Generational Fandoms

Curator's Note

This clip is the trailer for the new Saved by the Bell (Peacock, 2020-22), which is a revival of the original series (NBC, 1989-93). In its original broadcast, Saved by the Bell was about teenagers struggling with friendship, romance, and school. The new version features the old cast, now adults, as well as new characters who grapple with racial politics and economic disparities at Bayside, the high school from the original series. In this trailer, we can see how the new Saved by the Bell balances its appeal to its original, older fans who likely watch for nostalgic reasons with an appeal to a new and perhaps younger audience who hasn’t seen the original series. Slater (Mario Lopez) sits backward in a chair, a casual move he made countless times in the original series. The new character, Daisy (Haskiri Velasquez), arrives at Bayside when her school in a lower-income neighborhood is closed. She tries to make the Bayside students aware of their affluence and privilege. By commenting on contemporary issues like racial and class diversity but featuring original characters, the new Saved by the Bell attempts to speak to different generations of fans.

In the current media landscape of long-lasting franchises, revivals, and reboots, transgenerational fandoms are becoming more widespread. In our book, Fandom, the Next Generation, Megan Connor and I argue the importance of studying these fandoms. When and how do fans get along across generational divides? What do we mean by “generational divide,” anyway? Megan and I argue that we shouldn’t think of media generations by age (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z) because these sociological divisions can occlude other distinctions, such as when a fan first encounters a media text and which technologies enabled them to do so. Often these other factors demonstrate how media texts try to engage fans across generational divides. We can imagine fans coming to the new Saved by the Bell for myriad reasons, often finding a common interest in the series despite their different ages and reasons for watching.   

Add new comment

Log in or register to add a comment.