Childhood was a time when naïveté got the best of us and we still believed that dreams were easy to realize. In adulthood, many of us have now realized that growing up isn’t all that it seems, and our childhood days have left us with nothing but slowly fading memories. However, certain parts of our lives will always come to mind readily, especially pertaining to the things we loved as children.
Regardless of generation, every child has had a prized possession that they adored, whether it was a stuffed animal or a tattered blanket. Similarly, every child enjoyed a favourite television series, from Barney & Friends to Hannah Montana. Luckily, the recent frenzy of reviving old classics is allowing millennials to relive the simpler days of childhood.
Netflix has become a hub for modern reboots of childhood classics, and joining this collection is the recent release of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Despite the title, this is anything but unfortunate, as the original book series was beloved by many members of the millennial generation.
This series’ latest remake raises an interesting question: does bringing new life to a familiar classic embue us with the same excitement that it once did?
Some might say that it’s simply a matter of nostalgia to reminisce about the Baudelaire siblings and their uncanny adventures. Without dwelling in the past, the nostalgia we feel for an adored series can revive fond childhood memories that evoke feelings of glee.
Leanna Oki, second-year Psychology student, feels that the new series will be a wonderful way to recall memories of her youth. “I haven’t watched the Netflix series yet, but I’m interested,” said Oki. “It would make me feel nostalgic since I haven’t read the book or watched the movie in a while. Also, I absolutely loved the series as a kid, so it would be nice to relive that part of my childhood.”
Others argue that the newest rendition has its own distinct character, and like many other remakes, doesn’t compare to the original. “It didn’t really make me reflect on my childhood or feel nostalgic,” said Katherine Yao, second-year Illustration student at OCAD. “I didn’t love the [Netflix] series as much as I thought I would have, and instead I was mostly dissecting the dialogue, screenplay, acting… I just kept making comparisons to the original.”
Even if these nostalgic feelings are complex, it’s evident that remakes of classic favourites are still appealing to viewers of all ages. “I enjoyed the Netflix series as a young adult,” noted Yao, “but it would have been better if I watched this series as a child because I felt that it was directed towards younger viewers.”
Yao says that some of the media that she consumed throughout her youth has had a profound effect on major decisions in her life. “The Harry Potter series has grown up with me — it’s a part of who I am. I followed the series from a young age and the cinematography and creativity of the books inspired me to pursue further education in visual arts,” she says.
The simplicity of childhood memories may well outweigh the complexity of our lives as we grow older. As the Unfortunate Events revival demonstrates, age is just a number, and it is never too old to relive one’s youth.