Our house has gone serious 1980’s. We’ve skipped the red lemonade, Wham bars and leg warmers and cut straight to the TV shows of my youth. We’ve officially gone retro with Netflix.
First off the kid’s programmes. Like looking back at most things, there’s quite the gap between the cool and futuristic programmes of my youth and the hilariously garish reality thirty (really?) years later.
He-Man – still rocks that unisex bob and is fighting the good fight to keep Eternia and Greyskull safe from Skeletor and his gang of slightly inept henchmen. He still has not only the power but also both the secret of Lego-hair and – quite possibly, a serious steroid habit. The kids are transfixed by the moderately scary – very camp Skeltor, and – no more than myself at that age, think the feather-cloaked Sorceress is the most mysteriously beautiful creature they ever saw. They get good laughs at the perpetuating myth that Prince Adam is hiding in his room while he’s actually off saving the Universe in the thinly veiled disguise of He-Man. Meanwhile I just feel bad for his parents having to clean up that enormous castle after each and every battle.
Yoda is forever on the look out for girl superheroes. Not that she’s striking major blows for the feminist cause, but She-Ra has ticked a few of those boxes. The kids only have a tenuous grasp on the concept of kidnap but have quickly come to terms with the idea that He-Man’s twin sister has emerged from another mysterious planet and is on-side to save the world – without any of the emotional baggage you’d expect from a reunion with her biological family. Equipped with very tight outfit and thigh-high boots, She-Ra saves the world in much the same ditzy way as her brother – generally by non-violent tactics, armed only with her acrobatic skills and seriously understanding nature. And all while barely moving a hair on her head.
Netflix is also streaming a mix of old- and new-school Smurf entertainment through both the original cartoons (Collections 1 and 2) and the two relatively new movies – inexplicably titled Smurfs 1 and 2. All pack plenty of Papa Smurf and Gargamel action – and I have to say that guy and his cat still freak me out. The cartoons in particular have been well received here and are on repeat at this stage. Happy days.
Staying with iconic Franco-Belgian animation, both Asterix and Tintin remains a steadfast favourite with both the 5- and 7-year old though it’s at this point the (now) 3-year old goes wandering. They love the adventures and banter – and the slapstick violence of a Gallic – Roman brawl lifts the spirits on any rainy day.
Over the Christmas holidays the kids watched – and re-watched the Annie remake and they loved it. In the interests of being a pedant / puritan I *may* have forced them to watch the less glossy and way less PC original and safe to say they preferred the eye-catching remake. Though I admit the reworked songs in the remake are very well done, I’ll take Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan over Cameron Diaz any day. Other retro flashbacks that have struck a chord with the kiddies are the Flintstone’s Movie – not a patch on the original cartoons but entertaining all the same; and the movie of one of my all-time favourite kids books Charlotte’s Web – which is utterly lovely even if it does spark ANOTHER conversation about death.
And if Netflix are taking any special requests please back Danger Mouse and – if you’re feeling very generous altogether we’d love some of the original Scooby Doos. My three blondies literally NEVER suspect the guy in the mask. Never.
Us grownups have been wandering down memory lane too. At the weekend we relived 1980’s Dublin with a very over-due viewing of Sing Street. Literally every scene in that movie reminded me of my youth – from mixed tapes; to canvas school bags; to the bright green seats on the original DART. It’s a great movie – full of all the feels and well worth a watch.
Having never fallen for the Gilmore Girls first-time round, their return to Netflix has gone un-noticed round these parts but I have been indulging some nineties and naughties retro with Seasons 1 to 4 of both Ab Fab and Arrested Development, and Alan Partridge. All bring both endless joy and endless testing of pelvic floors. They are as good, if not better, than I remembered.
So there you have it. Looking back is both cringing and brilliant. Choose wisely – but go retro!
As a member of the Netflix Stream Team I have been given, free of charge, an Apple TV and year-long subscription to the Netflix streaming service ,for the purposes of monthly Netflix updates. At all times the opinions given will be independent and my own.