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AmperZand

Do kids today like Classic Space?

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As someone who had most of the Classic Space sets of the 1970s and early 1980s when they came out, I was thrilled to find out LEGO would be releasing a couple of Classic Space inspired sets as part of the forthcoming TLM 2 range (pictured below).

Judging by posts online, lots of other AFOLs of a certain vintage seem to agree.

But do kids these days like Classic Space? Will the sets below be hits with AFOLs only or will kids like them too? Or are they too blocky and retro to appeal to LEGO's main demographic?

 

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Kids will probably like them, but chances are they'll like them because they're spaceships and because they depict characters and subjects from The LEGO Movies, not because they're Classic Space. Same as how a kid who buys a Harry Potter set containing the Weasleys' enchanted Ford Anglia will like it because it depicts familiar movie characters and scenes, not because it's a Ford automobile. Or how a lot of kids who buy a Minecraft Farm sets may not care much about farming in a more general sense, just that it depicts a scenario and subjects they recognize from playing Minecraft.

Edited by Aanchir

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I can't speak for kids today, 40 years after Classic Space, but I can speak for kids 20 years ago, 20 years after Classic Space.  When I was a kid, I got The Ultimate Lego Book for some occasion (I don't remember what), and I was blown away by the picture of the Galaxy Explorer in it.  I didn't know anything about Classic Space as a line, since I was too young to have discovered the wonderful world of Brickset, but the Galaxy Explorer was so much sleeker and cooler than any of the spaceships then sold by Lego (Exploriens, Insectoids, and UFO), and the minifigures were so much cleaner and better-looking than the ugly, messy space minifigures then sold.  When I discovered Brickset a couple years later, I immediately fell in love with the 1978-79 wave of Classic Space, though it wasn't until a few years ago that I could afford to buy any sets of that era.  So yes, I can definitely say that the sleek, clean lines and smiles in the TLM2 Classic Space sets appeal to kids.  I just don't know if many kids today will like the TLM2 CS content better than other space-related Lego builds, like the Systar ship or the Rexplorer.

PS - @Aanchir - then and now, I wanted the Ford Anglia because it's a Ford automobile, not because of the minifigs and movie scenes it comes with.  But that's just me.

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I would agree with Aanchir—I think for a lot of kids these figs and The Lego Movie might well be their first exposure to the classic space theme, and as such I think their initial interest will come less from nostalgia or aesthetic preference so much as from their association with a charismatic, zany character like Benny. That said, I'm sure that for a few that interest in the character might lead to greater interest in the retro classic space aesthetic and legacy as a whole. Just don't be disappointed if this set doesn't immediately lead to some sort of grand classic space renaissance.

Edited by Lyichir

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Good question. I think that Benny's Space Squad will be a bestseller, but partially due to the fact that it is a $10 set with a main character, four minifigures and two vehicles.

Lego is really only dipping a toe in the water with these two sets, but I figure that the much larger spaceship from 2014 must have sold well enough to warrant more sets. 

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What LEGO loving kids I know do like the classic space figures, but they call them "Benny's Friends" and it is more related to the LEGO Movie than admiration for the simplistic designs. Though they all think the logo is really cool. 

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Honestly, I dont buy in to this idea of kids not being into classic themes anymore; they're timeless.

It's not just baseless opinion either, since I can honestly say that my boy of 5 has loved the Lego Castle sets I have more than any modern theme for a couple of years now; with no push from me.

He also enjoy my Classic Space collection when I allow him to play with them :wink:

He's got sets from lots of new themes too, including Star Wars, Ninjago etc, so it's not like he's into it through lack of choice.

It caused a real problem when he wanted a Lego System castle for last Christmas. Had to go to the secondary market or disappoint with Playmobil.

Edited by leafan

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9 hours ago, AmperZand said:

Or are they too blocky and retro to appeal to LEGO's main demographic?

I think the problem isn't the look but the fact they have no soul. I mean, they aren't proper characters. They turned Benny into a character, but it looks like the second movie stresses on the fact they're happy clones. Oh perhaps those Xenny's will be like the three stooges, who knows. Or PacMan ghosts - I'm surprised there was no fourth spaceman named Clyde.

