New Toy Series Premieres on Netflix—But the Question is: Will Fans Want to PAY to See it?

There’s a New Show All About Toys—But Is It Worth The Cost?

A new Netflix series (clumsily) titled, “The Toys That Made Us” is currently airing online (available to paid Netflix subscribers only), and (as you might expect) the show’s episodes each focus primarily on iconic brands such as GIjOE, Barbie, Star Wars, etc. Predictably too, the approximately 45 minutes of airtime each installment consumes is largely comprised of (familiar) video clips taken from OLD television commercials, OLD Saturday morning cartoons, and OLD comic book ads and/or catalogs (feeling OLD yet?). Sprinkle in assorted sound bites from “expert” talking-heads and uber-collectors, then tie it all together with “fluff” narration, and you have what amounts to a not-all-too-unpleasant way to spend the better part of an hour.

Bottom Line: Since these new Netflix episodes are largely targeted to today’s attention-deficited, iPhone-obsessed viewing public, their video clips tend to be short and rather quickly cut. That can become VERY frustrating to diehard (i.e. older) toy fans who prefer to SEE all these vintage goodies for more than just a couple of seconds apiece. Similarly, the show’s so-called “expert” sound-bites also tend to be too short and shallow, and left us wanting to hear MORE (much more, actually). Finally, due to changing consumer viewing habits, it’s unlikely DVDs of this show will ever be offered, so… while much of the content is stuff you’ve probably seen before (likely for FREE on YouTube or elsewhere), if you don’t mind paying Netflix for the privilege of viewing their repackaged “exclusive content,” then you should take a look at the show’s teaser reel provided above. It’s cool!

UPDATE (1-8-18): The TTTMU episode featuring GIjOE focuses primarily on the  tremendous financial “gambles” Hasbro took when it produced both its original 1960-70s 12″ lines and then (again) later, its 1980s 3.75″ RAH figures. Many toy fans too, may not have known how GIjOE’s unprecedented sales success in the ’80s was responsible for restoring a (then) moribund Hasbro to a position of financial solvency and dominance in the toy industry—What a hero!

The episode also provides a well laid-out history of the company itself, its founding Hassenfeld family, and the key individuals involved in GIjOE’s development and creation. Especially enjoyable to the staff here at The Joe Report (who viewed the program), was the inclusion of such familiar and friendly faces as Larry Hama and Derryl DePriest. What great guys! Fans of 12″ GIjOEs may feel somewhat short-changed by the episode’s content, but overall, it was very well done. Go, JOE!

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7 thoughts on “New Toy Series Premieres on Netflix—But the Question is: Will Fans Want to PAY to See it?

  1. jonesboys79 says:

    I’ve watched all four episodes so far. I enjoyed them a ton! Just wish they were longer…so much good info deserves so much more time

    • I’d like to see whole episodes on just the development, production, marketing and use of an individual, UNIQUE toy. Say… the 1968 “Strange Change” machine by Mattel. Toys like that were EXTRA cool! 😮

  2. Franklin says:

    This show was actually very enjoyable to watch! I found it by accident a few weeks ago, and binged the entire thing. I hope there are more episodes planned. I particularly was saddened by some of the brands that are no longer available (GI Joe, of course, and I just missed the He-Man line when I was a kid collecting Star Wars).

    I say if you already have Netflix (which is a pretty good deal, even if you only have it for a few months at a time) then give the show a shot. I didn’t think that the clips and “old” content were disappointing since trying to hunt it all down would take far too long for me in my busy day-to-day.

    Perhaps this show will re-spark interest in some of these lines and bring them back in all their glory. I want some He-Man figurines! It was particularly fun to watch the Barbie episode with my mom, who grew up with the original line of the dolls.

    • The He-Man cartoons were laughably bad, but there’s nothing uncool about all of those He Man action figures, especially Skeletor! Come to think of it, all of the HM characters were pretty cool (except for that annoying little wizard guy, Orko. Ugh.). 🙂

      • Franklin says:

        Heh heh! I haven’t checked out the show at all. It’s online somewhere, but I’m mostly familiar with the characters through Robot Chicken. Browsing the shelves at the store nowadays, there really isn’t anything comparable to He-Man, and I wish there was! I also wish we could get Mighty Max sets back.

      • kneonknight says:

        Orko was a symptom of many cartoons in the late 70s and Early 80s, nearly every one had the annoying sidekick – Thundercats had Snarf, She-Ra had that irritating know-it-all owl (forgot his name), Blackstar had a brain-damaged mole man (another name that escapes me)…and so on.

        All that aside, the one MOTU figure that stands out in my memory as being super obnoxious was Moss Man. It wasn’t that the character itself was particularly bad, but the action figure had an awful smell that just never went away. I imagine quite a few of them found their way into the trash when Junior wasn’t looking, just so there parents could breathe.

        As far as the Netflix series, I caught the G.I. Joe episode a few days ago, and my friend who was watching it with me found it amusing that I was getting increasingly annoyed and was arguing with the TV about some minor factual errors. I was just sorry that they didn’t have a small segment on The Defenders figures, as they were an intermediary between G.I. Joe and the Super Joe lines, even though Hasbro barely acknowledges their existence.

        I wonder if the kids who grew up with the Hall of Fame and Classic Collection figures will remember them with the same fondness as we old-timers have for our favorite plastic pal?

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