Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

What We’re Watching: Not everything needs to be set in the ‘80s

Everybody yearns for the past. Nostalgia is defined as longing or affection for the past, either for a place or time that someone has fond memories of. For many people, these feelings of nostalgia arise for the tubular decade of neon tights and new wave music: the 1980s. 

This decade for many is regarded as one of the best throughout history, as its legacy remains iconic and prevalent in society even to this day. However, its influence meant that it remains relevant in the film industry to this day. 

It’s not bad to have films and shows take place in the 1980s, especially when that time period plays a part in the story being told; however, if the story can easily be told within another decade, it makes you realize just how many shows rely on the past’s aesthetic to make something worth the watch. 

I’m not saying it’s a crime to feature a Guns N' Roses song in a Marvel film or have some ‘80s-inspired outfits in “Euphoria,” but it’s reaching a point where over half of new releases seem to take place in the heart of the decade and at the height of its style. 

In just the last few years, movies and shows like “Totally Killer,” “Stranger Things,” “Summer of 84,” the entire “Fear Street” franchise, “Call Me By Your Name,” “Drive,”  “Poker Face” and so many others across vast genres have been set in the ‘80s. I believe that in many cases, you don’t have to use specific aesthetics and cinematography if you have a good story to tell. In the case of the works I listed, I think the directors simply wanted to make their work look as good as they could make it to appeal to audiences’ sense of nostalgia. 

Of course, this doesn’t work for every film or show. Many works use the '80s as a decade because the plot focuses on a place or person who was alive or working during the time. If the plot of a film or show wouldn’t change without being set in the ‘80s, it probably didn’t need to be. Appealing to nostalgia isn’t a crime, but it’s a trend that’s becoming overly common and creatively stale.

Directors need to turn their attention towards other decades for the setting because while the ‘80s provide a good aesthetic for a film, other decades do so just as well. A crime show set in the ‘90s would be just as successful with a Sublime and Pearl Jam-filled soundtrack as it would with the Rolling Stones and Van Halen. A funky sitcom set in the ‘50s full of poodle skirts and cat-eye sunglasses would do just fine without a roller rink scene full of leg warmer-adorned skaters.

There are so many possibilities for extraordinary films and shows in Hollywood, yet everything has to follow the same trend. It’s painful to see so many films and shows with genuinely unique concepts fall into the same trap of needing to be nice to look at have the right vibe and thus take place in the ‘80s. Hopefully, as more films and shows are created, we will see more variety in the settings and stylizations, as honestly seeing the same tracksuits all the time is starting to get tiring. 

Mia Ashby is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Mia by emailing her at

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH