Pop Culture is full of phenomena. These phenomena capture the imagination of millions, and dominate talk around water coolers, Internet forums, Twitter and pub tables. Many factors lead to the formulation of such zeitgeists, such as focussed marketing, fresh storytelling that taps into flash-in-the-pan societal fears and interests, a bold take on traditional concepts, or, well, because they’re just damn easy and accessible. Such phenomena, by their very nature, come and go. They sweep through fans like a fever, and burn out just as quickly.
Lost was a cultural phenomenon… until the second and third seasons when the show-runners jumped the trails and lost control of their script. As I write this, “Gangnam Style” is sweeping America, Europe and the rest of the world, yet Psy, the Korean musician behind the hit, will likely never release another song which significantly impacts Western pop music.
There are phenomena like Pokemon: a weird, complex Japanese videogame and television series that captured the attention of children fifteen years ago and still hasn’t let go. Each new iteration of the video game series sells millions of copies, and the animated series is still running today. Most famously, there is also J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. When it first rose to wide prominence at the turn of this century, it was easy to dismiss Rowling’s work as a fad. But then it kept on going, and going, and going. Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are now literary staples on the same level as Bilbo Baggins and the Pevensies.