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Streaming the Zeitgeist
Unraveling Societal Trends in Upcoming Netflix Releases
Netflix has continually demonstrated its remarkable ability to either establish or amplify prevailing societal trends. In 2019, "Game Changers" sparked a surge in veganism. The following year, "The Social Dilemma" popularized dopamine detox, while "The Queen's Gambit" rekindled global interest in chess. So, what lies ahead? After dissecting upcoming Netflix releases, here are some emerging trends to watch out for...
Leveraging the monumental success of "Squid Game," the most-viewed series in Netflix's history, the intrigue surrounding Korean culture continues to escalate. Capitalizing on this trend, Netflix is set to turbocharge the Korean cultural wave, the "Hallyu," introducing an unmatched line-up of 34 Korean titles for 2023.
This trend's ripple effect transcends music and dramas, molding our societal tastes. From an elevated palate for Korean cuisine—such as ramen and kimchi—to an avid fascination for K-pop merchandise, the influence is undeniable. K-beauty deserves a special nod, championing the practice of 'skin layering'. The term "Korean Skincare" witnessed a staggering threefold surge on Google, registering 135K searches in June 2023.
Dreams: Our Super Power in an AI World?
Dreams, with their boundless imaginative scope and their capacity to convey critical life lessons, have persistently served as a vibrant and essential theme in children's films, animated or live-action alike. Netflix has adeptly utilized this motif in numerous productions. The 2022 release "Sandman" tells a captivating tale of Morpheus — the Dream King, who, after years of imprisonment, sets off on a quest across various worlds to recover his stolen power. This theme continues to find resonance in Netflix's upcoming productions. "In Your Dreams" uses dreams as a pathway to a journey of familial reconciliation, and "ALICE" offers a fresh, musical interpretation of the dream-filled story of Alice in Wonderland.
Now this might be a bit of a stretch, but I wonder if the pandemic-induced surge in vivid dreaming and dream-related Google queries, jumping from less than 1 million to between 1.5 and 2 million monthly, and even spiking to 5 million in certain months like October 2022, hints at something profound. Alongside, AI platforms like ChatGPT have found increased use in interpreting dreams. Given that monumental discoveries such as the theory of relativity and the periodic table were dream-inspired, their relevance in our AI-integrated lives cannot be ignored. The imaginative power of dreams, combined with the analytical capabilities of AI, is sparking innovation. This is clearly exemplified in pioneering projects like an AI initiative that connects people with analogous dreams, and The Dalí Museum's interactive AI experience which lets visitors translate their dreams into art. Although I've underscored the value of embracing our human imperfections, could there be another complementary path to thrive in an increasingly AI-dominant future? Could it be possible that nurturing our dream potential—through practices such as maintaining a dream journal, learning dream interpretation techniques, and practicing mindfulness—also holds the key?
Is Swimming the New "Running"?
Sport invariably finds a key slot in Netflix's lineup, delving into diverse and intricate universes. An instance being "The Deep Dive," which chronicles the harrowing tale of freedivers Francisco Ferreras and his wife, Audrey Mestre, whose life was tragically cut short during a disputed world record dive attempt.
Netflix now prepares for another unveiling - "NYAD," inspired by the real-life story of Diana Nyad. At 64, this endurance swimmer broke barriers, becoming the first person to complete the aquatic Everest: a staggering 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida in 53 hours, sans shark cage. This production could fan the flames of the already burgeoning interest in swimming, reminiscent of the societal metamorphosis of running.
Indeed, swimming has begun to ripple through urban societies, with swim clubs making a splash in major cities globally. Danish brand Pond sails on this tide, introducing swimsuits designed for equal comfort on land and in water. Their Dip Club also hosts swimming sessions at the city's hip locales. Initiatives akin to this, such as the Friday Morning Swim Club in Chicago or the Dip Club in Northern England, spotlight this emerging trend.
True Crime Hits Its Stride
The world finds itself spellbound by "True Crime." Riveting series such as "Tiger King," entrancing 34 million viewers in barely ten days, and the chilling saga of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, accruing a billion viewing hours on Netflix within two short months, have become definitive television phenomenons. A stat from Rotten Tomatoes bears testimony to this surge: 80% of the top 50 "True Crime" documentaries have emerged within the last five years. In a bid to sustain this momentum, Netflix announces the development of around twenty new "True Crime" ventures.
But the "True Crime" fever extends beyond the confines of our screens. Reddit's r/TrueCrime subreddit has seen its subscriber base leap from 772K to a staggering 2.6M in a single year. This escalating allure is visible through a host of spin-off products: board games such as "Hunt A Killer," themed escape rooms, and a slew of immersive initiatives ingrained in the realm of justice. In another intriguing development, courtroom fashion, as immortalized in high-profile trials, triggers animated debates on TikTok, adding fuel to the #courtcore aesthetic fire.
Blue Zones and the Longevity Pursuit
Forget keto, Mediterranean, and gluten-free diets; the longevity diet is the next big trend on the horizon! Riding the wave of Dan Buettner's best-selling book, "The Blue Zones: Where People Live Better and Longer?", Netflix embarks on this fascinating journey with a new documentary series, "Living to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones." The series takes us on a global quest to unlock the dietary secrets and lifestyles of those who seem to defy time.
Longevity, an increasingly heated topic, is steadily rising to the forefront of our collective consciousness. This age-old aspiration to extend life is blossoming into a lucrative market, poised to leap from $44 billion to $64 billion by 2026. Adding to the stir, American billionaire Bryan Johnson's ambitious "Blueprint" project seeks to reverse his own aging process. Concurrently, a multitude of start-ups are emerging, offering pioneering solutions from cellular reprogramming and gene therapy to anti-aging treatments, biomarkers, and even cryopreservation.The pursuit of immortality is undeniably gathering momentum!