Have you ever wondered what the story behind the inception of your childhood toys was? Did you ever wonder about the people who hand-crafted the prototypes, only to change them a dozen times till they reached their final form? Well fret no more – Netflix has produced the definitive documentary series about the toys that we obsessed about in our youth. The Toys That Made Us, created by Brian Volk-Weiss, was released on December 22, 2017, right before the holiday season. I’m sure whoever managed an episode or two before going out for Christmas presents got a major case of nostalgia.
Like most geeks, I like my pop culture related toys. I had my Hulk Hogan action figure when I was a kid, tried to build the Millennium Falcon out of random Lego parts, and I continue to collect to this day. Most of the items I buy these days are “for my kids”, at least that’s what I tell my wife. This documentary series gave me a glimpse into my childhood and all the toys I had or wished I had. More importantly, I got an insider’s look into the story behind them.
The Toys That Made Us explains everything about the process that went into the creation of iconic toy lines that dominated the 80s and 90s. Kicking off with the mother ship of movie collectibles and toys, Kenner gets a truly inspiring episode explaining how a small Cincinnati based company got one of the biggest toy licenses of all time. The Star Wars franchise grabbed them by the shirt and pulled them out of the small business pool. It threw them into the deep end of the toy manufacturing business, against toy manufacturing giants like Mattel and Hasbro, trying to become the most have 80’s toys straight through the 90s.
The documentaries include wonderful insight into the world of toy-making and amusing anecdotes, along with juicy insider information. Even the one that would seem least interesting to me, the 2nd episode concerning the history of the Barbie doll, had something to offer and kept me entertained. It was a pleasure to watch and I simply can’t believe that no one thought of making a series like this sooner.
The Toys That Made Us comprises of eight, 45-minute-long episodes. The first four episodes focus on the He-Man, Barbie, G.I. Joe and Star Wars toy lines, and are available to stream on Netflix. The remaining four episodes are set to be released later this year.
P.S. If you opt to watch the series, lock your credit cards away for a few days. You have been warned.
What do you geeks think of this documentary? Let us know if you liked it in the comments!