George Lucas taught the world a lesson in terms of marketing and merchandising, but there are several movies and television shows which didn’t learn the lesson. Today’s Top Ten takes a look at franchises which missed the boat by not putting out a series of toys which I, and at least a half-dozen other people, would have gladly paid good money for (and are still willing to do so, so start making ’em already!). We begin with…
10. The Lovable Critters of Sweetknuckle Junction – My introduction to Greg and his wacky pals wasn’t from the original IFC shorts but from the FOX sitcom where they quickly earned a place in my heart. I’m a big fan of the show (check out my DVD review), and although it lasted only one season Greg was able to go back to his roots by returning to IFC.
Whether it was puppets or small figures (how about a Sweetknuckle playset?), it seems there’s plenty of options for merchandising here. I’d love to have a Count Blah puppet (and one with a pull-string which just said “Blah” would continually bring a smile to my face). And who wouldn’t want Greg, Tardy the Turtle, and an
alphamonkey, um, I mean Warren, one as well.
9. Master Control – I know there are people who don’t love Tron, but I don’t really acknowledge their existence. If you don’t remember the film check out my review to truly understand its greatness.
There were actually a few toys released for the film and although I never got the lightcycle I wanted (something I’m still a little bitter about to this day), I did have a little Tron figure. One toy they didn’t put out was the Master Control which would have been worth having, especially if it had different color setting which you could turn it from red to blue after Tron saved the day.
8. Serenity playset – Joss Whedon’s short-lived series Firefly has produced comic book mini-series, a roleplaying game, and a feature film (you can check out my Serenity review here). Other than some Christmas ornaments and lunch boxes, however, real opportunity to market the product has been missed.
Aside from a model of Serenity (complete with fiber-optic lighting system, of course) I’d want a Serenity playset, complete with two shuttles, that opened-up and included the full crew with Mal, Zoe, Kaylee, Wash, Jane, Inara and Shepherd Book. River and Simon chould come separately (with River in her box). Other figures could include Saffron, the Blue-handed Agents, Early, and the Operative from the film, as well as Reaver and Alliance ships.
7. Galaxy Quest – I’m a big enough fan of Galaxy Quest, enough to rank it #1 on my list of the Top Seven Star Trek Movies. Although the movie has spawned a recent comic book mini-series from IDW Publishing the franchise slacked off in the toy department.
Who wouldn’t want a NSEA Protector bridge playset (or one based off the chompers sequence)? You would, of course, have figures for all the crew (including Guy), and others as well including Gerignak, the Thermians, and Sarris. And if the toys sold you could always introduce new races, ships, creatures, and more.
6. The Running Man figures and playset – When you think back over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career there are quite a few movies which could easily have spawned toys, but none more so than The Running Man. It was probably the film’s R-Rating that kept merchandise to a minimum, but the film came pre-packaged for toys.
You’d begin with the Running Man playset complete with Kilian, the rocket pod, and a cardboard background audience. From there you’d create figures for all of the stalkers including Buzzsaw (with motorcycle), Subzero, Fireball, Dynamo (and his little car), and Captain Freedom. Throw in figures for the runners, Amber, Laughlin, and Ben Richards, and you’ve got hours of fun!
5. Condorman’s car – Have I mentioned I love this movie. Oh, I have? Well let me say it again. I, unabashadely and whole-heartedly love this film. I want a Condorman’s modified Nova Sterling, which is one of my favorite movie cars ever. Give me a nice model for my desk, plus a toy version that shoots out of an old truck just like in the movie.
There are also plenty of other toy options for this franchise including Condorman’s boat, various figures including Woody, Natalia, Krokov, Morovich and his Prognoviach (both Porsches and rocket boats), and more.
4. The Village playset – “What is this?” “The Village.” “How much does it cost?” “That would be telling.” Yeah, I’m a I’m a big fan of The Prisoner.
Seriously, how cool would this be? The set itself would have to come with the Green Dome, No. 6’s flat, one of the village taxis, and a figure-sized chess board. Additional sets would include the various locales to create the full Village including the Tally-Ho, the Recreation Hall (complete with Kosho set), and the underground base shown in the final episode. The Village would come with No. 6 and Leo McKern’s No. 2.
As for other figures, multiple packs of No. 2 figures, Rover, No. 12, and The Prisoner’s Lotus Seven, would also be available separately. I would so play with these!
3. Brisco County Jr. – If you never saw The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. you’ve missed out. If you consider yourself a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this you need to go buy the complete series on DVD right now!
The first set would come with Brisco, Comet and Lord Bowler. Additional figures would include Dixie Cousins, John Bly (and the many henchmen), Professor Wickwire, Socrates Poole, Pete Hutter, and Crystal Hawks. Of course you would also have additional toys like the Orb, that awesome rocket-train (oh yeah!), and a break-apart Saloon playset.
2. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew – This one, as you might guess, is close to my heart. DCDirect has done a pretty good job in releasing a wide range of figures based on DC Comics characters (and other brands like JLU and DC Universe are putting out some fairly good figures).
I own more than my fair share, including Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, but I’m still waiting for my complete set of Amazing Zoo Crew figures including Pig Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, Fastback, Little Cheese, American Eagle, and Captain Carrot. Additional figures would include the Frogzilla, the Salamandroid, Feline Faust, Starro, and the Just’a Lotta Animals. (While your at it can you hurry up and make me some Secret Six figures too?)
1. Gunstar – I don’t know about you but I still really, really want a Gunstar. One of the few disappoints of The Last Starfighter for me as a kid was learning there were no toys available for the film. For those uninitiated (and, seriously, there’s something wrong with you!), Starfighters were the pilots and Gunstars were the kick-ass computer generated starsips. So why no toys? Chalk it up to lack of foresight by the film’s creators as well as the early use of computer effects the film supported, which meant no actual models to use to create toys. The only potential good I can see coming out of the proposed remake is the possibility of finally getting my hands on a Gunstar.