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Tuesday, September 19 2017 23:49

Get Ready to Play with ABC's THE TOY BOX Season Two!

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This past spring, I had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of ABC's latest competition series, THE TOY BOX. Now, the series is back for a second season in which a new crop of inventors will present their toy concepts to a panel of judges in hopes of making it to the end, in which the grand prize winner will see their toy manufactured by Mattel, to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. For Season Two, THE TOY BOX has been retooled - gone are the "industry mentors," and instead of facing just one panel of kid judges, contestants will face a rotating panel of five kids. The only returning judge from Season One is apparently, Noah Ritter. Like the first season, the episodes will be airing out of numeric order as they work toward the endgame, but for the purpose of my previews, I'll be labeling them by week. Curious what's on-deck for the first two episodes? Here's a preview...

THE TOY BOX Season Two Premiere - Week One (#202) Airdate 10/1/2017

  • Cyborg Princess – a series of alternate-world characters and comic books that serve as futuristic emblems of female empowerment. Inventor: James from Beaverton, Oregon
  • Soldier Ball – a game combining the iconic mini green army men with elements of strategy and bowling. Inventor: Nate and Isaac from Albany, Georgia
  • Go Chopstix – a racing game in which players using chopsticks to compete against each other to remove toy sushi pieces from a rotating tray the fastest. Inventor: Chuck from San Diego, California
  • Patio Pong – a large-scale ball toss game that is fun for the whole family. Inventor: Melissa from Woodstock, Georgia
  • Flip-O-Matic – a kid-friendly, color-coordinated launcher game. Inventor: Brad from New York, New York
  • Water Dodger – an environmentally friendly take on water-balloon fights where players are equipped with reusable water balls and water-blocking shields. Inventor: Nate from South Euclid, Ohio
  • Thingamatink – an origami-inspired blanket that can be folded into a boat.Inventor: Erin and Kayla from Oakland, California

Week Two (#201) - Airdate 10/8/2017

  • Furry Friends – a musical adaptation of classic stuffed animals that will sing and dance to different music genres at the press of a button. Inventor: Lisa from New York, New York
  • Noochie Golf – a re-adjustable, portable miniature golf set that can customized into 25 different courses. Inventors: JoAnn, Sal, Dominic and Tre from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Mad Moves – a dance game where players are given unique combinations to act out and are challenged to guess what the other players are attempting to dance. Inventor: Ashley from Del Rey, Florida
  • The Bloom – a robotic flower that blossoms and changes colors as the player concentrates. Inventor: Steve from San Francisco, California
  • Water Bugs – a water-splashing, bug-squatting multiplayer game. Inventor: Roger from Hampton, CT
  • CLICKEYBits – a pocket-sized fidget toy made with keyboard keys. Inventor: Shep from Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
  • Monster Dice – a board game where players race to have their monster dice eat the most candy as fast as possible. Inventor: Brian from Erie, Pennsylvania

While we know for sure that there will be one grand prize winner (who will also score a cool $100K), there's some fine print in which Mattel has the option to produce other worthy toys along the way. Last season, the Artsplash took the top prize, yet the Sweet Shaper and Noisy Persons also popped up on Toys "R" Us shelves. And, as I'm sure some will note, Toys "R" Us recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, it's currently "business as usual" in their stores, and that will likely not have any impact on availability of these toys as they move through restructuring. But only time will tell for sure.

As I did last year, I will attempt to live-tweet each episode @therockfather whenever I can, offering commentary and sometimes anecdotes as I tend to run across some of the contestants. In fact, I already have one of this season's toys - and we've had it since 2015, but I actually played the prototype back in 2013. That product? Noochie Golf.

THE TOY BOX will air Sunday nights at 7/6c on ABC.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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