There is no doubt that 2022 was the year of fantasy, science fiction and nostalgia. This is demonstrated by the most famous television series and movies released in the last 12 months.
Such is the case of House of the Dragon, premiered on August 21 on HBO. the prequel to game of Thrones that it did not reinvent its format, it remained in the world of medieval action; with a plot that included dragons, body mutilation, violence against women, wigs, incest and even scenes filmed almost in the dark.
Its premiere broke audience records in the United States and became the most watched on HBO and HBO Max. The series tells the story of Westeros 200 years before Game of Thrones. Includes how Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors rose to power and the events they faced to maintain it.
A week after its premiere, the series of the The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; and that same month Disney premiered Star Wars: Andora 12-part science fiction series.
The year closed with the series of Interview with the Vampire based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice and merlinfrom Netflix.
Why was this year dominated by fantasy, science fiction and nostalgia?
An article by writer Scottie Andrew for CNN explained that blockbuster productions like House of the Dragon and Rings of Power largely stuck to the proven formula of their predecessors to achieve their success.
Although Andor either Interview with the Vampire they stuck to the original stories that guaranteed their success, updating the plot with more open themes of race, sexuality, and radicalism.
“Despite all that 2022 threw at us, it was also a year in which we were able to escape into new tales of elves and vampires, and even those incestuous Targaryens and their magnificent dragons,” Andrew wrote.
Daniel Herbert, an associate professor at the University of Michigan who studies film and media, told CNN that part of the reason so many reboots, prequels and spin-offs have emerged recently is the streaming boom as companies “get They are becoming more conservative in programming and turning to established titles and fan bases that have been hits in the past.”
This may explain why the releases of the House of the Dragon prequel and Merlina, the Addams Family spin-off, broke audience records.
“We, the audience, return to these familiar worlds again and again because they are creative safe havens – we’ve been there before and we’ve loved our time there. We look forward to continuing to enjoy the stories produced in these fictional kingdoms,” Andrew said.
Franchises apply the power of nostalgia
Clay Routledge, a researcher and director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute, explained that this franchise storytelling of recycling characters and stories can be “psychologically helpful,” especially during periods of stress and uncertainty.
“When the world feels chaotic, or we experience a lot of personal or social distress, these shared stories help stabilize us,” he said.
“Our entertainment interests can help us harness the psychological and motivational power of nostalgia, which can make us feel energized, optimistic, and socially connected,” he added.
Andrew Abeyta, a social psychologist and assistant professor at Rutgers-Camden University, said that humans are naturally drawn to television shows to which they have a nostalgic or sentimental connection.
“Nostalgia is a feeling, and part of the charm of nostalgic media is that it makes us feel the same way we did when we first experienced it,” he explained. For this reason, franchises fight to position prequels or spin-offs.