Trend Alert: Spacing Out

 Monet the Dog and Bacon the Cat like space too.

Monet the Dog and Bacon the Cat like space too.

My hottest FB and Twitter post this month involved me recounting a dream: Liam Neeson, Idris Elba and Myself were tough-on-crime partners on a super special detective force. (There was an obvious sub-text to my dream involving Idris being in love with me. Dear Sub-Text, thanks for knowing me so well.)

TBH, I think my subconscious, however, was off-trend.

While murder and detective shows still clutter my Netflix recommendations, I think sci-fi and the whole “space, the final frontier” thing is about to do a binge-watch takeover.

My hunch  - which is also half stolen from a coworker (more on him later) is we’ll see content we binge moving more into “what the WHAA???!” territory and a bit away from “he’s an evil serial killer and she’s a depressed single mom who’s gotta solve the case AND her relationship woes” universe.

Meanwhile, this whole sci-fi sweep is going to show up in more shapes than square/rectangular, or whatever happens to be the shape your screen.

A friend and colleague – Josh Rooney (YAY JOSH, YOU ARE SO SMART, DOES THIS SHOUT-OUT MAKE YOU HAPPY?) -  is hot on the belief the plaid lumbersexual aesthetic is about to give way to the clean, hard lines of an imagined space future. Josh is also hot on “lunarcore” – a trending fashion sensibility that draws from S-P-A-C-E as an inspiration.

At its core (no pun intended), lunarcore is a style of fashion that, though it seeks to mimic the clothes worn by the astronauts of decades back and heroes of the numerous sci-fi novels and films that have been penned and filmed, is mostly inspired by the wearer’s own imagination and whatever boundaries he or she is comfortable with pushing,” writes somebody named CaptHacks on Reddit.

While we’re at it, heck, even Forever 21 has a Space Jam collection. On top of that, the Blade Runner revamp is on the way along with a new Star Trek TV franchise – Star Trek: Discovery.

 (Also, SPOILER ALERT …)

One of the latest Netflix darlings, The OA, is hella into space too. If you haven’t found out how yet, you will.

Meanwhile, here's a super scientific (actually not scientific at all) look at a Google Trend report showing the interest in the search term "space" versus "murder" over the past five years. (SPACE IS WINNING!)

 Google Trends Screenshot ... for science

Google Trends Screenshot ... for science

But does this sci-fi / space frenzy have a bigger story to tell? Is there more reason behind the trend?

In some respects, the move to sci-fi might symbolize our greater, subconscious desire for bigger stories, more exploration and adventure than the inward-looking, insular, anti-hero entertainment that’s dominated our world up until now. Through sci-fi and fantasy, creators and consumers get permission to explore new worlds, expand the reaches of their imagination and dream big, real big, like … SPACE big.

On the other hand, the very real-world move toward artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality means that we might be using stories, fantasy and escapism to try to make sense of the very real sci-fi world we’re actually living in. Smart robots, space, astronauts, virtual reality, they all seem kind of connected, no?

In the marketing and communications world (where I live) the sci-fi/space trend might give us similar signals. Maybe it's time for us to communicate bigger, more awe-inspiring/interesting narratives to customers and audiences. Maybe it's time to show them how to dream big, how to explore new ideas with the technology/products/service offering we're marketing. (Or maybe I'm just trying too hard to make a connection. But I do feel like there's a nugget, a glimmer of an insight in there ... Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)

Then again, from a fashion perspective … maybe we’re just over plaid.