There’s been a cultural tremor brewing for the last fifteen years at least. Whereas the 1980s were all about consumption and acquisition, and the 1990s favoured self-regarding introspection, the post-millennial world has been defined by its complexity.
The internet has exploded, bringing a deluge of content, commentary and notifications into our lives. The number of available TV channels went from single figures to triple digits. Phones got smaller and smarter, ensuring that the world followed with you wherever you went. Author James Wallman calls it “Stuffocation” in his book of the same name.
The internet has exploded, bringing a deluge of content, commentary and notifications into our lives… It’s no surprise that we’re seeing this reflected in our viewing habits.
Add in the painful contractions of the financial crisis and, for a lot of people, it’s all become too much. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing this reflected in our viewing habits.
As far back as 2000, factual series Can You Live Without…? challenged participants to consider a life without the things they take for granted. One of those taking part, rather prophetically, was glamour model Katie Price, pondering an existence without fame.
While the trend bubbled along in the new millennium, it is really bearing fruit now as downsizing and decluttering dominate the conversation. Tiny House Nation applies the theme to property shows, while DR3’s Undressed literally strips people of everything and lets them choose what to let back into their newly spartan existence.
The idea of starting over, either deliberately or through circumstance, is at the heart of many new scripted shows.
Yet it’s not just reflected in factual entertainment formats. The idea of starting over, either deliberately or through circumstance, is at the heart of many new scripted shows, such as CBC’s comedy Schitt’s Creek, while reality shows are increasingly adopting a tough survival theme. Where Bear Grylls was once alone in the wilderness, he’s now joined by celebrities. Similarly, shows such as Channel 5’s 10,000 BC and NRK’s Anno, challenge members of the public to adapt to old fashioned ways of life.