Back to the past

“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.” – Marty McFly, “Back To The Future”.

Who would have thought that Y80’s movies and TV shows would make a comeback, let alone have such an influence on the current generation but it’s official… The 80’s are back!

Recently there has been a clear surge in 80’s media. Whether it’s recreations, sequels, movies or TV shows based in the 80’s, or shows taking direct inspiration from 80’s culture and fashion, there is no doubt that there has been a successful revival of 80’s content. With massive hits such as Stranger Things or the huge success Cobra Kai, based on 80’s movie the Karate Kid, on NETFLIX, the evidence can be seen in your living room and in the cinemas. Top Gun Maverick was the blockbuster success of summer 2022 making 2 billion dollars, 30 years after the original Top Gun movie. The 80’s have also been the main inspiration for the massive Marvel franchises including; Thor Love and Thunder. Future projects on the cards in the coming year such as the sequel to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ” show that the trend is here to stay. While original franchises like “Ghostbusters” and the other 80’s originals like “The Breakfast Club”, “Dirty Dancing”, “The Princess Bride” and “Dead Poets Society” are regaining immense popularity with new and younger audiences.

So what has been the key to this resurgence?

The key to 80’s media’s popularity is its great appeal to both past and current generations. For past generations we see that nostalgia is clearly selling and obviously selling well. The nostalgia triggers positive, happy feelings that remind people of happy childhoods and teen years which bring a lot of comfort and joy. It prompts memories and creates a longing to travel back to that time.

This enthusiasm from past generations can also encourage younger generations to be interested in what the fuss is all about. People hear their parents talk about their favourite movies and TV shows and want to give them a try. The new productions of older “classics” are done to such a high standard that they often do the originals justice. Producers know that the audience will be paying attention to every detail and line in order to make sure that the production is just like the original or if recreating the time period, that it fully and accurately reflects the time in terms of culture, fashion etc.

This leads on to another point. With streaming services facilitating easy access to these older movies and TV shows a new generation can easily discover them. While some shows or movies made today can feel rushed and overproduced in the fight to constantly meet demand for new content, 80’s movies don’t have the pressure of trying to be something new and exciting. You can go into most 80’s movies or TV shows knowing they will probably have a simple, funny story, with smart and intelligent dialogue that doesn’t take itself too seriously and there is always a conflict resolution at the end. This again creates a sense of nostalgia and comfort.

Ultimately, what’s probably the most appealing thing about these movies and TV shows is that they’re all an escape from reality. They bring audiences back to a “simpler” time without the stresses of the Covid pandemic, wars in places such as Ukraine, the constant pressures of social media or constant worry of climate change. 80’s movies and shows provide an escape for all generations with both the originals and sequels not usually exposing the viewer to hints or references of current news, because “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”- Westley, “Princess Bride”.

This surge in popularity will probably not end anytime soon with even more projects coming out in the coming year. Viewing figures and box office numbers show that people are enjoying this type of media and demanding more. 80’s movies and TV shows are not the only ones gaining popularity, we’re also seeing a demand for 90’s and early 2000’s movies which evoke the same kind of feelings. But just remember when you are on your next nostalgia binge , “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while; you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.