Ever have that experience of pulling a box out of the closet and finding a bunch of your old toys? It’s hard not to sit down and start examining each one up close. Do the wheels still roll? Are all the pieces still there? Does everything still work? You start to remember the fun you had playing with those toys. Specific memories pop into your head like the time you threw the toy and hit your sister in the face? Ok, that one might just be me? The Netflix Docu-series The Toys that Made Us is a trip down memory lane minus the visit to the ER so your sister could get stitches. The Toys That Made Us is a pleasant stroll through your childhood toy box and a detailed examination of not only your toys, but of your childhood as well. Each episode focuses on a specific toy line and provides the history of the toy in a 45-minute documentary.
The Nacelle Company has released the Collector's Edition of Seasons 1 and 2 on Blu-ray including bonus features and a collectible that were not part of the original release back in May. Season 1 provided us with all we needed to know about toys related to Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and G.I. Joe., while Season 2 focused on Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty.
I am one of the seven people that does not have Netflix (we have meetings) so I was not familiar with the show, but as a fan of toys, collectibles, and pop culture, this seemed like it would hit me right where I used to live. Creator, producer, and occasional director Brian Volk-Weiss did not disappoint. These shows not only hit every nostalgic mark with tremendous accuracy as we see every variation of our favorite toys, but also the shows the begat may of them and the commercials that helped sell them. The episodes also inform with details only the experts were aware of. We know this because the documentaries include the experts.
Where the shows are lacking ever so slightly is in personality. Without a host, the shows have no consistent face for us to walk down this lane with. The attempts at humor with awkward re-enactments of relevant scenes often fall flat as does the interviews with some of the experts. Once you’ve seen the toys, shared the memories, and had the conversations about what you use to own, how your baby brother ate it, and how much it would be worth now, there is still fifteen minutes left in the episode, and you’re kind of tired of playing with that toy.
The bonus material contains an interesting feature with Brian Volk-Weiss talking to the camera about the show and how he got it on the air. There are more Featurettes and Deleted Scenes, but the Featurettes are just long Deleted Scenes, and in most cases, the editors were correct in deleting them. There is an introduction to each deleted scene that will drive you crazy very quickly.
Considering the quality and subject matter of the show, I was expecting a little more from the collectible. A doll house television with the logo of the show on the screen.
Recommendation: Don’t watch these alone and don’t binge watch them. This is about nostalgia and it is far more enjoyable to talk about what you are watching with someone. It gets to be a lot of information very quickly and it becomes easy to stop caring, much like you did the day after you received the toys.