• 'Reinventing Barbie' follows the total rebranding of the controversial doll. (SBS)Source: SBS
SBS has curated a collection of documentaries all about toys, so dig out the blocks and board games and get ready to play along.
Desanka Vukelich

11 Dec 2018 - 10:32 AM  UPDATED 2 Jan 2019 - 9:02 AM

When was the last time you played with your Lego? Has it been a while since your last Monopoly-induced family clash? Did you ever notice there was only one female Smurf among 99 males?

SBS has dusted off the toy box and taken out “Attack of the Toys” – five documentaries that go behind the scenes on some of the world’s most popular and controversial toys (here’s looking at you, Barbie).

Let’s play!

A Lego Brickumentary

From its origins in 1916 Denmark to an entire house made of Lego in 21st century England, these blocks continue to inspire people’s creativity and imagination. This delightful documentary, narrated by Jason Bateman, celebrates the joy and wonder Lego brings and explores the many different ways children and adults alike use Lego to express themselves. “It’s believing that anything is possible, if you have the right tools in front of you.” You’ll find yourself smiling through the whole thing.

Sunday 16 December at 8:35pm on SBS

Reinventing Barbie

On the eve of Barbie’s 60th birthday, director Andrea Nevins shows us how this tiny piece of plastic went from being the most popular doll ever to having Mattel executives admitting they “need to make a drastic shift to get people to care about Barbie”. With unprecedented access to the secret world of the controversial toy icon, we hear from Gloria Steinem, Roxane Gay and Peggy Orenstein, as well as cultural historians and employees of Mattel who let the cameras roll as they work out how to save Barbie from extinction by embarking on her total reinvention.

Sunday 16 December at 10:20pm on SBS

Greetings from Planet Smurf

Turning 60 this year, the Smurfs are also known as Les Schtroumpfs, Los Pitufos, Lan-jingling and Die Schlümpfe, depending on where you grew up. Looking back, so many questions come to mind. Why are they blue? Why is Smurfette the only female? And what exactly are they? This documentary takes us on a fun ride around the world, from Brussels to Dubai, shedding light on the secrets of the Smurfs’ success and revealing just how obsessed some people are with these lovable blue beings.

Monday 17 December at 8:30pm on SBS

The Monopoly Story

“My mother’s always stealing money from the bank and my father’s always collecting on mortgage properties.” Sound familiar? But this board game is not just a family favourite, it’s also a hotly contested World Championship. This doco follows elite players from around the world as they vie to compete for the top trophy, and their dedication is impressive. One contestant has named his cat after the inventor’s wife, Madge. Another wears his solid gold shoe around his neck at all times, “just in case a game pops up”. Prepare for expressions of strong emotion and a very good time.

Tuesday 18 December at 8:40pm on SBS

Lifesize Lego House

Top Gear’s James May chases the dream of building a real-life two-storey house made of Lego! With 3 million pieces of Lego and volunteers ready to pitch in and help construct them, can this ambitious feat be pulled off? How will the plumbing be connected? And will May be able to fulfil his wish of living in it for at least 24 hours without it falling apart? The man who calls pressing pieces of Lego together an act which can “unite humanity in unqualified communal joy” is just the person to take on this challenge.

Thursday 20 December at 8:30pm on SBS

More on The Guide
The weirdest, funniest and dumbest versions of Monopoly that actually exist
Ever wanted to play 'The Golden Girls' themed Monopoly game? Of course you haven’t! But you can, among many other bizarrely wonderful options.
How Barbie became a progressive icon
A new documentary explores how the doll has maintained her relevance for 60 years.
Jason Bateman narrates a doco about our Lego obsession
Prepare to go behind the brick...