The appeal of classic hero stories is that they present us with a world we want to live in. A place where things work out in the end, people are basically good-natured, and nearly anything is possible if you adhere to a strong moral code and never give up. Human narratives encompass a wide variety of tones and types, and classic hero stories adhere to a sense of justice that is rarely fulfilled in our daily lives. They allow us to pretend for a short period of time that there’s a place where life is fair and just.
So much of modern entertainment tends towards false realism, tension, paranoia and cynicism that an optimistic story is unexpected. It comes off as nostalgic and a little naive. But it’s like a refreshing breath of fresh air. That’s why certain series are lauded endlessly. Not for skill or originality, but because the creators manage to capture the appeal of classic hero stories and present us with a world that despite all of the weirdness doesn’t seem like that bad a place to live.
And it’s not the plot that does this. (more…)