July 2, 2019  (Web Review)

The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2

(2019) 2 discs. 480 min. DVD: $29.99. Screen Media (avail. from most distributors). Closed captioned.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Aired on Netflix, this eight-episode compilation from the 2017-18 first two seasons of the nostalgic web series explores the origins of various popular toy franchises. Tongue-in-cheek recreations of key moments, archival footage of commercials, and comments from consultants, employees, and fans comprise each episode, with narration by Donald Ian Black. The stories of the biggest icons of toy history are given thorough treatment, including episodes on Star Wars (the preliminary figurines were whittled down from Fisher Price truck drivers), Barbie (who viewers learn was based on a German comic prostitute, and also find out that designer Jack Ryan had a creepy sex dungeon), He-Man, G.I. Joe (and the not-so-subtle encouragement to join the military), Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO (which almost went bankrupt in the early 2000s), and global symbol Hello Kitty. Extras include a deleted scene, and a featurette with show creator Brian Volk-Weiss. Sure to be appreciated by both various genre fans and adults in general feeling nostalgic about their childhoods, this is recommended. Aud: P. (J. Williams-Wood)