Kids today most likely want a good & bad side, & different characters. And it's totally doable, but I'd rather see Classic Space continuing to live inside those *good* movies than being adapted into a crap TV show (in which the typical good kid learns that he's the son of one of the bad guys - typical trope of Lego shows, whether it's ripped from SW or Excalibur, it's still the same thing) to support a new theme.
I would looooove a typical Star Trek spoof TV show with the aesthetics of the movie, and good writing with proper humor watchable by adults. But Lego can't get that produced. Or maybe they can.. I haven't watched Unikitty yet, but if there really are people from Teen Titans Go behind it, maybe it's good?
 

Edited by anothergol

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4 hours ago, leafan said:

Honestly, I dont buy in to this idea of kids not being into classic themes anymore; they're timeless.

It's not just baseless opinion either, since I can honestly say that my boy of 5 has loved the Lego Castle sets I have more than any modern theme for a couple of years now; with no push from me.

He also enjoy my Classic Space collection when I allow him to play with them :wink:

He's got sets from lots of new themes too, including Star Wars, Ninjago etc, so it's not like he's into it through lack of choice.

It caused a real problem when he wanted a Lego System castle for last Christmas. Had to go to the secondary market or disappoint with Playmobil.

The idea of kids enjoying classic themes like Space or Castle or even the classic sets themselves is not really that surprising. Nobody here is trying to argue that all kids expect the same things from their toys, not even all kids within the same age range. That said, I don't know if I particularly agree that the "timelessness" of classic themes means that the classic themes meet the expectations of kids in general as well as more modern themes might. In the very least, LEGO has found time and time again that kids really enjoy seeing more detailed printing on minifigures, more varied colors in sets, etc.

Also, I don't know if the "timelessness" of classic Castle is really comparable to classic Space, since a lot of the time, cultural perspectives on the past tend to be solidified over time as today's popular culture echoes the perspectives on the past that came before it. But cultural perspectives on the future are constantly changing according to changes in present-day technology and culture. It goes without saying that these days, kids' idea of what the distant future will look like is much different than the type of future anticipated by series like Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon!

And it's not as though Classic Space is immune to this. By today's standards, the robots in sets like 1498, 6809, and 6750 with computer-screen faces and boxy bodies look primitive even compared to MODERN robots that people can buy in stores as toys, let alone the kind of cutting-edge technology that today's scientists are developing for space travel, or the kind of futuristic robots that kids tend to see in books, movies, shows, and comics.

Also, classic space bases and outposts (at least from the AFOL-preferred era of bright blue and transparent yellow) were far from how even today's AFOLs tend to depict moonbases in their own MOCs. 493 looks like a trailer home with a carport (though granted, its big flat walls with transparent windows and a big decorated wall would be well suited to a Juniors/4+ style build today), and the bases/outposts in 483, 497, 6970, 6927, aren't much better in terms of looking like shipping containers raised up on stilts, filled with old computers, and topped with some rudimentary radar dishes. Even by the time I was growing up in the 90s, the typical vision of a moonbase or space colony included lots more dome and tube shapes, including some of the more futuristic/fantastical interpretations having large domed windows as depicted in so many Space and Aquazone sets of the 90s (or as more recently re-imagined in Space Police Central).

Today's 5-year-olds' idea of what medieval castles, knights, and catapults should look like might not be that much different from 5-year-olds 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago, besides possibly expecting a few additional details like a throne room and treasury. Same goes for a lot of other historical-inspired stuff like 15th and 16th century pirate ships and colonial forts/outposts, or even Old West towns, settlements, steam engines, and landscapes. But modern kids' general idea of what robots, spaceships, space travelers, and space colonies of the future ought to look like would almost certainly be far, far different than the futures their parents and grandparents envisioned.

3 hours ago, anothergol said:

Kids today most likely want a good & bad side, & different characters. And it's totally doable, but I'd rather see Classic Space continuing to live inside those *good* movies than being adapted into a crap TV show (in which the typical good kid learns that he's the son of one of the bad guys - typical trope of Lego shows, whether it's ripped from SW or Excalibur, it's still the same thing) to support a new theme.

