I know what you’re thinking – how can you be reviewing Season 2 of The Toys That Made Us, when Netflix has only just released the second set of episodes from Season One?!
Yeah, about that; there is no second half of Season One.
Originally, Netflix planned to drop four episodes of The Toys That Made Us at Christmas, with a four further episodes dropping now – all under the banner heading of Season One. Well, that release schedule hasn’t changed, we do have that second set of episodes, however this latest four now going under the banner heading of Season Two.
So, Season One included Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe. Season Two includes Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO and Hello Kitty.
Right, now that’s cleared up, how does Season Two shape up?
Well, I’m happy to report that Season Two of The Toys That Made Us shapes up very well and once again makes for fascinating viewing whether you’re familiar with the featured brands or not. And yes, to all the naysayers that does include the Hello Kitty episode, which proves to be an interesting account of a brand that has HUGE appeal, especially amongst a number of well-known celebrities.
Would I have chosen Hello Kitty as a subject to see covered on The Toys That Made Us?
Am I glad that it has been covered?
Heck yeah! I love learning about toys, so why wouldn’t I want to learn about this one?
The Hello Kitty episode is just as good as all of the other episodes in this series and surely, the point of watching a documentary on toys is to get insights into the big brands that have a story to tell, right? Hello Kitty has a story to tell.
From its humble beginnings as a simple design on a purse, to its status as a cultural icon, Hello Kitty is big business. During the course of the 45 minute episode I learned more about what makes this brand tick than I thought I needed to know and that makes the episode a winner in my book!
The great thing about The Toys That Made Us is that each time I sit down to watch an episode I never quite know what I’m going to get. I also never truly know the difficulties that have gone on behind the scenes to get the products to market.
Take the Star Trek episode for instance; which focuses on the appeal of such an iconic IP juxtaposed with the erratic nature and the quality of the finished product – sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes completely misjudged. The story here is that while there have been many Star Trek toys over the years, they’ve not all been great and they’ve not all arrived at the right time, creating a troubled production history for a property that should make money hand over fist.
The real beauty of the Star Trek episode is the way in which it acts as the perfect companion piece to the Star Wars episode from Season One. During the course of that episode we saw an iconic brand getting lucky in the toy department and reaping the rewards; whereas here we see what happens when things don’t play out the same way.
The Hello Kitty and Star Trek episodes are of course fascinating to watch, but for me the two standout episodes are Transformers and LEGO. The former hits you right in the feels, while the latter offers a detailed look at a company which has come so close to bankruptcy its unreal.
Jeez, just the thought alone is too much to process.
Throughout the course of this latest season, The Toys That Made Us presents four unique stories filled with heart, humour and above all else, passion. Yep, passion!
In order for a toy line to survive, there has to be passion – from the fanbase who buy into the product to the creative teams who continue to develop, define and redefine their brands, passion is a huge factor in success. The Toys That Made Us highlight this passion throughout all the stories featured in this second season and in turn, this makes me feel very passionate about this show.
I really can’t praise The Toys That Made Us enough.
If you’ve yet to watch a single episode of The Toys That Made Us, you now have eight sat on Netflix, waiting for you to devour. If you’ve already watched Season One, but you’ve yet to start on Season Two, then dive right in – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Roll on Season Three!