Saturday, May 28, 2011

Collecting the She-Ra Toy Line

I consider myself a toy collector, in particular an action figure collector. Due to trying to be more responsible with my budget, AND the simple fact that I've simply run out of space to display figures, I've slowed down on collecting. I will admit that I've reached a sort of saturation point in some areas, and just have no interest in collecting right now >>cough<< Transformers >>cough<<. Being a 30-something shiek-geek, I have a focus on figures based on 1980s properties - in particular: Masters of the Universe MOTU (which started it all), Transformers, Thundercats, Princess of Power, DC Comics figures and Voltron. One of the boldest collecting moves I made in recent years was to collect the principle vintage Princess of Power toy line. My goal was to collect a bulk of the line, whilst shaving off some of the more erroneous product like variants and accessories.

The Princess of Power Toy Line:
My collecting efforts actually started back in 1985 when my mother "smuggled" the She-Ra action figure to me. Being that She-Ra was a "doll", my father would not have been too thrilled with seeing me comb She-Ra's hair with her little pink comb. But I had gone to the theater to see "Secret of the Sword", the animated movie that depicted He-Man searching for his long-lost twin sister She-Ra. My He-Man collection was already unrivaled by any other toy line I was collecting at the time, and it only made sense to have his sister as part of that collection.

Unfortunately, She-Ra was the only figure I would get out of the POP line...until I was in my 30s. Now in my 30s, collecting figures was going a bit slow - I did have some focus on Transformers, but each year would produce product that I became less interested in. And then, Mattel decided to release revamped figures based on their vintage MOTU toy line - MOTU Classics. When I discovered that Mattel planned to incorporate the MOTU spin-offs Princess of Power (POP) and New Adventures of He-Man (NA) into this new MOTUC toy line, I became even more intrigued (by this point, I had a good-sized collection of the rebooted 200X MOTU toy line, and wasn't really motivated to collect yet another reboot of He-Man figures).

The idea of being able to collect POP figures that were designed for contemporary audiences was exciting! Waiting for Mattel to release these figures (about 1 to 3 a year spread out randomly over several months) was a bit much for me to tolerate. SO, I decided to satiate my thirst by going and collecting the vintage line...

Purchased She-Ra's Dress to complete my old childhood figure.

1/02 - 24/2010:
Purchased MOTU Classics Adora, POP Frosta, POP Sweetbee, POP Mermista, and POP Castaspella

2/7 - 15/2010:
Purchased POP Bow and POP Double Trouble

3/3 - 31/2010:
Purchased POP Swiftwind, POP Catra, POP Entrapta, POP Peekablue, MOTU Hordak, POP Clawdeen, POP Angella, POP Glimmer

Puchased POP Perfuma

Purchased MOTU Classics She-Ra

Purchased POP Crystal Castle

Purchased MOTU Horde Troopers x2

Nielsen Ratings Suck!

There have been a high number of shows cancelled this year, some of them being replaced by cheaper reality shows. Could the escalating number of cancelled shows be tied into money more than it is falling ratings? There can be no debate that the Nielsen Ratings system is terribly archaic. Implemented in the 1950s as a marketing tool to track how audiences responded to programming, the Nielsen Ratings system used a sample of the population to gauge what would air on television - what would last a season, what would last several seasons. Flash forward to the 2000s, and there are more people in the population, and there are now several ways to watch television - "recordable" cable boxes, smart phones, iPads, iTunes, iTV, Hulu, Netflix and internet download are only SOME of the ways to do it. The problem is: most of these are not counted in the Neilsen Ratings system.

As more and more people gravitate towards "non-traditional" methods of watching their television, and Neilsen not keeping up, how accurate is the decision making when it comes to dropping the axe on a lot of the programs that are being canned? Is it possible that a drop in ratings is actually a reflection of the changing behaviors of today's audience? With so much to do, and so many shows for our viewing pleasure, the on-demand trend has become the cornerstone of most people's viewing habits. Remember the days when you had to rush home in the hopes of catching your favorite program from the beginning? That's no longer an issue nowadays - you don't have to wait for a rerun, you can just head to your most convenient on-demand outlet and watch it there, set your DVR to record it, find the episode for download on the internet, or wait for it to show up on DVD if you're patient enough.

The Neilsen Rating system has fundamentally changed very little sense its inception - a select group of about 25,000 households are chosen based on region and key demographics. This small group determines what the rest of the country of about 3 million people gets to watch. With today's information technology, do we really need to be tied down by this old system to make such decisions?

Why not utilize tracking systems that report on the number of internet downloads, program streaming sessions, DVR episode recordings, etc. to more accurately determine which programs deserve the chopping block?

What are your thoughts on this?

Next time: I'll touch on the more conspiracy theory-oriented idea that perhaps a lot of shows were cancelled due to budget.