Millennials were the first generation entrenched in the entertainment world, having entire television networks devoted just to us -- from Disney to Nickelodeon -- paving the way for that millennial “me” filter we've all heard so much about. And the production companies have not forgotten about us.
A millennial classic: Nickelodeon's Doug:
The Newspaper Association of America recently reported:
Millennials didn’t have to wait for designated times such as the programming blocks on Saturday mornings or after school to find TV content that was specifically for them. Anytime they turned on the TV, it was there. They learned to view the world, particularly content, in terms of “is this for me?” or “how does this relate to me?”
Millennials Are All Grown Up
With 84 million US adults between the ages of 18-34, the millennial generation is now all grown up. About one in four millennials are now parents and our next generation's entertainment is getting hijacked by those parents. With the innumerable nostalgia-plastered sequels -- Star Trek, Star Wars, Transformers, Ghostbusters, not to mention all of the live action superhero and Disney princesses films -- and the remakes of our favorite sitcoms meant to connect us with our children -- Fuller House, Girl Meets World-- it's clear that our own childhoods are making a comeback, showing how much power millennials actually have over entertainment.
A recent post from Skidmore Studio had some further insight:
Watching these shows connects our past to our future. It’s a way to be sure that our kids have the same fun we had, a way to manufacture a shared memory. For the consumer, nostalgia provides a sense of community and continuity, thus providing a greater sense of self-worth.
Let's take a look at a handful of examples of how millennial parents are affecting their children's entertainment through nostalgia:
The Lion Guard
Ever since the 1994 classic The Lion King, Disney has attempted to bring us back to Pride Rock with the use of multiple, yet feeble, attempts at a sequel. They've finally succeeded in bringing back our beloved memories with the spin-off series The Lion Guard, featuring Simba's son, Kion, who happily supports his older sister, Kiara, rise to the throne.
As the second-born, his job is to lead the Lion Guard, a team that defends the Circle of Life and protects the Pride Lands that Scar spitefully abandoned while Mufasa was king. With immediate ties to the original movie, this movie is literally the next generation stepping into the limelight which is perfect for us millennials and our kids; giving our children something new while still allowing us to relive our own childhood.
Jake and the Never Land Pirates
With a new take on the 1953 Disney classic Peter Pan, this series follows a group of child pirates on their Never Land adventures. Bringing back classic characters like Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Smee, this series attempts to do something similar to The Lion Guard, though not nearly at the same level. With entertaining songs and fundamental lessons, Jake and the Never Land Pirates is another sentimental throwback that millennials can use to connect to their children.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Inspired by Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, this series features the four year-old Daniel Tiger, son of the original program's Daniel Striped Tiger. This may be the best example of the sort of romanticism I've been talking about: Nearly every millennial can remember the wistful experience of learning from Mr. Rogers the important message of how special we all are. Taking place in the land of Make Believe, this has lessons for both parents and their young children.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Lucasfilm Animation's first weekly TV series followed the adventures of popular characters from the Star Wars Universe like Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the original prequel-era Clone Wars. Airing from 2008-2013, this series was for all of the Star Wars enthusiasts, bringing their children into the fold so we get pictures like this:
Spider-Man is one of the most beloved superheroes from Marvel and if you're anything like me, you remember this opening theme with much fondness:
Today, Ultimate Spider-Man is a similarly wonderful series, surely to become a classic. Following the Peter Parker we know and love as a teenager trying to juggle high school life with his surprising life of a hero. With it's modern day slant, Spider-Man is invited to train with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., where he joins forces with four other teenage superheroes -- Nova, White Tiger, Power Man and Iron Fist -- as they work to become "ultimate" heroes. Bringing back some of our favorite villains (with slight updates), Ultimate Spider-Man is surely as much for adults Spidey fans as it is for their kids.