Story: Jay Bartlett has always loved hunting down rare pieces for his collections, which range from action figures to vintage video games. Now however, his collecting skills will be put to a more charitable use, as he wants to hold an auction for rare collectibles, then donate the proceeds to a children’s hospital charity, to benefit the kids in need. His plan to seed the auction with five thousand of his own dollars, then spend that cash wisely enough to allow for a profit, which would then be donated to the children’s hospital and get the rare toys into the hands of the bidders. He will travel all over to seek out rare items and good prices, but can he achieve his goals in this unusual quest?
Entertainment Value: This docuseries isn’t as slick or polished as most of its peers, but Action Figure Adventure is quite watchable. The premise is simple, our host tries to turn five thousand dollars worth of seed cash into a sizable charitable donation, by traveling to hunt down rare action figures and hope he can flip the items in an auction. You can tell this is a passion project and the series has a lo-fi charm that its target audience will likely appreciate, since there is considerable camp involved with most of the toy franchises featured here. This first season runs ten episodes and feels a little drawn out, but never slow or dull in the least. That’s assuming you appreciate vintage action figures or awful negotiating skills, both of which are focuses in Action Figure Adventure. I enjoyed seeing all the different shops and collectors, not to mention the rare toys and playsets, so if you’re a fan of the 80s toy lines or collecting in general, there’s solid entertainment here at times.
I would imagine the entertainment hinges on the host, Jay Bartlett, as if you don’t like his vibe or don’t find him humorous, this would grind out a lot. Bartlett seems to have some solid knowledge about the world of collecting, as he is an avid collector himself, but he doesn’t come off like the experts we often see in these kind of programs. When you combine that with his rather unimpressive bargaining skills, it leads to some unfortunate situations. This is mostly overpaying for items or overestimating their rarity, but the negotiations are humorous, if a little awkward in some scenes. But Bartlett acknowledges that and to his credit, he does seem to improve a little before the season ends, though he still has no poker face and sellers seem to know when he is attached to an item. There is good information on the various toy lines, though nothing super in depth and as I mentioned, some items are overpriced or overhyped, which becomes evident in the final episode. In general, this might not be up there with The Toys That Made Us, but Action Figure Adventure is a decent watch.