(Sorry, another long post...)
The Simpsons series doesn't seem to have been well thought out from the start; it's been very up and down.
For me, Series 1 was brilliant; KR nailed character selection, total number of figures, accessories, ratios and design (paint, colours, sculpts etc); they definitely had a premium feel. It was a great start to the series, and set the benchmark for future releases.
After such a great start, Series 2 was a little bland for me; I'd say it was 'good', but not great, with many boring, cheaper sculpts (more coloured vinyl, less paintwork), missing accessories, and odd ratios. Characters that deserved more attention such as Carl, Lenny, Moe, Patty and Selma etc, were left without accessories, cheaper sculpts (made evident by the lack of painted surfaces) and bland expressions. Overall, it was quite boring, with the exception of the Zombies, which had superb, highly detailed designs and great paintwork; without them the series would have been a big let down. It appeared that KR had prioritised quantity over quality.
Then we got the 'Treehouse of Horror' Series, which was a mixed bag. On the one hand, certain figures were fantastic, such as Vampire Burns and the Gremlin, with lots of painted surfaces, high levels of detail, and great accessories. I suppose The Aliens would also fall into this category, and possibly Clown Ralph. Then, on the other hand, a few of the lower rarity figures fell short in terms of quality and detail; the paintwork, where applied, was usually messy, and the sculpts looked very cheap, particularly Bart Fly and Cat Marge. On top of this, the series was rather small. It wasn't as though the (classic) THOH episodes lacked memorable characters from which to chose from, so I'm sure more could have been added. Overall, the series was ok, but again, like series 2, it was just about saved by a couple of brilliant figures. That series had (and still has) so much more potential. Fingers crossed, they'll revisit and fill in the blanks.
The '25th Anniversary' Series was pretty good in all fairness. The sculpts in general were good, maybe a little cheaper than series one for some characters, but overall good. The chase figures were great , and I didn't mind the Duffs because they were well done. I know a few people hated the 3 x Mr. Sparkles, saying that it was lazy, but personally I loved them. My only complaint would be that the ratios were cruel, and I would have liked a few more accessories alongside some of the figures. Regarding the case layouts, I did relatively well with my case, but I think (based on feedback on the forums) that most of the cases weren't good, leaving many collectors (Dave_Patch jumps to mind) majorly disappointed; I'm always of the opinion that people who purchase a case should be somewhat rewarded for their investment. I don't agree that just because you get a case that you should be guaranteed the rarest figure(s), however, I do think that if you make do buy a case, KR should guarantee you a few chases at least.
I've said what I think of the Toy Fair concepts, so no need to repeat myself regarding the 'Moe's Tavern' series.
In general, IMO, the Simpsons series has been poorly planned from the get go; it's as though each series has been created isolation, with no thought towards future releases. We're still missing many vitally important, Springfield staples, such as Ned Flanders, Principle Skinner, and Ralph, but yet have a Moe's Tavern series coming with only 3 new characters? I understand (& agree) that every release needs to appeal to the first time buyer, and therefore include a few staples of the series, however, you shoot yourself in the foot when you fail to capitalise on your existing fan base by effectively reproducing figures (be it slightly altered) and passing it off as a 'new' series.
I still think they've got plenty of opportunity to fill in the gaps, and make up for the shortcomings of the previous releases.
Although I've been quite critical, I still love so many of the figures they've released and really hope they listen to the people on the forum. I think most people are frustrated because they care, and have invested time and energy into collection the series, and truly don't want it to lose momentum.
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