America’s neglected middle child: That’s what a 2014 Pew Research study called Generation X, the 65 million people born in 1961-1981. Sandwiched between the baby boomers and millennials, Gen-Xers have always seemed to live in the shadow of those who came before and after them. But these so-called cynics have turned their childhood experiences into some of the biggest achievements the world has ever seen.
National Geographic Channel’s new series Generation X, narrated by Christian Slater, premieres Sunday, Feb. 14, at 10/9c following the new season premiere of Brain Games. Each hour examines one major milestone of Generation X — from the premiere of “Reality Bites” to the remarkable presidential election of 2008 to the legalization of gay marriage — and then breaks it down to explore the political, cultural and economic forces at play. Using original interviews with gen X members and archival footage from the era, the series puts the Generation in the spotlight it has long deserved.
Generation X will air globally in the spring on National Geographic Channels in 171 countries in 45 languages, and in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo.
An impressive group of authors, journalists, politicians and celebrities — many of them gen X-ers themselves — lend their voices and their personal stories to the series, including Kevin Smith, Courtney Love, Sarah Palin, Molly Ringwald, Gavin Newsom, Cory Booker, Julian Assange, Alison Stewart, Rachel Dratch, Tabitha Soren, Sway Calloway, Nas and many others.
The stories explored in each episode include:
How the stalemate of the Vietnam War, the increasing divorce rate, the growing “latchkey kid” phenomenon, the resignation of Nixon and the rise of grunge led to the disillusionment found in the cult classic “Reality Bites”
How the Pentagon Papers, Iran-Contra and “Dr. Strangelove” opened the door for WikiLeaks
How Star Trek, the moon landing, the cell phone and Pong drove a thirst for technology that inspired the creation of Google
How MTV, Napster and the Drudge Report drove a “must have now” sensibility that ensured the instant success of Amazon
How “The Brady Bunch,” “The Breakfast Club,” the “Me” decade and online dating redefined traditional families, paving the way for the legalization of gay marriage
And how Martin Luther King, Jr., Rock the Vote, the “Murphy Brown”/Dan Quayle fracas and the OJ Simpson verdict uncovered deep divides in the country, making the election of Barack Obama as the first gen X president that much more of a historic event.
Though many of the stories seem familiar, Generation X gives each an entirely new spin that not only gives this overlooked group its much-due credit, but proves that even cynics can change the world.
PREMIERE EPISODES INCLUDE:
Generation X: Alternative Goes Mainstream
Premieres Sunday, February 14 at 10/9c
Members of Gen X, the 65 million people sandwiched between the much larger groups of baby boomers and millennials, are often thought to be cynics, slackers and loners, a characterization brought to life in the disillusionment movie “Reality Bites.” In the first of six episodes, Generation X explores the roots of this generation by looking at the forces that shaped it, from the stalemate of the Vietnam War, the increasing divorce rate, the growing latchkey kid phenomenon, the resignation of Nixon and the rise of grunge.
Generation X: Truth Be Told
Premieres Sunday, February 21 at 10/9c
When Julian Assange created WikiLeaks, it was no coincidence that he was a member of Generation X. After decades of watching government corruption scandals unfold, such as Iran Contra and the Pentagon Papers, Gen-Xers developed a distrust of those in power, further evidenced by paranoia films like “Dr. Strangelove” and “War Games.” The decades-long forces that led to the WikiLeaks release are examined through original interviews and memorable footage.
Generation X: The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth
Premieres Sunday, February 28 at 10/9c
Featuring interviews with prominent Generation X thinkers and innovators, this episode examines how advances in technology have profoundly shaped every aspect of Gen X-ers’ lives. From the initial optimism of Star Trek to the disaster of the Space Shuttle Challenger, and from the advent of the pocket calculator to the creation of the World Wide Web, Generation X has had to bridge the transition from the analog past and the digital future.
Generation X is produced by Left/Right for National Geographic Channel. For Left/Right executive producers are Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman, with Jeff Cooperman as co-executive producer. For National Geographic Channel, Robert Palumbo is executive producer; Kevin Mohs is vice president, production and development; Alan Eyres is senior vice president, programming and development; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.