Beyond the Neon

The 1980s podcast and video series that gets beneath the veneer of the decade, to expose its often dark and complex underbelly.

Beyond the Neon started life as a podcast that took a deep dive into topics like children’s television and toys in the 1980s, as well as some of the more interesting stories of marketing and moral panic that came with the decade.

After 11 documentary shows, the podcast took an indefinite hiatus, but returns in 2021 as a limited, 10-episode YouTube series that will once again explore some of the music, movies, marketing and pop culture that emerged from one of the most fascinating periods in modern history.


Beyond the Neon returns soon in a 10-episode video series – to find out when these are live, follow Noel on Twitter and look out for updates!


All 11 feature length Beyond the Neon podcast episodes, from February 2018 through to January 2020, with guest contributions from academics, commentators and industry experts. The episodes also include a more ‘podcast friendly’ version of the gothic 1980s academic paper.

Stream using the players below, or subscribe download from your usual podcast provider via the links on this page.

Episode 1 – Were the 1980s too scary?

Were the 1980s a place of harmless fun, or potentially damaging to kids? An exploration of the paranoia of the decades that led us there, the movies and shows of the day, and expert opinion on how our modern world shapes up by comparison.

Episode 2 – The Transformers Phenomenon Part 1

Beyond the Neon heads into one of the most important toy franchises of the 1980s – The Transformers. Features interviews with The Toys That Made Us producer Brian Volk Weiss, writer/editor of The Transformers UK comic Simon Furman, and animation expert Dr Steve Henderson.

Episode 3 – The Transformers Phenomenon Part 2

In the second of this two-part epic, Beyond the Neon continues the story of Transformers from its toy and TV origins into comics and much more – including the celebrated 1985 animated movie, and its ongoing cinematic legacy in the Bayverse.

Episode 4 – Superheroes and Heroism in the Reagan Era

Exploring the superhero landscape of  the 1970s, how this translated to decade that followed, and how a new president changed the way Hollywood looked at heroism in comics, tv and film.

Episode 5 – 1980s Cinema and the Birth of Film Marketing

In the first of a three parter looking at film marketing in the 1980s, Beyond the Neon explores the history, language and landscape of cinema that led to the movie marketing we know today.

Episode 6 – High Concept and 80s Movie Marketing Magic

The second in a three-part series looking at film marketing in the 1980s, Beyond the Neon looks at how home video and the ‘high concept’ movie defined advertising approaches during the decade.

Episode 7 – Late 80s Movie Branding and Advertising Perceptions

The final part of the Beyond the Neon film marketing trilogy looks at the end of the 1980s and how popular culture was reacting to the advertising explosion of the decade.

Episode 8 – Occult Perceptions in the Home Video Era

In a special bonus episode, I present my academic paper created for the Gothic 1980s Symposium that took place in June 2019. Re-recorded and re-edited with illustrative clips, I explore how the aesthetic ‘gothic’ of 1980s cinema is less active than some of the other, more interesting gothic characters of the era.

Episode 9 – 80s villains: The death and rebirth of mythical evil

Villainy in 1980s popular culture and how the politics and social trends of the decade gave us a wealth of iconic bad guys. The corporate characters and entities that loomed large, the rock star vampires that replaced the traditional gothic monsters and the slasher megastars who crossed over into everything from TV and music to toys and video games.

Episode 10 – Satanic Panic Part One: Storm in the U.S.A.

The first of a two-part special exploring the history and explosion of Satanic Panic that spread across America in the 1980s. Real-life criminal cases, dubious media reports, exploitative TV shows, foaming religious fanaticism, and outrageous claims… its all covered here.

Episode 11 – Satanic Panic Part Two: Panicky in the U.K.

In the second part of this special, Beyond the Neon explores how the Satanic Panic in the US spread to Great Britain in the 1980s. The show looks into how fears about music, board games, films and TV shows, were used to build support for religious crusaders looking to weaponise morality against everything from homosexuality and home video horror movies to suicide.