I think you're really misrepresenting a lot of LEGO's TV shows, considering that the only good character I can think of who discovered they had an evil parent was Clay Moorington in Nexo Knights. I suspect you were also thinking of Lloyd Garmadon, but his story is vastly different in that he knew his whole life that his father was a villain, was a villain himself when he entered the story, and only later joined the good guys and discovered that he was destined to fight his own father.

What's more, I can't really think of any comparable examples in other original LEGO themes that have had TV series/specials, Netflix series, or made for TV/direct to home media movies of their own like Unikitty, Elves, Mixels, Legends of Chima, Hero Factory, Atlantis, Galidor, or Bionicle. So if that's really the strongest example you could think of for how LEGO shows are crap/derivative/samey, then it would seem that they're much more unique and varied than you're giving them credit for.

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I'm also of the view that kids will like them ... as they are characters in a movie, not because they are Classic Space. Rub those Classic Space logos off and put a modern one in their place, and kids will love them just as much. Build the spaceships with a different colour pallete and they will still love them even though they don't conform to the classic space scheme.

 

 

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Kids will like the sets and characters because of the movie. That I think is certain. Will that transfer over to Classic Space? I'm not too sure on that one. MAB has a good point above me that kids will like them because spaceships, space, etc. The evergreen themes are evergreen because kids (and adults) love these themes, barring the occaisional misstep by LEGO in a subtheme.

I don't thinkLEGO will go back to a classic space aesthetic anytime soon unless they make a theme that has a story to it and almost like an "alternate timeline."

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3 hours ago, Aanchir said:

I think you're really misrepresenting a lot of LEGO's TV shows, considering that the only good character I can think of who discovered they had an evil parent was Clay Moorington in Nexo Knights. I suspect you were also thinking of Lloyd Garmadon, but his story is vastly different in that he knew his whole life that his father was a villain, was a villain himself when he entered the story, and only later joined the good guys and discovered that he was destined to fight his own father. 

Oh come on, at the end of the day it's still the same trope. I don't like any of Lego's TV shows (I'm kinda allergic to that 2000 style of 3D) or games, but I had Ninjago running in the background for enough time that I know what it's about. & there the "I'm your father" is pretty much a ripoff of SW.
The one I can't stand is Nexo Knights (maybe also because I consider it guilty of having killed the Castles theme), so much that I generally switch to something else when it's aired. The only ONE episode I saw, was that Merlin dude telling a guy that some sorcerer was her mother. And he was like "nooo nooo I can't believe it".
You may argue it's this time a ripoff of Excalibur, but to me it felt like Ninjago in "Castles on wheels".

But hey I'm old & I loved Adventure Time & Regular Show, so these are not for me.
I would probably have LOVED Ninjago when I was a kid, but that's because ninja's were everywhere in the 80's. My minifigs were generally ninja's, actually (wearing the first peasant cowl).
Oh and in the 80's I definitely loved crap shows, but there was nothing else to watch. These days I really wonder, most likely as a kid I'd totally miss the second degree humor in the great Cartoon Network shows and I'd be watching the crap ones.

3 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Legends of Chima, Hero Factory, Atlantis, Galidor, or Bionicle

Thank god those haven't aired here.
But Mixels, I quite liked the theme, pretty original & we owe them the very important ball joints. But the show? Makes absolutely no sense.

Edited by anothergol

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44 minutes ago, KotZ said:

I don't thinkLEGO will go back to a classic space aesthetic anytime soon unless they make a theme that has a story to it and almost like an "alternate timeline."

Btw, I don't quite know the background of Rob's Nova Team, but there's already a TV show vibe to it. If Lego had a Classic Space show and absolutely had to make it modern, they wouldn't go wrong with the style.

Nova Team: Season 5

 

Edited by anothergol

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Just now, anothergol said:

Btw, I don't quite know the background of Rob's Nova Team, but there's already a TV show vibe to it. If Lego had a Classic Space show and absolutely had to make it modern, they wouldn't go wrong with the style.

Oh that's awesome. It's got a really cool feel to it. Great mention.

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1 hour ago, anothergol said:

< Legends of Chima >

Thank god those haven't aired here.

