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The time setting of this world can be from near 2000 to present day, to near future. But basically, Aliens from around the galaxy are visiting Earth...for our TV series/movies, animes-manga, and tabletop/video games. They could be doing this secretly (like buying disks or downloading them, ore even illegally-live stream them), or openly signing treaties with Earth companies to obtain re-broadcast or selling rights. And alien otakus are painting their waifus on their spaceships. The aliens are far more advance than we are, with technology to breakthrough lightspeed. The least advanced of them are at least a hundred years ahead than we are. The point is, why? Why could such a technologically backward planet conquer the whole galaxy culturally?

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    $\begingroup$ VTC: You are story teller, you tell us why. Atm it seems story based question. Which asks for story plot. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 30 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean "would"? It already is! My favorite is the sitcom "american politics". I'm hard put to choose my favorite episode, the "Florida Hanging Chad" episode, or the whole "Trump This!" parody miniseries. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Aug 30 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ In order to actually tackle a why question, we'd really need to know more about the several alien races involved. We'd need to understand more about their own cultures, histories, values and personality types; we'd need to understand some things about how their brains and minds and consciousness work. We might also need to understand more about their general make-up. Are they purely material beings, or, like us, are they transcendent? Basically, what makes them tick? $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Aug 30 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ It is impossible to answer your question without any information about aliens. Even if you want to receive answers that assume that aliens are not different from humans psychologically, you still need to specify it. VTC: Needs Details or Clarity $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 30 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Watch South Park, season 7 episode 1, "Cancelled". $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 21:08

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Other civilizations in the galaxy are much older, more mature, spiritually enlightened. They have all achieved stable societies with unlimited access to fusion energy and resource abundance and as such spend much of their time (when not studying their scriptures) in silent meditation.

Their sense of humor necessarily revolves around regarding those who have failed to achieve spiritual enlightenment as inferior and (like our schadenfreude in a way) hilarious.

Naturally, much of Earth culture revolves around cultural/religious conflict and personal conflict in relationships, not to mention money grabbing, perverse incentives in marketplaces and the general self-centered self-deception of people trying to justify their own existence through lying and concealment of the facts.

Basically, they think we're absurd figures in much the same way as 1950's US might have viewed the Three Stooges, and serve as object lessons for the young of their races where at schools our cultures are studied and ridiculed.

Credit to J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5's Minbari humour for the idea.

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I was writing up something pretty similar. I'll just propose that it also helps if the "global culture war" phase of a civilization's life is very short compared to the "peaceful interstellar cooperation" phase — we might just be the only ones in the galaxy who are worth watching right now. $\endgroup$
    – parasoup
    Aug 30 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ I figure it'll either be short (I hope) or fatal, maybe the only ones left are the enlightened or pre culture-war civilizations. @parasoup $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ And if Earth starts to get boring (say pre-1940s), an alien can divine knowledge of something to humans to liven things up (oh, let's just say nuclear weapons for an example) $\endgroup$
    – BruceWayne
    Aug 30 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ A civilisation like you describe will not be able to understand Earth humour. Humour is very culture-specific. Americans do not understand half of the British humour despite sharing the same language and some history. The younger generations in countries of the Warsaw Pact do not understand the humour of the Soviet era. Even the situational humour, the crudest type, will not be understood unless the aliens have human biology and live on Earth-like planets (with the same physics, flora, fauna, etc.). All other entertainment is very similar. One has to belong to a particular culture to enjoy it. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 30 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I was saying that they'd appreciate Earth humor, more that they'd find us risible for our stupidity and small-mindedness. Perhaps my reference to The Three Stooges was misleading, as that was designed to be laughed at. My intention was for them to find the everyday machinations of humans (unintentionally) funny. @Otkin $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 19:36
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Why would you need an explanation at all? Obsession with foreign cultures is a thing which happens again and again on in our own world. This arguably happens more with "backwards" cultures as they are perceived as more pure and uncontaminated by modern influence. Whole tourism industries live off of the romantization of local customs and aesthetics.

