'Star Trek' to Be Featured on 'The Toys That Made Us'

The Toys That Made Us is boldly going into the history of Star Trek toys.

The documentary series will dedicate an episode to the franchise's toy legacy.

Creator Brian Volk-Weiss tells Polygon that the Star Trek episode was the hardest to make. That's because Star Trek's toy history is not a very successful one.

“Todd McFarlane is doing Star Trek toys now,” Volk-Weiss said, “But before that, there was Playmates. They just went crazy! With Star Wars, Kenner had one failure — the Micro Collection — but everything else, to a certain extent, was either a home run or a grand slam. With Star Trek, you literally had failure after failure.

“They always made toys for the wrong movie. The original Star Trek movie? Failure. Lots of toys. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan? Huge hit! No toys. Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock? Barely a hit, lots of toys. Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home? Biggest hit in the original movies. No toys. It’s literally just a comedy of errors.”

The Toys That Made Us is a documentary series examining the history of the most important toy lines in America. Four episodes of the series have been released with four more to come. The series has so far tackled Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and GI Joe. The remaining episodes will feature Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty.

“Literally, Lego was three months from lights-out,” Volk-Weiss said. “They were actively engaging with Mattel about a takeover which, by the way, Mattel walked away from. ... Everybody we talked to there, everyone talks about it all the time. It’s really in their culture and their DNA, the lessons they learned from almost going out of business.”

“We tracked down the guy who helped design the original mechanisms of Optimus Prime,” he said. “He’d never done an interview before. He didn’t speak a word of English and, you know, to describe his demeanor when he walked into the room, I think he thought he was having a practical joke played on him. He simply couldn’t believe Netflix wanted to talk to him.”

The first four episodes of The Toys That Made Us are now available to stream on Netflix. The remaining four will be released in early 2018.