Tonight, The Toy Box season 2 kicked off on ABC with an episode that felt somewhat familiar to what you saw the first season … but not necessarily better. Instead, this may be one of the better examples out there of how sometimes you can have an overcorrection to something that worked okay the first time around.
While The Toy Box season 1 had a finale that really stumbled in execution, it did do a number of things very well — it had an intelligence and humor about it that appealed both to kids and adults. It was the right amount of Shark Tank — the interactions with the toy experts had that sort of feel to it — and it was also the right amount of its own thing. It was lighter, funnier, but still aspirational.
The biggest flaw in the season 2 premiere is that it actually feels more like a kids’ show now than something geared more towards children and adults. Maybe that’s because it knew it was moving to an earlier timeslot, or maybe there was a misjudgment that the kids were the selling point of the show when, in actuality, it’s the toys. Having the experts was valuable in offering up different perspectives — as adult viewers, that’s essential. Adults are the ones who would be purchasing said toys and you need to win them over to your side. The new version of the show doesn’t quite do that, and instead spends more of its time featuring the kids playing with the toys with less in the way of actual feedback or business advice in terms of how they cost or any of the apparent safety flaws. It feels more about whether or not the toys are fun.
One change that we are a little more okay with is the rotating panel of kids, mostly because kids do get older and in general, kids don’t often know how to handle self-awareness. Therefore, it’s better to not have the same kids every week to where they start to change how they perceive toys because of seeing themselves on TV previously. The new kids were fun and had a great energy in their own right. We both like them and like how the winner is now chosen: With each kid putting in their vote at the end. It’s a little more transparent and it gives you a chance to see their personalities.
Congrats to Water Dodger for winner the episode (it really was the best toy featured), and congrats to The Toy Box for figuring out how to make the actual part of the show with the kids better. Unfortunately, in removing the entire first half of the show you’ve given Eric Stonestreet fewer environments to work his magic and really cut out a big part of the perspective that made the show work. It’s now gone from a family show to one that feels a little more like an interactive play room.
What did you think about The Toy Box season 2 premiere on ABC? Let us know some of your thoughts in the comments!
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