Usually these are short-lived crazes, but the alien society might have a much longer trend cycle where a cultural obsession does last a lot longer.

But if you really want some booster to their endearment: Perhaps humans have physical or mental attributes which remind them of their youngs, so humans and their culture trigger a natural nurturing instinct in them. Or in other words: They think we are cute.

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Earth media is cheaper / easier to get

The Galactic Prosperity Cooperative has an extremely burdensome set of intellectual property laws. Even in the Cooperative's early days, the laws were extraordinarily strict by human standards, and restricted creators just as much as consumers; one of the co-founding species had very strong feelings about the concept of "the sacred artist". Now, tens of millennia later, the laws have grown so complicated that only AIs can administer them properly.

The upshot is that the aliens don't produce much commercial entertainment at all anymore, and when they do, only the wealthy can afford it. Their equivalent of a movie ticket costs a month's wages for the average worker. And the poor stiffs don't even think about trying to pirate the stuff, because the IP AIs have both crazy DRM and crazy spying capabilities.

By these standards, Earth is practically giving its entertainment away for free.

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  • $\begingroup$ Intellectual property must be much tougher when you live hundreds of years instead of 80 $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 19:50
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Most races are forever alone herbs.

With the infinite energy of dyson spheres, endless land space of planet ships, and population control common to educated societies most aliens have never seen another alien in person. Their cultures value independence and getting all your needs from holos.

This has stagnated ideas of emotion, connection, and romance. They have very vivid medias with extreme violence or sex or base appeals to emotions, but their lack of understanding of connection means that any real connection in their media is rare.

Earth still has romance and friendship and connection, and so aliens across the galaxy value their entertainment. Not generally, mind you, enough to meet other aliens. But enough to go to earth to get their media.

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    $\begingroup$ "Endless land space" and "infinite energy" don't really mesh well conceptually with "population control". $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ That sounds like a very earth way of thinking of things, which is why the aliens love earthers. Just because you have infinite energy doesn't mean you need to fill every inch of space you can find with sweaty bodies. Does not each person deserve their own mansion and swarm of drones to tend for their needs? $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 30 at 15:34
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Well, at our technology level, the aliens will have to come to us. This implies that they are likely technologically more advanced than us. The most likely cause in a general sense is that Earth culture and/or entertainments provide something that the various alien species lack or find endlessly interesting.

Each species will have their own reasons for enjoying specific cultural entertainments from Earth of course which in turn will depend on their culture and society.

Creativity and Fiction are Human's "Hat"

Most aliens can create in some capacity, but humans are singularly better at it. We dedicate much research and time into improving our visual effects, training young minds in the art of storytelling and production of these stories into other mediums. There is an entire sector of our population that strives to entertain others, sometimes at their own expense.

This is not to say that the various alien species do not have entertainers, even world-class ones. It is that, on average, humans are better than them at this.

Why that is might be an object of exploration in the setting. Perhaps part of the reason is because we are not unified as a species like others are -- cultures can rise and fall, and with it new form of culture appear.

Perhaps because we haven't seen the universe in person yet and as such can only speculate on what is out there, we produce science fiction with a certain naivety that the aliens can embrace, if only for a while. Some of our wild ideas might even be feasible with the right tech even if we don't know it. Perhaps our sci-fi is so wrong, that it is actually more like absurdist comedy to them.

That we can create all sorts of magic and fantasy worlds might be breathtaking to a more advanced species whose idea of fantasy are ... well ... like us really. Swords and sorcery might be a whole new genre for a species that knows empirically that magic can't exist because they've discovered the Grand Unifying Theory and so rarely consider magic in their fictions.

But overall, we have different ideas and give a voice to a very wide variety of ideas compared to other species. Earthlings, through our many diverse cultures, have created a very wide body of cultural entertainment that there is almost likely something that will appeal to any particular alien species out there.