 

I bought series 1 for my kid, mainly as I saw it on DVD for 50p per half series. It is aimed at kids, but it actually isn't that bad. I cannot imagine AFOLs wanting to watch it, but for the sort of thing you watch with your kids, it is fine. There is a story line running through the series, but each one is pretty much self contained and usually ends with a moral or similar so ideal for kids to watch.

I would imagine if LEGO did Classic Space now, and it had a TV series, it would be produced in a very similar way. I wonder if AFOLs would also hate that series too (with or without watching it)?

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1 hour ago, anothergol said:

Oh come on, at the end of the day it's still the same trope. I don't like any of Lego's TV shows (I'm kinda allergic to that 2000 style of 3D) or games, but I had Ninjago running in the background for enough time that I know what it's about. & there the "I'm your father" is pretty much a ripoff of SW.
The one I can't stand is Nexo Knights (maybe also because I consider it guilty of having killed the Castles theme), so much that I generally switch to something else when it's aired. The only ONE episode I saw, was that Merlin dude telling a guy that some sorcerer was her mother. And he was like "nooo nooo I can't believe it".
You may argue it's this time a ripoff of Excalibur, but to me it felt like Ninjago in "Castles on wheels".

In general I still don't get the sense that you really get the gist of Lloyd and Lord Garmadon's relationship (in the TV show, at least), because again, there's no "I am your father" plot twist or anything remotely resembling one. If anything it's closer to the dynamic of Prince Zuko and Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender, in which the child of a villain, who grew up with dreams of following in their father's footsteps, joins the heroes and is forced to make a stand for what's right even if it means going against their family.

Granted, in Ninjago it isn't remotely as much of a personal battle for Lloyd to join the heroes. Instead, he wasn't very good at being a serious villain in the first place, and is won over by Master Wu's willingness to take him in and forgive his actions after being abandoned, used, and/or betrayed by the first three Serpentine tribes he attempted to recruit as evil underlings. Also, in Lloyd's case, Garmadon is not framed as an abusive or controlling parent — he genuinely loves and wants the best for Lloyd, and doesn't begrudge him for siding with the ninja or try to recruit him back to the side of evil. The only way that it particularly resembles a Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader dynamic is that Lloyd doesn't really want to fight his father and would rather attempt to save him.

And in any case, the conflict between Lloyd and his father only really describes about a couple seasons' worth of episodes: the first twelve episodes of Season 2, the last two episodes of Season 8, and all ten episodes of Season 9. In the pilot, which introduces Lord Garmadon as a villain, his son Lloyd does not appear. In the few Season 1 episodes that Lord Garmadon appears in, he is consistently an ally of the ninja, albeit a reluctant one with obvious goals of world domination. In Seasons 3 through 7, the conflicts are against different villains for different reasons, and Garmadon is an ally of the Ninja in every episode he appears in. To judge the entire series as a rip-off of Star Wars on those grounds seems rather shaky.

And anyhow, back on the subject of movies? Toy Story 2 pulled off the "I am your father" twist in a blatant, cheesy Star Wars parody/reference, and judging from the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores, it was nevertheless as well-loved or more based on both critic and audience ratings as The LEGO Movie. So I'm not really sold on the idea that a TV show would be beneath the dignity of LEGO Movie or Classic Space characters, even if it DID indulge in occasional cliches like that one. Although, to me, the retro style of Classic Space seems as though it would be more conducive to a different variation the "villain's child becomes a hero" twist: the Princess Aura type from Flash Gordon or the Talia Al'Ghul type from Batman, in which a major villain's child and presumed successor falls in love with the hero and so decides to help the hero's team instead of their parent's.

12 minutes ago, MAB said:

I would imagine if LEGO did Classic Space now, and it had a TV series, it would be produced in a very similar way. I wonder if AFOLs would also hate that series too (with or without watching it)?

A tendency I've observed is that many AFOLs may not hate media that's tied to sets or themes they like as much as they would with media tied to sets and themes they don't like or understand to begin with, but they'll often disregard it anyhow, because one way or the other it no longer fits with the type of more "grown-up" media they're drawn to.

