There’s always some kind of fad going on in popular culture. These days, we have Hunger Games. I hear Katniss this, Katniss that. I haven’t seen the movies or read the books (the books are on my to read list, though). But is it original? Not really. Seems similar to Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.
It seems that the big popular books, movies, and TV series these days tend to start or continue a popular trend. Zombies are a big thing, especially with The Walking Dead, but there have been other zombie movies (Night of the Living Dead), computer games (Resident Evil), and novels (I Am Legend by Richard Matheson). They all seem to follow the same theme. So why do we keep enjoying them? They’re mostly the same story.
Vampires used to be something to be feared. They used to be dangerous monsters. Now, they’re sparkly thanks to Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series. They’ve lost their bite.
For a while, Mars was popular in the movies. Around 2000, we had a couple high profile Mars movies, Red Planet and Mission to Mars. Where’s the movie adaptation of Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson? I’d love to see that! And then there were the asteroid disaster movies, such as Armageddon and Deep Impact. Themes seem to get hot and then fizzle after a while.
The entire fantasy genre (especially high fantasy and epic fantasy) have The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to thank for its existence. That’s still going on strong today, as elves, dwarfs, wizards, and evil all-powerful bad guys populate fantasy. But it’s not original.
Is it difficult to find some sort of originality in books and movies today? I’d say somewhat difficult, but it’s out there. But because of the popularity of certain themes, it’s profitable for those who write about it. Originality is risky, so why not jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of the fad?
I do have to admit that epic and high fantasy are a kind of comfort genre for me. I love reading it. I know that Terry Brooks is often criticised for Sword of Shannara being a copy of Lord of the Rings, but I still love reading his books.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Is there something you know is cliche and overused, but you still love it? Leave a comment.