Perhaps the reason that we don't get past our solar system is that we are being constrained so that we continue to produce entertainment.

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Earth has many cultures

All of the other alien societies have long ago put aside their differences and combined into one large culture. Every now and then, another alien civilization comes into contact, and their culture interests all of the other aliens. Earth is not united. There are many cultures on earth, which create many different types of entertainment. As a result, earth entertainment is diverse, and provides a much longer source of entertainment for alien visitors. This also means that there is something for everyone. Some people may like British humor, American Slapstick, or Japanese anime.

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  • $\begingroup$ It does not address why they would preffer earth's ones(diverse or not) to their own entertainemt, and not some of them but most of them. You really landed in oopinion based story based q, making up stories for op's isn't the goal of wb answers. Also all plots and ideas provided in answers are mostly useless, becahsethey are licensed cc-by by se(? Have to dig it more) so op may have hard time if he uses one of those. stackoverflow.com/help/licensing $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 30 at 15:29
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The aliens have very evolved abilities to model and predict - as required of long-lasting civilisations. So their artists have lost some of their more primal instincts. Perhaps alien art is extremely abstract, proceedurally generated, or computational in some other way.

Much of Earth drama/fiction, and human behavior ignores 'rational' decision making, or even introduces fantastical elements, story logic, etc - providing a novel balance of tension and surprise.

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  • $\begingroup$ I concur, novelty is the by far the most straightforward solution and doesn't constrain the writer into a particular course/character for the alien civs. like my answer does. $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 16:17
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Human senses are poor so human stories translate well

Humans senses are dominated by vision and sound, both of which are universal enough to translate well, there is no pheromonal subtext no magnetic impulse, no ultraviolet or other extreme parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Humans sense are rather basic and accessible to most species. whereas most other species do have some other aspect of communication which either held back the development of entertainment technology of just makes it hart to translate. How do you translate the subtext of pheromonal signals for species that don't have it. Imagine trying to interpret bird art, which would be full of colors you cannot see, so much of the visuals would make no sense. Or imagine a book written by a dog with muted colors but detailed descriptions of smells full of subtext that just don't translate for species with a poor sense of smell.

True enjoying human stories a bit like enjoying silent films, but that's just it, you can enjoy silent films, you can enjoy a performance in a narrower set of senses but not a wider one. Most other species media has moved on to incorporated senses that don't translate for other species but humans media never did. Humans just happen to fall into the sweet spot of easily translatable sensory experiences. Once that advantage exists all human media gets more exposure, a rising tide lifts all ships.

Among species X their own media dominates for them but human media comes in second, for species Y it goes Y most popular Human media second, this second place spot quickly means it dominates across species, which results in more popularity as it becomes a commonality. A Vodit and a Plebert might have almost nothing in common but they both have seen Star Wars because it is easily accessible.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very interesting concept, although it does raise the question of why the aliens never made "silent films" themselves. It seems like a good business opportunity. $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Aug 31 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @MJ713 some may have but just like our silent films they would not have made them for long, $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 31 at 10:50
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Galactic Grownups

This is going to be a very broad simplification, but lets assume that any civilization capable of intragalactic exploration is more mature than humanity and not just more advanced. We could probably get to their level eventually but for now we are the equivalent of (human) children compared to the aliens being adults. So why would any alien be interested or even obsessed with our media?

Well, why are adult humans so interested in "children's" media? You can find plenty of examples of the same thing happening right here on planet Earth. Go look at the fandoms for something like Hello Kitty or any shonen anime. Hell, the biggest movies that have come out in the last decade have mostly been based on comic books, which until very recently were seen as the exclusive realm of children and emotionally stunted men.

All of this media that was originally for children also has a noticeable adult demographic and it can be for any number of reasons. Part of it could be nostalgia from when those grownups were still children, which wouldn't apply to our alien friends. But it can also be something about the visual aesthetic that appeals to us, or the story touches on some fundamental archetype that speaks to us, or even something as simple as it being a fun, mindless thing to watch when you want to turn your brain off. Aliens can have just as many different reasons for why they enjoy a less mature piece of media.

