After an outpouring of love from fans for season one and two of The Toys That Made Us, the series was official renewed for another season, and instead of being an eight-part documentary series, The Toys That Made Us is now a continuing documentary series. With four more deep dives into the histories of classic toys, season three consists of episodes about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, My Little Pony, and Professional Wrestling.
Season 3, Episode 1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a comic book, created by two great friends who shared a passion, and episode one shares the story of how a small, independent comic book turned into a multi-million-dollar brand and franchise. Quickly finding popularity, Eastman and Laird were approached by Mark Freedman, who saw the potential in the Turtles before anyone else. He sold the license to make toys to Playmates, and as toys, T.V. shows, and films came out, the Turtles were not the only thing that evolved. Eastman’s and Laird’s friendship, the friendship that set the tone for the entire brand, suffered as the franchise grew, however, this episode has a heartwarming ending that features both Eastman and Laird that viewers will not want to miss.
Season 3, Episode 2: Power Rangers
Episode two begins in Japan, where the film genre “Tokusatsu,” meaning special filming or special effects, rose in popularity when Godzilla came out. Inspired by a Japanese show featuring teenagers who donned colorful suits and fought monsters, Haim Saban pitched an idea for an American adaptation to American production companies for eight years before Margaret Loesch, who worked for FOX, became interested. This episode tells the tale of how the pair brought the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to success both in the television industry and the toy industry, though the license to produce the show and toys bounced from many different companies. Complete with interviews from Saban and Loesch themselves, along with many company executives from Toei, Bandai, and FOX, this episode tells the complete history of the Power Rangers.
Season 3, Episode 3: My Little Pony
From My Pretty Pony to My Little Pony and the many generations that followed, episode three explores all things My Little Pony, including the interesting phenomena that is Bronies. Beginning with the argument over who had the true idea for My Little Pony, whether it was George Dunsay, Bonnie Zacherle, or Michael Cartabiano, viewers learn about the how My Little Pony came to exist as it does today. Also interviewed is Lauren Faust, who was a My Little Pony fan growing up and, in her adulthood, was hired to do a complete revamp of the story behind My Little Pony. And, at the end of the episode, viewers learn about “Bronies,” the community of grown men who have taken a liking to the show. A classic toy that defined the childhood of many young girls, My Little Pony was revolutionary in its creation and has lasted the test of time, still finding popularity today.
Season 3, Episode 4: Professional Wrestling
In the final episode of season three that could double as a crash course in the history of professional wrestling, the fight over professional wrestling clubs’ toy licenses is likened to the fights that occurred in the wrestling ring. The episode follows the matchup between the WWF and the WCW as well as the fight between Remco, Galoob, and LJN for the license to make toys based off the sport. As professional wrestling evolved and unspoken rules were broken, the toys and toy makers did as well, with clubs acquiring other clubs, and former employees making new companies to compete for the license. The spirit of professional wrestling and its fans was perfectly captured, because the fans were often the toymakers themselves. David Galoob, Saul Jodel, and Robby Kanoff, all toy executives with a love for professional wrestling, do all that it takes to come out on top in the fight for the toy license.
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