MenagerieVignette: Survival of the franchises
Vignette: Survival of the franchises

FRANCHISES - Regina Alcantara

Longevity is an idea some wish to acquire. However, in the world we live in, the only thing that will ever remain constant is change and we have to agree with our bud Heraclitus for making some sense in our quizzical existence. Every day we are greeted with minor alterations that make each day unique and other days deliver major transformations, which make these days unconditionally memorable. But one fact always ring true, things will come and go, and nothing will ever last forever.

But there are those who dare to go further, and I’m not talking about the guys at Ford. These are examples of franchises that defied the odds – and basically time and space – by pushing limits, critics, and expiration dates far beyond its shelf life to continuously survive despite the constant changes that surround media. But even if all of these explorers were able to beat Juan de Ponce in his Fountain of Youth escapade, maybe not all should have been given an extra 1 up in their adventure. Hey, didn’t we tell you that nothing lasts forever and that definitely includes pop culture relevance.

 

James Bond

After the highly successful Skyfall, the 007 franchise continues its martini and women-driven life with a zest for quality and story. After winning Oscars for the film, Sam Mendes proved to everyone that James Bond isn’t just a dashing British spy who always saves the day; the latest film proved that like everyone, Bond is vulnerable to the ways of the evil and the world, yet he squirms enough to save lives, albeit forgetting the most important ones in his life. This vulnerability showed that the franchise is evolving in its own terms, and shows the world that the sun isn’t setting on the man whose alias is as important as his soul. Negotiations are taking place for the 24th film, and it is sure to make waves globally.

What makes James Bond strong, pop-culture wise, is the ability to be as timeless and timely at the same time. Though the actors are being replaced (Daniel Craig isn’t subject to replacement yet), the idea of a savior in a tuxedo wielding guns while saving the world is still very much present in the minds and hearts of people. Providing wise escapism, the 007 franchise teaches valuable lessons that are not that obvious and action that is tasteful yet actually effective in saying that action movies aren’t dead. And who’s to say that action movies are dead? They just got brainier and better with age, much like the legacy of James Bond.

 

Stephen King

There comes a time in a kid’s life where we realize that there were never any monsters in the closet, and we finally get that peaceful sleep after numerous nights of worry – Stephen King is what happens before that moment. It’s quite impossible not to attribute almost all our childhood panics on every screen adaptations of his novels, which continue to give the creeps up until those teenage years when we try our best to flip the next chapters of his books. King made a living by ensuring that we’ll be forever scared of clowns, St. Bernard’s, and awkward high-school girls. But like the world dictates, we can’t be scared forever, and King should really stop trying, as his modern works (yep, the dude’s still at it) have been haunted with some scary reviews. We take nothing away from one of the most important horror pioneer, but the world just gets scarier each day, and no amount of zombie pets can really shift our attention out of the terrifying economy.

 

The Simpsons

For over two decades, Homer and his family proved that family values mixed with pop culture commentaries are king in terms of television content. Audiences will agree that any episode of The Simpsons will come out as either endearing, funny or a mix of both. In fact, the power of this yellow, American family is so strong that modern hits like Family Guy and American Dad! parody and look up to the show with both disgust (humorously, not literally) and adoration. With Emmys for almost everyone involved in the production of one of the longest-running shows on American television, The Simpsons proves that classic comedy is timeless, just like the chemistry and bantering between Homer and Marge Simpson. Offering a look in the views of people and the way society works, Matt Groening and company continues to provide quality writing and episodes that Fox wouldn’t put a lid on the show. Rightfully enough, the feature film shown worldwide last 2007 garnered fan and critical acclaim, loud enough for the film to garner an Academy Award nomination; merchandise-wise, The Simpsons could live in their humble abode, with money filling the bathtub and Homer fuelling his affinity for Duff beer. Everyone knows that The Simpsons is one of the most heartfelt and truest shows in American television, and the power will last even after the show is gone (if ever that moment comes).

 

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Pokémon

Who would have thought that one’s hobby of catching insects and tadpoles in the suburbs would be the basis for the second best – selling video game franchise of all time? Since Pokémon Red and Green became staples for all Gameboy owners, the franchise extended itself into all sorts of media which include anime, movies, music, trading cards, manga, and even musicals. And despite being among the top competitors in the video game industry for almost two decades now, this worldwide sensation displays no signs of slowing down, with pre- orders for the next installment of Pokémon games selling out in less than nine hours. Each new generation brings in something fresh that excites veterans and newbies alike. Unfortunately, some fans agree that the newer games don’t quite live up to the craze that plagued the originals.

 

Papemelroti

It’s amazing how far a simple gift shop from a crafty couple, has turned into a unique hallmark in the Filipino market industry. It comes to a bit of surprise that they’ve carried on this long, considering the ever-changing colonial minds of our people. But maybe it’s just the sentimentality that gushes in when you enter, or the uniquely-Pinoy craftsmanship on each merchandise, and even the simple warmth that the inspirational-filled woodwork provides on every direction. Whatever it may be, there can be no denying that Papemelroti has been touching many Filipino hearts for generations now. Go ahead; ask your mom where she used to spend all those allowances on.

A sure fire longevity equation will never be made but these franchises seem to have it in the bag; beating rival franchises that come their way. The examples above show that with just the right combination of certain interests and themes, some long lasting franchises spur out that do indeed pass the test of time and maintain a signature that is unique and never fail to please its audience. Whether it be video games, movies, cartoons or even paper trinkets, these franchises seem to see no end, and if they play it right, there won’t be (hopefully).