As streaming, on demand services continue to grow in popularity the world over, it’s fair to say that more attempts at challenging the supremacy of Netflix will continue to take place. While Netflix remains the overall favorite despite no longer being the most affordable option, other services like Hulu and Amazon Prime have been busy creating their own original programming; some of which – particularly in the case of Amazon – is becoming increasingly appealing.
At this point in time, it’s still early days for the growing rivalry between streaming services, but Amazon already appears to be the closest in line to challenge Netflix’ current dominance. As if acknowledging the potential for intrigue in the concept of two big business models crashing head to head, Amazon are looking back to the massive competition that took place in the 1980s and '90s between the biggest toy manufacturers of that era - Mattel and Hasbro - for some programming inspiration.
According to Deadline, actor Josh Gad (Angry Birds) will star in and co-write a new limited drama series currently being developed for Amazon called Toy Wars, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by author G. Wayne Miller. The series will detail how Mattel - the company responsible for some of the hottest toys of the '80s and '90s like Barbie and Masters of the Universe, went head to head against Hasbro, whose own roster of toys included GI Joe, Transformers and My Little Pony.
Aside from Gad, the Toy Wars team will also include co-writer Josh Schwartz and will be directed by Seth Gordon (The Goldbergs, Horrible Bosses). The original Toy Wars book was written as a result of journalist G. Wayne Miller’s five years of access to the Hasbro corporation, a time in which the author sat in on meetings and interviewed employees. The main thrust of the story involves the unexpected takeover of Hasbro by Alan Hassenfeld after his brother died of AIDS, leaving the rather free-spirited Alan in charge of an entire toy empire at a time of intense competition with Mattel.
On its surface, perhaps the initial concept pitch of Toy Wars may not sound that thrilling – after all, how fascinating could the day-to-day office politics of a toy manufacturer be? But there have been numerous successful series’ over the years that have taken place primarily or entirely amongst office politics, such as Mad Men, 30 Rock and The Office, to name just a few. What’s more, Toy Wars is likely to appeal to anyone whose childhood took place in the '80s and '90s – a time when Barbie, He-Man, GI Joe, Transformers and My Little Pony were all the rage for those young enough to play with toys.
It would be nice to see a drama like this being put together by a more experienced team, but given that this will be a limited series, the stakes won't be set as high as a more experienced team might encounter. This in turn could result in a more relaxed and creative atmosphere. If the series succeeds in drawing an audience, more seasons could very well follow, but it’s best for the time being to keep an open mind regarding what Toy Wars may or may not be able to pull off.
Screen Rant will keep you up to date on Toy Wars as more news becomes available.