The exception is if that theme was already story-driven when they were introduced to it as kids. So, for instance, AFOLs who enjoyed Bionicle as kids are more likely pay attention to and form opinions on new Bionicle books, games, comics, and shows than AFOLs who enjoyed Town/City as kids are to pay attention to or form opinions on City related books, games, comics, and shows. And that's a bit of a shame, since while the LEGO City picture books are usually rather basic, the video game LEGO City Undercover and the LEGO City animated webisodes are often laugh-out-loud hilarious!

Edited by Aanchir

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8 hours ago, Aanchir said:

The idea of kids enjoying classic themes like Space or Castle or even the classic sets themselves is not really that surprising. Nobody here is trying to argue that all kids expect the same things from their toys, not even all kids within the same age range. That said, I don't know if I particularly agree that the "timelessness" of classic themes means that the classic themes meet the expectations of kids in general as well as more modern themes might. In the very least, LEGO has found time and time again that kids really enjoy seeing more detailed printing on minifigures, more varied colors in sets, etc.

Thanks for the detailed reply, but I didn't say that classic themes being timeless means that they better meet the demands of kids these days; just that it does for my kid; and that leads me to suspect that there is a good market for the classic stuff that Lego would do well to serve.

The fact is that nobody knows how classic themes would hold up in today's market, but I suspect that they'd do better than some expect. I guess we'll get a taster next year with the Space Squad.

There is no reason why a classic space inspired theme couldn't be updated to add more detail and/or colours, but yet still keep with the general feel of the originals.

In my entirely subjective opinion and experience, the classic themes hold up better than their later counterparts, even when the later themes have time to age.

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11 hours ago, Aanchir said:

In general I still don't get the sense that you really get the gist of Lloyd and Lord Garmadon's relationship (in the TV show, at least), because again, there's no "I am your father" plot twist or anything remotely resembling one.

Here's what I understood from hearing the show in the background: there's that kid (Lloyd Skywalker or something) that's raised by the good guys, especially that old guy (Sensei Yoda or something). Kid doesn't know that the bad guy (Darth Garmadon or something) is his father. But then he learns it, and learns that his father hasn't always been bad, and his father tries to lure it to the dark side. But eventually his father shows that he isn't all that bad, and there's more evil above him, etc etc. 
Granted, I haven't much understood who Zane-3PO was exactly, or who princess Lenya was the sister of, but that all still reminds me of SOME MOVIE.

11 hours ago, Aanchir said:

And anyhow, back on the subject of movies? Toy Story 2 pulled off the "I am your father" twist in a blatant, cheesy Star Wars parody/reference, and judging from the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores, it was nevertheless as well-loved

Wait I'm not saying these things can't be popular. I haven't seen any of the Toy Story, I'm very allergic to Disney, and probably for the same reasons I don't like Lego's shows. But yeah, Disney is big.
I don't think Disney would have pulled off the Lego Movie btw. It'd have been very bland. IMHO WB did the best possible for a kids-friendly movie. 

11 hours ago, Aanchir said:

So I'm not really sold on the idea that a TV show would be beneath the dignity of LEGO Movie or Classic Space characters, even if it DID indulge in occasional cliches like that one.

As an adult, the only thing that'd make me watch a Classic Space show, was if it was a spoof of all the space opera's. Like, Space Quest (the first 3 ones). Or what The Orville should/could have been. Could that even exist for kids, spoofing shows that they probably never saw?

If it can't be that, I'd rather not have it at all, so that Classic Space can still have a good place in my memory.
Sometimes it works, Samurai Jack got its sequel/ending and it was great. Sometimes it's done by people who didn't get the essense of the original, like for the Powerpuff Girls, which I used to like (& which was a good example of a show loved by little girls AND adults, for different reasons).
Oh course the comparison isn't the best, since Classic Space is only a visual theme, there is zero existing story or background. But that means that Lego could make up anything, and if it has to be like Ninjago & Nexo, I don't want it.
I also liked the Lego Movie for its metaphysical ending btw. Could that work in a show? Well yes, I've seen it more than once in Teen Titans Go.

