Scanning through our virtual stack of press releases from the last few weeks we noticed a rad trend: the 80s are back. This Fall the 80s will be all over your streaming services, on your grocery shelves, and in your ears. Here’s a quick guide to how you can live your authentic 80s self this fall.
Eating the 80s
Familiar brands are once again lining grocery shelves in an effort to tap into the 80s nostalgia.
This is the big one. Arguably the world’s first energy soft drink, Jolt Cola debuted in 1985 and quickly became the fuel for computer programmers staying up late at night mucking about in C++ and kids riding BMX bikes down to corner markets. Jolt has tried to use rebranding to make a comeback several times over the last two decades. Each time Jolt makes it to shelves, possibly creates a little bit of buzz, and fades back into our neon memories. This time, Jolt is going back to basics and giving us the original can 80’s kids might have been throwing back while staying up late playing Legend of Zelda. Jolt Cola will only be available at Dollar Generals. Here’s a store locator. Geek.com has more info on the Jolt release.
Did you know General Mills stopped selling Monster Cereals year round back in 2010? It’s true! Now they only dust off Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Franken Berry during the Halloween season. This year, they’re making an extra push with the monsters by having other cereal mascots dress-up. Everyone from Trix Rabbit to Sonny from Cocoa Puffs will get in on the Halloween action. Even the Pillsbury Doughboy will sport a Franken Berry costume. Unfortunately for fans of the Yummy Mummy, he’s staying in his fruity sarcophagus this Halloween.
Watching the 80s
Obvs. Can’t really make a post about the 80s resurgence without name dropping thee premier Netflix show for tapping directly into the 80s suburban nostalgia vein. Stranger Things season 2 hits Netflix on October 28, but the show’s impact can be seen everywhere. We’re all living in the Upside Down.
GLOW is loosely based on the origin story of the 80s women’s wrestling program The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The Netflix show was a surprise critical hit on Netflix and if you haven’t watched it yet, perfect, add it to your list of 80s nostalgia. Season 2 is coming at some point next year.
There was a time when we were worried about the Russians undermining our Democracy and we lived in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. Thankfully, those times are long behind us so we can sit and watch The Americans on Tuesday nights and enjoy this thriller about a family of Russian spies living in the US suburbs without worries of history repeating. *sobs*
The Americans is literally pitch perfect 80s television. The use of music that would have been popular at the time adds a poignant punch to the narrative. Notably, Yaz’s “Only You” in season 3, episode 4, Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” season 4, episode 2, and Queen’s “Under Pressure” in season 4, episode 5. The show ends in early-2018, so this fall is a good time to binge for the first time or rewatch a second time.
All of the Cartoons
Hollywood is committed to bringing all of the 80s cartoons to the big screen as live-action adaptations or as new cartoons via streaming services like Netflix. On the cartoon front, we’ve already had a successful reboot of Voltron which returns with season 4 in October. However, what many kids of the 80s are waiting on is the full season of Disney’s DuckTales reboot. Disney XD already released the first two episodes of the series which cleared the high bar set by the original How? (Spoiler Alert) The end of the second episode teased we could finally learn the answer to one of the oldest questions in the Magic Kingdom: What the hell happened to the mother (Donald’s sister) of Huey, Dewey, and Louie? DuckTales lands on September 23.
Of course, we’ve already suffered through live-action adaptations of Transformers and G.I. Joe. Hasbro and Paramount have more in the pipeline with more obscure 80s properties like MASK (which happens to have one of the most rockin’ cartoon intros ever), Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (they fight with holograms, because the 80s), and Micronauts (technically, toys who never made it to animation but had a healthy life in the comics).
The master of horror wrote the books that fueled the films which became the video store rentals for 80s teen slumber parties. Two decades later, King is still relevant to the cultural zeitgeist with many of his stories receiving miniseries and film treatment for the first time while others, like the blockbuster It, scandalizing clowns for an entirely new generation. Poor clowns. The cherry-on-top for King is all of his work, which sort of exists in a shared universe, will be the fodder for the new Hulu series Castle Rock. We’re still learning about the J.J. Abrams-produced show, but what we know so far is it include characters featured throughout King’s literary works including The Shining‘s Danny Torrance, Salem’s Lot‘s Father Callahan, and Misery‘s Annie Wilkes.
All of the Remakes, Unnecessary Sequels, and Fanniversaries
Remakes and sequels have been picking up speed as Hollywood gets hungrier to tap nostalgic Gen Xers with disposable income. The reboots of Robocop, Ghostbusters, and Total Recall were just the start. This year we already saw It successfully hit the screens, but in the coming months, we’ll see a sequel to Blade Runner, a remake of Flatliners, and, of course, the ninth Star Wars feature film. Looking a bit further out we can’t overlook the 80s nostalgia fest that is the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
As for fanniveraries, there’ a surprisingly healthy market for beloved and nearly forgotten films of the 80s to end up back in theaters. The theater chain Alamo Drafthouse deserve a significant amount of credit for helping launch this trend. Most recently the Alamo supported a nationwide tour for actors from the classic 80s film Monster Squad (which gave us the classic line “Wolfman’s got nards!”).
Listening to the 80s
Classic acts from the 80s are still filling coliseums. This year saw tours by bands like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and U2. IHeartRadio has even created an IHeartThe80s tour based around their 80s streaming station. However, unending tours by retro acts aren’t really unique to a single decade. Hell, The Who and Roger Waters can still fill stadiums.
What’s truly interesting is the rise of music that sounds like what kids of the 80s thought music would sound like in the future. We’re talking about Synthwave. Synthwave began entering our consciousness through indie film gems like Drive and It Follows. The Synthwave trend is also spilling over into nightclubs with Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco all hosting popular Synthwave nights that are increasingly reaching capacity. That popularity in the clubs has created a decent touring path for Synthwave artists to follow with acts like Perturbator and Carpenter Brut selling out venues.
Plus, we’ve seen an increased interest in the horror soundtracks of the 8os that influenced the Synthwave movement. Filmmaker and composer John Carpenter has not only had classic soundtracks like The Thing and Christine (yet another Stephen King property) reissued this year, but he continues to pump out albums that are essentially scores for never filmed movies.