"Isn't That Just Precious"

There is also the sheer novelty of seeing a less-developed civilization's media to consider. Half of the internet is videos of animals doing cute/funny/amazing things.I imagine that an advanced enough alien would have a similar reaction to the things that humans do. More serious academic type aliens might read the works of our best writers and analyze them through the lens of their own culture. But most aliens would probably want a simpler introduction to human thought and that would include the bulk of our visual media.

Aliens watching our movies or reading our comics or playing our games could happen at least in part because it was humans that made them, and not because they were good. Imagine if a toddler came up to you and said "I created this thing", even if the quality is lower than what you normally like you would still be impressed that they did it.

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Earth is a multi-biome planet. All the other aliens live on a single biome or limited biome planet.

"If you mashed Hoth together with Tatooine, would it make a decent planet with nice weather?"

Kira Carsen, Star Wars: The Old Republic

The problem is that most other aliens grew up on Hoth or Tatooine, single biome planets.

So, while they still have entertainment on their planets, none of them have quite the range of biomes to showcase, and multiple planets have to bind a bunch of entertainment bundles together so that people who want to see a planet that isn't like theirs, they can figure out the type of films and animations that are inspired by the landscape of another planet.

Earth? Earth's been doing that on their own - for the cost of access to any of Earth's many digital offerings, you can access entertainment that shows:

  • Swamp biomes (In various different interpretations and time periods).

  • Desert biomes.

  • Rainforest biomes.

  • Winter biomes.

  • Island biomes.

  • Desert island biomes.

  • Vast ocean biomes.

  • Prairie biomes.

  • Mountainous biomes.

And more, not even accounting for the fantastical settings like a post apocalyptic biome setting, or fantasy settings around the idea of falling off the edge of the ocean, or space biomes.

Which leads into why aliens might want to actually invest in making their own entertainment locally on Earth - land a couple spaceships on Earth once with all the cast and crew for a film, and you can use going to different places on Earth as shorthand for going to Hoth or Tatooine biomes. You "Shoot on location", and it looks like all these other planetary biomes, maybe with some CGI to add in important landmarks.

Given all that, it'd be harder to argue that aliens would want media from outside Earth even if it was heavily subsidized.

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  • $\begingroup$ its basically impossible ot have a single biome planet. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 31 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ @John: I'll grant that it's basically impossible to have a species live on one, but if they have a very limited set of biomes, it could still be really interesting to see other planets - if they're like Mars or Venus, having the variety we have would still stand out. Could also be just severely limited in biomes, leaving one or two distinctively Earth-like biomes to be unfilled. $\endgroup$ Aug 31 at 1:55
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    $\begingroup$ If Mars or Venus has life it would still have a variety of biomes, resources distribution including sunlight and temperature are not spread evenly over a planet. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 31 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe every planet that has life has a binary star system for some reason - I'm mainly thinking of the TVTrope concept of a Single-Biome Planet, meeting some reason they are a single biome planet. Either way, [Earth apparently has 5 or more Biomes] (nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/biome/…) depending on how you define them, so give Aliens 4 or fewer biomes and it could work. $\endgroup$ Aug 31 at 2:28
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Earth is on a cultural/technological sweetspot

Advanced enough to produce appealing content,

Backward enough to be silly/funny

Too advanced civilizations produce extremely realistic experiences, but their advances also imply thinking of cultural consequences of these entertainment. Too violent? Banned, it will decrease individual's moral abilities. Too sexy? Banned too, individuals will be too inclined for reproduction, hampering with their intelectual abilities.

On the other side, too backward civilizations don't have the luxury to think of interesting entertainments, let alone capability of producing it.

Earth being on the sweetspot between the two, it produces somewhat interesting sensorial experiences, without the long term thinking that inhibits content production.

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