Toy Story of Terror has brought Pixar’s iconic toys to a place they’ve never been before — the small screen.
The ABC special which aired Wednesday night saw the famous lineup from the Toy Story series come together for a Halloween special. Though the series, which has now run for close to 19 years, has spawned three movies and a host of shorts (along with countless merchandise opportunities) this was its first jaunt into television.
The special was well received, earning good marks from critics. Hilary Busis of Entertainment Weekly noted that Toy Story of Terror may not reach the level of the three movies, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
“The result is predictably charming, even if it can’t necessarily carry the same sort of emotional heft as the Toy Story movies themselves. (After all, its writers had just 22 minutes of screen time to fill — opting for jokes over depth makes sense in this context.) It’s a metatextual analysis of horror that also manages to be entertaining in its own right, sort of like a Muppet Babies parody for a new generation.”
The story finds Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and a few of their toy friends watching a movie during a road trip.
They get a flat tire that forces them to spend the night in a hotel, and just like a classic horror film the toys start disappearing. Eventually only Jesse is left to figure out the mystery for herself.
Christine Seghers, a television critic for IGN, said it was refreshing to get to see Jesse take center stage.
“While it would be fitting for Pixar to put their first television special in the small but capable hands of Woody and Buzz, the toys who started it all, it’s a welcome surprise to see Jessie play the reluctant hero this time out. Her fears of abandonment and enclosed spaces are well-known to fans of Toy Story 2 and 3, and it’s rewarding to see her confront them and become empowered. It also provides a nice lesson for the, ahem, young intended audience without being preachy.”
For those who missed it, Toy Story of Terror will air again 10 more times on the ABC family of networks. A full schedule can be found here.