
Hideki Yoke/Takara Tour