Pop Culture Recap


Omar Madina

What has been your favorite pop-culture aspect of this school year?

Where would our society be if not for pop culture? The movies, tv, books and trends we see every day are the glue that hold us together, especially in these trying times. The things we see every single day help us connect with each other despite the mandatory distance between us.

Hollywood struggled with movie theaters closed for the majority of the year. The highest grossing film of 2020 was “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train”, directed by Huruo Sotozaki. Based on the hit anime, it was released in Japan in October of 2020, and quickly became the highest grossing film ever in Japan. It was released in the USA on April 23, 2021, and is currently making even more money. The other major release this year was “Tenet”, a mind-bending thriller directed by Christopher Nolan. The film was released on September 3, 2020 and was praised for its unique story, despite the criticism regarding the sound quality of the film.

The movie industry had to change their strategy this year. Streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and HBO: Max were able to take full advantage of their platforms. New movies began to be released on these platforms and were able to be watched with a subscription. Movies like “Palm Springs” and “Wonder Woman: 1984” were released using this strategy. Disney+ began to release movies on its platform, with a few of them needing an additional fee to watch. Movies like “Onward”, “Mulan” and “Soul” were released using this method.

Binge-watching was a popular activity during the lockdown. Netflix had hits on their hands with “Tiger King” and the second season of “The Umbrella Academy”. Many also rewatched “The Office” before it left the platform at the beginning of 2021. The documentary series telling the story of Michael Jordan’s life, “The Last Dance”, was a big success as well. The surprise hit for Amazon Prime recently has been “Invincible”, an animated superhero show for adults based on the comic by the same name. The show’s first season finished on April 23, 2021, with many reviews praising it’s dark and gritty tone.

Disney+ was the biggest winner for TV this year. The highly anticipated seventh season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” premiered on the platform in February 2020 and the final episode of the season released on May 4, 2020 to outstanding reactions. The critically acclaimed “The Mandalorian” debuted it’s second season in October 2020, with each episode garnering a lot of internet chatter. The season ended on December 18, 2020.

Disney+ also released the first tv shows from Marvel Studios this year. “WandaVision” released in January 2021 to fantastic reviews praising the mystery of the show. It ended in March 2021, but Marvel fans did not have to wait too long for the next installment. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” released that same month and only just finished its run in April. The internet conversations surrounding the Disney+ shows were immense. A lot of the time, you could not log onto social media unless you had seen the episode.

Many artists this year decided to try something new. Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” and “Evermore” were huge successes when they released in 2020, with many praising Swift for trying something different. Her next album, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” released recently and was also a smashing success. The Weeknd also had a lot of success with his album “After Hours”, which included the hit song “Blinding Lights”. BTS also released a smash hit over the summer titled “Dynamite”.

The 2020 Grammy Awards were highly anticipated this year, with so many amazing artists nominated. Album of the year ended up being awarded to “Folklore”. Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” was awarded Record of the Year.

The pop culture we absorb in our day to day lives is something universal that helps to bring us together. We can all quote lines from a movie, sing a hit song or binge-watch a TV show. Times are changing right now, but our love of pop culture will never waver. It is the one thing that we can all find joy in one way or another.