Edited by anothergol

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6 hours ago, anothergol said:

Here's what I understood from hearing the show in the background: there's that kid (Lloyd Skywalker or something) that's raised by the good guys, especially that old guy (Sensei Yoda or something). Kid doesn't know that the bad guy (Darth Garmadon or something) is his father. But then he learns it, and learns that his father hasn't always been bad, and his father tries to lure it to the dark side. But eventually his father shows that he isn't all that bad, and there's more evil above him, etc etc. 
Granted, I haven't much understood who Zane-3PO was exactly, or who princess Lenya was the sister of, but that all still reminds me of SOME MOVIE.

And again, as I keep saying, that’s almost entirely wrong. Lloyd knows his father is a villain from his very first appearance in the show (from all indications, it’s never been a secret from him). His childhood before the events of the show was spent attending a boarding school for aspiring villains, and his biggest dream is to become a feared villain like his father. In order to achieve that goal, he releases and attempts to recruit the Serpentine tribes that were sealed away long ago for attempting to conquer Ninjago.

But Lloyd isn’t all that great at being a villain. The first two Serpentine tribes he unleashes, the Hypnobrai and Fangpyre tribes, abandon him after it becomes clear they can achieve bigger villainous goals than Lloyd’s petty and ineffective schemes. Then Pythor, the last surviving member of the Anacondrai tribe, recognizes Lloyd’s feelings of loneliness and exploits that vulnerability by pretending to befriend Lloyd, then stealing his map to the Serpentine dens and leaving him at the mercy of the ninja.

It’s only at THAT point that Master Wu shows Lloyd forgiveness and welcomes him to live with the ninja team aboard the Destiny’s Bounty. Even after that point, though, Lloyd and his father don’t really have much tension between them until several episodes later when the ninja discover that Lloyd is destined to become the Green Ninja and confront the dark lord (the ninja assume this to mean Lord Garmadon, but spoilers: that’s not exactly true).

None of this is to suggest Star Wars did not influence Ninjago. After all, the theme’s showrunner and co-creator Tommy Andreasen is such a huge fan of Star Wars that he named his own kids Luke and Leia. But using a few tenuous similarities to argue that Ninjago is crap or a Star Wars rip-off is extremely dubious, considering that Star Wars itself was NOTORIOUSLY derivative.

Like, you compare Master Wu to Yoda, but the only major similarity between them is that they represent the same “mysterious old martial arts master” archetype that long predates either of those characters. The comparisons between Nya and Leia or Zane and C-3PO are even flimsier, because even if Nya very briefly played the “damsel in distress” role in the pilot and Zane is a very analytical robot character, Star Wars most certainly can’t take credit for originating either of those tropes!

6 hours ago, anothergol said:

As an adult, the only thing that'd make me watch a Classic Space show, was if it was a spoof of all the space opera's. Like, Space Quest (the first 3 ones). Or what The Orville should/could have been. Could that even exist for kids, spoofing shows that they probably never saw?

Perhaps! I remember in the early 2000s there was a Looney Tunes spin-off called “Duck Dodgers”, loosely inspired by a 1953 short parodying Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, but also taking various inspiration from other sci-fi series, including other early pulp sci-fi/space opera series like John Carter of Mars and Flash Gordon that kids in the early 2000s were unlikely to be especially familiar with. Of course, like The LEGO Movie and its spin-offs, the humor and action appeal of the show weren’t wholly dependent on familiarity with the various older and newer works it referenced or parodied.

Honestly, on a lot of levels I think that’s the type of storytelling that would be well-suited to a Classic Space series, whether in the form of comics, cartoons, or a hypothetical “The LEGO Space Movie”.

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33 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

Like, you compare Master Wu to Yoda, but the only major similarity between them is that they represent the same “mysterious old martial arts master” archetype that long predates either of those characters. The comparisons between Nya and Leia or Zane and C-3PO are even flimsier, because even if Nya very briefly played the “damsel in distress” role in the pilot and Zane is a very analytical robot character, Star Wars most certainly can’t take credit for originating either of those tropes!

Again, I only know Ninjago from hearing it, not listening to it, so I'm quite certain that you know it (& probably Star Wars as well) much better than I do.

