August 3, 2016 update: If you want more explanation of the details of how I feel about this and why, watch NicktonAquaMagna's "Journey to Done - The REAL reasons why Bionicle failed." Seriously. Watch that. It's long, but densely packed with real, non-rambling, non-repetitive, hard-hitting content. He's a fellow realist who separates the objective and the subjective and isn't afraid to call out what's really going on across numerous fronts without tainting it with an excess of personal bias. He's a valued long-time viewer, but we've only ever interacted in a tiny handful of public YouTube comments. However, the observations & deductions he shares in his video match my own to within probably a 5% margin. It's uncanny.LEGO today announced the (second) absolute end of Bionicle. I'll be honest with you -- I'm relieved. Sales were very poor from the start (I watched the actual numbers in near-realtime when Brickset was still able to track & display them), a large portion of G1 fans were uninterested in anything non-G1 (regardless of its form), and the first two Netflix episodes came out far too late & were far too brief to effectively capture new fans. With its conservative marketing budget, it was almost dead on arrival. The only hope for any sort of real revival rested in the hands of new fans who, in turn, never materialized.
For my part, I made a strong effort to refine my large action figure review style to raise the bar and establish a new standard (for others to copy, wink wink). I made a decently massive MOC very early on to begin the fight against the baseless "you can't MOC with CCBS" argument. I re-bought some G1 models and made a generational comparison to demonstrate the merits of the newer building system and the value proposition of the new sets. I even transported my self-MOC back to the Bionicle universe and gave it a very shiny upgrade.
However, a couple weeks ago, what you see in the photo above, happened. Since the reboot hit stores in late 2014, I had maintained a persistent display of the latest official Bionicle builds from which I could conveniently draw individuals or sub-groups to compare to newer releases. It was a part of not only my process, but my very home. Eventually the writing on the wall became too clear, though. Bionicle was no longer worth my time. First I cut back on the most time-consuming segment of my review videos, then I cut it out entirely to make more time to produce the content that so many more of you ask for every day. Most recently, though, with one arm I held a big plastic tub under my Bionicle display shelf, and with the other arm, emptied said shelf into said tub with one big swipe.
My backlog of items to prep & donate to The Giving Brick had just gotten a whole lot larger. I was 95% done with Bionicle, with that last 5% of me squinting warily at the horizon, waiting for leaked photos from the next release season. If LEGO didn't come up with something truly awe-inspiring for what I was certain would be the final wave, I was going to skip it entirely. Well, Giving Brick, you've got a package incoming!
I feel like I've been stung one too many times. This LEGO large action figure thing just isn't working out. I still maintain that Hero Factory was a great concept, but they failed miserably at developing its potential as a creative theme involving fans designing and building custom 'bots to battle an ever-evolving ecosystem of baddies. Super Heroes "Ultrabuilds" were a viable concept for very young kids (as other manufacturers have proven), but they looked pretty bad. Chima figures had almost no connection to the series whatsoever, existing for a second or so at a time in the TV show. The Star Wars figures sell because they're Star Wars, and some of them actually look good, so I'll keep covering those for now. Just don't expect me to cover any more original-IP CCBS-based themes unless LEGO figures out a more viable formula.
Addendum: I went ahead & watched the two new & last Bionicle episodes released today on Netflix. Once again the graphic style & quality was really good. The writing, though, was truly terrible. Words that come to mind include: Cliche, predictable, repetitive, low-brow, thin, shallow, unimaginative, disappointing, cringeworthy, sad, and forgettable. In fact, it felt almost insulting. The wrap-up, instead of leaving open the imaginative possibilities of a future of exciting adventures, essentially renders the entire franchise utterly meaningless. What an incredibly unfortunate way to go out.