The Toys That Made Us Blu-ray contains hours of entertainment and behind-the-scenes information about some of popular culture’s most iconic toy franchises. The set, which features all eight episodes from seasons and 1 and 2, comes with a neat collectible (courtesy of NECA) and is the perfect gift for collectors – or fans of pop culture (or history).
*I was provided with a copy of The Toys That Made Us Blu-ray for review. All opinions are my own.*
I am ashamed of myself for not having watched the Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us sooner! This is exactly the kind of nostalgic, deep diving series that I live for. I love knowing all the little minutiae that went into making things, especially stuff that I’m interested in. Learning the backstory for toys that shaped my childhood – like Barbie or Star Wars toys – is just about the greatest thing ever. Perhaps it comes from having a mother who was a history major (family trips often involved Civil War battlefields), or perhaps it comes from being an insufferable know-it-all. Whatever the case, this series is one that I can really sink my teeth into, and the Blu-ray set is the perfect opportunity.
The Toys That Made Us Blu-ray, as mentioned previously, contains Seasons 1 and 2 of the Netflix series – eight episodes about toys that many of us remember from our youth. Season 1 (disc 1) focuses on Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and G.I. Joe. Season 2 (disc 2) is about Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO, and Hello Kitty. Disc 3 contains all of the special features – a few extended interviews, some insights into the show itself, and deleted snippets cut from the episodes. The picture looked amazing, and the sound was crisp and clear.
To me, it’s the special features that really make a Blu-ray set worth buying, especially for a series made for a streaming platform like Netflix, when you can already watch all the episodes. The Toys That Made Us contains over 15 bonus features, the total of which run approximately 90 minutes. It might not seem like a lot, but for fans of the series, these extra tidbits were actually extremely interesting. Some people might enjoy the Todd Mcfarlane interviews, and hearing Jim Swearingen talk about attending the Star Wars premiere in 1977 was pretty cool. For me, though, my favorite ones were the Revenge of the Jedi and He-Man Wonderbread ones.
A little backstory on me: once upon a time, I lived in Arizona, and while I lived there, I was a personal assistant for a man who sold movie memorabilia online. One of the common items that we dealt with were the original teaser posters for Return of the Jedi, which featured the original title – Revenge of the Jedi. Then they changed the name, and anything bearing that title was meant to be returned or destroyed. Obviously that didn’t entirely happen. In the Blu-ray, they talk about how they made over 1 million toys for Brazil containing the “wrong” title and then were expected to destroy them, but people literally went dumpster diving for these discarded toys, which is how some of them ended up on the market.
The story of the Wonderbread He-Man figure is fascinating; basically, there is a He-Man figurine out in the world with brown (not blond) hair and the wrong color belt and boots…and no one, not even Mattel, can figure out what the heck it was for.
The Toys That Made Us Blu-ray also comes with a small collectible, specifically designed by NECA to be included with this set. It’s a tiny, old-school television – about 2″x3″x1″ – displaying the show’s logo on the screen. I couldn’t tell you the exact material that it’s made of, but it was very solid – a durable plastic, or maybe resin. It’s one of those old-fashioned TVs with dials for volume and channel, the kind we had in our kitchen until I was like 19 years old. This is a nifty item to display among your other collectibles; it can even be hung on the wall. I may end up gathering my Funko Pops around it so that they can watch some TV – it’s got to be boring hanging out on top of my bookcase all day.
In short, The Toys That Made Us Blu-ray is a great gift for pop culture connoisseurs so that they can walk down memory lane with a little extra information. This set’s been released just in time for everyone to binge the first two seasons before season 3 drops on Netflix on November 15!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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