Another Top XX Music Video Countdown show, another questionless #1 spot for Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ (although plenty of questions about #2 – Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’? Really? You could’ve voted for anything, and you voted for that).

It’s going to take a great big miracle for anyone to beat that video, it’s so iconic. It got me thinking, though… There are ‘Thrillers’ in every aspect of popular media, that one movie, book, song or TV show that divides the world on it – those that have experienced it, and those that haven’t. Things that you don’t necessarily have to like, but you can’t help acknowledging the impact it’s had on the world, both alone, and as inspiration to things that came after it. What do I mean? Let me give a few examples…

(These are all personal opinions/suggestions. I’m not trying to insinuate something listed here is unarguably better than anything else. I’m always up for a discussion…)

The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien – These days, it’s a safe bet that the majority of people know the LOTR from the amazing movies, but for those of us who have read the trilogy, things aren’t as simple as saying “Yeah, it looked great.” For me, the LOTR was the first real fantasy novel I’d ever read – unlike most at my age, I’d never read the Oz or Narnia, so my expectations were high – I didn’t know what the big fuss was with the genre, and I wanted to know, I dared the book to impress me. And it blew me away, for the most part (I’m not one for poetry in my novels – especially not coming from bloodthirsty orc warriors, thank you very much). Here, for the very first time to me, was a world so different from my own, yet so vividly real due to the complex-yet-enthralling history surrounding everything that lived in Middle Earth. The books are a masterpiece, and it’s little wonder they were the divider of the English-reading world for years before Harry Potter came along. Then the movies came out, showing a cynical world that book-adaptations could be done faithfully and be incredible.

The X-Files – The show went on for nine seasons, which seems like an eternity today for Fox (who are infamous for cutting a lot of shows off in their prime), yet with good reason. On the face of it, the premise sounds laughable: two FBI agents spend their time chasing aliens and monsters, rather than focusing on serial killers or what have you. But Chris Carter took it, and filled the world of the X-Files with such depth, and a detailed mythos, filled with government conspiracies, alternate history, secrets and surprises that it captured the hearts and minds of millions to this day. Almost every drama since then has taken inspiration from the show – whether it was the wild conspiracy twists in shows like 24 and Alias, to the “There’s more out there” weirdness of Lost. And, since I’ve already mentioned two shows by JJ Abrams, let’s not forget his current shows, Fringe and Alcatraz. It’s safe to say the former, at least, owes a lot to the Files…

That’s it for now – I left this late, and getting so tired I’m typing awfully. But feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments, or tweet them to me @symplesymon!

Until tomorrow!