However, I googled to check that I wasn't alone seeing so many similarities, and surprise, it got me straight to this very board:
He pretty much saw the same as I did, + more.

Someone's reply is that all of these are classic tropes, and that's exactly my point: Ninjago is generic, Nexo is generic, that's why I don't like them. But hey, they're designed to sell toys afterall, and Transformers, MASK or GI Joe were a lot dumber.

 

Edited by anothergol

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On 11/28/2018 at 2:09 AM, AmperZand said:

But do kids these days like Classic Space?

Why wouldn't they? Not too long ago, I've seen a 3 year old girl play with empty joghurt pots for hours on end. I've also seen a mom and her kid building homes for their Smurf figures out of old cardboard boxes. Imo, it's all a matter of how you interact with your kid. If all he/she knows was taught to him/her by the almighty TV/smartphone/tablet, then yes, he/she may only be familiar with name brand stuff and may view other things as inferior.

I gave a Monchichi to each of my friend's kids shortly after they were born, because Monchichis were pretty popular where I grew up in the mid 80s and I wanted to share those fond memories. I see those kids maybe once or twice a year because I live far away from my hometown, but everytime we meet they tell me how much they love their Monchichis. Even their moms told me that the Monchichis have to come everywhere, when they travel. Would those kids have ever asked for one, if I wouldn't have introduced them to them? Don't think so. Not enough YouTube ads.

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32 minutes ago, 3797 said:

Why wouldn't they? Not too long ago, I've seen a 3 year old girl play with empty joghurt pots for hours on end. I've also seen a mom and her kid building homes for their Smurf figures out of old cardboard boxes. Imo, it's all a matter of how you interact with your kid. If all he/she knows was taught to him/her by the almighty TV/smartphone/tablet, then yes, he/she may only be familiar with name brand stuff and may view other things as inferior.

I gave a Monchichi to each of my friend's kids shortly after they were born, because Monchichis were pretty popular where I grew up in the mid 80s and I wanted to share those fond memories. I see those kids maybe once or twice a year because I live far away from my hometown, but everytime we meet they tell me how much they love their Monchichis. Even their moms told me that the Monchichis have to come everywhere, when they travel. Would those kids have ever asked for one, if I wouldn't have introduced them to them? Don't think so. Not enough YouTube ads.

Media is a big influence in what kids like, but I don’t think it’s fair to treat it as though it’s the only thing that drives trends in what kinds of toys or forms of play kids are most drawn to. For one thing, there’s peer influence to consider. Ninjago, and Bionixke before it, leveraged things like competitive play and collectible accessories to really encourage kids to engage with the products together and not just in isolation. For instance, you might bring duplicate Bionicle masks or Ninjago weapons with you to school to trade them with friends during recess for ones you don’t have in your collection. Or you might bring a Bionicle Toa set or a Ninjago spinner to a friend’s house to act out battles using their play features. It’s the same sort of collect/trade/battle principle that helped drive the Pokémon craze both in terms of the video games and trading card game.

What’s more, some of the examples of older brands you’ve seen kids enjoy like Smurfs and Monchhichi (the latter of which I’d certainly never heard of!) were themselves heavily media driven at the height of their international popularity. As cynical as you are about kids being indoctrinated to like certain things by YouTube ads, online games, etc, they’re ultimately just an evolution of the things like TV shows and comics that played such a big role in making things like Smurfs and Monchhichis as well known as they were for previous generations to begin with.

LEGO was much slower at getting into media-supported IPs than a lot of other popular toy brands, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a new phenomenon, just one that evolves to utilize whichever forms of technology or media kids are already using at any given time. Even classic LEGO Space was advertised on TV, and LEGO even attempted later to craft a comic series, Jim Spaceborn, based on it during their short-lived attempt to launch their own in-house publishing imprint. Not to mention how the Fabuland theme that overlapped with Classic Space was promoted via storybooks and an animated series on videocassette.

If LEGO had the resources, confidence, credibility, and know-how to create a TV series promoting Classic Space back in the 80s, there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t have done so. So I don’t think it’s fair to be so cynical about kids’ perceived preferences today being solely a result of negligent parents letting TV and online advertisers tell the kids what they should or shouldn’t want.

