Everyone has some kind of story or trope that they are a sucker for. That, even if they know something is going to be bad, they will watch just for that thing. We want to know what yours are! And, to keep things fair, the entirety of the io9 staff has confessed theirs, too.
I am a sucker for Japanese comics for kids. Specifically, I am a sucker for comics where kids learn to overcome bad guys by the power of friendship. I love the traditional trope of good guys being stronger than bad guys because they’re willing to share their burden with friends, while bad guys can’t trust or are unwilling to cooperate with others. But I extra love when these heroes are so moved by their friends/guardians/loved ones showing their solidarity that they start balling, and I get tear-eyed almost every single time. One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Sailor Moon, G Gundam, Kinnikuman, Gurren Lagann, and most especially Zatch Bell (which had the awkward name of Gash Bell in Japan), where the fish-eating, dress-wearing boy-demon would basically sob hysterically anytime someone showed him compassion and stood by him. I loved every tear.
Any horror movie that has a strong heavy metal/rock n’ roll element — especially from the 1970s or 80s, like Trick or Treat, Phantom of the Paradise, or Return of the Living Dead. Also any horror movie that takes place in a movie theater or involves a haunted movie: Demons, All About Evil, Scream 2 (and mocked in that one scene in Scary Movie).
Living in virtual reality.
I love movies, shows, and books where virtual reality has become so real, you can live in it. Ready Player One, the first season of Sword Art Online—hell, even The Thirteenth Floor, which was basically a knockoff of The Matrix. Life becomes one long LARP, it’s the ultimate escapism. Well, except in those cases when you get trapped in it, but that’s kind of cool too, because you get to make a new life for yourself. By the way, if I ended up living in a VR world, I’d probably become a boring cook or some shit like that.
My guilty pleasure is self-reference and meta-stories. If the characters in a story somehow acknowledge that they’re in a story, or that they’re aware of other stories, for some reason I get hooked. One example is my favorite movie Swingers, where the characters are aware of real life movies and the movie rips them off. Another example is The Dark Tower series, which I just finished reading. In that series, author Stephen King is himself a character, and while lots of people hated that, I loved it.
The list goes on and on forever but I think the reason why I love this kind of thing it always made me feel like I was in the know. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends who were in to really nerdy stuff like indie film or science fiction. So when I started seeing works that referenced themselves or other things I was a fan of, it felt like I was part of the club. I still am.
Same but different superhero stuff. I love superhero alternate realities where things are either slightly re-jiggered or majorly tweaked. Back when DC’s Elseworlds line was a going concern, I got hyped for stuff like Superman: Last Son of Earth, where Clark Kent’s rocket lands on Krypton, or Batman: Holy Terror where Bruce Wayne is a priest in a theocratic society. Whether it’s DC books or titles like Marvel’s Ruins or eXiles, I’ve always been a sucker for stories like this, where each page can hold some cool inversion of an element you already know well.
Alternate histories with supernatural elements like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter are the most delicious stories. Of course the South was overrun by vampires looking to preserve slavery. Another fantastic example is Austin Grossman’s Crooked which reimagines the US presidency as a long line of magic users who uses the mystic arts as a part of their international affairs.
Space opera. I’m such a sucker for space opera, and I blame Star Wars for being my first fandom and making me love the genre, Star Trek for being my all time favorite fandom and cementing that love, and Battlestar Galactica for reinforcing all of that. This has gone well for me—hi The Expanse—and not so well for me—hi, Andromeda, Lexx, and Earth Final Conflict. I don’t know why. I think I love expansive worlds that are well-conceived, but so big I can imagine life in unexplored corners.
I am a total sucker for characters with tragic backgrounds. They could be sentient robots, they could be dogs, they could be humans, if they lost their parents/creator/loved one as part of their backstory, especially in untimely scenarios, I am immediately invested in the act of wanting them PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS, regardless of them being the hero, villain, supporting character, guest star extra, you name it. I will fall for it (and probably cry) every goddamn time, from Clementine in The Walking Dead telltale games to even something like Erskine in Captain America.
So there you have it. Make a heavy-metal horror story set in a VR environment in space, with a backstory in alternate history and a re-imagined superhero with a tragic background and with a lot of meta elements and crying Japanese kids, and everyone at io9 will watch the hell out of it. Share yours in the comments!