At Lost Universe, we keep an eye on who likes to watch what. Unlike Netflix and Amazon, we don’t keep reels of data on our customers. But we do have a good gut feel about the different shapes and flavours of the TV fans who shop with us.
As a result, we’ve been able to mentally sort people into 4 different groups of TV watchers. Here they are, with some tips on what to get them.
These telly watchers are young and energetic. They like shows with lots of movement, bright flashing lights and explosions, plus extreme emotional highs and lows. So, anime suits them very well.
Why? Well, anime TV shows are usually coming of age stories, set at high school or uni if possible. So that’s youthful energy and emotional extremes box checked. And they are usually about people battling with superhuman powers, which checks off flashing lights and explosions.
The Animelistics will watch short, 20-30 minute episodes of brilliantly vibrant Japanese animations. Like My Hero Academia, which is about a school for superheroes learning how to develop Quirks (abilities) so they can fight powerful super villains. Or Naruto, about an orphan boy determined to become the best ninja in his village using the power of ancient beasts sealed within him.
One of the most famous anime TV shows is Dragonball Z, which came to our TVs in English in the late 90s. Inspired by the Chinese legend of the Monkey King, Dragonball Z is about Goku, an alien man who came to earth as a child. He trains in martial arts, protects his family and the Dragon Balls, which grant any wish when they are all collected together.
Other anime shows that the Animelistic will surely know are Demon Slayer, One Punch Man and Death Note.
Gifting: Buying a gift for The Animelistic is simple. Fans tend to get very emotionally attached to their favourite characters. Find out which one that is, and you have a whole world of merchandise and collectable products to choose from, be it clothing, figurines or homewares.
The Sitcom Socialites love nothing more at the end of a long day to sit down with a beer and watch American sitcoms. They are simple, safe and won’t make them feel deep feelings; but most importantly, they are endlessly quotable. Which means talking about them at parties and getting into a quote-off.
Older millennials will quote Seinfeld, Friends, and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air at you. Younger millennials How I Met Your Mother, Brooklyn 99, Parks & Recreation and Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The weapon of choice is American shows because they can go up to 22 episodes a season, ignoring our poor British shows with their measly 8-10. Fortunately, the American ones are still brilliant, and we love quoting them too.
A sitcom like Friends, though slightly dated (how could anyone afford Manhattan rent, and where are all the non-white people?) will stay in our hearts forever. And I bet most of you still know all the words to the opening of Fresh Prince, give or take a few mumbled lyrics.
Gifting: These shows make us happy, and that’s why Sitcom Socialites are so jovial. You can send them to their happy place with a gift that nods to their favourite show, with merchandise like mugs, t-shirts and even board games.
Ever since Marvel and DC started their cinematic universes, there has been an explosion of superhero TV shows. Recent Marvel shows include Jessica Jones, The Punisher and Agents of Shield. And soon there’ll be The Falcon and The Winter Soldier too.
DC has put The Flash, Arrow, Doom Patrol and many Batman and Superman spin-offs (remember Lois & Clark anyone?) on our small screens. And it’s not just coming from those two behemoth comic book publishers.
Other shows like Watchmen, The Boys, The Umbrella Academy and The Tick show a different, sometimes quirky perspective on the superhero genre. Our cups runneth over with superhero shows.
This is good news for the Armchair Superhero, a TV lover who likes to learn the ins and outs of heroism from their sofa. This fan has grown up with comic books, and the boom in movies and tv shows has been an exciting few years for them.
Gifting: The amount of action figures and limited-edition merchandise to come from superhero shows is unbelievable. One idea is to buy them the comic book their favourite show is based on, so they can discover a whole new part of the culture. If they are a special friend you can even try and find a collectable issue too.
Space-faring science fiction shows are enjoying a resurgence. The old stories are getting revamped and introduced to new audiences while fresh stories are getting a chance too.
The two biggest sci fi franchises in memory, Star Trek has had two new TV series in the past couple of years, with Discovery and Picard. And Star Wars has produced the animated Clone Wars and The Mandalorian for TV since Disney took over. Meanwhile, The Expanse, Dark Matter and Lost in Space are bringing in new stories and characters for us to binge on.
But, a true Space Cadet will never forget the classics. Like Firefly, The Next Generation, Voyager, Stargate SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica. All groundbreaking, and all very rewatchable.
The Space Cadet simply loves shows set in space. On spaceships, space stations, or zipping between alien worlds. The idea that there is life and opportunity out there in the cosmos is what’s most exciting to them. And imagining what humanity could achieve out there is inspiring.
Gifting: Why not scratch that inspiration itch? Treat them to a day at an observatory or planetarium, followed by a night in with a Star Trek marathon. Of course, you’ll have to wait until lockdown lifts, so in the meantime, give a little piece of merchandise from their favourite shows.
These fans will only watch the big critical hits, or that’s what they tell you, at least. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos. They want to be at the key cultural moments of TV history, and woe betide any who get in their way.
And who can blame them? These are epic shows with brilliant acting and fantastic storytelling. When Game of Thrones ended, we felt a sinkhole open up in our chests that wouldn’t go away for weeks.
The Epically Curious will feel around for the highest critically acclaimed shows, recommended on the Twitter feeds of cultural correspondents from big newspapers. Once there is a bit of buzz around something, they will watch 3 episodes. If they’re not hooked, then it’s over.
These guys had watched so-called prestige dramas House of Cards, Succession, Mad Men, Homeland and Ozark before you had even heard of them.
Gifting: How about a subscription to Now TV, or Sky Ultimate (Sky and Netflix), where most of the American big hitters seem to live. If that feels a stretch too far, or they already have it, then have a think about some framed prints of their favourite shows. The Epically Curious will want something that is as prestigious as the TV they watch.
Explore our collection of gifts for TV lovers.
The thing about TV fans is that they love finding other people who like the same shows, so they can talk for hours. One way is to surround themselves with symbols of those shows, like wearable merch, artworks in their homes and ringtones of theme tunes.
Giving gifts that help them do this is pretty thoughtful. But more importantly, giving a gift that reminds them of those shows also shows that you know them and you love them.
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