If you grew up before the rise of cellphones and the Internet, you’ll remember a time before technology intersected with every waking moment. This was an age when a phone was something you left plugged into the wall at home, movie night involved travel, you had to watch whatever was on television and visit a library to fudge your essay’s bibliography.
Bicycles without fairy wheels, skateboards with Gypsy sneakers, video game arcades with Gatti lollies, bubblegum milkshakes and kick-about games of backyard soccer or tok-tokkie were the simple pleasures in life.
Here are some nostalgic series and movies to stream you back to the future… *cough* DeLorean, Michael J Fox.
Watch: High Score limited series on Netflix
High Score covers runaway video game hits like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Doom.
Gaming culture is massive now with esports championships and professional streamers making a living off playing video games. High Score rewinds the story to the beginning of the video game craze to the days of Space Invaders and dodgy arcades. A trip down the rabbit hole, the series captures the zeitgeist through interviews with influential figures from artists to game designers. Tracking the rise of console and PC gaming from the golden age of Atari, Sierra, Nintendo, Sega and PC, we get an explosion of colour, passionate invention and warm fuzzy memories.
It’s a nostalgic trip for people who now have kids that age and a fascinating exploration of the subculture’s origins for ardent gamers. Using funny video game graphics, key interviews with unsung heroes, classic video game footage and media campaigns, High Score is zippy, funny and infotaining.
Detailing some of the early gamer triumphs, hacks, trends and fails, this compelling limited series is loaded with fun, oddballs and ceaseless enthusiasm. High Score covers runaway video game hits like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Doom. It conjures up the excitement and controversy of the new dawn, unveils the geeks who left their mark and unpacks some of the craziest stories and inside politics of the gaming pioneers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Watch: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016), Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Showmax
Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo may be turning in their graves, but have ironically been immortalised in pop culture.
Ninja stars, ninja bombs and mad ninja skills are now a thing people put on their CVs and business cards. These people probably grew up with heroes in a half-shell… and are probably mouthing “turtle power” right now. Anthropomorphic sewer-dwelling turtles who masquerade as ninjas under a rat’s tutelage in order to take down alien warlords seeking world domination may seem like a stretch, even without the famous dead artist names and predilection for pizza, but it worked! Kids were enchanted, entertained and some even started exploring sewers to find these larger-than-life heroes.
The idea worked so well that kids were literally trading photocopies of official and bootleg colouring-in images at school. Using flip-files to create a repository for these precious artefacts that would never get coloured in, the craze and catchphrases were entrenched. Everyone had to be one of the characters while watching the animated series or movies, exclaim “cowabunga” or “radical” intermittently, and generally practice their ninja moves like they’d just learned how to crane kick.
Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo may be turning in their graves, but have ironically been immortalised in pop culture through these mean, green, sewer-surfing and nunchucks-wielding inner city avengers.
Watch: Garfield and Friends, Garfield’s Pet Force on Showmax
The wit and whimsy of a wisecracking house cat translate beautifully through the cartoons and onto screen.
If the turtles had pizza, we can explain our collective penchant or gravitation to Italian food by way of Garfield’s voracious appetite for lasagne. Jim Davis is the man who brought this lovable cartoon cat to life, unwittingly spawning an empire of books, series and movies. Exploring the misadventures of a coffee-addicted cat trying to navigate life and Mondays, the dry-hacking furball comedy captured the hearts and belly laughs of millions. The easy-read cartoon books quickly ruffled after being chucked around friendship circles and Garfield became a viral hit in the age of print!
Whether pontificating about the bigger issues in life or measuring the fridge for a pet door, Garfield’s day-in-the-life antics are hilarious, using thought bubbles to connect with readers. Suffering his owner Dave and co-pet Odie, the wit and whimsy of a wisecracking house cat translate beautifully through the cartoons and onto screen.
The animated series brings these wacky characters to life, and while the live-action movies didn’t quite hit the mark, they managed to snag Bill Murray’s pitch-perfect voice for Garfield. Just mentioning the lazy, precocious yet lovable character’s household name is enough to bring a smile.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Watch: Power of Grayskull documentary (2017) on Netflix
It’s a love letter to the cult franchise, which captured the imagination of kids with its ever-expanding range of heroes and villains.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a beloved Filmation animated series and toy line from the 80s. Blending Conan the Barbarian’s medieval swagger with the powerhouse toy brand Mattel led to the creation of He-Man. Beyond the helmet haircut, chiseled abs and fuzzy underwear, many remember the cartoon for its stirring and psychedelic introduction where Prince Adam lifts his magic sword aloft and bellows the words “…by the Power of Grayskull” transforming him into He-Man before zapping his faithful sidekick into Battle Cat.
The documentary traces the character’s origins, delving into the business of action figurines and covering the multiple spin-offs and He-Man’s far-reaching influence. Interviewing key creators, voice artists, actors such as Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella, Power of Grayskull is a comprehensive overview of the character’s enduring appeal. From adverts to the feature film and She-Ra, this definitive blast from the past covers everything from early character design to toy production and the resurgence of He-Man in the early 2000s.
It’s a love letter to the cult franchise, which captured the imagination of kids with its ever-expanding range of heroes and villains. Who can forget He-Man’s iconic arch-rival Skeletor? Going behind the scenes may siphon some of the enigma behind the memories but will stoke nostalgia and compel audiences with its near-miraculous story of shared passion and collaboration that made the series so much more than just a cool advert for a popular Mattel toy line!