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It wasn't long ago that to launch a toy line, it was often supported by an animated television series. Now, as more and more kids cling to tablets and other digital devices (a plague), it's all about the webseries instead. Nearly every new toy line on-deck for 2018 will debut alongside a series of webisodes, and Alpha Group is getting into that action to launch their latest line, SCREECHERS WILD! First previewed here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine a few weeks back, the first four episodes of Screechers Wild! Season One are out, and they're pretty cool. Check 'em out in the player below, and look for these toys to hit stores in the months ahead. They've already started creeping out there!

For those who collect Hasbro Star Wars action figures in the classic 3.75" scale, you may have noticed what's been called the "home entertainment 4-packs" the past few years. These sets hit retail alongside the in-home releases of each new film on Blu-ray and DVD, and in the past they've included the Takodana Encounter (The Force Awakens) and Jedha Revolt (Rogue One). These have traditionally included some exclusive figures, and for Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes the Battle on Crait 4-pack. Available this spring, my friends at Entertainment Earth just sent over the full details on this new collection which features  Rey (Jedi Apprentice, salt on boots), a First Order Snowtrooper, First Order Gunner, and Rose (Crait Poncho). Check out the box below, and be sure to pre-order yours now!

It was in September of 2017 when the rumblings of a major restructuring really took hold for Toys "R" Us. I offered-up some commentary on one of their owners, Bain Captial, and how I feared that they were positioning Toys "R" Us for a repeat of the fleecing and destruction that they subjected KB Toys to in the early 2000s. A week later, the rumbles became reality as Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While it was "business-as-usual" for the most part at the actual stores, now that the holiday season is behind us, the dark reality that everyone knew was coming has arrived: store closures. In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Dave Brandon, Chairman & CEO of Toys "R" Us announced that they're pairing down the store list, but he reaffirmed the commitment to making Toys "R" Us a destination for generations to come. One thing not included in the message was the actual store closing list, but that was buried in a court filing from yesterday afternoon. Around 180 stores will be shuttered between February-April, and sadly the Toys "R" Us that I shopped at as a kid is one of the ones about to go, and as an adult I've shopped at four of the eight Illinois locations about to go dark. Of note is that many of the store closings are actually stand-alone Babies "R" Us locations, and it's expected that nearby Toys "R" Us stores will be remodeled to be TRU/BRU combo stores. Here's the local list...

They might be immigrants from Transylvania, but the Hauntley family has been welcomed into U.S. homes with open arms...

Disney Junior's VAMPIRINA is a series that I pegged as a hit months in advance of its Fall 2017 debut, and that's something that was quickly proven true. Today, Disney announced that they've officially ordered a second season of VAMPIRINA, setting the stage for even more supernatural adventures for the younger crowd. The series follows young Vampirina (aka "Vee") as she faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town, including making friends and attending a new school in the human world. VAMPIRINA stars Lauren Graham, James Van Der Beek and Isabella Crovetti as the Hauntley family, friendly vampires who have recently relocated from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.

As a new trailer was recently released for 2018's refreshed take on the TOMB RAIDER franchise, many were curious not about the visuals - but about the song. Continuing a trend of slowed-down, haunting versions of famous pop songs in trailers and commercials (and it's a growing list), this time around it's "Survivor," the 2001 hit by DESTINY'S CHILD getting the re-working. With the socials lighting up to locate the artist, we now have the answer: 2WEI. The German duo is responsible for the music heard in many movies, trailers and commercials, and their cover of "Survivor" is just the latest to gain attention. Stream the track and see the new trailer below, then look for 2WEI's version to hit Spotify very soon... They say it's Beyonce-approved!"

Last week, I took you inside DreamWorks Animation for a sneak-preview of DreamWorks' Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Now that the first season of the series (and yes, there will be a second - I can confirm that) has been released for streaming on Netflix, it's time to delve even deeper into the world of the Trolls, and that means going off-screen to look at the latest toys from my friends at Hasbro, who are bringing Troll Village to life with a whole new collection. DreamWorks and Hasbro recently sent us an assortment for review here in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, but before we get going on that, lets first take a look at the new Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Season 1 Featurette, in which Skylar Astin (voice of Branch) and Amanda Leighton (voice of Poppy) throw down some details about their new adventures...

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