The Toys That Made Us review

With four new episodes of The Toys That Made Us available on Netflix, LEGO gets a dedicated documentary

The Toys That Made Us is a nostalgia fueled trip through the toy hall of fame. Each episode takes a specific toy that is beloved from childhood and looks at the history of it – the beginnings, the highs and the lows. With Star Wars, He-man, Transformers and Barbie all covered, it was about time the LEGO brick took a turn in the spotlight. It is yet another reminder that every other toy featured is a specific brand – Hasbro and Mattel do not get episodes, Transformers and Barbie do – LEGO is something else entirely.

Each episode of The Toys That Made Us opens with a dramatized recreation of a real life event, and this one begins with the best yet. An absolutely hilarious black and white sketch will amuse anyone who has often heard a certain well known story, perfectly executed for comic effect.

What is clear is that the producers have done their research and know their stuff – this is not a bunch of celebrities excitedly telling the camera how much they loved LEGO bricks as children, these are interviews with they key people at the LEGO Group predominantly conducted in Billund. Despite that, most of the screen time given to people from the LEGO Group are those in public relations type roles, meaning that they are often recounting stories they have heard rather than recounting events that they were involved with.

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The voice over delivers the well written script with plenty of humour, which is the most enjoyable and uniqe aspect of this documentary. While there may not be much new to learn from this episode of The Toys That Made Us for devoted LEGO fans like Brick Fanatics readers, it is very entertainingly told and licks by at an impressively fast pace. Fans will know that certain aspects of the story have been oversimplified, but this does provide a nice condensed version of the last 90-odd years in Billund.

Having noted that certain aspects are simplified to make this concise and accessible, it is refereshing to see a mix of factors be credited for the LEGO Group’s dalliance with bankruptcy – so often, articles use the headline “too many theme parks” as if that were the only issue, whereas this documentary also notes the other contributing problems, such as poor product choices.

It is the perfect refresher on the LEGO Group’s history, entertaining enough that a non-LEGO loving housemate will watch it with you and a nice reminder that toys do not always have to be taken seriously.

Brick Fanatics conducted an exclusive interview with the show’s Creator and Executive Producer Brian Volk-Weiss.

All eight episode of The Toys That Made Us are now streaming on Netflix.

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Graham was the Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education. Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.

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