Back to the '80s
Right now, the ‘80s are back in a big way. Whether it’s old TV shows coming back to life, new movies paying homage to the era, or music that sounds like (or even comes from) the biggest artists from 30 years ago, it’s all about the decade of decadence. Consider the evidence, ahead.
Bill & Ted 3
Get ready to party on, dudes: Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan are coming back for a threequel (as Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter personally announced). But who expected any less from this pair of time travelers? Strange things will be afoot at the Circle K once again when Bill & Ted Face the Music hits theaters on Aug. 21, 2020.
Top Gun: Maverick
Over 30 years later, Tom Cruise still has the need for speed. Joining him on the highway to the danger zone for the 2020 sequel to 1986’s Top Gun will be Miles Teller (as the son of Maverick’s fallen friend Goose), Jennifer Connelly, and Glen Powell.
“Juice,” the lead single off Lizzo’s 2019 album Cuz I Love You, is an irresistible ’80s-inspired self-love fest with a totally rad music video to match.
Netflix’s smash hit sci-fi series — the summertime-set third season of which will launch in July — is as packed with ’80s pop culture references as it is modeled after the decade’s genre stories itself.
Blinded by the Light
Less than a year after the Bruce Springsteen’s hit Broadway show arrived on Netflix, the Boss will be on screens in another capacity, as the unseen but spiritual star of Gurinder Chadha’s Sundance crowd-pleaser Blinded by the Light, about a Pakistani-British teenager in Thatcher-era England for whom the music of Springsteen becomes a way of life.
For the Record: The Brat Pack
The spirit of John Hughes is alive and well in L.A., where the For the Record immersive cabaret show brings back the Brat Pack in a whole new way. Four nights a week, a Princess, Jock, Geek, Rebel, and Basket Case perform all the beloved ‘80s jams from your favorite teen movies of the era — and yes, there is a boombox-on-the-shoulder moment.
Try to keep breathing — breathless — heaving — breaths! Clue is coming back to the big screen, with a new adaptation in development from Ryan Reynolds, who will produce and star, along with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. After all these years, that communism is still just a red herring!
The Queen of Pop has reinvented herself countless times over the last three and a half decades, and her next incarnation will be as Madame X (a dancer, a professor, a head of state…). No matter how completely she transforms, however, any appearance the icon makes brings back shades of the decade in which she played such an earth-shattering, culture-defining role.
The 1984 fantasy rom-com, starring Tom Hanks as a lovestruck young man and Daryl Hannah as the mermaid who wins his heart, is getting a gender-swapped remake. Jillian Bell is set to star opposite merman Channing Tatum in the new film, which is still in development.
The original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling first entered the ring in 1986; the first season of Netflix’s comedy series inspired by the syndicated wrestling promotion premiered in 2017 (and was named the best series of the year by EW critic Darren Franich). Season 2 dropped in 2018, and the show was renewed for a third soon after.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Our karaoke queen Carly Rae Jepsen is following up 2015’s ’80s-tastic Emotion with another synth-y, sparkly pop collection, 2019’s Dedicated.
Masters of the Universe
He-Man, the main hero of the Masters of the Universe, will have the power once again with his own movie (reportedly starring heartthrob du jour Noah Centineo). The Masters of the Universe were originally a toy line launched in 1982; they previously inspired an animated series which ran from 1983–85 and a live-action film in 1987.
The Babysitter's Club
The beloved book series, which Ann M. Martin began in 1986, is getting a whole new TV adaptation on Netflix.
The 2018 marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (not to mention the 2019 birth of their son Archie) has had all eyes on the royal family, and their emotional wedding day had his late mother Princess Diana on everyone’s mind.
The Carringtons live on in a reboot of the original primetime soap, which ran from 1981–89. The CW’s update on the ‘80s staple debuted in 2017 and has been renewed for a third season for this fall.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Life is still like a hurricane here in Duckburg. The 1987 series was rebooted by Disney XD in 2017, 30 years after it originally aired. The second season — even better than the first — hit like a hurricane in May of this year.
Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Magnum, P.I., on Magnum, P.I. from 1980–88. In fall of 2018, a reboot of the series, with Jay Hernandez in the title role, premiered on CBS (also home to ’80s reboot MacGyver); it was renewed for a second season in 2019.
Janelle Monáe's "Make Me Feel"
The lead single off Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer (one of EW’s 10 best albums of 2018) strongly reflects the influence of the artist’s late mentor Prince, who collaborated with her on the album. Even better, Monáe’s predictably spectacular wardrobe in the track’s music video includes such ‘80s elements as bright leotards, boxy jackets, acid-wash denim, and one pair of starry earrings reminiscent of Madonna’s almost-virginal days.
Ready Player One
Made in the present, set in the future, and obsessed with the ‘80s, the 2018 adaptation of Ernest Cline’s sci-fi bestseller — coming from Steven Spielberg, a pop culture icon of the era himself — exemplifies the current mania with the decadent decade.
The Steven Spielberg-created game show, which ran on NBC from 1985–87, will be revived by Apple. Once Upon a Time creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are on board as showrunners and executive producers, and Spielberg will be back to executive produce the new incarnation of the series as well.
She's Gotta Have It
The very first Spike Lee joint (made in 1986) was brought back to life, by the filmmaker himself, as a Netflix series in 2017. The second season premieres in May 2019.
Cartoon Network is bringing back the ThunderCats, the original animated series of which aired from 1985–89. The feline extraterrestrials will come back to earth in a new show, ThunderCats Roar; check out a sneak peek here.
ABC throws it back every week with The Goldbergs, a family sitcom that takes place in the decade of decadence (and doesn’t skimp on the ‘80s-tastic wardrobe).