Every so often, Netflix strikes gold with one of their docuseries, and The Toys That Made Us is one of them. Even if you know the history behind each of the first four episodes subject matter, chances are you haven’t seen it presented quite like this before.
Check out the official trailer from earlier this month:
The concept is familiar- a documentary series featuring interviews with the creators and notable personalities surrounding the main theme of each episode, but somehow more fun. Sure, maybe that can be chalked up to the writing, but I firmly put the credit in the hands of the editing team.
Star Wars and the Kenner Toys contract is theme for the first episode, and it covers the entire saga up until The Last Jedi. The note at the end stating that George Lucas declined to be interviewed for it not really a detriment. It’s really less about Lucas’s presence in the franchise than it is how the Kenner-LucasFilm business together changed the future of film’s relationship to toys. Collectors and fans will no doubt have moments of pure nostalgia with the intercutting of vintage commercials along with the talk segments. My suggestion would be to watch this episode last out of the 4 available.
Kevin Smith tweeted out a screenshot of the second episode, about Barbie and Mattel, featuring former Mattel CEO Jill Barad and her….interesting….sculpture. I can’t post the image, but you can go look at Smith’s tweet here. Covering the origin of the most famous doll in the world from her more adult European roots, the episode also details the ups and downs of Mattel during it’s 58 year history with Barbie. Watch this one second.
The third episode is about another Mattel release, He-Man. Again, another example of right time right people, the stories surrounding the creation and release of the 1982 character are told by the men who lived it. Complete with the great BOOOOOONG sound. Keep this one right at #3 in your viewing order.
The fourth episode is about the real American hero, G.I. Joe. First appearing on the scene in 1962, Hasbro obviously set the tone for years to come with their highly detailed and realistic figures. Watch this one first.
Supposedly we get another set of 4 episodes coming next year, as the theme song DOES SAY 8 episodes, including one about Transformers, LEGO, Hello Kitty, and Star Trek.