Who could’ve predicted that Netflix – a company known for shipping movies on DVD in little red envelopes – would evolve into a streaming giant and bastion of original content that would proudly carry a flag for resurrecting retired pop culture icons? While it was probably never predicted, that’s just what happened, and Netflix has become a home for reimaginings of DANGER MOUSE, FULL HOUSE (FULLER HOUSE), INSPECTOR GADGET and CARE BEARS (CARE BEARS & COUSINS). The latest characters from my youth to become a Netflix Original Series are the POPPLES, brought back by Saban Brands and launched with a five-episode inaugural season. I remember these little creatures fondly – cuddly little munchkins that could roll into a furball, and then “POP!” back open into upright-standing, long-tailed, brightly-colored bear-like creatures. Like all good fruits of the 80s, they once had an animated series and a robust toyline – originally spawned by American Greetings, the same folks that brought forth Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears. Three decades later, POPPLES are back, and thanks to Spin Master, they’re back in the toy aisle as well – as a Walmart Exclusive for the Holiday Season.
A featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide, POPPLES will be available at Walmart.com in Mid-November, with toys hitting the physical stores by December. The initial wave features Talk & Pop Plush ($19.99) with two characters available – Lulu and Bubbles. Each features 13 sounds and phrases from the show, with the action activated by a squeeze of the tummy. There’s also a Pop Open Plush Assortment ($9.99 each) that features Bubbles, Sunny, Yikes, Izzy and Lulu as 8″ pop-open characters (no batteries required).
As part of the launch, Saban Brands sent us the Talk & Pop Plush Lulu, and as expected, this science-loving Popple is already well-loved. In updating the series, the folks behind the POPPLES have given each of their core residents of Poppolopolis a unique personality and skill-set, with Lulu being the one with serious smarts. Colorful, snuggly and cute.
Dig POPPLES? Word on the street is that 2016 will see an even bigger toy roll out, with small dolls, collectible figures and playsets on the way. Stay tuned!