“The Toys That Made Us” is a fantastic documentary now streaming on Netflix. It consists of 4 episodes (at this time) that cover some of the most iconic toys in history. G.I. Joe, Barbie, Star Wars, and He-Man are all covered in rich detail. Each episode covers a specific toy-line detailing the journey of creating, and ultimately bringing the toys to store shelves.
The toy creators are a part of this series. They provide an intriguing backdrop to how these various lines were created, including the financial risks that certain companies took, and the creative gamble’s that were taken in hoping the products would appeal to consumers. Each episode is narrated with charisma and filled with loads of stock archival-footage from ads and commercials that create such a strong feeling of nostalgia. In addition to showing the old toys themselves and the various iterations of them that will instinctively conjure childhood memories for many.
The series gives you a thoughtful, detailed history on each line of toys, and it delivers mass amounts of information in a very entertaining package that will leave you wanting to know more. You get to learn how the social climates at the times of each line effected the creation in regard to riding the momentum of popularity, changing market conception, in addition to the process taken in deciding how to market each.
This was an entertaining series loaded with information. It was visually appealing, and each episode felt like a fun trip in a time-machine. I highly recommend it if you grew up with these toys. If you happen to be a nerd like me, or simply just love pop-culture. It was very well done, and I hope they continue with more episodes covering other nostalgic toy-lines from our childhoods.