And anyway, if creating something kids like were as simple as creating video ads or TV shows telling them they should like it, then we wouldn’t see such a huge contrast between LEGO’s major, long-lasting hits like Bionicle, City, Ninjago, and Friends and shorter-lived themes with less outstanding popularity like Monster Fighters, Galaxy Squad, Ultra Agents, or the 2013 and 2015 Castle and Pirates waves.

The reality is that kids are often discerning customers in their own right, and not simply ciphers that mirror the interests introduced to them by parents and advertisers. And the competitive nature of the toy industry means that it’s not enough for companies to make stuff kids COULD enjoy — they have to make stuff that will appeal to and excite kids enough for them to prefer them over whatever competing brands they could be buying instead.

Also, advertising and media support are not a silver bullet. We’ve seen with Galidor how pouring money into media support and promotion for a product that hasn’t had enough testing to adequately demonstrate that it has extensive, inherent kid appeal can result in a massively expensive failure right out of the gate. Whereas themes like LEGO Creator, LEGO Classic, and LEGO City manage to demonstrate success surpassing most TV-supported “Big Bang” themes even without anywhere near as extensive a media profile.

The all too common assumption that Ninjago is only as successful as it is because of how much money and attention LEGO puts towards making and promoting it, and that themes like Space, Pirates, Castle, Adventurers, Bionicle, etc. would easily do just as well with that level of investment and care, ignores not only that Ninjago was LEGO’s most successful launch for a new product line to date even in its debut year when it had a far less extensive media presence, but also that even before its launch, the spinner sets had an insanely successful kid testing session, with the moderator remarking that she had “never seen such a strong response to a test.” Clearly, even without advertising as a confounding variable, there is a noticeable difference in how well kids respond to different sorts of concepts, designs, and play styles.

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1 hour ago, Aanchir said:

Media is a big influence in what kids like, but I don’t think it’s fair to treat it as though it’s the only thing that drives trends in what kinds of toys or forms of play kids are most drawn to. For one thing, there’s peer influence to consider.

Sure. It's just that those two images show a 4+ (Juniors) set and a set that mainly consists of four figures. I really don't see peer influence/presure to be too much of an issue at that age. Many kids these days stay at home with their mom for a few years before (and if they are actually) going to kindergarden. During those years you can have a lot of influence on a kid that doesn't leave the house much without you. My parents "gave me" a N scale model train for christmas when I was 2.5 years old. My dad showed me how it all worked, how to operate the switches and how to turn the lights on and off. I loved trains ever since. I actually did go to kindergarden when I was younger than 3 years old and while other kids may have shared their interests with me and got me interested in other toys, my love for trains never went away. Could be a similar story, if a 3 year old gets shown the above mentioned sets or even the ones from the late 70's and early 80's. Also, if LEGO made Classic Space type sets that were fun to play with, then I'm sure that many kids would like them which in turn would make peer influence a good thing.

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I don't know if they like CS but they definitely like Benny, if you went on any video, forum, etc around when TLM came out you'd find tons of comments referring to all Spaceguys as Bennys

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I always enjoy reading topics/questions of this kind.  In my opinion, not negating the desire for LEGO to appeal to the kiddies, I think it's not that important.  There are enough of us AFOL to go out and purchase a theme/series of sets that we enjoy.  Take for example Star Wars, who is LEGO's market for classic SW sets?  Sure, the younger audience can certainly relate to the recent movies, but who ends up forking out $200-$500 for a large LEGO Star Wars set.  Timmy may like them, but Mom & Dad are the ones that opt to buy these big boys that take more space in the living room aside the three game systems.

I was not a big LEGO Movie fan and only purchased a few of the figures when initially released, but seeing these Classic Space sets, I might just have to go out and buy one.

I can't tell you how excited I was when my neighborhood friend received a 70s Space Cruiser back in the day.  I went out and had to have the Command Center.  We played for hours.  Anything that brings back that nostalgia is awesome.  We're a big market with strong opinions and dollars to spend; let your wallet do the talking.  LEGO will listen.  

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