New and different content on OTT platforms targets a generation of more mature and sensible young adults.
OTTs are emerging today as the new visual platform for entertainment, at times even educational for today’s youngsters. The function that television served for kids back in the 90’s or even early 2000s has been taken over by an increasing consumership of Netflix, Amazon Prime and such platforms on the net. Most urban school-going children have access to these online entertainment platforms. With the shift in the viewership platforms, the kind of content kids enjoy has shifted drastically too. No longer are Disney cartoons treading in the realm of the animated fantasy succour for children’s entertainment. Replacing them are young adult shows, often consisting of dark humour or pretty grim content. All in the all, even popular young adult entertainment today makes room for accommodating a lot more realism and mature movie making.
It’s pretty surprising how benign seeming animated shows like ‘Rick and Morty’ or ‘Bojack Horseman’ employ the trope of using cartoon figures as mouthpieces for metaphysical speculation. These shows deal with serious and often grim contents that several times raise deeper philosophical or existential questions. Several Anime shows, on account of their presence on Netflix have a lot more accessibility to all children as opposed to prior television viewership, where children scoured only selective cartoon channels. Netflix’s algorithm further contributes to popularizing these shows. Wonderfully made (albeit old ones) like ‘Death Note’ are less of a scour away on Netflix than it used to be on TV.
Let us consider this series for an example. ‘Death Note’ asks the question of what choices a teenager shall make when s/he is granted with the power to decide upon justice for the world upon finding a supernatural notebook that grants it’s user the power to kill. It is pretty obvious that we are dealing with more philosophically mature thought provoking children’s content here. In the days of cable television, foreign cartoons or anime channels were the privilege of a select few. Netflix helps a lot in bridging that gap today specially with a world so interconnected by social media.
Not only cartoon series but real life ones with young adult protagonists too are the rage of the day. Shows like ‘Sex Education’, ‘The End of the F***g World’, ‘Atypical’, ‘I Am Not Okay With This’, ‘Dear White People’, ‘Gilmore Girls’ etc deal with several serious social issues ranging from discussions like Black Lives Matter to sexual abuse to the everyday trials faced by physically compromised children.
Even Indian productions with Hindi, Bengali or other regional language creators are coming up with young adult centric films like ‘Chippa’, ‘What Are The Odds’, ‘Chopsticks’, ‘Guilty’, ‘Bulbul’, ‘Rainbow Kelly, ‘Kia and Cosmos’ etc dealing with coming of age issues in formats not explored in mainstream commercial cinema. For instance the films ‘Rainbow Jelly’ in Bengali and ‘What are the Odds’ in Hindi deal with magic realism and fantasy in a very nuanced and heart-warming way introducing the young audience to tropes other than that they usually find on the big screen.
The content of OTT platforms targeted towards young adults definitely showcases a more mature and curious generation of youngsters on the rise.