The Emergence of Nostalgia In TV And Film

by Emma Reynolds

23rd August, 2023

The Emergence of Nostalgia In TV And Film

Netflix bingers all over the world sat in awe as we first witnessed the pivotal scene in Stranger Things as Max is about to be murdered by Vecna, and she is saved by her friends when they play her favourite song through her headphones “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush. The scene has sparked much nostalgia amongst audiences; and saw Bush’s song reach number 1 in the charts in 2022; 37 years after its initial release.

Music has been used in film and television since the start of silent film in the 1800s. The Lumiere Brothers created the first silent films which even all those years ago featured a piano track in the background. In recent years there has been an undeniable trend amongst television and films where we are witnessing costume design inspired by the 60s/70s/80s and the scores of these movies are following suit. Some of the most prominent of these include Netflix’s Stranger Things. These use popular music from decades before our time and clothing to reflect an era we are nostalgic for and are reworked to create feelings of dread, worry, awe and excitement.

TV and film in general have blown up in the last few years due to the success of streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+. This explosion of media has meant that many emerging and popular artists have seen their work displayed on the big screen. One second, it’s a negotiation between the artist and producers, the next the music is being worked into the movie/show and the next thing everyone is talking about that song and adding it to that playlist. Never has a time been more poignant to have your music displayed in tv and film to emote the audience and display a message to them.

There is a lot of joy and power in nostalgia. It makes the audience think about their own lives, allowing them to reflect on how the film makes them feel; leaving a lasting impression on them and growing the film’s popularity. It has been found in some scientific studies that watching a film or TV show which makes you feel nostalgic can have a prominent benefit of calming people and reducing anxiety. Psychologist Krystine Batcho from Le Moyne College states, “When people are stressed, or anxious, or feeling out of control, nostalgia helps them calm down. It’s analogous to a hug from your mom or dad or being cuddled.”

Touching on what Batcho says; it is clear why we are beginning to hear more nostalgic music and scoring in film and TV today. We are a world reaching for support, comfort and joy. With the ever-growing toxicity of social media and the distressing images and stories in the news; it is no surprise that we are now trying to reach for something to remind us of the good in the world. Nostalgia gives us space from the uncertainty and unsettling vibe of the world we are in right now.

Gen Z is paving the way for nostalgia in film, TV and music. They are the generation born between 1997 and 2006. 37% say they feel nostalgic for the 1990s – an age in which many of these people would not have even yet been born – or at least were very young. The 90s was a time of carefree living; a simpler time. With the cost-of-living crisis, house prices higher than ever, and the pressure to work a 9-5 job when many crave something more flexible it is no surprise, we are craving a time they have never known.

Moreover, we are seeing Disney releasing more live-action remakes of all their old movies coming to the silver screen over the next few years; many of which are already in production. This screams that we are in a time of reboots, sequels and nostalgia. Dreaming of the past because it is easier and more positive to live there in this intense world.

However, are we now facing nostalgia burnout? Nostalgia sells, but it seems audiences are becoming bored of similar narratives. They are desperate for something new and exciting; maybe this is why “Barbenheimer” has broken box office records so recently. But even then, Barbie is a popular toy from years gone by, and Oppenheimer is a story from the past… Reusing and recycling stories have been done for centuries and will continue to happen. Gen Z creators will bring new life to film and TV in the next few years as filmmakers are beginning to represent their ideas of the correct version of the here and now, and I for one am excited to see it. Whether it parallels the lines of nostalgia or a new and exciting future for us all.

Previous post

Be the first and never miss an update!

2024 © All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram