Our studio’s next big hit: repetition


Casey Kula, Chief Photographer

If you’ve ever talked with me at some point in the past, you might have caught on to the fact that I’m a bit of a polymath when it comes to pop culture. Have I imbibed to every single thing that’s known of the subject? Heck no. I’m generally pretty perceptive and notice concept clues easily. I’m also way too curious for my own good, so if I wander onto a piece of fanart I haven’t seen before while I scroll on social media, it’s very likely that I’ll look up the random fandom it’s from and gain knowledge on the content’s spiel. 

With that fact about myself noted, I’ve noticed quite the pattern with pop culture for the past couple of years that’s become a tad frustrating thing for me: pop culture’s continuous repetition. 

Nothing seems new anymore. I know, I know, many ideas are have beens, but surely, not every single concept, story, or idea has been conjured up. Aren’t ideas supposed to be an infinite thing? I don’t know. Maybe it’s possible the human race is stuck in a continuous loop of creative block.

All I’m saying is that there may be more enriching things waiting to be known instead of that “new” live-action remake or season fifteen of that “new” show that was entertaining ten seasons ago. 

One probable reason that may have caused this repetition is the pandemic. It’s likely it left much of the creative world a bit stagnant because everyone had to stay away from their colleagues, family, and friends. They weren’t able to travel or take classes; it was a year of very small amounts of art inspiration, at least for some. I’m an art student, and sure it was hard getting inspired, but I still had to come up with ideas for my online school work, and honestly, some of the art concepts I was able to make were pretty creative if I do say so myself. Inspiration only comes to people who put continuous effort into it. Maybe the pandemic took away the ideology of creative effort for others. 

Just before the pandemic started, the public heard the announcement of Disney+. Disney’s plans have been conflicting for me for a while now. Disney+ is a great way for the company to gain continuous money all year round (as if that wasn’t already happening in other areas). Disney+ is also convenient for watching almost everything to do with the company and the studios they’ve bought. I’ve loved Disney’s content for a long time, I mean, I grew up with a bunch of it, but more recently, it’s been a dismal topic for me. I think all the workers, artists, and animators are all probably incredibly cool people, I hope to someday maybe work with those creatives, but the higher-ups: they are who worry me. 

It’s factual that every company and studio needs money or support to continue creating, but should it get to a point when a company cares more for the money than the movies and shows it pushes out? I can’t speak for all creative artists, but if I at least make something for others to enjoy and make at least a workable income then I’m content. Disney and multiple other companies seem less concerned with that ideology and more about the money in their wallets. Like come on Disney, you make on average fifty-five million dollars per day, I think you’re good on the money front. If studios make this much money, you’d hope they’d at least push for more new content and less in show/movie cancellations and laying off workers. 

At multiple studios in the past three months, including places like Disney, Netflix, HBO, and Prime Video to name a few, there have been dozens of movie and television show cancellations. Studios like Netflix only really care about algorithms when I think individuality needs a little more representation than it’s been given. For the past couple of years, Netflix seems to have decided with its beliefs and continuation of The Father (Stranger Things), Son (Big Mouth), and the Holy Spirit (Boss Baby: Back in Business) which Netflix for some time has latched onto because of their high algorithmic standings. With this opinion, they’ve either canceled or ended production of numerous films and shows that didn’t meet their algorithmic needs (Inside Job (2021-2022), 1899 (2022), Cuphead the Show! (2022), Julie and the Phantoms (2020), and The Society (2019), et cetera). 

In a statement by co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters, they’ve “never canceled a successful show.” I’m honestly very curious about what they think makes a successful show and any successful content for that matter. They also stated, “A lot of the shows were well-intended but talked to a very small audience on a very big budget.” There are reasons a show has a target audience– the same show isn’t liked by everyone, and that’s what makes us human. Success has more than a monetary meaning. I don’t think every person likes every single show in Netflix’s “Holy Trinity.” They 100% need to have less trust in Rotten Tomato ratings– especially if most of the public doesn’t trust those ratings to begin with.   

If it isn’t studios canceling movies and shows, it’s the production of constant similar content. I’ve been a Marvel fan since my early high school years, but never did I think I’d start getting bored of the content. From 2020 up into 2026 there are 40+ projects for shows and movies supposedly being planned or completed as we speak. It feels so rushed and honestly a bit exhausting. It’s gotten to the point for multiple people that they don’t feel excited or want to watch every single thing that debuts. In its beginning, Marvel would only really come out with maybe one or two projects a year, and that was a way it became exciting, but we’re hit by so much content now that there isn’t a need for that excitement. 

Other fandoms out there are also getting that kind of treatment as we revisit remakes and continuations of the likes of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings. Questions have changed in the boardroom from what new thing can we make? versus how can we remake these old ideas into something similar but not at the same time? In this process, animated movies have become a target. For some reason, every animated movie nowadays has to have a live-action remake. What was so bad about the animated versions? Most of them were already masterpieces, to begin with, and besides, was it really live-action when almost if not all of the film was made with CGI? One of my conclusions on that question is that CGI is less expensive than regular animation, so at the end of the day: money, that’s the disappointing reason. 

I don’t know if any film or animation studios will ever read this, but if they do, I do love much of the work you create, but I do wish you’d give new perspectives a chance. There are people out there who really care about creating, even more than the monetary value. Animation studios used to have that drive when they started 140+ years ago. I hope someday soon you see what I and many others dream of.